Daily Archives: March 3, 2008

Ohio Beef Newsletter Available

The February 27, issue # 576, of the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter is now posted to the web at: http://fairfield.osu.edu/ag/beef/beefFeby27.html

Ohio greatest beef cattle exhibit begins on March 14. Find details in this week’s letter.

Articles this week include:
* Ohio Beef Expo Kicks Off March 14
* Bull Buying Basics – The Package Counts, Not the Wrapping
* Forage Focus: Increasing the Digestion of Forages with Protein Supplementation
* Weekly Roberts Agricultural Commodity Market Report

Analyzing the Cost of a Bull

Analyzing the Cost of a Bull

Scott P. Greiner, Extension Beef Specialist, VA Tech and Matthew Miller, Extension Farm Business Management Agent, VA Tech

With the steady increase in input costs for cow-calf operations, beef producers will look to save money and cut costs in multiple fashions.  One area often targeted for cost-cutting measures is money spent on bulls.  Often producers focus on the initial cost of a sire, and realize “sticker shock” when purchase prices move upward.  Considering that the herd sire has significant impact on numerous of traits with economic importance (coat color, calf vigor, weaning weight, carcass grade), an individual sire has a pronounced impact on profitability. Bull purchase price needs to be put in perspective by evaluating price relative to years of useful service the cost per cow exposed.  Table 1 compares the cost per cow or a bull with a $2500 purchase price and one with a $1500 purchase price.  Assumptions are as follows:  4 years of service, salvage weight of 2000 lbs, salvage price of $50 cwt.  Cost per cow exposed is shown for each purchase price given the number of cows exposed.  This table considers all annual costs for the bull, and includes purchase price, annual carrying cost, and health/veterinary expenses.  It is important to note that initial purchase price typically only represents 20-40% of annual bull costs, and this percentage decreases the longer the bull is in use.  The majority of bull costs are incurred in feed costs. No consideration is given to genetic merit differences between the bulls.  While it is unrealistic to assume a bull will breed 60 to 80 cows in a given breeding season, many producers utilize two calving seasons and therefore the higher number of cows exposed apply to breeders calving in both the fall and spring and utilizing the same bull for two separate calving seasons.


Neonatal Calf Diarrhea Complex

Neonatal Calf Diarrhea Complex

John Kirkpatrick, DVM 

Associate Professor, Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Oklahoma State University

The Disease: A complex, multifactoral disease involving the calf, nutrition, environment, and infectious agents.  Decades of research have been dedicated to obtaining a better understanding of this disease complex.  Despite improvements in identification of the infectious agents, management practices, and treatment and prevention strategies, the complex remains the most common and costly (est. $120 million annually) disease affecting neonatal calves in the United States.  (NAHMS 1997) 

The list of bacteria and viruses that can potentially cause diarrhea is quite large.  There are six major pathogens that cause diarrhea in neonatal calves: enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli K99, rotavirus, coronavirus, Cryptosporidium parvum, Salmonella spp., and Clostridium perfringens type C.  The color and consistency of the feces and gross lesions can look similar, no matter the causative agent.  Therefore laboratory identification of the infectious agent and histopathology are imperative to obtaining a diagnosis.  It should also be noted that it is common for more than one pathogen to be causing the disease, and that pathogens causing the disease on a farm can change from year to year.  These facts make it imperative that your veterinarian identifies the causative agent(s) to better establish proper prevention and treatment protocols. 


Rising Costs Had Farmers Talking In Abingdon, Va., On Saturday

Rising Costs Had Farmers Talking In Abingdon, Va., On Saturday

Debra McCown

Bristol Herald Courier

ABINGDON, Va. – Rising cost had local farmers talking on Saturday at the annual meeting of the Southwest Virginia Agricultural Association, the region’s largest agriculture political action committee.

“I’m concerned about what we’ve been doing in the past, and whether that’s going to work in the future,” said Tim Sutphin, a Pulaski County beef producer who received a farm management award at the meeting. “It looks like in the future we’re going to have to go back to a forage-based system.”

He said because of the amount of corn going into ethanol fuel production in response to a government subsidy program, corn for use as feed is becoming cost-prohibitive – and the price will continue to rise as the price of oil goes up. He’s planning to plant corn this spring for the first time since 1995.


Rancher finds market for ‘free’ beef

Rancher finds market for ‘free’ beef


Billings  Gazette

GRASS RANGE – Tell a rancher there’s an upside to a 143 million-pound beef recall and you’re going to get some looks.

Public schools across America start dumping unopened cases of lunch program beef into area landfills and uneasy stomachs start to turn, particularly in ranch country where lately the news couldn’t get much worse. Consumers are suddenly questioning where their meat is from, what drugs it’s been subjected to and whether it walked to the slaughterhouse or was rolled there on forklift tines.


BeefTalk: Bull Buying Basics – Accuracy

BeefTalk: Bull Buying Basics – Accuracy

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Recent BeefTalk articles focused on bull buying simplicity. An estimate of the expected progeny difference (EPD) of a defined trait between two bulls of the same breed involves simple subtraction of the EPDs for the desired traits.

If a producer wants to compare bulls from a different breed, the EPDs need to be adjusted to a common breed. Then the same process will work. Add or subtract the EPDs from the desired bulls and then look at the EPDs for the bulls you have selected.

Imagine Bull One, with a yearling EPD of plus 113, and Bull Two, with a yearling weight EPD of plus 111. Mathematically, in a random mating, Bull One should sire calves 2 pounds heavier as yearlings, so the calves would be very similar in yearling weight.


Nitrogen fertilizer much too valuable to spread recklessly

Nitrogen fertilizer much too valuable to spread recklessly

David Burton

Springfield News Leader

 Jay Chism, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension, says his top five forage tips for 2008 can be summed up with one statement: don’t waste nitrogen fertilizer.

