Daily Archives: May 27, 2008

Handle with Care

Handle with Care

Meghan Richey

Angus Journal

Forty percent of beef carcasses suffer discounts. While heavyweight carcasses and yield grade (YG) 4s make up roughly half the discounts, proper handling and welfare practices can prevent carcasses from being discounted even further. Meat quality — and prices received — can suffer when handling, physical or chemical, isn’t optimum.

“Producers, transporters and meat processors all have responsibility for proper production, management and handling of animals in order to optimize animal welfare and meat quality,” says Michael Dikeman, professor of meat science at Kansas State University (K-State).

Implant Cattle Properly

Implant Cattle Properly

Clyde Lane, Jr., Professor – Animal Science, University of Tennessee

Growth stimulating implants offer the commercial cow-calf producer a fast, easy-touse method of increasing the weaning weight of calves when used properly. Implants have been proven effective through research, as well as through routine use in the beef industry.

Implanting is a relatively easy management practice to perform, however, adequate restrain of the animal is required. If inadequate facilities are available, consideration should be given to purchasing/constructing


Manage Your Semen Tank, Keep Your Investment Secure

Manage Your Semen Tank, Keep Your Investment Secure

Mel DeJarnette, reproductive specialist, Select Sires

When was the last time you stopped to think about the dollar value of the semen inventory in your liquid nitrogen refrigerator? You might be surprised at the final tally. Although semen costs are only a small percentage of overall expenses in a dairy or beef cattle operation, the absolute value of your semen inventory at any given time may represent a significant sum of money. Proper tank management is essential to keep your investment secure.


Grazing Legumes and Bloat – Frequently Asked Questions

Grazing Legumes and Bloat – Frequently Asked Questions

Ropin’ the Web

What legumes cause bloat?

Legumes that can cause bloat are alfalfa, sweet clover, red clover, alsike clover & white clover. Examples of non-bloat legumes are bird’s–foot trefoil, sainfoin & cicer milk vetch.

What type of bloat do legumes cause?

The bloat legumes cause is usually a frothy bloat. Understanding frothy bloat and how it is caused may help understand bloat control on legume pastures.

What causes frothy bloat?

Frothy bloat results from the quick degradation and fermentation of plant material and rapid release of plant cell material. This material traps fermentation gases in a thick foam. The foam prevents the animal from being able to burp up the gases. The accumulation of trapped gases in the rumen may lead to the animal’s death.


Pinkeye – A Disease of Plenty

Pinkeye – A Disease of Plenty

Bethany Lovaas, DVM

University of Minnesota Beef Team

As is typical for the northern climes of the United States, we often see a “spring flush” in the pastures. When warm weather hits, provided there is adequate moisture in the soil, the grasses start to grow like they’re afraid they’ll freeze tomorrow. Rarely will you hear a cattleman complain that he has too much grass, but like all things, too much of a good thing is still too much.

In years when weather is very conducive for excellent pasture growth, there is also a higher incidence of pinkeye seen in cow herds. This can be explained, for the most part, by two things: high rate of pasture growth means grasses are likely unusually tall (depending on species) and are likely to be rubbing near the cows’/calves’ eyes, and with high moisture springs comes a plague of flies. Face flies are usually the culprit. These are the flies that are seen around the cows’ eyes, feeding on the cows’ tears.


Strategies for Cost Effective Supplementation of Beef Cattle

Strategies for Cost Effective Supplementation of Beef Cattle

W.E. Kunkle

University of Florida

Forage provides most of the nutrition of the beef herd. Seasonal forage growth and changes in forage quality challenges most cattle managers to provide adequate nutrition at reasonable costs. The following outline gives several alternatives to consider in your cow-calf production system.

Stretching the Forage Supply

Many areas of Florida will experience drought occasionally. The forage harvested as hay and standing forage in pastures is reduced and changes in management may be needed to minimize the effects of drought on production. Strategies to stretch the forage supply including forage and cattle management options should be considered.


Common Sense Is The Key To Hot Weather Cattle Handling

Common Sense Is The Key To Hot Weather Cattle Handling


Summer is rapidly approaching!! The breeding season is underway. Producers that are engaged in artificial insemination as a method of breeding cows and heifers need to be aware of the impact that handling cattle in summertime temperatures and humidity can have on reproductive success. Research, at OSU in the 1980’s, found that cattle heat stressed shortly after breeding had substantially higher embryo loss than cattle that were left in more pleasant environments. In those experiments, the average core body temperature of the heat stressed cows was increased by a mere 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Rough handling of excitable cattle in hot weather can further impact body temperature and therefore reproductive performance.


