Daily Archives: May 2, 2008

Animal welfare needs paradigm shifts

Animal welfare needs paradigm shifts

Dr. Stanley Curtis

Feedstuffs Foodlink

According to one of Aesop’s “Fables,” an old man summoned his sons to offer some parting advice. He took a bundle of sticks and said to his eldest son: “Break it.” The son strained but was unable to break the bundle. The other sons also tried, but none was successful.

“Untie the bundle,” ordered the father, “and each of you take a stick.” When they had done so, he directed them: “Now, break,” and each stick was easily broken. “Union gives strength,” said the father.

This principle, together with former President Ronald Reagan’s observation that it’s surprising what you can accomplish when no one is concerned about who gets the credit, should be applied now as animal agriculture struggles with the farm animal welfare issue.


Effect of Body Condition on Rebreeding

Effect of Body Condition on Rebreeding

William E. Kunkle and Robert S. Sand

University of Florida

The income and profit of a beef cattle operation is closely related to the rebreeding and reproduction rate of the herd. A 1986 survey of cattle producers in nine counties in central Florida indicated the number of calves sold was only 69% of the breeding age beef cows. Forty-eight percent of the 284 producers that responded indicated that nutrition was their biggest problem with reproduction and another 24% indicated that parasites were their biggest problem.

Nutrition and parasites were factors identified by over 70% of producers surveyed and both will affect the body condition of the beef cow. The body condition of the beef cow is related to reproductive performance and can be used by cattle producers to make management decisions. Grouping of cattle and the type and level of supplemental feed for maximum profit are decisions that must take body condition into consideration.


BeefTalk: Cow Size – A Foundational Issue

BeefTalk: Cow Size – A Foundational Issue

Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Knowing the weight of the cows being turned out to grass is something every producer needs to know.

As the search for grass and feed continues, one needs to reflect on research regarding cow size. The simple answer is that one size does not fit all operations.

While sorting cows and calves for spring and summer pasture, one needs to make sure managerial desires are in concert with biology. This is especially important in dry areas, which is what we are facing at the Dickinson Research Extension Center.


Roy A. Wallace Beef Improvement Federation Memorial Fund Established

Roy A. Wallace Beef Improvement Federation Memorial Fund Established

Cattle Today

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.


Livestock producers going out of business, need federal help

Livestock producers going out of business, need federal help

North Platte Bulletin

Faced with soaring feed costs, the Nebraska Farm Bureau urged U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer to consider seven specific actions to help Nebraska and U.S. pork, poultry and cattle producers who are experiencing severe financial distress because of costs and stagnant demand.

Cattle feeders are losing up to $200 to $300 per animal. Pork producers are losing up to $60 per animal, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Keith Olsen said Wednesday.

“Many livestock feeders are losing equity, some are having difficulty obtaining operating financing from lending institutions, and others are simply getting out of the business of feeding livestock,” Olsen said.


Rising commodity costs impacting cattle industry

Rising commodity costs impacting cattle industry

Jay Ermis

The Huntsville Item

“Feed, fuel and fertilizer are the three things that have really taken the joy out of Christmas on this thing.”

Walker County cattle raiser Robert Bruner was not alone when pinpointing the three factors having a big impact on the Texas cattle industry.

The rising cost of feed, fuel and fertilizer and how to cope with those costs were among the issues Walker County and area ranchers and cattlemen discussed during a regional meeting Wednesday night at the Walker County Fairgrounds.

An estimated 80 people heard three industry officials cover a variety of occurrences keeping cattle prices from increasing


Vaccination Timing Schedule

Vaccination Timing Schedule


The vaccines available to help control respiratory disease include IBR, PI3, BVD, BRSV, Pasteurella and Hemophilus. Some of the newer pasteurella products show promise of improved value but must be given well in advance of weaning to have time to stimulate any immunity by the time of stress. One new product requires only one injection, but this must be given with a generous lead time to be of value. Replicated virus from modified live virus vaccines for IBR can be transmitted to other cattle and some may have caused abortions. Don’t use these vaccines on pregnant cows nor on calves which will be commingled with pregnant cows. There are other vaccines available which are safe for use in those situations.


Bid to buy Smithfield group to be reviewed

Bid to buy Smithfield group to be reviewed



A Senate subcommittee will scrutinize a Brazilian company’s bid to buy Smithfield Beef Group of Green Bay, Sen. Herb Kohl said Tuesday.