“Nitrogen is expensive, and it is hard to justify the cost per acre, especially if the beef market happens to take a downturn sometime during the year,” said Chism.

Soil test, don’t guess

Sampling and following MU fertility guidelines is one of the best investments forage producers can make. A soil test report will also provide lime requirements for the forages selected.

A proper pH will improve the efficiency of nutrients applied to the crop.


Jack Dillard: Meat shortage may be on horizon

Jack Dillard: Meat shortage may be on horizon

Shreveport Times

A rancher whom I consider to be one of the best in the Ark-La-Tex said last week, “If the cost of the cattle business continues to climb, I’m going to plant pine trees.”

Many have already done so.

America is heading toward a meat shortage that may put some folks back to raising a milk pen calf and feed out a couple of hogs if we can find some place to slaughter and cut up the meat.

The rancher whom I speak of knows what his costs are, has the best bull battery you can put in the pasture, raises quality hay and merchandises his cattle, not just sells them.


Packers carve dominant niche

Packers carve dominant niche

Animals are not the only victims

Alan Guebert

History doesn’t record who first uttered the ageless business maxim that “Time is money,” but a good bet might be a meatpacker because minutes and hours, like cattle and hogs, are valuable commodities under constant assault by packers.

As such, the most efficient packer — or, as they say in the business, the one that puts the most blood on the floor fastest — is, hands-down, the most profitable.


Flax Provides New Benefits

Flax Provides New Benefits

Sarah Gustin

KXMBTV Bismarck

Researchers are discovering that adding one crop to feed rations can really pay off.

Sarah Gustin tells us how flax could improve your livestock’s health.

More and more cattle could soon be eating a different type of diet

(Eric Scholljegerdes / Animal Scientist) “It’s an oil seed that hasn’t received a lot of attention in the beef industry at least and I think it has a lot of promising attributes.” Northern Great Plains Research is feeding flax to yearlings

Scholljegerdes says flax works great in total mixed rations or when fed as a top dressing


Japan halts beef from Smithfield after finding unordered shipment

Japan halts beef from Smithfield after finding unordered shipment


TOKYO (AP) – Japan says it has stopped beef imports from Virginia-based Smithfield after finding a shipment from an Arizona plant didn’t meet Japanese safety standards.

Officials with Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries suspended imports Thursday after they said they found 1,540 pounds of round beef that had not been ordered.

U.S. Embassy officials could not confirm the beef had been obtained from cattle aged 20 months or younger — a Japanese requirement for imported U.S. beef. That standard is designed to reduce the risk of mad cow disease.


Recall raises questions about USDA’s two roles, guardian and promoter of U.S. food

Recall raises questions about USDA’s two roles, guardian and promoter of U.S. food


The Press-Enterprise

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has said it doesn’t plan to test any beef involved in the record recall because the health risks are remote and the results won’t change anything.

Elisa Odabashian, West Coast director of the nonprofit advocacy group Consumers Union, thinks there’s another reason: The government doesn’t want to create “hysteria” if test samples come back positive for mad cow disease.

The dual roles of the USDA as both a promoter and regulator of the agriculture industry have come under scrutiny since the recall last month of more than 143 million pounds of beef products produced by Chino’s Westland/Hallmark Meat Co.


Adding Value To Calves: Proven Practices That Pay

Adding Value To Calves: Proven Practices That Pay


I know without a doubt that a business trip will run smoother and be less stressful if I make motel reservations ahead of time, ask for directions to find the motel, confirm times and places I’m to meet other people, and take that last look around the room before I check out. But sometimes I just don’t bother, even though I know better….and then pay for my oversight. In the same way, we know there are practices we can follow with our calves that almost guarantee a positive pay-back–but sometimes we just don’t get them done, and cost ourselves net profit as a result.


NOEL: Iliff crafted kingdom from cattle

NOEL: Iliff crafted kingdom from cattle

Ohioan struck gold by buying up land, selling livestock

Tom Noel

Rocky Mountain News

The king of Colorado cattlemen does not fit the cowboy stereotype. He did not fight American Indians, but befriended them and even looked the other way when starving Indians feasted on one of his many cows. While most cowboys usually made something like a dollar a day, John Wesley Iliff became one of Colorado’s first self-made millionaires.

Far from being a hard-drinking cowhand, this stone-sober cattle czar donated his first mansion at 18th and Curtis Streets to the Keely Institute as a treatment center for alcoholics.

Born on a farm in Ohio in 1831, Iliff was offered a $7,500 interest in the family farm by his father as a youth, but supposedly replied: “No thanks, Pa, just give me $500 and let me go West.”


Cow Calf: Assisting The Posterior Presentation (Backwards Calf)

Cow Calf: Assisting The Posterior Presentation (Backwards Calf)


Any cow calf producer that has spent several years in the cattle business has had the experience of assisting a cow or heifer deliver a calf that was coming backwards.  Understanding the physiology and anatomy of the calf and mother will improve the likelihood of a successful outcome.  Study the diagram of the “posterior presentation” shown below.


How ‘downer’ cows enter food chain

How ‘downer’ cows enter food chain

Emaciated, calcium-depleted dairy cattle are turned into meat

By Stephen J. Hedges

Chicago Tribune

A videotape of crippled “downer” cows being mistreated at a California plant prompted outrage from animal welfare groups, a rebuke from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the plant’s closure, criminal charges, a lawsuit, congressional hearings and the largest meat recall in U.S. history.

But the video also has focused new light on a practice that some animal welfare and food safety experts say is an old problem: the use in beef production of dairy cows that are spent and barely able to stand due to calcium depletion from being milked intensively for years.