Daily Archives: December 27, 2007

BeefTalk: Would You Prefer Doggies or Dogies?

BeefTalk: Would You Prefer Doggies or Dogies?

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Santa made a mistake. Santa made a mistake.

Santa messed up, but it was not his fault.

The lists on the refrigerator (or mailed to the North Pole) add to the rush of the holiday season. Reviewing the lists for the naughty or nice check is noted and the rest is history. Or is it?

The huge package could be a dream come true. Having written and checked the list twice, what was in the box had to be what was on top of the list. The box shook and wiggled and even an occasional sigh could be heard.

Could it be those cute, lovable dogies from the neighbor down the road? One only could hope as the wrapping was hastily thrown aside and the top of the crate was about to be opened.


Christmas, And Life, Are What You Make Them

Christmas, And Life, Are What You Make Them

Troy Marshall

Beef magazine

I’ve never bought into the concept that there’s too much hustle and bustle around the holidays. And while one could make a good case for rampant materialism during this time, I’m a diehard capitalist. Plus, I like giving and receiving gifts as much as the next person. The biggest challenge of the commercialization of the holidays is to make sure that one’s priorities are aligned right.


Mineral Supplementation for High Grain Diets to Beef Cows

Mineral Supplementation for High Grain Diets to Beef Cows

Dr. Mark L. Wahlberg, Extension Animal Scientist, VA Tech

Feeding programs for beef cows this winter may use higher levels of grain or grain byproducts because the amount of hay available is limited.  Hay can be fed at as low as ½% of body weight each day, which converts to 6 or 7 pounds of hay daily, if the hay supply is extremely limited.  It is more likely that hay will be fed at 1% of the body weight of cows, or more.  Even at this level, though, grain or grain byproducts will be needed to provide a fair portion of the nutrition of the diet.  Diets of 10 to 15 pounds of hay each day, plus around 10 pounds of grain or byproduct, will provide adequate protein and energy for beef cows during late pregnancy.


IGENITY: DNA Technology — Helping To Build Value & A Better Beef Product

IGENITY: DNA Technology — Helping To Build Value & A Better Beef Product


Report cards let students know how they’ve done and where they need to improve. The National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) serves as a report card to the beef industry, showing how well the industry is doing in meeting consumer demands for quality and value.

The fourth such audit was conducted in 2005 and identified several areas in which the industry needed to improve, including inadequate tenderness, insufficient marbling, excess external fat and excess carcass/cut weights — all issues that can impact a consumer’s enjoyment of beef products.

 “Approximately 20% of beef consumed as steaks is less than desirable10 or unacceptable in tenderness,” says Dr. Michael Dikeman, a professor of meat science and industry from Kansas State University. “When consumers have an undesirable eating experience, they often shift to some other meat protein source, either temporarily or longer term.”


The Cow-Calf Manager

The Cow-Calf Manager

Dr. John B. Hall, Extension Beef Specialist, VA Tech

Feeding Spring Calving Cows in Late Gestation This Winter Over the past several months the VT Extension Beef Team dedicated several articles to dealing with the drought (See Side Bar).  These articles discuss strategies in dealing with drought and animal feeding options as well as culling decisions.  Several producers and agents asked for a reminder on when these were published and the titles.  These articles can be accessed at http://www.ext.vt.edu/news/ then click on Livestock Update.

More recently, I received several requests for example diets that limit hay but meet the nutritional needs of cows.  Diets that use alternative feeds to allow limit feeding of hay are illustrated in Tables 1 & 2.  Both tables indicate amounts of feed needed per cow per day during the 60-90 days before calving.  Table 1 is for cows that need to maintain weight.  Table 2 is for cows that need to gain weight or heifers about to have their first calf


The Total Costs (And Returns!) Of Cowherd Supplementation

The Total Costs (And Returns!) Of Cowherd Supplementation


It’s a fairly straightforward process to develop or analyze a supplementation program relative to the nutritional needs of the cowherd. But once we get past the daily task of providing for the animals in our care, we also have to know how the cow/calf enterprise is performing as a business entity. Supplementation strategies, like all other management options, need to offer the best possible return on investment. That determination hinges on identifying all of the costs — and returns — of providing a given supplement.


Stock water and winter grazing

Stock water and winter grazing

Jim Gerrish

Beef Magazine

Providing stock water on winter pastures is one of the ongoing challenges of a year-round grazing program. Many cattlemen feel they don’t have the water resources to allow cattle to stay out all winter, so they end up feeding hay in just a few areas close to home. Feeding hay is a much more expensive option than winter grazing.


