Daily Archives: May 20, 2008



“You can die of good intentions”

That is the best summary I can give of an editorial I read recently about the bill to ban horse slaughter that was passed last year.

The editor and I had discussed the issue when it was a hot topic. At the time she could not imagine “a horse being dragged across a kill floor with chains around its legs.” A gruesome description that elicits a sickening feeling in the heart of any sensitive being. But a few short months later, some of the bill’s supporters are taking a new look.

One of the factors that hastened the disintegration of the bill’s good intentions has been America’s economic pinch. Most horses in civilized countries today are luxury hobbies. Backyard horses are an expensive pet, easily thousands of dollars a year for most owners. Today, gas is over three dollars a gallon. Food is up. Essentials like cell phones, I-Pods, computers, big screen televisions, video games, golf course fees, and movies are up. A triple-shot large latte 5 times a week now costs over twenty dollars! And you have a real estate license and have been trying to sell your house for a year!


EU to let farmers feed animal protein to livestock

EU to let farmers feed animal protein to livestock


The European Union plans to do away with a ban on the use of meat and bone meal as animal feed to offset a surge in the price of feed, Wirtschafts Woche reported, without saying where it got the information.

In an initial step, farmers may use fish meal in feed for calves and lambs, the magazine said in an excerpt of an article to be published on Monday.

Feeding livestock animal proteins has been forbidden since outbreaks of mad cow disease in 2001 led governments to take measures to prevent the spread of animal diseases.




Alfredo Flores

Angus Journal

No other perennial warm-weather legume adapted to the Gulf Coast comes close to the rhizoma perennial peanut (Arachisglabrata). It’s often called “the alfalfa of the South” because its protein and mineral content are very similar to alfalfa’s. But as a long-lived perennial in the region, A. glabrata is less costly to grow than alfalfa. Its recognized quality, persistence and broad uses are making it a good forage crop in the Deep South.


Final Rule on Livestock Price Reporting Issued

Final Rule on Livestock Price Reporting Issued

Hoosier AG Today

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service released the final rule for reauthorizing the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act on Thursday. The rule will be published in the Federal Register on Friday and take effect July 15.

“The implementation of LMR will allow for more accurate and timely reporting of most wholesale and retail meat prices and increase transparency in the reporting of livestock sales,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. “The LMR also offers new market information on pricing, contracting and demand conditions, which will greatly benefit livestock producers.”

Veterinarians Make Recommendations

Veterinarians Make Recommendations

Kansas Livestock Association

The American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) is reaffirming recommendations to producers and livestock market personnel as a result of several highly publicized cattle mishandling incidents. Veterinarians belonging to the group suggest if an animal becomes disabled at a livestock market and is not in extreme distress, treatment measures should be initiated. If it is apparent the animal will not recover, AABP recommends euthanization. Additionally, if the animal is in extreme distress, the animal should be immediately euthanized.


Establishing Economic Value of Distillers Grains for Beef Cows

Establishing Economic Value of Distillers Grains for Beef Cows

By Daryl Strohbehn, Iowa Beef Center, Iowa State University Extension.

In Iowa most of the hays that we feed are sufficiently high in protein to meet cow herd needs, but many will be insufficient in energy content.

Therefore, most cow-calf producers should look at the cost of distillers grains from an energy perspective, which is likely much different than the way a feedlot might look at the product.

Historically, Iowa’s most competitive source of feed energy readily available on the farm is CORN. However, many producers do not like to feed corn and would rather price distillers grains against their old standby, hay.

To do these price comparisons one needs to take into account moisture differences in the products, energy density, transportation costs to the farm and finally any differences in storage and feeding losses. Keep in mind that moisture, energy and protein levels can vary immensely in these products resulting in large fluctuations of cost per unit of nutrient.


Hay Preservatives

Hay Preservatives

Ohio State University

Rainfall on mown hay will significantly lower forage nutrient content. Shortening the field curing time frequently reduces the risk from precipitation. Mechanical conditioning of freshly cut forage now is widely utilized to hasten field drying. Two additional approaches also can be considered to further reduce hay curing time. These are: treatment of legume forages with drying agents as discussed in Agronomy Fact Sheet AGF-011 (Chemical Drying Agents in Harvesting Legume Hay) and the use of a hay preservative as described in this Agronomy Fact Sheet. Unlike drying agents, hay preservatives are not restricted to legume forage; they also can be used on grass and grass-legume mixtures.


Value in Marketing Cull Bulls & Cows

Value in Marketing Cull Bulls & Cows

American Angus Association

The salvage value of cows and bulls, at the end of their productive lives, cannot be underestimated for cow-calf operators.

Various research indicates cull cows account for 10-20% percent of a cow-calf operation’s annual revenue. Jeff Carter, assistant professor, University of Florida’s North Florida Research and Education Center, Marianna, FL, states, “Increasing that value by a third can improve ranch revenue by as much as nearly 6%. As little as a 10% increase in net income from the sale of cull cows would nearly double the overall ranch profit margin.”

