Daily Archives: February 4, 2008

Hereford Breeder John Wesley Rakestraw Passes

Hereford Breeder John Wesley Rakestraw Passes


John Wesley Rakestraw, age 50, of Rockmart, GA, passed away on Friday, February 1, 2008. He was born on August 8, 1957, in Atlanta, GA, and was preceded in death by his mother, Katherine “Trink” Rakestraw.

Mr. Rakestraw is the owner of Raker Construction Co. of Dallas, GA. Mr. Rakestraw was also the director of Georgian Bank and owner of JWR Land and Cattle Co., Rockmart GA. He was a member of Bartlett Lodge #139 F&AM; Scottish Rite Valley of Atlanta; Yaarab Shrine Temple, Atlanta; Paulding County Nobility Club; Polled Hereford Association; First Baptist Church, Dallas, GA.


Heritability and Its Use in Animal Breeding

Heritability and Its Use in Animal Breeding

John W. Massey and Dale W. Vogt, Department of Animal Sciences

How much advantage for a particular trait do superior animals transmit to their offspring? Heritability estimates help us answer this important question. This publication explains the meaning of heritability estimates, how they are calculated and their influence in changing livestock performance.


The Man Who Would Be President

The Man Who Would Be President

Burt Rutherford, Beef Magazine

Paul Hitch had set his mind to become the next president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). It was his dream, his goal, the culmination of service by a man who gave unselfishly of himself, knowing that working for the beef industry’s greater good is not just a noble and honest quest, but a vitally necessary one, as well.


Swath grazing annual forages can be viable alternative to rangeSwath grazing annual forages can be viable alternative to range

Swath grazing annual forages can be viable alternative to range


Minnesota Farm Guide

Swath grazing is one option livestock producers can use to winter beef cows in this region, research at the North Dakota State University Central Grasslands Research Center shows.

Kevin Sedivec, NDSU animal scientists, said this type of grazing can be an economical choice for producers as it eliminates some harvesting costs.

The costs of swathing, baling, stacking, storing, and feeding baled hay can be reduced by allowing livestock to “swath graze” windrows. Swath grazing is the process of cutting hay, leaving it in windrows, and allowing livestock to graze these windrows in the winter.


A cattle disease is declared wiped out

A cattle disease is declared wiped out

A liberal dose

After a 50-year battle, Texas beef and dairy cattle were declared free of brucellosis Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

‘Texas was the last state to achieve the ‘free’ status,’ said Dr. Bob Hillman, Texas’ state veterinarian and head of the Texas Animal Health Commission, the state’s livestock- and poultry-health regulatory agency. Some states have been rid of the disease for more than 25 years.

‘We have more herds and more cattle than any other state — 14 million at last count,’ Hillman said in a statement. ‘We also had more brucellosis infection to fight. In 1959, when Texas officially joined the national eradication program, we had more than 20,000 of the country’s 100,000 infected herds.’


Are Your Cattle Handling Facilities In Good Shape?

Are Your Cattle Handling Facilities In Good Shape?


How safe are your cattle handling facilities? Are they in the state of repair that will allow the cattle to be worked easily and with reduced potential risk of injury to both you and your cattle?

Producers working cattle should be aware that there is the possibility of personal injury, especially if the facilities are not in a good state of repair. Most cattle are normally calm but, when brought into an unfamiliar environment and frightened, they are capable of causing injury to the workers and themselves.


Prevention plan gets cattle started on the right foot

Prevention plan gets cattle started on the right foot

The Prairie Star

Adapting to changing weather is hard on cattle, especially in the spring when Mother Nature, it seems, can’t make up her mind. Warm days followed by a bout of cold rain, or even a spring blizzard, can throw off the health of even weaned, heavy calves.

 “Spring is an important season to carefully monitor health status in all sizes of cattle,” says Dr. Bruce Nosky, manager of Merial Veterinary Professional Services. “Fluctuating weather can stress newborn calves, freshly weaned fall-born stockers, replacement heifers, cattle in feedyards – everything. Producers need to take a disease prevention approach.”


