Daily Archives: March 18, 2008

Baxter Black: Pickin’ On the Plains Again

Baxter Black:  Pickin’ On the Plains Again

 “It’s so quiet here. The air is clear. There’s no trash along the highway? I can’t smell carbon monoxide fumes in the air. People are friendly…there must be something wrong?”

Once again the plains have been visited by big city reporters and found it…what? Beautiful, natural? Vibrant? Addictive? No. The National Geographic magazine came to North Dakota and found it…empty.

Why is it that the Indians, the settlers, Teddy Roosevelt and the mayor of Valley City ever came and stayed? Is it possible that they like it the way it is?

Imagine the headquarters of the National Geographic magazine on 17th Street, Washington, DC. It’s in the middle of a big city with hundreds of employees in the building, each with an average cubicle of the size of a pickup bed, where they sit in front of a computer screen 75% of their waking life. They commute a couple hours a day, they live with the constant tension of deadlines, stop and go traffic, pollution allergies, acid reflux and the barrage of no holds barred – fast breaking – right after this – jet engine decibel – talk show, infotainment typhoon television and radio!


Timed AI systems offer producers flexibility, consistency

Timed AI systems offer producers flexibility, consistency

Western Livestock Journal

While estrous synchronization and artificial insemination (AI) have been available to producers for over 30 years, recent advancements and refinements of estrous synchronization procedures have made it a more commercial-friendly practice. The time and labor necessary to AI cows using heat detection is fine for many seedstock operations, but many cow/calf operators, especially those with large herds, find the practice cumbersome and expensive.

Synchronizing a cowherd has a number of advantages, including the potential to shorten the calving window and increase calf uniformity. AI offers producers the opportunity to infuse high quality genetics at costs much lower than purchasing a similar quality herd sire, but many ranchers still balk at the idea. AI and estrous synchronization may be the two most important and widely applicable reproductive technologies available to producers, but many have been slow to adopt the practices.


Summary of Electronic Animal Identification Systems at Livestock Auction Markets: Adoption Rates, Costs, Opportunities, and Perceptions

Summary of Electronic Animal Identification Systems at Livestock Auction Markets: Adoption Rates, Costs, Opportunities, and Perceptions

Kansas State University

Buyers and sellers of livestock come together at livestock auction markets to discover prices in a public setting. Livestock markets may differentiate themselves by offering electronic individual animal identification and tracking services to their customers. Programs such as the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), marketing alliances, and verification programs are leading to increased use of animal identification systems. Livestock markets are a primary industry sector where animal movement and identification information can be recorded.


Important to Keep Cattle Healthy and Productive

Important to Keep Cattle Healthy and Productive

Steven B. Blezinger, Ph.D, PAS

Cattle Today

Part 2

In the previous issue we began a discussion of the relationships between health and nutrition. For years we have known that health and nutrition are “joined at the hip.” The presence of adequate or inadequate levels of any of the nutrients can have serious effects on the overall health of the cow or calf. Similarly health conditions such as disease can likewise affect nutrition, especially the animal’s ability to absorb and/or metabolize many of the nutrients. In recent years, research and practice has emphasized the effect of numerous nutritionally based compounds to enhance health in cattle on a number of levels. A relatively new term, “nutriceutical,” has been coined to describe any number of assorted nutrients, compounds and products which can stimulate immune response in the animal or seem to have a sort of therapeutic or direct health effect.


Limiting Nighttime Calving – Frequently Asked Questions

Limiting Nighttime Calving – Frequently Asked Questions


Calf mortality at calving time is reduced significantly with frequent checking of the herd. This supervision is becoming more important with the increasing number of calves with larger birth weights. Therefore it is important to try to calve during the daytime hours when supervision and assistance is most effective.

Can you change the time of day that cattle calve?

Merely changing the feeding time can change the time of calving. Feeding cows at night is the easiest and most practical method of reducing the number of night calvings.


Bale or buy?: Farmers, experts offer tips on hay

Bale or buy?: Farmers, experts offer tips on hay

Mike Surbrugg

Joplin Globe

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Experience has taught Gene Brockus that no two years are alike when it comes to knowing how much hay his cows need.

To that end, the St. Clair County farmer keeps a two-year supply of hay on hand to get him through thick and thin years, he said.

Brockus was among those at a forage conference in Springfield on Feb. 26 for a session comparing buying and baling hay.

Justin Sexton, University of Missouri Extension beef nutritionist, said the nutritional value of hay can be the same regardless of where it is baled. Nutrition can only decline after hay has been harvested, he said.


Bill introduced to shut down facilities that repeatedly slaughter downers

Bill introduced to shut down facilities that repeatedly slaughter downers

Ag Professional

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced legislation Thursday that would shut down slaughter facilities that repeatedly process downed animals and offer stiff fines and temporary one-year shutdowns for first- and second-time violators.

