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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Include Vitamins in Cattle’s Nutritional Program

Include Vitamins in Cattle’s Nutritional Program

Stephen B. Blezinger, Ph.D, PAS

Cattle Today

Part 1

In the past we have reviewed the necessity of various nutrients in cattle diets. In this issue and the one to come we’ll take a more in-depth look at the need for vitamins in the nutritional programs for cattle. It seems that in our day-to-day living we are constantly bombarded with the need for one type of nutritional supplement or another in our diets. Much of this marketing focuses on the various vitamin supplements that are available.

Like people, cattle require vitamins in their diets. It is very common to find vitamins added to mineral supplements as well as feeds of various types. Generally we find fairly high levels of vitamins added simply because they are fairly inexpensive and can therefore be used as “tag-dressing.” But the question becomes: “which vitamins do cattle really need and at what levels.” Hopefully the following will shed some light on these questions.

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Limit Feeding Beef Cattle

Limit Feeding Beef Cattle

Dan B. Faulkner, University of Illinois, Urbana

Larry L. Berger, University of Illinois, Urbana

Cattle are normally fed under ad libitum conditions  (allowed to eat according to appetite). Generally, this allows for maximum performance because energy consumed above the maintenance requirement is available for gain. However, recent work suggests that limit-fed animals may have better feed efficiency. This has economic importance in that changes in feed efficiency have three times the impact on cost of gain as an equal change in rate of gain. Limit feeding also allows a producer to target weights for breeding cattle, grass cattle or marketing of cattle. It also reduces the amount of manure produced, which must be utilized. Limit-fed cattle will challenge them early in the feeding 

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An honest look at the beef industry

An honest look at the beef industry


Farm and Ranch Guide

Take a moment to think about beef.

For many people, a high quality steak – broiled to perfection and tender enough to cut with a table knife – is one of the pleasures of life.

That thick and juicy hamburger enjoyed in the company of friends; your mom’s slow-cooked pot roast; or a quick beef stir fry after work are delights for the senses and the stomach.

We all want a good eating experience every time we eat beef.

It’s the beef industry’s job to do everything it can to assure that a good beef entrée experience happens.

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Cattle Feeding: Limit Large Round Bales

Cattle Feeding: Limit Large Round Bales


University of Illinois researchers studied the effects of limit feeding round bales of alfalfa hay from mid-September to mid-December to 72 dry, third-trimester Simmental cows. In the first year, cows were allowed access to 17.6% CP hay for either 3, 6, 9, or 24 hr/day. Hay consumption, in that order, was 11.9 lb, 18.7 lb, 20.0 lb, and 20.7 lb. Hay waste per day was 5.9 lb, 5.7 lb, 9.2 lb, and 13.4 lb. (There were no significant differences in waste as a percent of consumption.) Weight gain and body condition increased as time of access to hay increased. For hay priced at $80/T, access for 3hr/day compared to ad lib would save $1980 over four months in a 25-cow herd.

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Putting Them to the Test

Putting Them to the Test

Angus Journal

by Miranda Reiman

Hundreds of cow-calf producers across the United States take time to sort off a few calves that won’t move through their usual marketing routines. They’ll get on a different trailer, bound for “school,” or at least a learning experience for their owner.

Some cattlemen send their entire calf crops through these educational programs, so that they can graduate to produce better beef at home and, perhaps, feed their own pens in the future.

For many participants in “feedout” or futurity programs, these handfuls of cattle serve to represent the entire herd. Others use it as a way to market calves that would otherwise be discounted for small lot size at the sale barn. Regardless of the reason, producers who choose to enroll must do a little advance homework.

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Ag official says registering cattle can help profits

Ag official says registering cattle can help profits

Rapid City Journal

A state agriculture official says ranchers willing to spend a little money to certify their cattle will get more back on their investment when they sell.

Enrolling calves in the South Dakota Certified Enrolled Cattle Program usually costs from $5 to $6 per animal, which includes costs for the licensing fee, enrollment fee and buying the tags.

Bryce Baker, a South Dakota Department of Agriculture livestock development specialist, said many packers are currently offering $15 to $25 a head for premiums on some cattle.

“With a little bit of investment, you can pick up a little more money in the long run,” he said.

Baker will be speak at informational meetings in January, sharing information on capturing premiums, the enrolled cattle program and the USDA Process Verified Program.

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Byron Dorgan and Mike Enzi: New rule is a threat to beef safety in U.S.

Byron Dorgan and Mike Enzi: New rule is a threat to beef safety in U.S.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

The USDA is going to allow imports that may increase the risk of mad cow disease, undoing years of efforts to ensure quality.

From hamburgers at lunch to steaks at dinner, many Americans consume some form of beef every week. Millions around the world do the same.

American livestock producers work hard to ensure that the beef they produce is the best and safest in the world, and it is. As a result, consumers worldwide buy American beef with confidence. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) could harm the work of American livestock producers with its recent approval of a rule that allows imported beef from Canada with higher risk for mad cow disease into our country.

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KLA: Livestock Industry Loses Great Leaders During 2007

KLA: Livestock Industry Loses Great Leaders During 2007


The Kansas livestock industry lost a number of leaders during 2007. Among them were 1974 KLA President Claire Robinson, beef technology pioneer John Brethour, long-time KLA leader Bud White, former Kansas City Stockyards President Jay Dillingham and 1976 KLA President Red Parr.

Robinson ranched for many years near Cedar Point. He led KLA and the industry in the aftermath of the 1973 beef price freeze and a widespread truckers’ strike. Robinson also promoted the voluntary 10¢ per head beef checkoff. He passed away February 23.

Brethour helped put the Kansas State University Ag Research Center at Hays on the map with discoveries about the use of ultrasound technology to more precisely feed beef cattle. He also showed how it could be used on live cattle to predict meat quality. Brethour, a long-time KLA member, passed away May 29.

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