Record-setting NCBA Trade Show draws crowd to Reno

Record-setting NCBA Trade Show draws crowd to Reno

High Plains Journal

The 2008 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show, scheduled for Feb. 6 to 8 in Reno, Nev., will feature more than 270 exhibiting companies displaying the latest cattle industry equipment, products and services over a 200,000 square-foot exhibition hall. The cattle industry’s largest-ever trade show is being held in conjunction with the 2008 Cattle Industry Annual Convention.

A new feature of this year’s trade show will be a demonstration area featuring hands-on techniques in the use of border collies in cattle handling, cattle dog training, chute-side manners and ranch horsemanship.


What does advancing technology mean next to beef industry?

What does advancing technology mean next to beef industry?

By Ron Torell, University of Nevada Extension, Livestock Specialist and Lori Weddle-Schott, University of Minnesota Beef Center

Technology and products we now take for granted were fascinating to generations gone by.

Imagine the amazement of the cave man as the first wheel rolled off the assembly line. The wheel led to the human drawn pull cart which led to the horse drawn cart which led to the motorized vehicle.


Age Determination in Beef Cattle

Age Determination in Beef Cattle


Beef cattle depend on forages as their major source of nutrients. To be able to graze and physically break the roughage down into small particles, the animals teeth must be in good condition. The age of a beef animal has a direct effect on the animal’s teeth and subsequent productivity.

Being able to estimate an animal’s age is an important factor in making management decisions. The animal’s teeth are generally used as an indicator of age when actual birth dates are not available.


Home grown

Home grown

Elizabeth Huff

The Battle Creek Enquirer

The word “organic” once might have conjured images of enlightened hippies working barefoot on farms for the good of nature and humankind.

These days, the word has come to represent something very different — a global industrial food system often operating behind closed doors unfriendly to the individual consumer’s queries about safety and quality.


Out to pasture

Out to pasture 

Hundreds of acres used for livestock, hay operation  By Jenni Glenn  The Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Even when the mercury plunges, farm chores still need to be done.

That’s why I was climbing through piled hay in Seven Sons Meat Co.’s southwestern Allen County barn – to experience what it’s like to feed the cattle on a cold winter morning. And this day was so cold I couldn’t feel my toes.

I felt pretty wimpy next to the cattle. They were eating without a care in the world, even though their breath was visible and the temperature had dropped to minus 5 degrees that morning. I eyed their shaggy red and brown coats enviously.


Congress may need to intervene on behalf of beef producers

Congress may need to intervene on behalf of beef producers

The Prairie Star

Beef producers have been riding a wave of profitability the last few years. Prices were good and demand was rising. But things have become a bit more challenging of late. Prices are not as good as they have been and feed costs are on the rise, making it more difficult to show a profit, or at least the kind of profit they’ve been seeing.

Things may be becoming even more challenging as the U.S. Department of Agriculture is currently considering a plan to import animal products from selected regions in Argentina.


School farm shifts focus of research

School farm shifts focus of research

Southeast trying out new ag technologies.

Columbia Tribune

Southeast Missouri State University has owned a farm for years, but not like the one the school is preparing to start operating this spring just south of Gordonville.

Where the old farm was devoted almost exclusively to research and hands-on experience with beef cattle, the new farm will research technology and practices to help improve not only cattle operations but row-crop farming as well.

Research in both areas “will be a permanent aspect” of the farm, said Michael Aide, chairman of Southeast’s Department of Agriculture. However, that research will change over time.


Experts: Ga. farmers holding their own

Experts: Ga. farmers holding their own

Linda S. Morris

Macon Telegraph

Despite a challenging 2007 – especially as related to the drought – the agricultural industry is holding its own as the largest industry in Georgia, according to agricultural experts.

About 120 people gathered Friday at the Georgia Farm Bureau for the 2008 Ag Forecast to collect information to make better decisions and to celebrate the importance of agriculture.

“We’ve had difficult times and we’ll have difficult times in the future as well, but because of a lot of you here today it’s a successful industry,” said Scott Angle, dean and director of College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia. “But this is a tough time to be successful in agriculture. There is no margin for error in our industry. I think 30 years ago you could make mistakes and still get by, but today you can’t.”