Daily Archives: February 14, 2008

Beef Cattle Water Quality

Beef Cattle Water Quality

Dan Grooms, DVM, Ph.D Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Michigan State University

There has been much unpopular press over the past few years on the effect that agriculture may have on water quality. Research is currently being conducted on maintaining water quality especially that which escapes agriculture enterprises. Unfortunately, we often get caught up in water quality leaving a farm and forget about the quality of water needed for efficient livestock production. With this in mind, I thought it would be a good time to review the importance of water in the maintenance of healthy cattle.


BeefTalk: Control Costs, But Don’t Sacrifice Bull Nutrition, Health and Genetics

BeefTalk: Control Costs, But Don’t Sacrifice Bull Nutrition, Health and Genetics

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Are Your Bulls Getting a Balanced Ration? Are Your Bulls Getting a Balanced Ration?

Cost management is critical and the obvious is not always obvious.

Cash costs are up a little bit or, some say, a big bit. However, the real answer is in the checkbook. Monitoring costs should be an ongoing process in all operations and any significant spike should be managed to minimize the impact.

However, the real costs can go unnoticed. If one is not careful, one can cut corners on things that really have significant impacts on production without having a significant impact on costs. One of those discussions could be on the cost of supplements or feed in general.


To Fertilize Or Not To Fertilize?

To Fertilize Or Not To Fertilize?


This winter locally, as we’ve cussed and discussed the cost of feed, fertilizer, land rent, machinery and anything else a farmer might purchase these days, one of the “cost saving” measures I’ve heard suggested is skipping fertilizer this year on hay and pasture land.

Are you skipping fertilizer on your corn ground this year too? I doubt it. If a recent soil test suggests you need fertilizer or lime on hay and pasture land, then don’t think for a minute it’s anything but voodoo economics if you don’t apply it to your hay lands either. After all, an “average” Ohio annual hay yield of 3 tons per acre removes the same amount of potash from the soil as a SIX HUNDRED (yes, that’s 600) bushel corn crop!


NAIS? Oink!!

NAIS? Oink!!

Paul Hein


What would lead a group of Amish farmers in Wisconsin to consider moving to Venezuela? Why are dairy farmers and ranchers in Michigan considering selling their herds? Why, NAIS, of course!

NAIS stands for National Animal Identification System. It was originally designed to protect exporters of beef from cattle disease by tagging the cattle, and thus, presumably, make outbreaks of animal disease easier to detect earlier. But the idea has been expanded to include all farm animals, including those not part of the food chain, such as horses, for example, kept on farms as pets, or llamas. Critics suggest that even cats and dogs will be included, eventually.

NAIS is voluntary, at this point – at least as far as the feds are concerned. However, individual states can make participation compulsory, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture encourages them to do so. Wisconsin, for example, requires dairy farmers to register their farms, thus acquiring an ID number linked to a Global Positional Satellite monitoring system. Failure to register results in denial of a license to produce milk, thus effectively putting the farmer out of business. No wonder the Amish are considering a move to Venezuela! (However, they may be naïve to think that government in Venezuela is any less obnoxious than it is here.)


US hopes new S.Korea leader will end beef dispute

US hopes new S.Korea leader will end beef dispute


U.S. officials are hopeful that a lingering trade spat with South Korea will finally come to an end after the Asian nation’s new president takes over later this month.

An end to the feud over U.S. beef exports, crippled by South Korean restrictions for more than four years, would be welcome news not only for the U.S. cattle industry, but for other industries supporting a massive bilateral trade deal whose fate is tied up with the beef issue in Congress.


USCA offers their view of beef checkoff

USCA offers their view of beef checkoff

Jim Hanna, USCA Director, Checkoff Committee Chairman

The drums are starting to rumble in cattle country about making changes to the 20-plus year-old beef checkoff program, especially about raising the $1 per head fee that you and I pay every time we sell a critter.

Those supporting a 100 percent increase to $2 on every sale are trying to soften the sell by assuring producers that they will have a final say (vote) on any increase. I say let’s step back for a moment and look at some realities.


Selecting Stocker Cattle For Grid Marketing

Selecting Stocker Cattle For Grid Marketing


Retained ownership of cattle has become more popular for cow-calf producers and stockers throughout the southeastern United States. Many of these are sold as fed cattle on the cash market. However, to take retained ownership one step further; many producers are selling their cattle as beef through value-based markets. This trend has continued to grow and now more than half of the fed cattle are marketed through grid or formula pricing.


