Monthly Archives: January 2008

Steaks for Troops

Steaks for Troops

Amanda Nolz

Tri State Livestock news

Slipping on a crisp apron, the confident chef grabs his gleaming stainless steel grilling tools. He lights the coals and lays his tender beef cut on the grill. The steak sizzles as the fire dances below. As the succulent steak is finished to a perfect medium rare, the chef knows he will soon bite into a little piece of heaven.

Americans often take for granted the luxuries and conveniences of a free world: electricity, water, clothing, shelter, and food. Knowing that farmers and ranchers dedicate their lives to providing food and fiber to feed the world, it is also important to remember the troops fighting oversees to protect our liberty and our freedom. For 228 years, over 600,000 people have given their lives to protect America’s many freedoms.

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Cold, Mud & Energy Requirements

Cold, Mud & Energy Requirements

Beef Stocker Trends

“When backgrounding pens become muddy, they become expensive in terms of cost of gain of the cattle. As a rule, 4 to 8 in. of mud in a feedlot will decrease cattle feed intake by 8-15%, slow daily gain by about 14%, and increase feed requirements per pound of gain by 13%. Severe conditions, with mud 8- to 12-in. deep, reduce feed intake by up to 30% and decrease gain by 25% or more. In some situations, cattle gains have been cut in half by muddy conditions. Therefore, lots should be well drained and mounded to minimize the effect of mud on cattle.”

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$9.25M Verdict in Cattle Case Reversed

$9.25M Verdict in Cattle Case Reversed

Houston Chronicle

Cattle ranchers who won a $9.25 million federal jury verdict against four large meat packers failed to show that the companies intentionally manipulated or controlled prices, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s 2006 ruling in favor of the ranchers, who had said in their lawsuit that large meat packing companies underpaid producers for live cattle. The ranchers had claimed that the packers knew or should have known of the USDA’s error.

The appeals court ruled that the ranchers produced no evidence that the packers intentionally violated the Packers and Stockyards Act by manipulating or controlling, or attempting to manipulate or control, cattle prices. To prove a violation, a plaintiff must show that a packer intentionally committed unlawful conduct, the panel said in its ruling.

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Corn, cattle groups, not government, behind e.coli research

Corn, cattle groups, not government, behind e.coli research

Peter Shinn

Brownfield Network

In the lead front-page article of its latest Sunday edition, the Des Moines Register reported that the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) in Clay Center, Nebraska, is conducting research to determine the impact, if any, of feeding ethanol co-products on the levels of e. coli 0157:H7 found in cattle. The article said the government had decided to conduct the research because of last year’s wave of e. coli-related ground beef recalls.

But Dr. Mohammed Koohmaraie, who directs the MARC, told Brownfield that is not the case. According to Koohmaraie, the research is actually the brainchild of corn and beef industry groups.

“The Nebraska Corn Board made the commitment that they will not only give us some funding to do the experiment, but they’ll also find a source of dry distillers’ grains (DDG) for us,” Koohmaraie explained. “And then the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association at the same time contacted us to see what we can do to join forces to do a pretty long and pretty detailed study about this very important subject.”

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Crop Residues for Livestock Feed

Crop Residues for Livestock Feed

by J.F. Shanahan, D.H. Smith, T.L. Stanton and B.E. Horn 1 1

Colorado State University

Quick Facts…

    * Corn, sorghum, and sugar beet residues are some of the highest quality residues and provide an excellent feed source for gestating beef cows, when supplemented.

    * Cereal grain residues generally are low quality and probably best used after treatment with anhydrous ammonia.

    * Due to their low energy value, maximum use of residues is with feeding programs designed for maintenance of animals rather than weight gain.

    * Maintenance of minimal amounts of residue in the field is important to provide soil erosion control.

Large amounts of crop residues are produced annually in Colorado. Crop residue is the portion of the harvested crop that remains after the grain or marketable portion of the plant is removed. The most common is cereal grain straw from wheat, barley and rye, followed by corn stalks, grain sorghum residue and sugar beet tops. Dry bean and other crop residue are of lesser importance.

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February Beef Management Calendar

February Beef Management Calendar

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

Spring Calving Herds

    * Have all calving supplies on hand and review calving assistance procedures

    * Move pregnant heifers and early calving cows to calving area about 2 weeks before due date

    * Begin calving late in month (some herds)

    * Check cows 3 to 4 times per day, heifers more often – assist early if needed

    * Keep calving area clean and well drained, move healthy pairs out to large pastures 3 days after calving

    * Ear tag and dehorn all calves at birth; castrate male calves in commercial herds

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Hereford Bull Values at $245,000 Topps National Western Sales

Hereford Bull Values at $245,000 Topps National Western Sales

Cattle Today

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Deemed as one of the greatest events in 30 years, The Mile High Night National Hereford Sale was the talk of Denver, posting the highest selling bull and highest average of the National Western Stock Show (NWSS), grossing $533,950 and averaging $25,426. Spirited bidding throughout the sale on Jan.18 proved to a packed crowd that the Hereford offering was filled with high-quality, real-world cattle. When Eddie Sims, National Cattle Services Inc., silenced the gavel for the final time, six bulls averaged $52,808 and 15 females commanded $14,473 per female.

