Daily Archives: February 28, 2008

Trent Loos: Stop the fallout

Trent Loos:  Stop the fallout

As the fallout continues from the largest U.S. Department of Agriculture beef recall in history, I find it interesting to read and contemplate the future of meat consumption in this country based on the comments our urban neighbors have posted on media websites after reading the news of the recall. Sadly, our competition, those with an anti-meat agenda, have done a very good job of positioning the story and using it to garner support for their fund-raising campaigns and legislative initiatives.

While there is no excuse for the reprehensible actions of the packing plant employees that were caught on the video released by the Humane Society of the United States, there are many who are using it to their benefit.


BeefTalk: Bull Buying Basics – The Package Counts, Not the Wrapping

BeefTalk: Bull Buying Basics – The Package Counts, Not the Wrapping

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

A well-wrapped package sells well, but don’t forget, it’s what’s in the package that counts.

Buying bulls can be simple if we can separate the wrapping from the package. The package is what counts, but many times we get all “wrapped up” in the way the package looks.

This is very similar to buying the perfect gift and then spending hours picking out the wrapping paper. We spend a lot of time on the wrapping paper, so much in fact that we may run out of time buying the right gift.

In reality, we don’t keep the wrapping in the beef business. What is inside the wrapping is what gives the package real meaning.

The industry today has adopted and implemented a genetic selection process called expected progeny differences (EPDs). EPDs are based on a thorough statistical evaluation of actual data. The data started appearing in bull catalogs years ago.


Minimizing Calf Losses

Minimizing Calf Losses


Calving can be a rewarding time, with each new birth helping justify the time, effort, and financial inputs invested in the cowherd. But unacceptably high – and possibly preventable – death loss among calves can be economically devastating.

Nationwide, calf death losses run an average of 5-7%, with similar patterns emerging in studies done in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, and other states. USDA numbers estimate the total number of preweaning deaths near 2.7 million per year, with a value of nearly one billion dollars annually. One study showed that these ‘typical’ losses equated to taking 35 pounds off of each calf sold at weaning. The greatest concern, of course, is a jump in the death rate; a herd with a serious scouring problem, for example, can lose half their calf crop.


Make Your Vet An Asset

Make Your Vet An Asset

W. Mark Hilton

Beef Magazine

When you look at the balance sheet for any business, every item is classified either as an asset, a liability or owner’s equity. As a veterinarian, it bugs me just a bit that we are listed as liabilities.

Yes, vets are an expense, just like feed or fence, but with due respect to vet and cowboy poet Baxter Black, I don’t like being “out there” as a liability. I think most vets want to be an asset, and on many farms or ranches, the herd-health vet actually is a true asset to the business.


Make Sure your Operation is Run Like Other Businesses

Make Sure your Operation is Run Like Other Businesses

John Alan Cohan, Attorney at Law

Cattle Today

In hobby loss audits, the IRS sometimes views various types of ranching activities as a means of generating tax losses, rather than a profit-oriented venture. That was the issue in the Tax Court case, Ralph Wesinger, Jr., v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue [T.C. Memo 1999-372].

Mr. Wesinger owned a lucrative computer servicing business in San Jose, California. He purchased two parcels of unimproved land and started a cattle ranch. He had some experience helping out occasionally on two dairy farms near where he grew up.

He did not seek any professional assistance at the time he purchased the ranch as to its suitability for cattle ranching. He had no formal business plan detailing how a profit was to be made from the ranching operations. His plan was to buy, raise and sell cows. However, he learned that the grasses on the land would not support the cattle.


Best Beginnings

Best Beginnings

Barb Baylor Anderson

Angus Journal

Good endings start with solid beginnings. If you want to give baby calves the best opportunity to flourish, start with this list of top priorities from Extension beef specialists.


How A Little-Known Cattle Breed Could Revolutionize The Beef Business

How A Little-Known Cattle Breed Could Revolutionize The Beef Business


Maurice Boney is worried about the beef business. He says the U.S. cow herd is too diverse, comprised of too many breeds and too many gene-trait combinations, to ever produce consistently high-quality products for consumers.

So he’s spent much of his life trying to do something about it. Boney, who ranches near Johnstown, Colo., has been developing a linebred  breed of cattle called Irish Blacks and Irish Reds for nearly 40 years. The breed, trademarked by Boney and marketed under an exclusive  contractual agreement to a select but growing group of producers in 22  states, is gaining attention from cattle feeders, packers and  restaurateurs as an answer to many of the industry’s most pressing concerns. Derived primarily from Friesian genetics and a small amount of Black  Angus genetics (35 years ago) from the old “Revolution” line, the breed  has been close-herd line-bred for built-in genetic predictability to  transmit quality genetics for fertility, production attributes and  superior beef quality.