Daily Archives: April 25, 2008

Cross Hedging Cull Cows

Cross Hedging Cull Cows

Kansas State University

Cull cow sales are an important component of cow-calf producer profitability, representing 15 to 25 percent of ranchers’ gross income. Cow-calf producers, cow feeders, and processors face significant price risk. For example, from January 1995 to December 1996, Dodge City Boner cull cow prices ranged from $29.41 per hundredweight to $48.00 per hundredweight Similar variability prevails across other locations and cow grades. Given this variability, it is important that cow-calf producers, cull cow feeders, and cow processors have some mechanism to manage price risk.


Farm Bill Congress passes a one-week extension

Farm Bill Congress passes a one-week extension

Western Livestock Journal

—As battle over funding continues, possibility of a one-year extension grows.

Already well behind schedule, Congress sought another extension for the Farm Bill last week in an effort to come to an agreement on funding measures and a few key sticking points as the two houses of Congress battle it out. The House passed a one-week extension last Wednesday, while the Senate was expected to follow suit.

However, Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said President George Bush won’t agree to it unless Congress shows progress in writing a farm bill he can support.

“If, in fact, we can make some significant progress today and tomorrow (April 16 and 17)… then I think we can recommend to the president to sign a week’s extension,” Schafer said. The clock was set to run out on the current extension last Friday.


Indiana Beef Gets Federal Grade

Indiana Beef Gets Federal Grade

Gary Truitt

Hoosier AG Today

On Thursday, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed into law a measure that will give Indiana cattlemen a new market opportunity. The new law allows the Indiana Board of Animal Health (BOAH) to apply federal-grading standards at state inspected processing plants. This will allow Hoosier cattle producers to sell federally graded meat at local restaurants. “This is really important for Indiana beef producers,” said Julia Wickard, Executive Director of the Indiana Beef Cattle Association (IBCA). “It is important from a value-added opportunity, a niche market opportunity, and from an economic development opportunity.”


BeefTalk: One Size Does Not Fit All

BeefTalk: One Size Does Not Fit All

Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Put the right piece in the right puzzle Put the right piece in the right puzzle

We have the makings of being a little drier than dry.

Dry weather has dominated recent conversations. We can only hope the weather forecast indicating rain is true.

If dry weather continues, one should have a plan to follow. Unfortunately, a lack of rain is not new. For many ranchers, dry conditions have forced producers to reduce cattle numbers in previous years as well.

For all practical matters, herd reduction plans have been carried out. Most of the old and late-calving cows are gone. Those cows that were open also were culled last fall. There is not much excess to cull.


Rabies In Cattle Often Leads To Human Exposure

Rabies In Cattle Often Leads To Human Exposure


Rabies is a fatal zoonotic disease with serious public health risks. The disease is an acute progressive viral encephalitis that all mammals are susceptible to and is maintained within wild mammal populations. Pet owners are widely aware of the threat of rabies through educational programs and vaccination regulations. Cattle and horses are frequently infected with rabies and place animal handlers at considerable risk of exposure. Since 2000, only cats have exceeded cattle in the incidence of rabies cases amongst U.S. domestic animals. People that handle cattle often do not recognize the potential risk that cattle with vague or misrepresentative symptoms create for human exposure and infection. Human exposure to rabies via infected cattle occurs commonly and poses serious consequences.


Developing Heifers Correctly Ensures Productive Life

Developing Heifers Correctly Ensures Productive Life

Clifford Mitchell

Cattle Today

Management protocols often follow mission statements or reflect something stated in an end-of-the-year financial statement or lost market share to competitors. This business world jargon may sound like a foreign language to some ranchers; however, most realize, to succeed, these terms need to become part of their production model.

Developing heifers is a topic often discussed at field days, producer meetings and through other means of continuing education. Like most things with the cattle business, change comes slow because these critters have been finding their way into the breeding herd for a long time. Every outfit takes a different approach and conflicting points of view often stir emotions.


Fall Calf Marketing Process Should Start Now

Fall Calf Marketing Process Should Start Now


Many cow-calf producers are finishing another successful spring calving season. Thoughts of marketing those new calves in the fall may be far from their minds. However, spring is an ideal time to start the marketing process, even though the actual sales date is still months away.

Last fall, the range in prices for similar weights and grades of calves at the same sale was wider than at any other time in history. Northern Plains auction markets recorded $15 per hundredweight (cwt) or even greater ranges in prices. Fall 2008 price ranges could be even wider.


Fooled again?

Fooled again?

Steve Suther

Black Ink

Choice beef is worth more than Select grade. That’s because consumers prefer higher quality, and have been willing to pay more for it. So, why did Select beef sell for more than Choice for a few days this spring?

Was it an April Fools market? You could look at it that way—it sure wasn’t because consumers wanted more Select beef. Historically, any time Select beef trades even with Choice, something strange is going on.

A couple of years ago, we’d think it wild fantasy to read about corn above $6 a bushel, beans in the teens and wheat that went to the moon on northern spot markets before settling back into mere earth orbit. Unfortunately for livestock producers, this is reality today.


