BeefTalk: Bull Buying Basics – The Numbers Are Real, But Not Absolute
By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service
What does the bull weigh?
When buying bulls, the actual weight of the bull is not as important as the progeny weight.
In bull buying, the accuracy of expected progeny difference (EPD) is important. However, just because something cannot be measured precisely does not mean that the estimate of the value is not accurate.
Recently, my weight on a reliable scale was 172 pounds. On that same gym scale, I have weighed up to 178 pounds and as low as 171 pounds, plus all the numbers in between.
Is the scale in error? What is my real weight? Should I just pick a weight?
PVPs and QSAs
Angus Beef Bulletin
Producers interested in learning more about how to achieve premiums through age and source verification had the opportunity to attend a workshop co-sponsored by the Iowa State University (ISU) Extension Service, the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity (TCSCF) and AngusSource.® The meeting was at ISU’s Armstrong Research Center near Lewis, Iowa, and featured three speakers who covered different aspects of the age- and sourceverification process.
Brantley Ivey of the Iowa Beef Center made it clear that source and age verification is not mandatory. It is a marketing option that allows product to qualify for export to Japan.
Most countries that the United States ships beef to have an EV, or an export verification program, and every country is different, Ivey says. “Japan has the most restrictions. Japan says we will take your beef if it’s less than 21 months of age.”
Timely Tips to Prevent Costly Calf Scours
Calf scours can cause major economic losses for cow-calf producers, as great as 50% death losses in severe situations, according to Iowa State University research. Some calves die of scours. While others do recover with treatment, scours treatment costs valuable time and money. In addition research shows calves treated for scours weigh as much as 35 lb. less at weaning than healthy calves.
FULL STORY PDF
More U.S. Beef Making its Way to Hong Kong
The Greater China region, comprised of Hong Kong, Macau, China and Mongolia, holds growth potential for U.S. beef and beef products. Realizing Hong Kong’s potential, checkoff-funded efforts remain strong, driving U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) international activities this fall. In 2006, annual exports reached 3,450 metric tons (mt) valued at $15 million.
What price for beef?
Cost in pollution and health issues is too great for all of us.
Springfield News Leader
Editor’s note: Stories of this ilk are included in the blog to inform those in our industry how agriculture is being presented to and perceived by the public.
The recent news story concerning the 143 million pounds of meat recall, the largest in history, and the images of downed helpless cows brutally tortured with electric prods unable to even crawl away from their attacker and being pushed along the ground like a pile of rubbish by a forklift were disturbing but not totally unfamiliar, at least to me.
For decades, downed cattle in stockyards and slaughterhouse yards have suffered unimaginable pain at the hands of the workers. The abuse we recently witnessed or heard about is just the tip of the iceberg. Downed cows have also been pulled from the back of trailers with chains crashing to the ground as they came out. Injury or broken bones were of no concern to the personnel.
Meeting Every Cow’s Requirements
The two primary goals of cowherd feeding management are to meet the nutritional needs of the cows, and to do so cost-effectively. In the real world, this task is complicated by the fact that nutritional requirements are a moving target. The needs of the herd vary significantly as females move through their production cycle, and individual requirements can differ greatly between animals, and even between days for a single animal.
Southwest Kansas Cattlewomen offer $1,000 scholarship
High Plains Journal
College students majoring in a division of agriculture, foods and nutrition and/or a beef related area of study are invited to apply for a $500 per semester scholarship for two semesters sponsored by the Southwest Kansas Cattlewomen.
The Cattlewomen will award their scholarship to a young person who will be a college junior, senior or graduate student working toward a degree from a major four-year university next fall, and whose permanent residence is within the following Southwest Kansas counties: Clark, Finney, Ford, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Lane, Meade, Morton, Ness, Seward, Scott, Stanton, Stevens or Wichita. The student must exhibit past involvement with cattle production and plan to promote the beef industry in the future.
Congress members express concern about JBS
Members of Congress have expressed concern about consolidation in the beef industry with the announcement by JBS S.A.’s purchase of two beef processing companies and the largest cattle feeding operation which will be operated by JBS Swift & Co. of Greeley.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Ill., in a press release from his office, expressed concern that further consolation will reduce market opportunities for family farmers and increase prices and provide less choice for consumers.
