Daily Archives: December 14, 2007

Video Feature: Animals, like humans, need some antibiotics

Video Feature: Animals, like humans, need some antibiotics

Trent Loos

Faces of Agriculture

Animals, like humans, get sick and when they do the most effective tools that producers have at their disposal are antibiotics. Antibiotics, used judiously and according their approved label, improve the wellbeing and health of the animal and provide for greater overall food safety. In this interview, Feedstuffs FoodLink talks with Dr. Jim Pettigrew of the University of Illinois about his perspective on animal use in pork production.

Web site helps cattle producers manage short forage supply

Web site helps cattle producers manage short forage supply

Ag Answers

Indiana livestock producers have a new resource available to help them get through the winter on low forage resources.

Purdue University Cooperative Extension specialists teamed up across disciplines to create the Managing the Forage Shortage Web site, available at http://http://www.forageshortage.com .

“The goal of the Web site is to minimize the impact of this year’s low forage supply,” said Keith Johnson, Purdue Extension forage specialist. “If we can keep our livestock healthy through the winter, the impact will be confined to increased feed expenses and we will not have the negative aspects of poor animal performance in 2008 and lingering into 2009.”

The Web site features videos, news articles, publications, alternative feed profiles and contact information for local hay auctions. It also offers tips for rejuvenating forages after a difficult growing season, how to sample baled hay and crop residues, as well as advice for determining the body condition score of animals.


Bull Selection – Do Your Homework

Bull Selection – Do Your Homework

Dr. Scott P. Greiner Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, VA Tech

Now through spring marks the traditional bull buying season in Virginia. While new tools such as additional EPDs and indexes have enhanced our ability to more accurately define the genetic merit of an individual herd sire prospect, it could be argued that the vast amount of information now available to us complicates the selection process. With over 30 individual EPDs currently in use, coupled with individual performance data and ratios (such as test ADG, ultrasound information, etc.), it can become a major task to sort through the information and arrive at a decision. The importance of these decisions have long-term consequences, particularly in single-bull units since the genetic merit of future generations is impacted by only a few bulls. Additionally, market signals are clearly sending the message that cattle with superior genetics and management have more value- further emphasizing the importance of sire selection. With some planning prior to sale season, bull selection can be simplified and chances of success enhanced by thinking through the following:


Minimizing Calving Difficulty in Beef Cattle

Minimizing Calving Difficulty in Beef Cattle

Pete Anderson

University of Minnesota

Calving difficulty (dystocia) contributes heavily to production losses in beef cow/calf herds. A Nebraska study estimated that calving difficulty results in annual losses of $25 million in that state alone. The obvious losses are due to calves or cows that die at or soon after calving. Less noticeable losses are due to delayed rebreeding, more open females, an extended calving season and increased labor costs. While occasional dystocia is almost unavoidable, cattlemen can minimize dystocia through proper management. Control of both genetics and environment (nutrition) is necessary to minimize dystocia.


Cattle Diseases: Coccidiosis

Cattle Diseases:  Coccidiosis

Gerald L. Stokka, Extension Beef Cattle Veterinarian

Department of Animal Sciences & Industry, Kansas State University

Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease that affects several different animal species. In cattle, coccidiosis may produce clinical symptoms in animals from 1 month to 1 year of age but is infective to all age groups.

The causative agent is a protozoan that has the ability to multiply rapidly. The group of coccidia that are infective to cattle belong to the Eimeria genus. Coccidia are very host specific, that is, only cattle coccidia will cause disease in cattle, other speciesspecific coccidia will not cause disease.


Planning for ranch succession

Planning for ranch succession

By Noel McNaughton

American Cowman

So you want your kids to take over the ranch? When are you going to show them how? Back when I was a television reporter for the Canadian Broadcast Corp., I got a phone call about a farm foreclosure occurring the next day. The group sought coverage on the farmer’s victimization by evil bankers, and how neighbors were mobilizing to do something about it.

It was one of the saddest stories I ever covered. Not because the man was losing his farm to the bank, but because he never learned how to manage a farm in the first place. When I interviewed this unfortunate couple, the real story unfolded.


The Code Of The West

The Code Of The West

Troy Marshall

BEEF Magazine

I use the term, “code of the west,” a lot to signify all those things that are so great about our industry but are kind of unspoken intangibles. Of course, there never was a formal code truly defined, and I’ve read that Zane Gray first actually used the term, which has nothing to do with geography but rather a mindset.


Distiller’s Grains: Storage Options

Distiller’s Grains:  Storage Options

by Ed Haag

Angus Journal

In the past, one of the major drawbacks with feeding wet distillers’ grains with solubles (WDGS) was spoilage. Now, thanks to old-fashioned ag ingenuity, there are several options out there. The challenge is to fi nd the best one for you.

