Baxter Black: Steps Along the Cowboy Trail
STEP 1: Some cowboys are born and raised on a ranch; they grow up riding and working cows, they compete in high school rodeo, have a horse and an FFA project. They develop the art of hangin’ out and lookin’ cool. Which is easier if you’re a big fish in a small pond. They begin thinking, “I really am as good as they say I am!”
The Elephants In HSUS’s Living Room
Center for Consumer Freedom
As fallout from the nation’s largest beef recall continues to float through newsrooms and school districts, Americans have begun to ask hard questions about the safety of our beef supply and the character of the people who bring it to market. We have a few questions of our own.
First, why did the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) sit on its shock-value video for several months? The group has claimed that it spent six weeks “investigating” a Chino, California slaughterhouse and two more weeks looking at the videotapes before giving authorities “extra time” to weigh their options. HSUS also insists that it “is the last entity that would ever want to sit on the results; we had no incentive to do so. We were methodical in how we handled the investigation, and how we publicized it, too.”
Bull Breeding Soundness Exams: Do they Cost or Pay?
Dave Sparks, DVM, Purdue University
There are three popular misconceptions about bull breeding soundness exams. The first is the idea that “He’s been getting calves for several years, why would he have a problem now?” Things change. Bulls get infections, tumors and injuries, of all which can reduce their effectiveness. Even just advancing age can lower a bull’s fertility level.
JBS Becomes Industry’s Dominant Player
I’ve always wondered if those who heard Abraham Lincoln give his Gettysburg Address, saw the first cell phone, or gazed at Jesus Christ crucified upon a cross, really realized at the time that they were part of something historic. These are events that altered the world, but their significance probably wasn’t completely understood at the time.
Calf Preconditioning Improves Health and Earns Producers a Much Deserved Bonus
by Carthage Livestock Inc.,Carthage, Ill.
“The sales bring in outside buyers who may not otherwise come to our area,” Pollock says. “They like the assurance that the cattle are weaned, broke to the bunk and healthy. And the 21-day limited health warranty is a big draw. Buyers have reported back to me that my calves are healthy at arrival and that they do well in the feedyard.”
Early Detection and Prevention
There is a recognized consensus among those scientists, researchers and industry leaders involved in battling Johne’s that the shortest road to eliminating the pervasive and economically destructive bacterial infection from our beef and dairy herds is to develop a low-cost, quick-response, highsensitivity test that identifies Johne’s-positive cattle before they can infect their herdmates.
Ken Olson, coordinator for the National Johne’s Education Initiative, is encouraged by progress being made to develop new tools to detect the disease.
Alfalfa: Successful Grazing Crop
Hay and Forage Grower
Beef and dairy producers have found their animals perform well grazing alfalfa, said Garry Lacefield, University of Kentucky forage specialist, at the National Alfalfa Symposium last month.
He talked of various research studies showing the attributes of grazing alfalfa, its flexibility as a hay, haylage and grazing crop, and its drought resistance. In Kentucky, which was hard hit by drought the past several years, “alfalfa came out smelling like a rose,” Lacefield said.
New Bull Listing Service Offered on Limousin Site
Bull buyers can search for Limousin and Lim-Flex® herd-sire prospects by directing their Web browsers to the North American Limousin Foundation (NALF) home page at http://www.nalf.org and clicking the “Limousin Exchange: Bull Listing Service” link. Both private-treaty and public-auction sale offerings are included in the searchable database.
Limousin breeders listed more than 1,100 bulls in 2007, the service’s third year. They have listed more than 735 bulls already this year.
Users can identify a variety of criteria – including state, owner, sire, expected progeny differences (EPDs), coat color, polled status, percent blood, sale date and type, and price – to obtain information about the bulls that fit their specifications. Also included in a bull’s listing are his name, registration number, tattoo, birthdate, pedigree, ultrasound-scan data, owner contact information and additional comments. Users can sort the results according to any given trait.