What’s the Beef?
If you’ve ever stood at the meat counter pondering whether to buy plain-old beef or to spring for the various niche varieties proliferating in food stores, you’re not alone.
“Consumers do not understand the difference between all-natural, grass-fed and organic beef,” notes Rick Machen, who grew up on a cattle ranch and is now a livestock specialist at Texas A&M University. “I don’t understand them myself, and I’m a university professor. It’s something that the industry needs to work on so that consumers fully appreciate and understand the differences between those products.”
Deal could spur more meatpacking consolidation
The York Dispatch
A Brazilian meatpacker’s $1.1 billion bid to buy two large U.S. rivals lifted shares in other meat producers Wednesday as investors viewed the deals as a way to give the industry some pricing leverage as it battles high feed costs and stagnant herd sizes.
JBS SA’s offers to buy Smithfield Beef Group Inc. and National Beef Packing Co. LLC would, if finalized, make the Sao Paulo-based company the nation’s largest beef packing company — a move expected to draw close regulatory scrutiny in the U.S., particularly in a time of rising concern about food prices and safety.
Most analysts said the deals were positive moves for the beef product industry, which also is struggling to regain full access to the export markets after scares stemming from mad cow disease.
Natural, conventional beef to be discussed at April forum
Montana’s News Station
The risks and rewards of raising and marketing natural and conventional beef will be discussed at this year’s Montana Livestock Forum and Nutrition Conference.
The gathering is set for April 15-16 at the Gran Tree Hotel in Bozeman.
John Paterson, a Montana State University Extension Service beef specialist, says experts and producers will discuss how ranchers can continue to meet consumer demands for safe and wholesome beef. Attendees also will compare the taste of beef samples and hear a summary of Montana’s natural beef law.
New veterinary researcher hired for AgriLife Center at Amarillo
High Plains Journal
Dr. Jason Osterstock is trained in infectious diseases of cattle, so he figured where better to get a job than the Texas Panhandle, the center of the beef cattle industry, he said.
Osterstock was recently hired to fill a newly created position in ruminant animal health for Texas AgriLife Research, said Dr. John Sweeten, resident director of the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo.
With an animal science degree and doctorate in veterinary medicine from The Ohio State University, a doctorate in biomedical sciences from Texas A&M University, and experience in clinical practice and research, Osterstock was an excellent fit for the position, Sweeten said.
Proposed Ban On Packer Ownership Of Livestock
Sullivan Independent News
R-CALF USA charges that the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has resorted to outrageous lies in order to defeat a measure in the Senate version of the 2007 Farm Bill that would protect independent producers from the anti-competitive practices of the largest multinational meatpackers.
“In various radio broadcasts, NCBA has made the outrageously false claim that the prohibition on packer ownership of livestock as contained in the Senate version of the Farm Bill would make it illegal for producers to participate in value-added marketing programs such as Certified Angus Beef, any sort of marketing alliance, any sort of contracting,” said R-CALF USA CEO, Bill Bullard.
Fletcher finds niche with hay
By Virgil Shipley
Mount Vernon News
Hay is feed for farm animals, and is an essential crop most farmers grow for their livestock herd. Depending on the amount of hay grown and the number in their herd, farmers may have some hay left over which they can sell. Conversely, there may be a shortage and farmers may need to purchase hay.
There are some farmers, a very few, who grow only hay as a cash crop. Chris Fletcher fits into that farming niche. He describes himself as a hay farmer who grows clover, alfalfa and orchard grass, not to feed to his livestock, but to sell as his livelihood.
Beetles help fight invasive weed toxic to cattle
High Plains Journal
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP)–For years, cattle farmers in northwest Iowa have struggled with a scourge that eats away at their grazeable land.
The problem is an invasive weed called leafy spurge. The nonnative plant, with origins in Europe and Asia, pushes out prairie grass and offers a toxic alternative that cattle won’t eat.
Enter the beetles.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the non-profit Nature Conservancy released the Aphthona flea beetles in limited areas about 10 years ago and have found they’re experts at gobbling up leafy spurge, a weed with milky, latex sap that causes lesions in cows that eat it.