Kohl, chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, provided few details in his announcement of the May 7 hearing on the proposed acquisition.

The U.S. Justice Department is reviewing JBS Swift & Co.’s proposal to buy the country’s fourth-largest beef packer, National Beef Packing, LLC, and the fifth-largest beef packer, Smithfield Beef Group. The company also plans to buy the largest U.S. cattle feedlot operation, Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding, LLC.


Making sense of beef grading

Making sense of beef grading

Brady Deal

Juneau Empire

What is beef grading and what does it mean to your taste buds?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s beef grading system is in place to determine the relative tenderness, flavor and juiciness of the beef we buy. The major factors in evaluating the quality of beef are marbling (intramuscular fat), maturity, texture, firmness and color.

USDA beef grades are as follows; prime, choice, select and standard, subdivided into commercial and utility. There are also independent grades of beef, including certified Angus beef and Kobe beef, which hold their grading to even more stringent standards than the USDA.


Calf Health: Bovine Respiratory Disease – Clinical Signs & Treatment

Calf Health: Bovine Respiratory Disease – Clinical Signs & Treatment



The most common signs of BRD are nasal and eye discharges, coughing, fever, decreased appetite, varying degrees of breathing difficulty and noise, rapid breathing, depression, droopy ears, open mouthed breathing and death. These vary greatly, depending on the stage and extent of the disease process.


In the past, there have been no drugs effective against viral agents in the treatment of cattle for respiratory disease. Through current research, some products may become available for use in the future. The antibiotics and sulfas have no effect on the viral agents but are often of great aid against the bacterial invaders.

North Platte feed yard to double in size

North Platte feed yard to double in size

George Lauby

North Platte Bulletin

It is not a small expansion.

North Platte Feeders, which feeds about 40,000 head, will have room to feed more than 80,000 head when the expansion is complete.

The feed yard is 17 miles south of North Platte and one mile east along Echo School Road.

Dirt moving equipment has been working steadily for nearly a month, neighbors say.

On April 8, the Lincoln County Planning Commission officially approved the expansion. In doing so, the commission agreed to allow the owners to build 190 expansive new pens, plus another 45 “half-size” pens.


Animal research center hot on the trail of E. coli O157:H7

Animal research center hot on the trail of E. coli O157:H7


A former World War II Naval ammunition depot in Clay Center, Neb., now called the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, is an animal research center where U.S. government scientists are researching to unlock secrets contained in the genetic makeup of the cattle, according to the Associated Press. And their focus is specifically on E. coli O157:H7 , which was responsible for so many recalls in 2007.

“Our purpose is to save little kids’ lives,” said Mohammad Koohmaraie, director of the center and a well-known scientist to the U.S. meat and poultry industry.


Bovine Intervention

Bovine Intervention

Baseline Magazine

The nationwide rollout of the USDA’s animal identification system is slow to gain acceptance, even though the RFID technology it is based on is being used to track millions of manufacturing parts and billions of dollars in retail inventory.

It was supposed to help stem an outbreak of mad-cow disease. Instead, the Bush administration’s proposal to electronically brand tens of millions of farm animals with RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags is producing some very angry farmers and ranchers.


Herbicides For Summer Pasture Weed Control

Herbicides For Summer Pasture Weed Control


Do you manage your grazing to allow adequate rest so your grass can increase its vigor? If not, don’t waste money spraying weeds and brush — they’ll just keep on coming back. But if you do manage your grazing well, spraying established weeds and brush can hasten improvement of your pasture.

Right now in early June is the best time to control most perennials, annuals, and woody plants. It’s better to spray too early than too late. Please note that there are grazing restrictions following the use of some of these chemicals, so read and follow all label directions.


Cost of farming cattle may push some out of shifting market

Cost of farming cattle may push some out of shifting market

Larisa Brass

Knoxville Sentinel

On a recent windy Friday at the 2008 Knoxville Spring Junior Cattle Exposition at the Tennessee Valley Fairgrounds, a collection of farmers, ag businessfolks and spectators gathered to watch what they hope is the future of the beef cattle business.

Add spiking costs in fuel and fertilizer and the soaring price of grains – driven by the demand for corn-based ethanol and growing markets overseas – to the region’s worst drought in 40 years, and it’s not a pretty picture.