It wasn’t long ago when wet distillers’ grains were used solely by feedlots, the only ones with enough hungry mouths to use up the stuff before it spoiled. For all but the largest feeders, spoilage was a valid concern. At best, the product could remain in the open air for little more than a week before it began to show the overt signs of serious deterioration. In hot weather its longevity was considerably shorter.


Consider Grass-Alfalfa Mixture Over Pure Alfalfa

Consider Grass-Alfalfa Mixture Over Pure Alfalfa

Cow/Calf Weekly

Are you going to plant a new hay field next spring? Instead of automatically planting pure alfalfa, think about mixing some grass into the planting, writes Bruce Anderson in his Nov. 28 edition of “Hay & Forage Minute.”

The University of Nebraska Extension forage specialist says hay growers in his area often plant new fields to alfalfa without considering other alternatives. For lots of folks, pure alfalfa is the best choice, but mixing in some grass, like orchardgrass, with alfalfa might be better for some.


NCBA: Key Issues Highlight 2008 Cattle Industry Convention & Trade Show

NCBA: Key Issues Highlight 2008 Cattle Industry Convention & Trade Show


Cattlemen attending the 2008 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade Show will hear in-depth discussions of several major issues affecting the profitability of their operation.

The convention will be held Feb. 6-9 in Reno, Nev. The Beef Industry Issues Forums are scheduled for the morning of Thursday, Feb. 7. The theme of this year’s forums – sponsored by Elanco Animal Health – is “Understanding the Business and Consumer Climate.” Individual forum topics include:

Building Beef Value in Foodservice will focus on a new line of beef value cuts designed to put more beef on restaurant menus. This new line of cuts will build on the success of the Flat Iron, Petite Tender, and Ranch Steak, which now account for sales of about 174 million pounds per year.


Wheat Looks Good As Alfalfa Companion

Wheat Looks Good As Alfalfa Companion

Hay and Forage Grower

In recent University of Minnesota research, alfalfa yields the year after seeding were greater when the crop was established with wheat than with other small grains. Currently, oats are the most commonly used companion crop for alfalfa establishment in Minnesota, says agronomist Craig Sheaffer. But the high value of wheat grain has renewed interest in seeding alfalfa with wheat instead, he says.

Research at three southern Minnesota locations evaluated alternative companion crops for alfalfa establishment. Assuming current market prices, Sheaffer says wheat and barley would be the most profitable small grain companion crop options, and oats the least profitable.


Federal livestock ID plan stirs resistance

Federal livestock ID plan stirs resistance

By Steve Myrick

The Martha’s Vineyard Times

The federal government’s plan to identify farms and track livestock strikes some members of the Island agricultural community as intrusive and misguided, although others view it as necessary for containing any future outbreak of an infectious animal disease.

The program, called the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), is a response to concern about diseases like avian influenza, more commonly known as “bird flu,” and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or “mad cow disease.”

State agriculture officials, who are helping gather the information, defend the program as essential to stop the spread of infection by fast-moving diseases that threaten food supplies. In such cases, failure to quickly trace and isolate animals and their offspring could threaten entire segments of the agricultural industry.


Can-Do Attitude and the Right Tools

Can-Do Attitude and the Right Tools

by Troy Smith

Angus Journal

They said it couldn’t be done. According to conventional wisdom, a young couple starting from scratch wasn’t likely to succeed in the beef cattle business. A lot of well-meaning folks warned Tim and Cathy Sutphin that making a living would be tough. Buying land and paying for it with cattle alone would be nearly impossible.

It’s not that southwestern Virginia isn’t good cattle country. Described as having a “Goldilocks climate” — not too hot; not too cold — the region’s 47 inches (in.) of annual precipitation typically provides for ample forage production. Historically, beef cattle have been a mainstay on farms scattered throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains. Most herds are modest in size, however, owned by producers also having off-farm occupations.


US beef sector, pinched by costs, cuts production

US beef sector, pinched by costs, cuts production


Troubles in the U.S. beef industry, notably losses on beef sales, have caused two of the nation’s largest producers to cut production from now through at least the end of the year.

Tight supplies of market-ready cattle and high cattle prices combined with abundant supplies of lower-priced pork and chicken have squeezed U.S. beef companies.

No.3 producer JBS-Swift & Co. and No. 4 producer National Beef Packing Co. said on Wednesday they will cut production.

Tyson Foods Inc. < TSN.N >, the No. 1 U.S. beef producer, and Cargill Inc., the No. 2 beef producer, said they have been operating at reduced levels, citing poor market conditions.


Beef processors slowing

Beef processors slowing

by Bob Meyer

Brownfield Network

JBS-Swift says it is scaling back cattle slaughter amid challenging market conditions. The company is reducing hours at plants in Grand Island, Nebraska, Greeley, Colorado and Hyrum, Utah. The Dumas, Texas plant was dark on Wednesday. A spokesman says the company will run reduced hours at all plants next week and run three to three-and-a-half days a week over the Holidays. They will reassess the situation in January.