Daily Archives: April 28, 2008

Video Feature: Low Stress Cattle Handling – Ron Gill – AgriLife Extension

Ron Gill demonstrates low stress cattle handling principles. He uses cattle behavior to move cattle. This video demonstrates moving cattle without driving aids.

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Realistic Expectations From Estrous Synchronization & AI Programs

cattlenetwork.com

Producers that are wanting to improve the genetic makeup of their beef herds very often turn to artificial insemination (AI) as a tool to accomplish that goal.  Many times, these producers have very high expectations as they begin the first season of artificial breeding.  Perhaps they have heard other producers tell of situations where “near-perfect” pregnancy rates resulted from THEIR artificial insemination program.  Everyone wants to get every cow or heifer bred as they start the labor and expense of an AI program.  However, the rules of biology do not often allow for 100% pregnancy rates in most situations.

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Three spring practices boost beef profits

Delta Farm Press

Beef producers can increase their profits by performing recommended spring management practices. Three of the most important management practices to perform in the spring include castration, dehorning, and implanting, according to Clyde Lane, a beef specialist with University of Tennessee Extension.

Producers should castrate all commercial male calves in the spring if it was not done at birth. “The preferred method of castration is with a knife,” Lane said. “This method is 100 percent effective and usually causes no problems if done properly.” Using a Newberry knife is the safest way to perform the surgical castration.

Lane advises farmers to use an insecticide spray on the wound to control flies.

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‘Boot Stage’ Means High Quality Hay

Kevin L. Rose, Extension Director

Giletoday.com

Grass is beginning to grow and hay harvesting time is getting near. Yet, many producers lose hay quality by harvesting their grasses too late every year.

Last year’s drought greatly affected hay supplies. Harvesting hay at the correct stage could provide not only more quality but additional feed by allowing earlier second cuttings if a similar situation were to happen again.

All cool-season grass hay such as fescue or orchardgrass should be harvested in the “boot stage.” What is “boot stage,” you might ask? Basically, it is the stage of plant growth where the plant itself begins to concentrate on seed head development as opposed to the leaf tissue. Quality remains in leaf tissue as long as nutrients are being supplied. However, each plant’s ultimate goal is survival of the species and a plant survives by producing seed.

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Mexican import protocols frustrate ranchers

Western Livestock Journal

Nearly a month after the declaration from Mexico which announced the country would begin to resume the import of all breeding cattle from the U.S., ranchers on both sides of the border are expressing their frustration with legal red tape which seems to be preventing beef breeding cattle from flowing across the border.

In March, Mexico agreed to lift its longstanding ban on the import of any breeding cattle besides dairy heifers under 24 months of age, and cattlemen in both the U.S. and Mexico saw the opportunity they had waited so patiently for. Unfortunately, industry sources have indicated that miscommunications within and between the two countries are creating a trade bottleneck, and that no beef breeding cattle have crossed into Mexico.

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U.S. Tightens feed ban for South Korea beef deal

Peter Shinn

Brownfield Network

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday published a final rule in the Federal Register that expands the ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban. The feed ban is seen as the key tool in preventing the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and eliminating it from existing herds.

The final rule prohibits feeding specified risk materials to any animals, not just cattle, and modestly expands the definition of specified risk materials (SRM). SRMs are the portions of the cattle carcass thought to contain prions, which are blamed for causing BSE in cattle and the human form of BSE, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

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Cattlemen’s program focused on beef quality assurance

Gothenburg Times

A program developed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association seeks to help producers deliver a better product to their customers, said a University of Nebraska-Lincoln veterinarian.

“In 1991, producers asked the association to look at the product after it left the ranch or feedlot for opportunities to improve quality,” said Dee Griffin, beef production management veterinarian at the Great Plains Veterinary Education Center in Clay Center.

In 1991, they found a problem with injection sites that no one knew existed, Griffin said. Some 24 percent of carcasses sustained losses at damaged injection sites but by 2001 that number had dropped to two percent, he said.

