Daily Archives: May 22, 2008

Blackleg and other clostridial diseases

Blackleg and other clostridial diseases

Bob Larson, DVM

Angus Journal

Following every calving season, veterinarians and a few cattlemen are confronted with calf death loss due to blackleg and other clostridial diseases. These diseases are caused by a family of bacteria called Clostridia.


Bovine Genital Campylobacteriosis

Bovine Genital Campylobacteriosis

M.B. Irsik, DVM, MAB and J.K. Shearer, DVM, MS

University of Florida

Bovine campylobacteriosis, formerly known as vibriosis, is a venereal disease of cattle characterized primarily by early embryonic death, infertility, a protracted calving season and occasionally an abortion. It is considered one of the two classical sexually transmitted diseases of cattle, the other one being trichimoniasis caused by Tritrichomonas foetus. The disease campylobacteriosis is caused by Campylobacter fetus venerealis, or Campylobacter fetus fetus both being motile, curved or spiral, polar flagellated, microaerophilic, gram-negative bacteria. Campylobacter fetus was previously named Vibrio fetus, hence the name vibriosis.


High Phosphorous Costs Discourage Over Feeding

High Phosphorous Costs Discourage Over Feeding


Feed and grazing costs have been the primary input costs at the forefront of many cattle producers’ minds over the past year. However, we can now add mineral supplementation costs to the list of inputs that have increased in price. Cattle mineral costs increased considerably this spring, primarily due to higher phosphorous prices. Global phosphate prices have risen and will likely continue to increase due to greater demand for phosphate in crop fertilizers and higher phosphate production costs.


Beef: Industry at a Glance

Beef: Industry at a Glance

Valley News Today

– Beef cattle production represents the largest single segment of American agriculture. In 2002, more farms were classified as beef cattle operations (31 percent) than any other type of farm.1

– In 2006, there were more than 800,000 ranchers and cattle producers in the United States.2

– In 2003, 98 percent of farms in the United States were family farms.3

The U.S. Cattle Supply

– In 2006, producers of meat animals were responsible for more than $65 billion in added value to the U.S. economy, as measured by their contribution to the national output.3

– In 2006, 26 billion pounds of beef were produced.2

– U.S. cash receipts from cattle and calves in 2006 were estimated at $50.5 billion.2

– Total U.S. beef exports were valued at $2.04 billion in 2006.4


State officials object to bovine TB testing

State officials object to bovine TB testing


The New Mexico congressional delegation Wednesday urged U.S. Agriculture Secretary Edward Schafer not to take any action related to bovine tuberculosis testing that would harm the entire state’s livestock industry.

In a letter to Schafer, Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici, along with Reps. Heather Wilson, Tom Udall and Steve Pearce, objected to a possible plan by the Department of Agriculture to force all New Mexico ranchers and dairies to test their cattle for bovine TB.


JBS Wants Feedlots to Waive Rights

JBS Wants Feedlots to Waive Rights

Virginia Carolina Farmer

JBS Swift began sending contracts to U.S. feedlots in April that requires they waive any rights they have under the trust provisions of Section 206 of the Packers and Stockyards Act. The contract additionally feedlots must give JBS Swift the right to withhold payment for grade and yield cattle for three days after grading.

“The fact that JBS Swift can cavalierly impose such a requirement on U.S. cattle feedlots itself demonstrates the tremendous market power presently enjoyed by JBS Swift – market power manifest by virtue of JBS Swift’s dominant control over available slaughter capacity,” wrote R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard in a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice.


Tender Beef Does Not Have to Rely on Feed

Tender Beef Does Not Have to Rely on Feed



High food prices have turned many cattlemen’s attention to grass- fed beef. Frequently, they forget to mention meat tenderness and consumer acceptance. Although it reduces animal fat, which injures human health, grass feeding frequently results in meat that chews like shoe leather.

Unfortunately, under U.S. Department of Agriculture established grading standards, marbling is king. This is true throughout the marketing chain. Those of us who have had heart surgery know marbling means specks of fat interposed among the tissue. Hence, this fat cannot be cut out of beef like fat on the edges of pork and poultry.

Recent research findings suggest an alternative to the extremes above. Marbling makes beef tender and otherwise desirable to eat. But alternative ways of making beef tender have recently been discovered. Four are of note. The first three are relatively recent.


USDA Chuck Conner On The President’s Veto Of The Farm Bill

USDA Chuck Conner On The President’s Veto Of The Farm Bill


“Today the President vetoed a piece of legislation that failed to implement meaningful reform to our farm programs while increasing taxpayer spending by over $20 billion. This massive spending package – in a time of escalating food prices and gas closing in on $4 a gallon – is simply unacceptable.

