Daily Archives: March 14, 2008

Panhandle ag pioneer dies

Johnny Johnson NewsOK.com 

GUYMON — Notable Panhandle cattleman and pork pioneer Paul Hitch, 64, died in an Amarillo hospital Friday after a lengthy battle with cancer.

From the early days of cattle feeding to helping to bring the pork industry to Oklahoma, friends of the family said the chairman and president of Hitch Enterprises and Hitch AgriBusiness, was a natural born leader who loved farming and was honored to serve on the state Board of Agriculture.

Roy Lee Lindsey, executive director Oklahoma Pork Council, said Hitch was always a respected voice in agriculture who has left some big shoes to fill.

“In terms of someone that’s had impact on Oklahoma agriculture, one would be hard pressed to find anyone, anywhere who has left a bigger foot print on the agriculture industry in our state,” Lindsey said.


Cattle Feeder Paul Hitch Passes

Cattle Feeder Paul Hitch Passes


American agriculture mourns the loss of Paul Hitch, 64, a cattleman and longtime livestock industry leader from Guymon, Oklahoma. Paul passed away Friday morning after a difficult bout with cancer.

Best known for his success in cattle feeding, Paul was president and chairman of Hitch Enterprises, Inc. and Hitch AgriBusiness, Inc. – diversified agricultural operations based in the Oklahoma panhandle region.


Angus Association Seeks CEO Applicants

Angus Association Seeks CEO Applicants

The American Angus Association, the nation’s largest beef registry association with more than 32,000 adult and junior members, announces that, effective immediately, it will begin to accept applications for the position of Chief Executive Officer. Candidates should have demonstrated knowledge of all segments of the beef industry, from seedstock production through consumption. Such knowledge should include a thorough understanding of member services, branded beef programs, publication and promotion, genetic evaluation and procedures, and a recognition of the importance of how industry and the breed both benefit from the involvement of our youth.


BeefTalk: EPD Accuracy – Possible Changing Values

BeefTalk: EPD Accuracy – Possible Changing Values

Differences in High and Low Accuracy Bulls Differences in High and Low Accuracy Bulls

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

As we come to look at the progeny of a bull, we want the best estimate of the bull’s future performance.

We would like to live in an absolute world, so accuracy is very important. We ask questions to affirm our decisions.

How many times have we been asked in a conversation to provide an answer to a question? What will be the price of calves next fall? What will the price of corn be next month? Should I sell cows today or tomorrow? Who will win the presidential election?

The absolute answer to these questions is unknown. We speculate based on predictions of anticipated outcomes, sometimes correctly and other times incorrectly.


Prevent Grass Tetany

Prevent Grass Tetany

Clyde Lane, Jr.,Professor – Animal Science, University of Tennessee

Grass tetany is a metabolic disease in beef cattle that is caused by a magnesium deficiency. Treatment for grass tetany is generally not an option, since the animal is usually dead when found. Prevention is the best option.

Prevention needs to be addressed two ways. First, pastures need to be fertilized according to soil tests. Research has shown a relationship between high levels of potassium in the soil and the magnesium level in the forage. Forages produced on fields fertilized heavily with potassium tend to have lower magnesium levels. Soil testing allows producers to fertilize without getting potassium levels too high.


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The Cow-Calf Manager

The Cow-Calf Manager

Dr. John B. Hall, Extension Beef Specialist, VA Tech

Improved Forage Management Key to Surviving High Grain Prices

High grain prices are a new fact of life for the beef industry.  Barring major changes in energy policy or an amazing worldwide grain crop, feed grain prices will remain inflated for the foreseeable future.  Feedlots will probably be more interested in heavier calves than feeding light weight calves.  Commercial and purebred cow-calf operations will need to make more efficient use of forages.  In addition, these operations will need to consider strategies to maximize calf weight on forage-based diets before heading to the stocker operation, feedlot, or bull test station.

Increasing prices for fuel and fertilizer make increasing hay and silage production an expensive solution for feeding cattle.  In contrast, investments in improvements to grazing management and extending the grazing season will pay greater dividends.  The types of improvement used will depend on the individual operation and location.  Below are a few examples with links to additional information.


Fertility Failures

Fertility Failures

Reclaim lost profits by improving reproductive efficiency through cow nutrition and bull exams.

Meghan Richey

Hereford World

Reproductive inefficiency is one of the most costly and production limiting problems facing the cow-calf industry,” says George Perry, beef reproductive management specialist at South Dakota State University.

Using bulls and cows with fertility problems may lead to longer calving intervals, fewer calves produced and increased costs from managing open females, which can result in serious economic loss to the cow-calf producer.


Is It Important Or Easy?

Is It Important Or Easy?

Troy Marshall

Beef Magazine

Is it important or is it easy? – I believe there’s magic in that phrase. This simple question can do wonders for fixing your time-management issues and ensuring your efforts are aligned with your priorities.

