Daily Archives: April 24, 2008

Cows Helping Make Ethanol

Cows Helping Make Ethanol

John Davis

Hoosier AG Today

A study by researchers at Michigan State University says that an enzyme from a microbe that lives in cows’ stomachs could help get more ethanol out of corn. This story from Science Daily says scientists have figured out how to grow corn with the enzyme already in the grain, According to the study :

The enzyme that allows a cow to digest grasses and other plant fibers can be used to turn other plant fibers into simple sugars. These simple sugars can be used to produce ethanol to power cars and trucks. MSU scientists have discovered a way to grow corn plants that contain this enzyme. They have inserted a gene from a bacterium that lives in a cow’s stomach into a corn plant. Now, the sugars locked up in the plant’s leaves and stalk can be converted into usable sugar without expensive synthetic chemicals.


Super-Sized Cows Need Super Management

Super-Sized Cows Need Super Management


Mature weight and milk production of many commercial beef cows are both greater than they were 30 to 40 years ago, and that means management considerations must change as well, says a specialist with Oklahoma Extension.

It is a truth hiding in plain sight: Mature weight and milk production of many commercial beef cows are both greater than they were 30 to 40 years ago, and that means management considerations must change as well.

Most commercial ranchers underestimate the mature size of their cows simply because they have not weighed the adult cows to know what average mature weight to expect, said Glenn Selk, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service livestock reproduction specialist.


Rebalancing the Grain Grazers

Rebalancing the Grain Grazers

Ed Haag

Angus Journal

It is no secret that serious bloat problems can develop when cattle change their diet from dry hay to grazing wheat.

Recently, in response to this issue, a research team led by Bill Pinchak, beef cattle nutritionist at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Vernon, conducted a pair of studies using ruminally cannulated steers.

The results of both projects were presented at the 2007 American Dairy Science Association-American Society of Animal Science (ADSA-ASAS) conference. Both were designed to monitor and evaluate shifts in rumen bacterial populations associated with diet changes from Bermuda-grass hay to wheat pasture grazing during a 70-day period. The first specifi cally looked at bacteria populations in the rumen associated with bloat. The second evaluated the effects of supplementation with naturally occurring, condensed tannin extracts on those bacteria and the incidence of bloat.

Production Response To Distillers Gains

Production Response To Distillers Gains


More than two-dozen research trials have been conducted since 1982 in which distillers grains, either wet or dried, were fed to lactating cows. Amounts fed ranged from 4.2% of total diet DM (Broderick et al., 1990) to 41.6% of DM (Van Horn et al., 1985). Kalscheur (2005) conducted a meta analysis of 24 studies reported from 1982 to 2005 involving 98 treatment comparisons.

Distillers grains are palatable and readily consumed whether wet or dried; however, some decreases in DM intake can occur when fed high amounts of DGS, especially wet DGS. Dry matter intakes were as high as or higher than intakes of control diets even with more than 20% DGS in the diet


Cattle Packers now back downer ban

Cattle Packers now back downer ban


In a significant reversal, the meat industry is backing a total ban on so-called downer cattle from entering the food supply.

Calls for such a ban have come from watchdog groups in the wake of the massive beef recall from a Southern California slaughterhouse.

Current law bans slaughter of most cows that are unable to stand, but they’re allowed in if they fall down after passing a veterinarian’s inspection and then are re-inspected.


Winter Injury In Alfalfa

Winter Injury In Alfalfa


Reports are coming in from around the state about winter injury in alfalfa. Reports range from heaving to outright winter kill of plants without heaving. Considering the stressful conditions last year and through the winter and cutting management decisions that were made late last fall, the reports are not surprising.

The 2007 Easter freeze followed by very dry conditions the remainder of the growing season left alfalfa stands in a weakened state going into the winter. Where a late fall harvest was made, no plant cover was left to insulate the crowns and the soil from alternative freezing-thaw cycles. Research in Wayne county demonstrated that early November harvests dramatically increased heaving in alfalfa stands compared with where a late harvest was not made. Furthermore, very wet soils throughout the winter probably contributed to lack of oxygen for alfalfa roots, and wet soils are also known to decrease cold tolerance of alfalfa.


EU proposes relaxing mad cow restrictions

EU proposes relaxing mad cow restrictions

Tom Wray


The European Commission on Tuesday proposed easing the European Union’s mad cow restrictions on the use of beef on the bone.