Nebraska ag producers hear farm bill extension likely
Members of the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Cattlemen are on a joint lobbying trip to Washington D.C. this week. And while the ag producers and the staff members of the groups they represent were “inside the Beltway” Tuesday, they got an update on the farm bill.
Dave Nielsen is Director of District 1 for the Nebraska Corn Board. He told Brownfield the group got a briefing from a senior staff member of the Senate Agriculture Committee Tuesday morning, a briefing that suggested both a short-term and long-term extension of the current farm law may be in the offing.
“She stated to us there isn’t much movement right now on the farm bill if any at all, and a lot of that’s due to the Budget and Finance Committees,” Nielsen reported. “And she sees a 30-day extension coming on, and then probably a one-to-two year extension of the current farm bill.”
‘Perfect storm’ facing today’s cattle industry
Expert offers different twist on corn prices, overload in market conditions
“Business as usual” is not what is going on in the cattle industry at the present time. In fact, Gregg Doud, chief economist with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, told those attending the Monett Beef Cattlemen’s Conference that the industry is in the middle of a “perfect storm” about which most people are not aware.
Planning and Preparations Produce Results in Herd
Planning and preparation make a big difference in efficient cowherd management.
The Best Practices Manual from Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) offers management tips that may help.
“To make progress and profit in the cattle business, records must be kept,” the manual states.
John Paterson, Montana Extension beef specialist, agrees. He oversees the Montana Beef Network program, where nearly 300,000 calves have been source- and age-verified in this decade.
Some ranchers there tie calf information back to individual cow identification (ID).
Animal ID aids against disease
The government tried to make a mandatory National Animal Identification System using ear tags, but because some livestock producers fear Big Brother, the program is voluntary in most states.
“Part of our industry would view it as something that would protect them from a foot and mouth disease outbreak while others primarily see it as an invasion of privacy,” said Chris Richards, assistant professor and extension and research beef cattle specialist.
If a disease outbreak occurred in the United States, animal agriculture and the nation’s food supply would be at risk.
Beef industry reeling from rising feed costs
Montana feeders, ranchers feel pinch more than consumers
The Billings Gazette
With 11,000 hungry mouths to feed, breakfast at the Weschenfelder Feedlot in Shepherd is measured in tons.
Serving time’s at 7 a.m. The cattle head to the trough where Dan Weschenfelder doles out the grub for three hours straight. Lately, the dinner bill’s been getting bigger.
Corn prices, which have more than doubled largely because of ethanol production, have the beef industry staggering. The price per pound for beef isn’t rising nearly as quickly as feed costs, and nationally some ranchers are reducing the size of their herds. That reduction of cows to slaughter was the main reason cited by the world’s largest meat producer, Tyson Foods, for shuttering a Kansas packing plant in January, leaving 1,500 middle-class workers jobless.
Get Bull Management Problems Under Control
by: John Winder, Noble Foundation
We often think about the bull as the means of introducing new genetics into a beef herd. However, management of the bull (or lack of it) after purchase is often the “Achilles Heel” of cattle production. Failure to pay attention to important management practices affecting the bull often results in reduced calving rates, increased calf mortality, and loss of uniformity and marketability. Poor bull management practices result in three critical pitfalls. Let’s examine each of these and consider ways that these problems can be avoided.
Oversight ‘Flaw’ Led to Meat Recall
Wall Street Journal
Steve Mendell poured millions of dollars into stainless-steel paneling and state-of-the art cleaning systems to upgrade the decades-old meatpacking plant he has run since the late 1990s. But while Mr. Mendell focused his attention on the inside of the five-acre plant, he and other top executives at Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. spent little time monitoring the facility’s outdoor cattle pens, plant employees say.
Those cattle pens are where an undercover worker for the Humane Society of the United States, a private organization, secretly filmed workers last fall forcing sick or injured cows to their feet using forklifts and water hoses. Such downer cows are generally banned from the food supply because they carry higher risks of diseases, including mad-cow disease. The video helped trigger the largest recall of beef in U.S. history last month.