Daily Archives: November 28, 2007

Baxter Black: Born with the Music in Ya

Baxter Black:  Born with the Music in Ya

Some people are born with music in ‘em. Other people do good with algebra, throwin’ a rope or rebuilding engines.

I am blessed with the music. My father’s family played, Grandpa played the fiddle, Uncle Wade the banjo, Uncle Bert guitar and second fiddle, Uncle Dink the mandolin and third fiddle, Aunt Effie the organ and “Hi-wa-yen slide git-ar” and my dad, the youngest, played whatever needed played.

I remember as a boy goin’ back to visit in Oklahoma. Saturday afternoon they’d have a “musical.” We’d gather at somebody’s house. Anybody that wanted to play would sit in a big circle in the living room, including kids. The recognized ‘first fiddle’ in the group would start playing. They never told you the song or the key. There was no singing and nobody else took the lead. In my memory he’d play 4 or 5 songs in one key, switch to another key, play a few in that one, then eventually he’d say, “Bert, why don’t you play one?” Bert, the acknowledged ‘second fiddle’, would graciously accept the invitation and play his favorites, then pass it on down. It went on for 3 or 4 hours!


New Report Says Beef With Hormones Produces Less Greenhouse Gas Emissions

New Report Says Beef With Hormones Produces Less Greenhouse Gas Emissions


New Beef Eco-Report: Pound-for-pound, beef produced with grains and growth hormones produces 40% less greenhouse gas emissions and saves two-thirds more land for nature compared to organic grass-fed beef.

To reach these startling conclusions, analysts at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Food Issues used beef production models from Iowa State University’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and greenhouse gas emissions estimates from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC).

More than 95% of beef produced in the United States is raised on grain-based diets in feedlots, using supplemental growth hormones, both natural and synthetic. The report details the extensive human and environmental safety requirements for the use of supplemental hormones on feedlots, as well as the growing body of environmental monitoring studies showing no significant negative impacts from their use. Instead, the data show major environmental benefits of this production system: Saving 2/3rds more land for nature and producing 40% fewer greenhouse gas emissions per pound of beef produced.


Research Shows Producers Can Improve Auction Prices

Research Shows Producers Can Improve Auction Prices

Cattle Today

In an auction barn, every feeder calf is judged for a few seconds before its value is determined.

Cow calf producers who sell at auction should take note of research by the University of Arkansas that documented distinct traits and management practices that can add dollars. In 2000 and 2005, the University worked with USDA Livestock Market News reporters to track data from 17 markets across the state.

The results showed the largest differences in price were due to health, muscle score, breed and body fill.

“There was a $42 (per hundredweight, or cwt.) spread between the healthy cattle and the sickest calf,” says Tom Troxel, animal science associate department head at the University of Arkansas.


R-CALF: Scholarship Applications Now Available; Deadline Extended To Dec. 31

R-CALF: Scholarship Applications Now Available; Deadline Extended To Dec. 31


Billings, Mont. – R-CALF USA’s charitable foundation, the United Stockgrowers of America Foundation for Research, Education and Endowment (USA FREE), is now accepting applications from students interested in winning one of three scholarships to be awarded in February 2008, at R-CALF USA’s annual convention in Omaha, Neb.

To qualify, applicants are required to write a research paper about a current threat to the U.S. cattle industry and include a solution. First place winner will receive a $2,000 scholarship, second place winner will receive a $1,500 scholarship and third place winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship.


USDA Announces Listening Sessions on Marketing Claim for Naturally Raised Livestock

USDA Announces Listening Sessions on Marketing Claim for Naturally Raised Livestock

WASHINGTON, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced today that the USDA is considering the development of a voluntary standard to address production practices associated with the term “naturally raised” for livestock.  Three listening sessions will be held to provide for public input on a voluntary marketing claim standard specifically for Naturally Raised Livestock.

Working with industry representatives and other interested parties, AMS facilitates the marketing of agricultural commodities by developing and maintaining U.S. standards for nearly 240 agricultural products.  Producers and consumers use the standards in the marketplace to specify the quality of commodities.  Standards provide a common language for trade and a means of differentiating value in the marketing of agricultural products.


More sorting, more beef quality

More sorting, more beef quality

Certified Angus Beef

Sorting cattle helps eliminate outliers in a pen, but the extra effort may be rewarded by higher quality grades, too.

A study by Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) shows the more sorts the better the grades in most cases.

“Our data says those cattle that were sorted three or more times have much higher CAB acceptance rates than cattle that were just sold as one group,” says Gary Fike, beef cattle specialist for the company.

From 2005 to 2006, CAB tracked data from its 63 licensed feedlots in 15 states (see table). Cattle that were marketed together had an average CAB acceptance rate of 23.3%. Cattle in two sort groups improved to 29.6%, compared to those sorted three times or more at 33.9%. That 10-percentage-point increase means more dollars for the seller.


Sustainable Crops and Livestock Workshop Scheduled For Dec 1st

Sustainable Crops and Livestock Workshop Scheduled For Dec 1st


Practical production methods for sustainable crop and livestock producers in western Nebraska will be highlighted during a Dec. 1 workshop at Sidney.