Cattle Feeders Flowing Red Ink

Cattle Feeders Flowing Red Ink


Estimated feedlot closeouts were flowing in red ink during November, continuing the trend of recent months.  In fact, for feeding-out a 750-pound steer in the Southern Plains that was sold in November, the estimated loss was over $80.00 per head, the largest negative number since January of this year.  Closeouts will mostly post red ink at least through February of next year.  As spring approaches, some positive returns may return.

Overall, 2007 was a year of losses for most cattle in feedlots but the year was much better than 2006.  Still, only three months posted profits for steer sales in 2007 — March, April, and May.  Cattle feeders faced rather high feeder cattle prices and very high feedstuff costs in 2007.  In the Southern Plains, annual average feed costs per steer were the highest reported since 1996.


Bluetongue and or Deer Virus Infect Virginia Cattle

Bluetongue and or Deer Virus Infect Virginia Cattle

Dr. Dee Whittier, Extension Veterinarian, Cattle VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, VA Tech

The State Veterinarian’s office recently announced evidence that Virginia cattle had disease associated with a virus spread by a small biting gnat or midge.  Although little death loss occurred, cattle experienced lameness and mouth sores affecting their production.  Most reports of signs of the disease were in the mountain/valley regions of Virginia, especially the Shenandoah Valley.

Bluetongue is a disease that was first described in sheep.  It causes sheep to have sores in their mouths and also disturbs the feet and may cause abortion.  Some experts suggest that losses due to bluetongue in cattle may be greater than those in sheep.  The disease is spread almost entirely by a small gnat called Culicoides.


Room and reason to improve beef

Room and reason to improve beef

Steve Suther

Certified Angus Beef

During a seminar on the merits of high-quality beef, two industry leaders expressed concern over future supplies and short-term focus on pounds over quality.

Mike Connelly, vice president of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, which serves only USDA Prime, noted the potential impact of higher-priced corn on the already-declining supply of Prime.

Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) vice president Larry Corah identified factors that threaten the ability to meet growing U.S. and global demand for premium beef.


Pharmaceutical Technology: More Beef – Lower Cost Growth Enhancement

Pharmaceutical Technology: More Beef – Lower Cost Growth Enhancement


Pharmaceutical technologies – parasite control, growth-promoting implants, antimicrobial therapy, ionophore and beta-agonists – have a profound impact on the U.S. beef industry. They significantly increased the volume of beef produced while reducing production costs by improving animal growth and efficiency across all industry segments – cow/calf, stocker and feedlot. Dr. John Lawrence, Iowa State University, completed an economic analysis of the impact of these technologies on U.S. beef production using 2005 cattle prices and production input costs.


Ethanol, corn and by-products will highlight Cattlemen’s Update 2008

Ethanol, corn and by-products will highlight Cattlemen’s Update 2008

Lahontan Valley News

Most of us have heard the phrase, “When you’re handed lemons, make lemonade.” Such is the case with the recent wake-up call for cattle producers when the rapidly growing ethanol industry revealed its hunger for corn. So, how can we make lemonade out of this? The answer is by using the co-products of ethanol production, such as distillers dried grains which are becoming increasingly available and are usually an extremely cost effective feed ingredient.


At home, on the range

At home, on the range

By Paul Hampel


Larry Hammer may be the last of the urban cowboys. On 90 acres in north St. Louis County, the former airline pilot is carving out a second career as a stock rancher.

His frontier is boxed in by subdivisions, traffic and development. And yet his approach is old-style, raising a few steers at a time for sale to a devoted clientele who want beef that has not been exposed to antibiotics and pesticides.


State clamping down on cattle disease

State clamping down on cattle disease

Lincoln Journal Star

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture is getting its guard up to deal with a strain of venereal disease in cattle called trichomoniasis.

To prevent the state from becoming “a dumping ground” for infected animals, the state will require animals arriving in Nebraska from other states after Jan. 1 to be tested for trichomoniasis.

Successful testing would mean fewer problems with infertility, including fewer cows that are slow to get pregnant and occasional abortions, the agriculture department said.

State Veterinarian Dennis Hughes said trichomoniasis “has been out there for decades, maybe 100 years.”


Some cattle producers want beefier checkoff

Some cattle producers want beefier checkoff

By Nate Jenkins


Cattle producers are pushing for the first significant change to the national beef checkoff program since it started more than 20 years ago.

The beef checkoff program is behind the popular “Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner” ads that feature the distinctive voice of actor Sam Elliott. At a dollar a head, the checkoff fee pools about $80 million annually for beef promotion, research and education, among other things.

But more than two decades of inflation have decreased the buying power of that dollar, say checkoff supporters.