The President has stated time and time again that he would not accept a farm bill that fails to reform farm programs at a time when farm income and crop prices are setting records, and he has remained true to his word. It is irresponsible to ask the American taxpayer who is struggling to make ends meet, to subsidize farm couples and those who make more than a million dollars a year. This is bad policy, and unfair.


Cattle herd liquidation seen as troubling sign

Cattle herd liquidation seen as troubling sign

Peter Shinn

Brownfield Network

The Daily Livestock Report published by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday noted troubling evidence of cattle herd liquidation. The report’s author’s, livestock economists Steve Meyer and Len Steiner noted an increased pace of cattle slaughter this year amid steadily climbing feed costs.

“Despite high cow slaughter rates in 2006 and 2007, current cow slaughter remains well above year ago levels,” the Report said. “Weekly beef cow slaughter in April was an average 10.4% higher than the already high levels of a year ago and 21.7% higher than the 2003-07 average.”

DTN Chief Livestock Analyst John Harrington agrees with that assessment. Harrington told Brownfield Wednesday the slowly dwindling U.S. cattle herd hasn’t yet fully translated into higher costs to consumers. And when that happens, Harrington suggested the entire dynamic of beef consumption in America could change.

Gene Marker Selection Improves Beef Tenderness

Gene Marker Selection Improves Beef Tenderness


Potential for even the best to be better as UK’s top abattoir sees a 10% improvement in tenderness.

New technology exists that allows beef producers to improve the eating quality of beef, even under the very best abattoir management conditions.

Gene marker technology – which allows UK beef producers to select cattle that will produce more tender beef – has the potential to offer UK consumers a more consistent and excellent eating experience, according to a recent trial, funded by Genesis Faraday and undertaken by the National Beef Association, in association with Bristol University, Merial Animal Health, Borders Quality Beef and Dovecote Park, the sole supplier of beef to Waitrose supermarket.


Cattle farmers weathering high energy costs

Cattle farmers weathering high energy costs



It’s Wednesday morning and Jerry Etheredge and his crew are hard at work sorting cattle at Linden Stock Yard, a task they have done each week for the last 16 years. After sorting the Charolais and Angus varieties into large and small steers and large and small heifers, each animal is sized up for purchase.

Cull Cows: An Income Source Worth Managing

Cull Cows: An Income Source Worth Managing


For most cow/calf operations, sale of cull cows represents 15-25% of yearly gross revenues. These marketings also account for 10% of the federally inspected beef slaughter. Yet many producers fail to consider options that could help them maximize their net returns on these animals. One practice that can in many (but not all) situations improve profit is placing cull cows on feed for a limited time prior to sale.


Nebraska Beef Industry is Top Consumer of Corn and Corn Co-Products

Nebraska Beef Industry is Top Consumer of Corn and Corn Co-Products


Lincoln, NE—Nebraska’s beef industry is the number one consumer of corn and corn co-products like distillers grains and, therefore, is top of mind for Nebraska’s corn producers, said Don Hutchens executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board.

“Although the Nebraska ethanol industry has grown and today uses more raw corn, one-third of that corn utilized in the production of ethanol comes back in the form of distillers grains,” he said.


Cattle Preconditioning: Anthelmintic Control Of Parasites

Cattle Preconditioning: Anthelmintic Control Of Parasites


Anthelmintics provide an excellent tool for controlling parasites. Application of dewormers should not be aimed at treating infected cattle showing signs of parasitism. Instead, apply dewormers in a timely manner to reduce infection before symptoms of disease occur. Treatment should also be aimed at interrupting the life cycle of the parasite in an effort to minimize pasture contamination. Unfortunately, instead of implementing a deworming program, producers typically deworm their cattle when the herd is being worked for another purpose. The 1997 NAHMS cow/calf health survey showed that 50 percent of beef cattle operations in the United States deworm their herd according to tradition. Twenty-one percent base treatment upon animal appearance. In the latter case, the herd has already suffered economic losses. Only 14 percent of beef cattle producers in the U.S. follow the recommendations of a veterinarian.


Northern Agricultural Research Center to host Montana Stockgrowers

Northern Agricultural Research Center to host Montana Stockgrowers

Montana State University

Montana State University’s Northern Agricultural Research Center will host Montana Stockgrowers Association members and prospective members Friday, June 13 at the start of the stockgrowers mid-year meeting in Havre.

Friday evening, a special Beef Quality Assurance team cattle-handling and processing competition is scheduled for MSGA members. In addition to the BQA team competition, NARC will host a dinner and tours for participants.

“The BQA competition will help demonstrate some of the management practices that are becoming more important to everyone in the cattle industry as we continue to improve the quality and consistency of our beef,” said Clint Peck, Montana BQA director.