In order to set a goal, monitor progress, even validate that a goal has been accomplished, one must have some sort of metric or standard. I’m amazed how much information we collect and analyze, and how little substantive progress we sometimes make.


Define Herd Goals Before Making Bull Selections

Define Herd Goals Before Making Bull Selections

Cattle Today

Identify Herd Goals — Herd goals serve as the foundation for sire selection and provide guidance as to traits with the most economic importance. Defining the production and marketing system, along with management strategies and environment are key factors that warrant consideration:

Will the bull be used on heifers, mature cows, or both?

Will replacement females be retained in the herd?

How will the calf crop be marketed (at weaning?, backgrounded?, retained ownership? sell females?) What are the labor and management resources available?

What are the feed resources and environmental conditions of the operation?

How will this sire contribute to the overall breeding system plan?


Application open for Fort Dodge scholarships

Application open for Fort Dodge scholarships

Tom Wray

Provisioner Online

The National Cattlemen’s Foundation and Fort Dodge Animal Health announced a new scholarship program at the 2008 Cattle Industry Annual Convention held last month in Reno, Nev.

 According to a statement from the National Cattlmen’s Beef Association, the The Fort Dodge Animal Health Legacy Scholarship Program will consist of five scholarships of $5,000 each. Three scholarships will be directed to veterinary school students that have designated an emphasis in bovine practice. Two scholarships will be directed to junior or senior undergraduate students enrolled full-time in an animal science program with an emphasis in bovine production.


Experts urge system to track cows from birth to beef

Experts urge system to track cows from birth to beef


The Press-Enterprise

A code printed on the side of a box is the key to birth dates, birthplaces and health records — the details of a life once led by a cow that became a side of beef, a hamburger or a steak.

Such tracking in the United States is almost exclusively used by ranchers who raise specialty cattle and want to guarantee that their beef is truly organic, wholly grass fed, or 100 percent Angus.

Some experts say the nation should start such a system for all beef and dairy cows to protect the herds and to protect consumers.


The Business of ID

The Business of ID

Meghan Richey

Angus Beef Bulletin

Existing livestock information gathering programs may already hold the basic data and infrastructure necessary for a nationwide animal identification (ID) and traceability system. The next step toward an ID and traceability system is “taking a business approach” to capitalize on the success of those existing programs and focus efforts on the industry segments that offer the greatest return on investment. That was the message of National Animal Identification System (NAIS) program coordinators speaking at the 2007 ID Info Expo, a meeting hosted by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), Aug. 28-30, in Kansas City, Mo.


Keeping deer away from farms is key to stopping TB

Keeping deer away from farms is key to stopping TB

The Land

I would like to offer this update on the status of bovine tuberculosis in Minnesota, what you can do to help in the eradication of this disease and answer questions about your food safety.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health had identified 10 TB infected herds since 2005 in northwest Minnesota. These herds are beef herds. Seven of the herds depopulated and the remaining three herds are currently going through an appraisal process to purchase the herds for removal.

The Department of Natural Resources has been active in testing wild deer in the same area within a 15 mile radius of the affected herds. To date, 17 deer have either tested positive or are currently being tested for TB. This is from a total of more than 1,650 that were removed from the core area and tested.


Kentucky to give farmers $8 million

Kentucky to give farmers $8 million


Kentucky farmers, still suffering the effects of last year’s bad weather, will get $8.15 million in help under a new state program.

Gov. Steve Beshear, Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer and state lawmakers announced the Kentucky Agricultural Relief Effort on Thursday. It is intended to help farmers recover from the severe freeze in April and the four months of severe drought that followed.

‘Farming is always a challenging occupation. Some years are more challenging than others; 2007 was one of those years,’ Beshear said.

Kentucky’s hay and alfalfa crops, pastures, beef and dairy cattle, fruit crops and goats were hit hard by the weather.


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.


Original Premium Beef Brand Sets Records

Original Premium Beef Brand Sets Records

Cattle Today

Wooster, Ohio, November 15, 2007 – The Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) brand, with sales of more than 584 million pounds, hit the highest mark in its 29-year history for the year ended Sept. 30.

Its 14,300 licensees helped the original premium beef brand achieve an eighth consecutive year at more than half a billion pounds sold, setting records in every division.

A record 13.5 million identified Angus-influence cattle saw an acceptance rate of 16 percent, for a net 2.15 million certified cattle with an average carcass weight of 808 pounds. The enhanced CAB specifications, implemented in January, improved product consistency by eliminating outliers – extremely fat or heavy carcasses and the largest and smallest ribeyes.


Sick Cow Video Shocks Slaughterhouse Prez

Sick Cow Video Shocks Slaughterhouse Prez



The president of the slaughterhouse that caused the nation’s largest meat recall went before Congress today with a prepared statement, but a video of the horrific treatment of cattle at the plant took his words away.

Before Westland Hallmark Meat Company president Steve Mendell could begin his testimony to the Energy and Commerce congressional oversight sub-committee, a U.S. Humane Society video of downer dairy cattle being abused at the slaughterhouse was played.