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Cattle on stage at (Black Hills) Stock Show

Cattle on stage at (Black Hills) Stock Show

Blackhillsfox.com

For many beef producers, the Rushmore Hall inside the Civic Center becomes a second home during the ten days of the Stock Show. During the Charolais show Tuesday, sellers spent much of their time grooming their prized cattle to get them ready to sell. But is all this maintenance worth the final bid in the sale ring? Troy Thomas, a partner of the Thomas Ranch out of Harrold, says cattle prices this year are actually similar to last year’s, but other costs are bringing the industry down for beef producers.

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Cattle truck blown off the road

Cattle truck blown off the road

FOSS FARRAR

 Arkansas City Traveler

A tractor-trailer hauling live cattle to the Creekstone Farms Premium Beef plant was blown off the road late this morning during a snow storm. The rig overturned in a ditch on the south side of U.S. 160 east of Oxford.

“A gust of wind blew it off the road,” said Cowley County Sheriff Bob Odell.

The driver was pinned in the truck cab and was extricated by emergency workers, Odell said. He was transported to William Newton Hospital with “mainly bruises.”

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Cattle truck blown off the road

FOSS FARRAR

 Arkansas City Traveler

A tractor-trailer hauling live cattle to the Creekstone Farms Premium Beef plant was blown off the road late this morning during a snow storm. The rig overturned in a ditch on the south side of U.S. 160 east of Oxford.

“A gust of wind blew it off the road,” said Cowley County Sheriff Bob Odell.

The driver was pinned in the truck cab and was extricated by emergency workers, Odell said. He was transported to William Newton Hospital with “mainly bruises.”

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Allendale anticipating smaller calf crop

Allendale anticipating smaller calf crop

John Perkins

Brownfield Netwrok

The United States Department of Agriculture is scheduled to release quarterly cattle inventory figures Friday, February 1 at 2 PM Central.

Ahead of the report, private analytical firm Allendale Inc. sees a “hold” on herd expansion due to concerns over moisture levels, high hay prices and worries over calf prices. In fact, Allendale expects the numbers to show 2007 as having the smallest calf crop since 1951. Most categories are expected to see year to year declines.

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Many factors affect Kansas beef market

Many factors affect Kansas beef market

Bobbi Mlynar

Emporia Gazette

No single factor caused a shortage of finished cattle for slaughter in Kansas — and there is no solitary solution to correct it.

“There are a whole host of factors that are affecting the industry right now,” said Todd Domer, vice president of communications for the Kansas Livestock Association. “They all go back to, we have a smaller cow herd and are producing fewer cattle than we have in years past.”

A variety of conditions contributed to that situation, he said.

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Most passive immunity occurs in first six hours

Most passive immunity occurs in first six hours

Western Livestock Journal

Despite our best efforts, a few calves will be born via a long, hard delivery. They may be sluggish or weak at birth and slow to find the cow and nurse. These calves are more prone to scours or pneumonia as babies and “poor-doers” later in life.

Resistance to disease is greatly dependent on antibodies or immunoglobulins and can be either active or passive in origin. In active immunity, the body produces antibodies in response to infection or vaccination. Passive immunity gives temporary protection by transfer of certain immune substances from resistant individuals.

An example of passive immunity is passing of antibodies from dam to calf via the colostrum (first milk after calving). This transfer only occurs during the first few hours following birth. Research from the USDA station in Nebraska has indicated that successful transfer of passive immunity (during the first day of life) enhances disease resistance and performance even through the feedlot phase.

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Trent Loos: American ag is all about diversity

Trent Loos:  American ag is all about diversity

By TRENT LOOS*

AMAZINGLY, attitudes at the Iowa Pork Congress last week were quite good. Certainly, high feed prices and low hog prices could dampen spirits, but let’s face it: The pork producers who are left in the business are the best of the best.

I have not owned a pig since 1997, but I do remember buying 4,000 bu. of corn each week in 1996, the last time corn prices topped $5/bu.

It was not all that much fun, but my words of encouragement were: “The tougher it gets, the better off we will be when it comes back in line, and trust me, it will.”

Still, today, I would rather invest in the future of pork production than ethanol.