The Associated Press reported that the EU’s executive said it is now safe to raise the age limit at which the spine must be removed from slaughtered cattle to 24 to 30 months. The change must be approved by EU governments.


Costs, Considerations Of Switching To Natural Or Organic Agricultural Methods

Costs, Considerations Of Switching To Natural Or Organic Agricultural Methods


When Kansas State University graduate student Ben Wileman was a practicing veterinarian in Belle Fourche, S.D., natural and organic labels were a big focus for the beef producers he saw.
“They tended to be terms that were thrown around a lot, but few people really seemed to know what they truly meant,” Wileman said.

The definition of “organic” is defined by U.S. Department of Agriculture; “natural,” however, can be defined differently depending on who’s doing the labeling. But both terms mean one thing: higher costs for producers. That’s why Wileman hopes that his research will be another tool to help those in the beef industry pondering whether to abandon conventional methods and go natural or organic.


The FDA Revises Its Beef Regulations

The FDA Revises Its Beef Regulations

The Post Chronicle

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a final regulation barring certain cattle materials from all animal feed, including pet food.

The agency said its final rule further protects animals and consumers against bovine spongiform encephalopathym, or BSE — also known as mad cow disease.

The materials that can no longer be used in animal feed are the tissues that have the highest risk for carrying the agent thought to cause BSE. Such high risk cattle materials are the brains and spinal cords from cattle 30 months of age and older.


Pre-Weaning Considerations For Beef Calves

Pre-Weaning Considerations For Beef Calves


Beef producers across the Commonwealth certainly have enjoyed the summer of 2000 more than the summer of 1999. Milder temperatures and more rain combined this year to keep pastures in good shape all through July.

Last year at this time, producers were already feeding hay and many were having trouble getting water to their herds. It is hard to believe that summer will soon be winding down and beef producers will have to think about weaning spring calves.

“There are a couple of important management considerations producers need to think about before weaning time,” John Anderson, agricultural economist for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, said. “First, working calves prior to weaning will prepare them for the stress of weaning.”


Japan intensifies U.S. beef inspections after spinal columns found

Japan intensifies U.S. beef inspections after spinal columns found


Japan has intensified its inspections of U.S. beef shipments after spinal columns, banned under a bilateral beef trade agreement, were discovered in shipments from California, the government said Thursday.

As an immediate measure, the government has increased the frequency of random checks on boxes of U.S. beef imported by Japan, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry officials said.

Beef Cattle & Ethanol Plant Comes Under Fire

Beef Cattle & Ethanol Plant Comes Under Fire


Plans for a proposed 84,000 beef cattle and ethanol plant in St. Lawrence County are coming under fire by a local farmers organization.

The St. Lawrence County Farm Bureau is opposing the use of public funds to finance Bion Environmental Technologies proposal for a beef farm and bio-energy plant.

Bion is looking into converting manure from thousands of beef cattle into ethanol.


Establishing Switchgrass For Grazing & Energy

Establishing Switchgrass For Grazing & Energy


The purpose of this article is to describe a research project that has been designed to examine the economic feasibility of utilizing switchgrass in a dual-purpose production system that allows for 1) springtime grazing by stocker cattle and 2) fall biomass production that can be harvested and delivered to a biorefinery that will convert it into ethanol. We would also like to report on the production and economic activities associated with establishing the switchgrass that will be used for the study.


Uterine infections in post partum cows

Uterine infections in post partum cows

Partners in Reproduction

Bacterial uterine infections disrupt not only the function of the uterus, but also the ovary and the control centres in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. The correct diagnosis and treatment of uterine diseases is a key component of all reproduction management programs.


Roy A. Wallace Beef Improvement Federation Memorial Fund established

Roy A. Wallace Beef Improvement Federation Memorial Fund established


Select Sires Inc., together with the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) and the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, has established the Roy A. Wallace BIF Memorial Fund to honor Wallace, who devoted his life to beef-cattle improvement. Wallace worked for Select Sires for 40 years, serving as vice-president, beef programs. He passed away in January at the age of 63.

Wallace became involved with BIF in its infancy and was the only person to attend each of the first 40 BIF conventions. He loved what BIF stands for — an organization that brings together purebred and commercial cattle breeders, academia and breed associations, all committed to improving beef cattle. Wallace was honored with both the BIF Pioneer Award and BIF Continuing Service Award and co-authored the BIF 25-year history, Ideas into Action.

FULL STORY (Registration may be required)