Daily Archives: December 20, 2007

Method and Timing of Castration Influences Performance of Bull Calves

Method and Timing of Castration Influences Performance of Bull Calves

C.A. Lents, F.J. White, L.N. Floyd, R.P. Wettemann, and D.L. Gay

Oklahoma State University

In the United States, more than 17 million bulls between 1 d and 1 y of age are castrated annually.  However, many producers still do not castrate even though calves marketed at weaning as steers have a $3.56/cwt advantage compared with bulls (Smith et al., 2000).  Bulls that are castrated and given an estrogenic growth stimulant have similar weight gain compared with bulls (Bagley et al., 1989), yet producers often cite fear of reduced weaning weights as a reason for not castrating.  Castration decreases aggressive behavior and increases carcass quality (Seideman et al., 1982).  Bulls that were castrated at weaning had decreased weight gains compared with bulls castrated at 150 lb (Worrell et al., 1987; Chase et al., 1995), and castration of bulls that are older and heavier causes stress (Fisher et al., 1996).  Castration of bulls 6 to 9 mo of age decreased weight gain by 50% compared with intact controls (Faulkner et al., 1992; ZoBell et al., 1993).  Bulls can be castrated by surgical removal of the testes, banding of the scrotum with rubber bands, or crushing of the testicular chords with a burdizzo.  Minimal information is available on the effect of method or timing of castration on performance. 


Mississippi Cattlemen Are Profiting From “Natural Beef”

Mississippi Cattlemen Are Profiting From “Natural Beef”


Last month, beef cattle producers in southern Mississippi sold loads of 700-weight feeder steers to natural beef programs for $115/cwt. The calves were sent to Gregory Feedlots, Inc. who supplies finished cattle to Meyer Natural Angus. The Meyer Natural Angus program requires cattle providers to sign an affidavit verifying that the cattle have not been treated with antibiotics, administered any growth implants or synthetic hormones, or fed ionophores or animal byproducts. These cattle must have also been born and raised in the USA, be at least 50% Red and/or Black Angus genetics, display no Brahman or dairy influence, and ultimately be harvested at less than 30 months of age. Cloned animals or progeny of cloned animals do not qualify.


Beefy debate yours to decide

Beefy debate yours to decide

Linda Hoffman

The Coloradan

“Beef….it’s what’s for dinner.” This successful ad campaign for the beef industry coincided with the wild popularity of the Atkins diet. The Atkins diet lead to spectacular weight loss in many people, and gave rise to modifications found in the equally successful South Beach diet.

But is beef really a healthy choice? The answer is yes and no.

Traditionally raised beef, or grass-fed beef, is a very healthy choice, and traditional societies who consume this meat rarely experience the heart disease and cancer found in developed nations. Cattle come with 3 stomachs, making them uniquely able to process and digest the grasses and forage found in pastures.


Proper Calving Prep Is The First Step To A Profitable Year

Proper Calving Prep Is The First Step To A Profitable Year


Calving is stressful for all involved — the calf, the cow and the producer. But being prepared and knowing when to seek a veterinarian’s assistance can reduce losses and anxiety.

Calf death at or shortly after calving results in the loss of more than 3.5 million calves annually in the United States.4 Assuming the calves would be marketed for $1.20 at 500 pounds, that’s a loss of $2.1 billion in potential revenue. While a producer can’t save every calf, there are steps and procedures that can improve calf mortality rates.

 “The first, and arguably the most important, step for calving is to ensure cleanliness,” says Dr. Van Ricketts, Director of Corporate Accounts, Merial. “Bacteria can cause problems for both the cow and calf, so make sure OB chains, handles and other equipment have been disinfected and that clean, dry bedding is available in the birthing area.”


Senate Votes to Keep Cloned Meat Out of Your Burger, for Now

Senate Votes to Keep Cloned Meat Out of Your Burger, for Now

Alexis Madrigal


Cattle producers who hoped cloned meat might appear on dinner tables in the new year have been dealt a potential setback in the form of an amendment to the 2007 farm bill. The amendment to S. 2302 passed the Senate last week.

The amendment would require the Food and Drug Administration to study the safety of meat and milk from cloned animals before they’re sold to the public. HR 2419, the House version of the same bill, however, does not contain the same provision, which means the amendment could be axed in a closed-door committee meeting between the two chambers. Or, as often happens, the Senate and House will reach a compromise.

“It would be very surprising if the FDA flouted the will of Congress and moved forward on the cloning issue,” said Chris Waldrop, director of the Food Policy Institute of the Consumer Federation of America.


US biotech firms launch tracking system for cloned livestock

US biotech firms launch tracking system for cloned livestock

The Raw Story

US biotechnology firms launched Wednesday a program to track cloned cattle and pigs in anticipation of the possible end of a moratorium on meat and milk from cloned livestock.

The Biotechnology Industry Association (BIO), which represents leading cloning companies, said the system would allow food companies to track cloned livestock throughout the food processing chain and address market concerns.


Evaluate Hay Storage Losses On Large Round Bales

Evaluate Hay Storage Losses On Large Round Bales


Storage losses in any hay production system are unavoidable, but what level or degree of loss is acceptable with a large round bale? Like the answer to many questions, it depends. It may depend upon the price/availability of hay, how storage losses affect animal performance, alternative storage options, and may even boil down to the goals/objectives of the producer.

A drive around the roads that surround the fields and farms of Athens County will reveal a common sight; large round bales stored out in the open in fields and farmyards. Bales stored in this manner and exposed to the elements develop a weathered layer. The depth of the weathered layer and yield loss associated with outdoor storage of bales depends upon both weather and site conditions. Yield loss is highest on bales in direct contact with the ground and in situations of high rainfall and/or where water can collect in the bale storage site.