The bill, which is co-sponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), will give the USDA additional authority to apply a tough penalty system on facilities that violate the law when it comes to handling nonambulatory animals, including stiff fines for first time offenders and temporary or permanent facility shutdowns for repeat violators. Nonambulatory is defined as those animals that cannot stand or walk without assistance.

“Animals that are sick and too weak to stand or walk on their own should not be slaughtered and used for food,” Senator Feinstein said. “Millions of pounds of potentially tainted, recalled meat made its way into school cafeterias across this country. Companies responsible for this kind of activity shouldn’t just receive a slap on the wrist. The safety of our food supply cannot be taken lightly.


Ethanol boom raises fears for beef sector

Ethanol boom raises fears for beef sector


The Southland Times

Booming ethanol production in the United States could provide some short-term grief for New Zealand beef producers.

Weak returns and soaring feed costs have led to an increase in the US beef slaughter and a possible surge of beef on to the domestic market that could see demand for New Zealand beef imports drop and returns slide, according to the latest BNZ Commodities wrap.

However, Meat & Wool New Zealand economic service executive director Rob Davison played down any crisis.


Do the Right Thing

Do the Right Thing

by Helen Redli

Angus Journal

Hats off to the beef industry! Results of the 2007 National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audit, funded by the beef checkoff, were released in February during the 2008 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Reno, Nev. From the production end to the packing plant, auditors found significant improvements in a number of areas concerning both cattle stewardship and beef quality. Dan Hale and Ron Gill of Texas A&M University presented the results of the audit — the good news and some management considerations for improvement — during the Cattlemen’s College.®


Coleman asks for emergency funding for Bovine TB

Coleman asks for emergency funding for Bovine TB


Senator Norm Coleman sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget Monday, asking officials to promptly approve emergency funding to address Minnesota’s current Bovine Tuberculosis crisis.

Bovine TB has turned up in four cattle herds in northwest Minnesota since October 2007.  Bovine TB was initially discovered in a northwest Minnesota beef cattle herd in July 2005, but since then, 11 infected herds have been found. 


Honoring Hitch’s legacy

Honoring Hitch’s legacy


Managing Editor

Guymon Daily Herald

Here’s agribusiness success story Paul Hitch, who died last week at the age of 64.

Locals and those in all facets of agriculture across the globe are grieving the loss of Paul Hitch.

Hitch, 64, was a well-respected and legendary descendent of early settlers who made a homestead in No Man’s Land which grew into the successful empire Hitch Enterprises.

He passed away early Friday, March 14, at the Baptist Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Amarillo, Texas, following a lengthy battle against cancer.

As the son of the late cattle feeding industry pioneer Henry C. “Ladd” Hitch Jr., Paul Hitch was born and raised on his family’s ranching operation outside of Guymon.

“I grew up on a ranch, my two sons have grown up on the ranch, and now my grandson will grow up at the ranch,” said Hitch in a previous interview.

After graduating from Guymon High School and attending Wentworth Military School for two years, Hitch went to Oklahoma State University, where he graduated with a degree in animal science in 1965. He was active in Greek life and once said he found a home in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. After OSU, he attended Stanford University and earned a master’s degree in business administration.

He then returned to the family ranch which was making a large profit and as he said, they were feeding as much cattle as they could hold with one hand and holding back customers with the other hand.


Closer to Farm Bill Deadline

Closer to Farm Bill Deadline


 It’s a legislative debate that seems to never end – making a decision on the farm bill.

It’s a major piece of legislation that affects agriculture funding, and time is running out.

Jim Zerr, a farmer in Callaway County, has been farming for more than 40 years and knows what kind of impact the farm bill has. He says he’s not terribly disappointed in the lack of progress made with the farm bill.

“I think if we would be in a situation where we had five dollar beans and had two dollar corn, then it would be a different situation,” said Zerr.


Poetry Corner: Joe Kreger

Poetry Corner:  Joe Kreger

High Plains Journal

Calvin’ time

I have an easy, peaceful feelin’

as I begin to write this rhyme

about my favorite season –

when it’s calvin’ time.


We have two seasons on our ranch;

we calve both spring and fall.

But, some folks don’t care what months they calve.

They just calve throughout them all.


Fluid Therapy – Dehydration Overlooked

Fluid Therapy – Dehydration Overlooked


Cattle are not the most efficient species at absorbing water from ingested material. This is evidenced by the character and consistency of their normal fecal material. In comparison to any other species (horses, small ruminants, dogs, cats, etc), cattle tend to have much more fluid feces. A cow or calf with horse-like fecal material has been experiencing a high level of dehydration for a significant amount of time.

Dehydration is an often overlooked clinical sign of a sick animal. A sick cow or calf often is not feeling well enough to eat or drink. Depending on the environmental conditions and the cause of disease, dehydration may be mild to severe and life-threatening. A calf with pneumonia likely is experiencing some level of dehydration, but this would be mild compared to the dehydration of calf scours. Also, a lame animal that has been lying in the heat of the day, is likely to be significantly dehydrated.