Managing High Sulfur Concentrations In Feedlot Rations

Managing High Sulfur Concentrations In Feedlot Rations


Recent ethanol industry expansion has resulted in a large increase in the amount of corn milling byproducts available for animal feed. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, over 13 million ton of distillers grains were produced from United States ethanol plants in 2006, and approximately 85% of this feedstuff was used by beef and dairy cattle. This feedstuff has many desirable characteristics, such as high energy, protein, and fiber. Due to the use of sulfuric acid to maintain fermenter pH levels, distillers grains also contains an appreciable amount of sulfur (S).

The S content of distillers grains can be extremely high and also is quite variable. If not managed properly, high S concentrations in the diet, coupled with S from drinking water, may negatively affect both animal performance and animal health.

Little Known Breed Gaining Industry Attention

Little Known Breed Gaining Industry Attention

Dr. Rod Harris

Maurice Boney is worried about the beef business. He says the U.S. cow herd is too diverse, comprised of too many breeds and too many gene-trait combinations, to ever produce consistently high-quality products for consumers.

So he’s spent much of his life trying to do something about it. Boney, who ranches near Johnstown, Colo., has been developing a linebred breed of cattle called Irish Blacks and Irish Reds for nearly 40 years. The breed, trademarked by Boney and marketed under an exclusive contractual agreement to a select but growing group of producers in 22 states, is gaining attention from cattle feeders, packers and restaurateurs as an answer to many of the industry’s most pressing concerns. Derived primarily from Friesian genetics and a small amount of Black Angus genetics (35 years ago) from the old “Revolution” line, the breed has been close-herd line-bred for built-in genetic predictability to transmit quality genetics for fertility, production attributes and superior beef quality.


USDA implements key strategy in animal ID system

USDA implements key strategy in animal ID system

Delta Farm Press

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced it has implemented a key strategy from its Business Plan to Advance Animal Disease Traceability by providing National Animal Identification System (NAIS) compliant “840” radio frequency (RF) eartags to animal health officials for use in the bovine tuberculosis (TB) control program.

NAIS-compliant “840” tags provide for individual identification of livestock through a 15-digit number beginning with the U.S. country code.

Through the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, the “840” tags allow animal health officials to electronically identify an animal. This increases the efficiency of animal disease investigations that involve the tracing of exposed and potentially infected animals.

RFID technology also increases the accuracy of recording the animal’s 15-digit animal identification number (AIN). USDA has purchased a total of 1.5 million “840” RF animal identification tags to support animal disease control programs, including the bovine TB and brucellosis programs.


Vegetarians not hurting beef demand

Vegetarians not hurting beef demand

Tom Steever

Brownfield Network

A cattle industry spokesperson says seven million vegetarians don’t have much of an affect on the amount of beef moving in the U.S. A study done for the magazine Vegetarian Times indicates a little over three percent of U.S. adults avoid meat. The effects, however, are not evident, says Mary Young, vice-president of nutrition for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

“Demand for beef is very high,” Young said, reacting to the results of the survey. “The American population has a love affair with beef and actually there’s an increased interest in consuming more high quality protein foods among the public, including lean beef.”

From a nutritionist’s perspective, Young says there is a reason for a wide and varied range of food groups. The fewer foods included from the recommended groups, the more care that has to be taken to get necessary nutrients into the diet.


FDA bans certain cattle parts from all animal feed

FDA bans certain cattle parts from all animal feed


U.S. makers of pet food and all other animal feed will be prevented from using certain materials from cattle at the greatest risk for spreading mad cow disease under a rule that regulators finalized on Wednesday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which oversees animal feed, said excluding high-risk materials from cattle 30 months of age or older from all animal feed will prevent any accidental cross-contamination between ruminant feed (intended for animals such as cattle) and non-ruminant feed or feed ingredients.

The new rule takes effect in April, 2009.


PETA offers $1 million for lab-created meat

PETA offers $1 million for lab-created meat

Washington Post

Animal rights activists are offering scientists a $1 million reward if they can produce commercially viable meat in a laboratory.

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals leaders say lab-grown meat could satisfy appetites without harming animals.

“People are surprised to learn that PETA is interested in lab-grown meat, but we have overcome our own revulsion at flesh-eating to champion a breakthrough that will mean a far kinder world for animals,” said PETA President Igrid Newkirk.


Woman finds birdshot in stir-fry beef

Woman finds birdshot in stir-fry beef



Debbie Shannon bought a package of stir-fry beef April 13 at the Post Commons Publix on Wickham Road to fix dinner for herself, her teenage son and his girlfriend.

She got home, cooked the beef and some broccoli, and sat down to enjoy the meal. But then she bit into something hard that ruined the evening.

Shannon spit out a round metal ball that rolled on her plate. Her son and his girlfriend also spit out metal pellets. She took the meat and a small palmful of pellets back to the store, talked to the manager and called the company’s Lakeland headquarters.