Daily Archives: January 2, 2008

Video Feature: Human emotions should not extend to animals

Video Feature:  Human emotions should not extend to animals

Trent Loos

Today’s society is mistakenly extending human emotion to food-producing animals, a move that stands to jeopardize our nation’s food security, says a leading animal welfare expert.

For cattle, ketosis an early, post-drought problem

For cattle, ketosis an early, post-drought problem

Caroline Booth Lara

Southwest Farm Press

As Texas Cooperative Extension program leader for veterinary medicine, Buddy Faries has seen — and discussed — a lot of thin cattle.

“In 1994 and 1995, I was talking on inadequate nutrition, then it went to malnutrition, now we have starving cows. Cows need to stay in body condition score 5 and heifers need to stay in BCS 6 — when they have three ribs showing, they are starving.”

The effects of drought on cattle are compounding — one health problem opens the door for another. After the obvious malnutrition or starvation, one of the first drought-related health problems in cattle is range ketosis, or low blood sugar and high ketones.

“I’ve been feeding this cow hay, now I need to feed her grain, but once her blood sugar gets low, she loses her appetite for grain,” Faries says. “The only way to get her blood sugar back up is for a vet to give her glucose, and it’s not a one-shot deal.”

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What If Cows Don’t Drink Enough Water? – Part 1

What If Cows Don’t Drink Enough Water? – Part 1

By Neil Broadwater, Regional Extension Educator-Dairy, University of Minnesota Dairy Extension.

What happens if a lactating cow doesn’t drink enough water? If the question is a joke, the answer could be, “you will get evaporated milk or dried milk powder.” If it’s a serious question, the answer will be “you will not get optimal milk production and health can be adversely affected.”

The amount of water a cow drinks depends on her size and milk yield, quantity of dry matter consumed, temperature and relative humidity of the environment, quality and availability of the water, amount of moisture in her feed and the sodium, salt and protein content of the diet. If your cows have inadequate water intake, you may see signs showing up such as firm, constipated manure; low urine output; infrequent drinking; high packed-cell volume or hematocrit in blood; dehydration from toxins; and/or fever.

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How Much Feed Will My Cow Eat ?

How Much Feed Will My Cow Eat ?

Ropin’ the Web          

There are several factors that affect dry matter intake (DMI) of cattle these include: physiological, environmental, management and dietary factors.

Cattle will normally consume 1.4 to 4.0% of their body weight daily depending upon the quality of feed:

    * Cows will consume between 1.8% and 2% of their body weight on a dry basis of a low quality feed.

    * Cows will consume between 2.0% and 2.2% of their body weight on a dry basis of an average quality feed.

    * Cows will consume between 2.2% and 2.5% (during lactation it may be as high as 2.7%) of their body weight on a dry basis of a high quality feed. (University of Nebraska, Beef Cattle Production website)

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Our Decrepit Food Factories

Our Decrepit Food Factories

Michael Pollan

New York Times

Editor’s note: Stories of this ilk are included in the blog to inform those in our industry how agriculture is being presented to and perceived by the public.

The word “sustainability” has gotten such a workout lately that the whole concept is in danger of floating away on a sea of inoffensiveness. Everybody, it seems, is for it whatever “it” means. On a recent visit to a land-grant university’s spanking-new sustainability institute, I asked my host how many of the school’s faculty members were involved. She beamed: When letters went out asking who on campus was doing research that might fit under that rubric, virtually everyone replied in the affirmative. What a nice surprise, she suggested. But really, what soul working in agricultural science today (or for that matter in any other field of endeavor) would stand up and be counted as against sustainability? When pesticide makers and genetic engineers cloak themselves in the term, you have to wonder if we haven’t succeeded in defining sustainability down, to paraphrase the late Senator Moynihan, and if it will soon possess all the conceptual force of a word like “natural” or “green” or “nice.”

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Country of Origin Labeling

Country of Origin Labeling


On May 13, 2002, President Bush signed into law the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, more commonly known as the 2002 Farm Bill. The new law required country of origin labeling (COOL) for beef, lamb, pork, fish, perishable agricultural commodities and peanuts. In October 2003 USDA issued a proposed rule

Under the proposed rule, muscle cuts of beef (including veal), lamb and pork; ground beef, ground lamb and ground pork; farm-raised fish and shellfish; wild fish and shellfish; perishable agricultural commodities (fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables); and peanuts must be labeled at retail to indicate their country of origin. In addition, the notice of country of origin for fish and shellfish must include and distinguish between wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish, as required by the legislation. The proposed rule also outlines the requirements for labeling products of mixed origin including products produced both in foreign markets and in the United States as well as labeling requirements for blended products. Additionally, recordkeeping requirements for retailers and their suppliers are outlined.

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Grid Marketing (I of II)

Grid Marketing (I of II)

Paul Dykstra

Angus Beef Bulletin

If you produce high-quality Angus cattle, grid marketing is probably the best way to capture full value.

Right. You’ve heard that before, and it sounds good, but vague.

Although the concept is clear, the devil is in the details. Since most of us don’t sell finished cattle every week, the knowledge gap makes sense. Exasperated critics say there are 100 or more grids out there, and it’s just too confusing to sort through them all.

Let’s not throw in the towel based on that exaggeration. Most cattle marketed on a carcass-merit basis are sold on just a handful of grids. Each packer offers one or two that make the most sense for the kind of product mix they’re trying to procure and sell.

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