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Improving Beef Cattle Handling for Increased Profitability and Safety

Improving Beef Cattle Handling for Increased Profitability and Safety

North Carolina State University

Improving beef cattle handling can increase your farm’s profitability and safety. Good beef cattle handling entails

Proper cattle handling practices (for example, knowing how to move cattle on the farm safely and efficiently and how to load and unload cattle from trailers)

Adequately designed cattle handling facilities (for example, properly arranged and constructed pens, alleys, and chutes).

There are many options that enable you to improve your cattle handling. The changes you make can be tailored to meet your needs, concerns, and resources. You can invest a lot of time and money or just a little. However, the bottom line will show that improvements you make can be a wise investment that produces benefits that far outweigh the costs.

This publication will show you how improving beef cattle handling can benefit your cattle operation, no matter how large or small it may be. It will also provide information about beef cattle psychology, handling methods, and facility design for small and large operations.

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Enemy Within

Enemy Within

by Ed Haag

Angus Beef Bulletin

While the economic consequences of liver flukes on juvenile cattle may appear minimal, calf producers should not ignore the parasite. Long after that calf has been shipped to the feedlot, its mother could face a liver fluke-induced health crisis of her own. The effects can be significant. In addition to liver damage, decreased reproductive performance, diarrhea, weight loss and jaundice, flukes can precipitate life-threatening secondary bacterial infections such as blackleg and Redwater.

William Foreyt of the department of veterinary microbiology and pathology at Washington State University is well aware of the effect a liver fluke infestation can have on a cattle herd. He warns that ignoring the parasite could cost a beef producer his livelihood. One study Foreyt and colleagues participated in involved a cow-calf herd in southern Idaho that was severely infested — 200 flukes per animal.

“The liver flukes eventually put that rancher out of business,” Foreyt says. “It can be that much of a problem.”

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Utilizing the “Square” Method to Balance Rations

Utilizing the “Square” Method to Balance Rations

Clyde Lane, Jr., Professor, James Neel, Profesor, Warren Gill, Professor, Department of Animal Science, University of Tennessee

A convenient way to calculate proportions of two feed ingredients to achieve a desired nutrient percentage is to use the Pearson Square. The process is simple and easy to use. A example on how to use the Pearson Square follows:

In the following example, two feeds are “combined” in the square to achieve a desired crude protein (CP) percentage, but the same procedure can be used for Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN), fiber or any ingredient which is expressed as a percentage.

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It’s Now Secretary Edward Schafer

It’s Now Secretary Edward Schafer

Hoosier AG Today

  Call him Mr. Secretary. By a unanimous vote of the U.S. Senate, Edward Schafer has been confirmed to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The former Governor of North Dakota takes over from Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner who became Acting Secretary when Mike Johanns resigned on September 20th of 2007 to run for the U.S. Senate in his home state of Nebraska.

Some had hoped for Senate confirmation following last Thursday’s Senate Ag Committee Hearing. But Vermont Senator Pat Leahy threatened to hold up the nomination over a dispute with USDA over flood disaster aid for livestock owners in his state. The Administration told Leahy that USDA will promptly issue a new directive to allow compensation to producers whose losses stretch beyond one calendar year.

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Alfalfa Symposium Takes Balanced Look At Roundup Ready

Alfalfa Symposium Takes Balanced Look At Roundup Ready

Hay and Forage Grower

The 2008 National Alfalfa Symposium, set for Feb. 4-5, will feature an in-depth discussion looking at all aspects of the Roundup Ready alfalfa debate. Mark McCaslin, president of Forage Genetics International, will give an update on the transgenic crop, including a review of the legal proceedings and ongoing regulatory process at USDA/APHIS. McCaslin will also discuss the potential for new biotech traits in alfalfa and the importance of science-based coexistence strategies to insure farmer choice.

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Consumer Confidence, Economy & Beef Demand

Consumer Confidence, Economy & Beef Demand

Troy Marshall

Beef Magazine

It’s absolutely striking to see how poorly the economy performs in an election year, especially if there is not an incumbent running. Some economists argue that this is nothing more than the business cycle and that the cycle has more effect on elections than elections have on the cycle. I don’t attempt to argue that point, but I believe that the economy, like everything else in life, is largely determined by our attitudes.

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National Meat Case Study Released

National Meat Case Study Released

Hoosier AG Today

  Results from the 2007 National Meat Case Study confirms – consumers continue to look for convenience and ease in meal preparation. Jarrod Sutton, director of retail marketing for the Pork Checkoff, says – from increases in on-pack communications and full service meat cases, to significant shifts toward case ready packaging, retailers must simplify the shopping experience for consumers.

Pork led the trend of value-added products as it continued to increase. The growth is 4 percentage points up to 10 percent of the total fresh meat packages. Growth in value-added packages was driven by fresh pork, up 11 percentage points to 23 percent of fresh pork packages; turkey was up 5 percentage points to 19 percent; and beef, up 3 percentage points to 7 percent.

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