Market timing and body condition are factors in determining value. Cattle-Fax reports that since 1980, an additional $60/head, on average, has been made by holding cull cows into a more favorable market window.


Tips For Cooking Grass Fed Meats

Tips For Cooking Grass Fed Meats

Well Fed Network

Posted by Al Rosas on Growers & Grocers.

I’ve been telling people grass is good for years. As The Organic Chef and an organic grass fed beef farmer, it’s only natural that I’ve heard just about everything a person could tell me about grass fed beef. Here I’ve chosen three “myths” about grass fed beef to debunk:


The Hot New Trend: Manure

The Hot New Trend: Manure

National Public Radio

Day to Day, May 19, 2008 · Chemical fertilizer has tripled in price in the past year. And farmers are returning to the old ways: spreading manure on their fields instead of treating it as a worthless byproduct.

Some farmers are finding they can make more profit using their beef cattle to produce manure than they’d make on their meat; others are looking for new ways to maximize the “output” of their livestock, including investing in expensive equipment to capture methane in a chicken house.


Beef Safety: From Farm to the Dinner Table

Beef Safety: From Farm to the Dinner Table


Earlier this year we heard about the largest beef recall in US history– affecting 143 million pounds of the product. Experts say every phase of production has to happen properly for your meat to be safe.

As you sit down to a dinner of burgers or steak. The taste of what you’re eating is important– but when it comes to safety, it’s what THEY’RE eating that could determine whether your meat is contaminated.


The (Horse)Slaughter Debate: A Two-Sided Issue

The (Horse)Slaughter Debate: A Two-Sided Issue

Take a look at how experts on both sides of the slaughter debate lay out arguments on how to keep the horse’s welfare at heart.

Karin Winegar


Horse slaughter. The topic ignites passion on both sides of the debate. Anti-slaughter groups see the practice as an inhumane and tragic end to an animal that some say occupies a gray area between livestock and pet. Their vocal opposition has led to a proposed slaughter ban that was passed by the House and, as of press time, remains in the Senate. (More on that in a minute.)

Anti-ban advocates see slaughter as a necessary evil until funding, or at least a plan, is in place to care for the tens of thousands of horses deemed “unwanted” that had previously been slaughtered. They say without it, these horses will flood a market ill-prepared to deal with them, so could face a lifetime of abuse or neglect.


Editorial: USDA, we have a beef

Editorial: USDA, we have a beef

Dallas Morning News

Imagine the Bush administration going to court to prevent Ford from improving safety standards on its cars to meet consumer demand because Chrysler and GM were afraid the market would force them to follow suit. Crazy, right? But that’s exactly what the federal government is doing to a Kansas slaughterhouse.

Like all U.S. beef processors, Creekstone Farms submits samples of its beef to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for routine inspection for bovine spongiform encephaly (BSE), or mad cow . But the Kansas processor wanted to go further. Mindful of the $200,000 per day it lost when Japan and South Korea earlier banned American beef in a mad cow disease scare, Creekstone built a half-million-dollar lab to screen all its slaughtered beef for the disease.

Administration Still Plans to Veto Farm Bill

Administration Still Plans to Veto Farm Bill

Hoosier AG Today

The Farm Bill has passed both chambers of Congress; the House by a 3 to 1 margin and the Senate by more than 5 to 1. However Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner says the President will veto bill.

“We wish the members had not chosen to send this bill to the President,” Conner says. “The President, when he receives this bill from Congress, will veto it. We are going to continue to make the case of the need for a forward-looking, reform-minded farm bill. This bill does not meet that definition.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., disagreed with that sentiment during Thursday’s debate before the Senate voted on the Farm Bill.


Nursing Calf Deworming

Nursing Calf Deworming

Jeffrey N. Carter and Matthew J. Hersom

University of Florida

Historically, the predominant health problem worldwide for ruminant animals has been the presence of internal parasites. The continued use of anthelmintics, or dewormers, remains controversial among researchers because there is wide variation among results when these products are used on cattle with moderate to low levels of parasite infestation. It is clear, however, that with any level of infestation above moderate, dewormers provide almost immediate responses and improvement in animal health and performance.

Parasitic infection and disease receives relatively little attention in most areas. Likely, we are so accustomed to treating our cattle on a routine basis that clinical signs of disease are rarely observed. Immunity to parasites increases with age. Older animals like mature cows in particular have the ability to ward off many parasitic challenges, or at least keep these invaders to a minimum. Parasites, however, may be silent rustlers of performance while existing in a sub-clinical fashion in your herd. Although these infections may not be significant enough to manifest clinical signs, weaning weights may be improved when nursing calves are dewormed at branding, or approximately three months of age. In fact, deworming calves may be the most profitable task you can perform.