Daily Archives: February 5, 2008

BeefTalk: Wind and Cold Are a Dangerous Combination For Bulls

BeefTalk: Wind and Cold Are a Dangerous Combination For Bulls

Is Your Bull’s Scrotum Frozen? You Better Check! Is Your Bull’s Scrotum Frozen? You Better Check!

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Bulls exposed to wind and cold could be neutered by morning.

Very cold wind, three four-letter words, took a bite out of much of the northern Plains recently. Wind chills at minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit sent sharp pains of cold, almost like daggers, against my face.

I could not help wondering about the cows. I never have seen a frozen cow that wasn’t dead. Healthy, living cows do not freeze. Cow stand on four legs that are totally exposed to the weather, but get along just fine. Cows will attempt to get out of the wind and lay down.


Cornstalk considerations when the snow hits

Cornstalk considerations when the snow hits

American Cowman

Heavy ice and snow can affect the quality of cornstalks, so cattle producers likely will have to alter their winter feeding strategy when an abundance of snow hits.

Daryl Strohbehn, a beef specialist with Iowa State University (ISU) Extension, cautions that even when warmer temps allow cornstalks to thaw some for grazing, producers need to be aware that their quality has been negatively affected. The damages caused by weather can be “fairly substantial,” Strohbehn says, causing the cornstalks’ nutrient level and palatability to decrease.


Shooting Ourselves In The Foot

Shooting Ourselves In The Foot

Troy Marshall

Beef Magazine

This week, USDA suspended Westland Meat Co., of Chino, CA, as a supplier to the National School Lunch program because of animal abuse issues at a Hallmark Meat Packing Company, which is a supplier to Westland.

This abuse was filmed and put on their website by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). It may be tempting for cattlemen to instinctively disregard this latest incident, as an HSUS member was working undercover at the plant. HSUS’s reputation for distortion and its commitment to ending animal agriculture is well known. However, the videotapes certainly show inhumane treatment, the electrical prodding of downer cattle, spraying them with water and even ramming them with a forklift in an attempt to make the cattle stand up.


Why Vaccinate Adult Beef Cows?

Why Vaccinate Adult Beef Cows?

E. J. Richey, D.V.M.

University of Florida

Only a few of the diseases we vaccinate adult cows against actually cause death. In Florida, to protect adult cows against death, we generally vaccinate for Redwater ( Clostridium haemolyticum ). Occasionally, but not often, adult cows die of other diseases that they could have been vaccinated against.

We don’t vaccinate adult cows only to raise the resistance to a particular disease to ensure survival. We also vaccinate to raise the resistance to certain diseases to enhance reproduction; protect the fetus (unborn calf); protect the new-born calf during its first 3 to 4 months of life (via fortified colostrum); and provide a barrier to prevent diseases from being introduced into the herd or reduce the spread of a disease once it has been introduced


Understanding Feed Labels

Understanding Feed Labels

Clyde Lane, Jr. Professor & Warren Gill, Professor, Department of Animal Science, University of Tennessee

Producers need to understand the information provided on feed labels if they are to make informed buying decisions.

To assist in understanding the information provided on feed tags, each item will be briefly discussed.

● Feed Name – This may include the product name and brand name and must carefully conform to regulations about appropriateness for a specific use.


US Beef Industry Facing Crisis of Overcapacity

US Beef Industry Facing Crisis of Overcapacity

Chris Harris,


One of the major problems facing the US beef industry is overcapacity in its processing sector.

Efficiencies in the industry to produce more meat from fewer animals has seen production rise, meat industry consultant John Nalivka from Sterling Marketing told the Outlook 2008 conference in London.

Beef production saw a slump in 2003 but is now on an upward trend and reached more than 26 billion pounds last year from just over 95,000 head of cattle.

Mr Nalivka said that a look at the steer carcase weights showed how beef production had increased with a lower cattle inventory.


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


A Case for Being a Caveman

A Case for Being a Caveman

Gary Truitt

Hoosier Ag Today

The food vs. fuel debate that sprang up when renewable fuels started chewing up billions of bushels of grain and soybeans has taken a new turn. According to the New York Times, not only is it bad to use food for fuel but now it is bad to use food for food. In a January 27 article called “Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler,” Mark Bittman calls for a return to the Stone Age. He says meat is like oil: it is subsidized by the government, harmful for the environment, and facing increasing world demand. He advocates, in all seriousness, giving up meat consumption, turning the livestock loose to return to their “natural environment,” and going back to a lifestyle of eating grains and locally grown fruits and vegetables.  