Feed costs crimp livestock profits

Feed costs crimp livestock profits

Jeff DeYoung

Iowa Farmer Today

Higher feed costs will create an unprofitable year for hog and fed cattle producers. Fed cattle prices should set a record high, but corn ranging near $5 per bushel will doom any chance at profitability, says John Lawrence, ISU Extension livestock marketing economist. Hog producers could see some pricing opportunities in the futures market, but break-evens could approach $60 per hundredweight, says Ron Plain, Extension livestock marketing economist at the University of Missouri.


New crop of Western ranchers buck cattle industry to go green

New crop of Western ranchers buck cattle industry to go green


San Jose Mercury New

CATHEYS VALLEY, Calif.—Seth Nitschke spent his early 20s working at the country’s biggest feed lots before he returned home to start a business raising beef cattle fed on the grasses of the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Nitschke, 31, who makes his living herding heifers through pastures near Yosemite National Park, would never call himself an environmental activist, though he’s planting saplings to protect nearby streams and runs a light herd to let his pastures breathe.


Environmental stewardship award goes to Yolo ranch

Environmental stewardship award goes to Yolo ranch

Jane Braxton Little

Sacramento Bee Correspondent

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has named a Yolo County ranching operation winner of its 2008 environmental stewardship award.

The Yolo Land & Cattle Co., owned by Hank Stone and his sons, won the national honor for its commitment to rangeland conservation and natural resource enhancement, said Bruce Hafenfeld, president of the California Cattlemen’s Association.

The Stones market their 600-head Angus herd as grass-fed beef – no hormones or animal by-products.


Evaluating Cattle Feed Intakes

Evaluating Cattle Feed Intakes


A common theme in the telephone calls I get this time of year is feed intake. Through November, December, and January, in particular, I hear from cattlemen concerned that their cows appear to be eating too much – or too little – supplement, hay, or mineral. Often, a closer look reveals that the cattle are eating what they need to keep up with their nutritional requirements.

As we go into winter, there are three key factors that typically drive increasing intakes: changing stage of production, ongoing declines in forage quality, and the nutritional demands of coping with cold stress.


20th anniversary of Illinois Beef Expo coming up

20th anniversary of Illinois Beef Expo coming up

Cyndi Young

Brownfield Network

The 20th anniversary Illinois Beef Expo kicks off on the Illinois State Fairgrounds Thursday, February 21, 2008 with the Illinois Performance Tested Bull Sale. There are 145 tentatively entered in the sale. Final performance data will be collected once the bulls arrive in Springfield, with the final number will be determined at that time.

Several breed shows of sale cattle will take place on Friday the 22nd, with breed sales on Saturday, February 23. Illinois’ first junior beef cattle show of 2008 begins Saturday afternoon and runs through Sunday, February 24.


International symposium on beef cattle welfare set for May 28-30

International symposium on beef cattle welfare set for May 28-30

Tim Lundeen


Animal welfare is one of the fastest growing concerns among consumers throughout the country, according to Dr. Dan Thomson, a Kansas State University veterinarian and expert on the impact of beef cattle production practices on cattle well-being and health.  Therefore, the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State will conduct an International Symposium on Beef Cattle Welfare, May 28-30, on the Kansas State campus.

“The symposium is designed to provide a venue in which all stakeholders in beef cattle production can meet and discuss the many welfare-related topics concerning the raising, feeding and harvesting of beef cattle,” Thomson said.


“The Same Old, Same Old Won’t Work”

“The Same Old, Same Old Won’t Work”


Several years ago in Highland County, OSU Extension hosted an educational program for area beef producers that we advertised as “The Same Old, Same Old Won’t Work”. Progressive cattleman and beef industry leader Galen Fink was the featured speaker. At that meeting, Fink discussed several topics that would challenge beef producers to examine their operations and make the necessary changes to insure future profitability. This challenge to cattlemen seems more appropriate and timely than ever.

There is no question that it is human nature for many of us to resist change. This can be especially true for cattlemen. Today’s producer is faced with the reality that changes must be made in the way that we do business in order to remain viable in our ever-changing economy. Every production practice must be examined to determine its contribution to the profitability of an operation.


Herd Health – Preparing for Tomorrow

Herd Health – Preparing for Tomorrow

Ann Kopecky


As the cost of production continues to rise with increases in feed, fuel, equipment and labor expenditures, maintaining herd health has become even more important for a profitable beef operation.

Until recently, beef cattle producers around the world have relied heavily on the use of vaccines and antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of disease challenges in their operations. In 2006, the European Union put into effect a total ban on antibiotics in feed, and while the FDA has not followed suit, many U.S. beef producers have voluntarily incorporated more proactive strategies into their operations. The ultimate goal for building a herd health program is to prepare today for what may occur tomorrow.