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Rising input costs impact beef industry, cattle markets

BRIDGER FEUZ, UW Cooperative Extension Service

The Prairie Star

Three major factors affect the market dynamics of the beef industry – the supply of beef, the demand for beef, and the status of beef trade.

Looking at each of these factors provides a better understanding of long-term market trends. One additional factor that also must be addressed is input costs.

Starting in 2004, the January 1 total cattle inventory experienced slow growth through 2006.

The inventory increased at a rate of about 0.5 percent in 2004, 1.5 percent in 2005 and 0.3 percent in 2006. However, after three years of growth in total cattle inventory, 2007 inventory declined 0.3 percent.

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Trade Is Important to Indiana Beef Producers.

Gary Truitt

Hoosier AG Today

After more than 3 years of negotiations, the US Beef industry is finally regaining access to export markets. US beef is considered to be the highest quality in the world. In light of international fears about BSE, export markets, especially in Asia, have been closed to US cattlemen. Korea, a very large market for US beef exports recently agreed to resume importing US beef. Julia Wickard, Executive Director of the Indiana Beef Cattle Association, told HAT this is a significant development for Hoosier cattlemen, “That particular market is very critical for Midwest producers, and we have been working with our national organization and the White House to reopen this market.”

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Beef network splitting off some functions

Montana’s News Station

The Montana Beef Network is dividing its functions between two separate entities.

A Montana limited liability company, Verified Beef, will be responsible for the part of the program that hundreds of Montana ranchers have used to certify feeder calves, for source and age verification, as well as carcass data tracking and collection.

MBN will continue its other functions — including Beef Quality Assurance, educational programming and beef cattle research.

MBN has been a cooperative project between Montana State University and the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

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Indicator Traits vs. Economically Relevant Traits

cattlenetwork.com

The first national sire evaluation in beef was published in the early 1970s comparing 13 sires for a limited number of traits. As time has gone on, both the number of animals and the number of traits with EPD have increased.

More recently, a more defined focus for EPD has been encouraged.

This new focus has been on Economically Relevant Traits, or ERT, as they are sometimes called. Economically Relevant Traits, as the name implies, are those traits that have a direct economic impact to the producer. Traits such as weaning weight and carcass weight are ERT because there is a direct monetary value associated with these traits.

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What Is Preconditioning? Is It For The Average Cow/Calf Producer?

cattlenetwork.com

Preconditioning is an effort to prepare young cattle for the marketplace of optimal health and ability to withstand the stresses associated with leaving the home farm, passing through various trade channels, and adjusting to a new environment. After calving and weaning, this transition is one of the most stressful events that cows might experience in a lifetime. Most of these calves are destined for the feedlot where there is overwhelming evidence that preconditioned cattle significantly outperform those that are not. Advantages include less shrinkage, increased average daily gain, less total days on feed, lower disease incidence with associated costs of medicine, labor, facilities, and mortality, and increased percentage that grade choice.

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Comparison Of Feedlot Performance & Profit Of Calves From The Southeast & Midwest

cattlenetwork.com

It is no secret that feeder calves from the southeastern United States are often regarded as inferior to calves originating from other parts of the country. Even though this is completely inaccurate, the stereotype still remains and serves as an excuse to buy calves from some southeastern states at a discount compared to the national market. This discount has been overcome in some states by aggressively pursuing alternative marketing methods that either build a good reputation for their cattle or capture the benefits of proper management and genetic selection through retained ownership. The most recent nail in the coffin of this misconception comes from a study presented at the Southern Section meeting of the American Society of Animal Science.

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The high price of going ‘organic’

CNNMoney.com

The push for ‘green’ products may have peaked – due in part to the fact that they’re While many companies are now rushing to “go green,” recent surveys show American consumers are getting turned off by the organic hype for three reasons: price, skepticism and confusion.

The percentage of consumers who believe organic products are good for them is down to 45%, while those who believe they’re good for the environment has fallen to 48%, according to the latest survey from consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail. Both measures stood at a 54% approval rating two years ago.

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