Down cows a problem for cattle producers

Down cows a problem for cattle producers

Western Livestock Journal

A down cow is a dreaded problem for any cattle producer and almost always has a negative economic impact, sometimes one that is quite severe. Prevention is always the best approach to downers. However, despite the best plans, the occasional down cow still occurs and the handling of the case determines the level of loss that will occur.

Down cows were in the national headlines after the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) case a few years ago. Repeatedly, the media defined a down cow as one that “was too sick to stand up.” While this definition fits some down cows, many of these cows have experienced injuries that prevent them from being able to get up.


Former Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz dies

Former Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz dies

High Plains Journal

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Ed Schafer released the following statement following the death of Earl Butz Feb. 4.

“We are saddened by the passing of former Secretary Earl Butz but grateful for his many contributions to agriculture during his long and productive life and his careers in government and academia.”

Throughout his life, Earl Butz championed the cause of the farmer and was an optimist about American agriculture and the power of the marketplace.

“He was also a pioneer who foresaw the opportunities that global markets could offer to America’s farmers long before they became a reality.”


Ag groups ask Schafer to release CRP acres

Ag groups ask Schafer to release CRP acres

Peter Shinn

Brownfield Network

The American Meat Institute, National Pork Producers Council, National Grain & Feed Association and about three dozen other ag groups want U.S. Ag Secretary Ed Schafer to allow land owners to get out of their Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts early without a penalty. In a letter to Schafer Friday, the groups said the move is necessary because of a “precarious” supply-demand situation for major row crops like wheat and corn.


4-H Livestock Clubs: Strong Tradition

4-H Livestock Clubs: Strong Tradition

Dave Radloff

Daily Press

Kids learn many important life skills through their experiences with animals. Responsibility is the most frequently mentioned life skill gained in an animal project. However, kids also learn trust and how to form relationships, build communication skills and most importantly, learn how to show and receive affection. 4-H members in Delta County also gain important citizenship and leadership skills, many of them are learned through community service projects initiated by livestock clubs.


Trent Loos: Today’s good politician

Trent Loos: Today’s good politician

Last week I had the opportunity to speak in my home state of Nebraska in Prague at the 50th annual Saunders County Livestock Association meeting. I often speak of the energy and passion for agriculture that our nation’s young people have, but let me tell you what, it is not only our youth. Yes, there were several young people in the audience, but of the 400 individuals present, at least six personally told me they were over 80. And I will just finish by saying that there was a lot of experience gathered in that one building. A true celebration of life in rural America is the best way to describe the event.

I was there thanks in large part to efforts of the current president of the organization, Richard Bartek. Richard’s endeavors off the farm have become quite obvious in the three times I have interacted with him in the past couple of years. Now I understand where he gets it, because this time I got to meet his father, Mike Bartek. The elder Bartek is the “the sole survivor” of the founder members of this organization. And as I said before, it is now 50 years old.


Tenn. cattle numbers drop

Tenn. cattle numbers drop

Memphis Business Journal

The number of cattle and calves in Tennessee fell 8 percent from last year to 2.3 million head.

The fall is attributed to the same extreme weather conditions that vexed the state’s row crops last year, according to a survey conducted by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Tennessee Field Office.

“It is quite apparent that the Easter freeze coupled with extreme drought conditions took a toll on our cattle producers,” state field office director Debra Kenerson said in a statement. “Poor pastures and reduced hay production, along with water shortages in some areas resulted in many producers culling cattle.”

The survey shows around 1 million head of beef cattle in the state, which is down 6 percent from last year. Milk cow numbers were down 9 percent to 61,000.


Prime Time AI

Prime Time AI      

Missouri Ruralist

Heat synchronization and fixed-time artificial insemination for beef cows will be the featured topic at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 5 as part of the “Cattlemen-to-Cattlemen” program aired nationally on RFD-TV. The same program will also be seen at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 6 and 11 p.m. on Feb. 10.

University of Missouri Extension livestock staff, led by MU beef cattle reproduction specialist Dave Patterson, conducted on-farm demonstrations of fixed-time AI and heat synchronization on farms in Lawrence and Barry counties last November. RFD-TV and the National Cattlemen’s Association filmed demonstrations on two farms, according to Eldon Cole, MU Extension livestock specialist, Mt. Vernon.