“Sustainable Crops and Livestock Systems Workshop for High Plains Agriculture: Practices That Work For Western Nebraska” will take place at Western Nebraska Community College, 371 S. College Drive in Sidney from 8:45 a.m. until 3:45 p.m. The workshop is sponsored by the University of Nebraska, Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society (NSAS) and Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) NE Chapter No. 2.


US official says failure to ratify South Korean trade deal could ruin U.S. image in Asia

US official says failure to ratify South Korean trade deal could ruin U.S. image in Asia


WASHINGTON (AP) – Failure by U.S. lawmakers to ratify a free trade pact with South Korea would damage the United States’ credibility in Asia and hamper its future trade in the booming region, according to a senior U.S. trade official.

Wendy Cutler, an assistant trade representative and the lead U.S. negotiator of the pact, said

Tuesday that South Korea is pursuing trade accords with Canada and other countries while the U.S. Congress considers the deal.


K-State Looks At Financial Impact Of Foot and Mouth Disease

K-State Looks At Financial Impact Of Foot and Mouth Disease


As much as $945 million. That’s what agricultural economists at Kansas State University say could be the impact on Kansas’ economy were there a large-scale foot-and-mouth outbreak in a region thick with livestock operations.

“If such an outbreak were to occur, livestock and meat commerce, trade, and movement would be halted,” said Ted Schroeder, a K-State professor of agricultural economics. “That represents a very, very expensive endeavor.”

Schroeder is co-author of a paper that predicts a devastating economic impact should foot-and-mouth disease come to Kansas.


Commentary: Eliminate the critter — Feed dried distillers grains to humans

Commentary: Eliminate the critter — Feed dried distillers grains to humans

By Cheryl Stubbendieck

Nebraska Farm Bureau vice president/public relations

Minnesota Farm Guide

Ethanol’s been getting beat up lately, with some critics saying using corn for ethanol is reducing the amount of food for humans.  That’s not the case, plus the distillers dry grains that result from ethanol production make excellent cattle feed. Cattle eat the DDGs, we eat the beef, life is good.

But maybe the critics would be happier if we could eliminate the critter from the equation. A number of scientists and biofuel and biomass processors are looking into feeding DDGs more directly to humans by incorporating them into people food.


Washington County Va. to vote on hay bailout

Washington County Va. to vote on hay bailout


ABINGDON, Va. – The Washington County Board of Supervisors will decide at its Dec. 11 meeting whether to spend $250,000 to help bring hay to Washington County farmers at a lower price than they’re paying now.

“The consensus of the board is this is an important industry,” Chairman Kenneth Reynolds said of agriculture in the county.

“I can remember my father saying if we’re not careful with the way development and things are going – and this was back some 30 years ago – if we’re not careful, the American people are going to go hungry,” Supervisor Dulcie Mumpower said. “We do give incentives for our industries from time to time.”


Is Hay Always Cheaper Than Corn?

Is Hay Always Cheaper Than Corn?

Indiana Prairie Farmer

Cattle eat hay, especially beef cattle why they’re dry during the winter. Any farm boy who’s ever worked around cattle can tell you that. Well, John Johns thinks it’s time for farm boys and cattlemen alike to learn a lesson.

Yes, cattle normally eat hay, especially dry, pregnant beef cattle, because it’s usually an economical way to get them through the winter and maintain their body condition, says Johns, a University of Kentucky Animal Scientist. But this year all bets are off. With hay prices at $6 or more per small square bale, if you can find it, cattlemen are looking for another alternative. In an earlier issue (Indiana Prairie Farmer, December ’07), Johns said one alternative would be to feed cattle whole shelled corn instead of hay. Usually considered too expensive to waste on pregnant, dry cows, the forage world is flipped upside down this year, due to last summer’s lingering forage shortage.


Get Questionable Cornstalk Bales Tested Before Feeding

Get Questionable Cornstalk Bales Tested Before Feeding     

Wallace’s Farmer

Iowa State University Extension specialists are urging farmers who notice mold on bales of cornstalks to get the bales tested for toxins before using them for feed for cattle. For horses, even if you are just using the bales for bedding, get the moldy stalks tested. That’s because horses are more susceptible than cattle to mold toxins, and horses may nibble on stalks that are used for bedding. Heavy rains in October affected the quality of cornstalks, which many cattle producers use to lessen their winter feed costs. The extra moisture, however, has increased the chance for mold and mycotoxins, or toxins produced by fungi, to develop.


Untreated pneumonia results in lost liveweight gain

Untreated pneumonia results in lost liveweight gain

Farmers’ Weekly (UK)

Lung damage caused by pneumonia could be costing some cattle nearly 74kg a year in lost liveweight gain, according to a trial undertaken by Blade Farming South West and Schering Plough.

Speaking at a press briefing at Lackham, Wiltshire, on Tuesday, Paul Williams, livestock vet adviser with Schering Plough, said the results suggested many cattle were failing to receive effective pneumonia treatment.

The study involved assessing the lungs of 645 commercial beef cattle from 15 units at slaughter for evidence of lung damage. Data were also collected on carcass weight, animal age and carcass grade, allowing estimated daily liveweight gains to be calculated.