Drought, cowherd liquidation continue

Drought, cowherd liquidation continue

Western Livestock Journal

Positive packer margins and good retail movement ahead of the Memorial Day holiday last week had market watchers predicting steady trade last week as buyers looked to fill chains for the holiday-shortened week ahead. As of mid-day last Thursday, cash fed cattle trade was still inactive although most believed that some action would get underway late Thursday or early Friday at $94-94.50 live and $148-150 dressed, prices even with prior week trade.

Slaughter volume for the week through last Thursday was running at an estimated 511,000 head, just 4,000 behind the prior week’s pace for the same week but 6,000 above the same period last year. For the full week, the industry was expecting a 710,000-head production week, according to Troy Vetterkind of Vetterkind Cattle Brokerage. He said the wholesale beef market was being subjected to some correction in the loin and round, along with the 50 percent trim product, keeping the cutout in check at mid-week last week.


The Dirty Little Secret Behind the Ethanol Hysteria

The Dirty Little Secret Behind the Ethanol Hysteria

Gary Truitt

Hoosier AG Today

An issue that has dominated both the agriculture and consumer media over the past few months has been the debate over ethanol. As I have reported several times, the mainstream media has maintained an aggressive and one-sided attack on ethanol and renewable fuels. They have blamed corn-based fuel for everything from higher food prices, to world hunger, environmental degradation, resource depletion and impoverishment of the livestock producers. Now it turns out that the whole thing is a sham, a hoax, spin, a put-up job, a well-funded manipulation of the media. In other words, we have all been had by the big time food industry.


The right technology helps

The right technology helps

Dave Shock

CAB Information Systems Director

For some folks, technology is a mixed blessing: one more complication to figure out. Others are “techno-junkies” who always feel the need for the latest devices and gadgets. Some of them find ways to use most of those things to improve their lives.

Part of my job at Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) is to evaluate the stream of new technology, looking for anything that could increase our productivity at a reasonable cost. That could be one of the hats you wear on the ranch, too.

You want to keep up with the times, and use innovations that save time and make money today, while building a better life and better market for your products in the future. That’s why you don’t become too much of a techno-junky. Just because something is available, or just because something can be done— those are not good enough reasons to buy or do anything.


Horses abandoned in West as feed prices rise

Horses abandoned in West as feed prices rise

Laura Zuckerman

Yahoo News

In the classic Hollywood western, a cowboy portrayed by John Wayne gallops across the sagebrush steppe and rocky ridges of the American West with only his horse for a companion.

What the films don’t show is the cowboy buying and hauling hay for his horse, or what happens to the horse when it is too aged, infirm or irascible to ride.

Those more mundane details are at the heart of a debate about growing cases of mistreatment of horses in the United States, at a time when hay and grain prices are skyrocketing and when options for disposing of unwanted horses are dwindling.


Corn Costs Signal Biggest Beef Surge Since 2003 as Herds Shrink

Corn Costs Signal Biggest Beef Surge Since 2003 as Herds Shrink

Jeff Wilson

Enjoy your next steak, because prices from Shanghai to San Francisco are only going up.

The highest corn prices since at least the Civil War, based on Chicago Board of Trade data, mean U.S. feedlots are losing money on every animal they sell, discouraging production as rising global incomes increase meat consumption and a declining dollar spurs exports. Cattle may rise 13 percent by the end of the year on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Brazil’s Bolsa de Mercadorias e Futuros, futures contracts show.

Scanning Heifers for Profit

Scanning Heifers for Profit

Producers use ultrasound to evaluate females.

Miranda Reiman

Many producers work to improve their herds through more than just bulls. Maternal pedigrees and expected progeny differences (EPDs) have helped them build the female side.

A few have taken the next step, using ultrasound to evaluate carcass merit and as an early, precise pregnancy test. Coats, Kan., producer Nathan Lee has been scanning his replacement heifers for the past decade.

“The main reason is to determine who goes into our AI (artificially inseminated) herd, the top 10% to 15% of our cows,” says Lee, who manages 1,100 cows with his parents. “We don’t use that information to cull on until she’s already bred, so we know if she settled AI or not.”


Annual Heart of Texas Cow/Calf Clinic readies for 29th edition

Annual Heart of Texas Cow/Calf Clinic readies for 29th edition

Steve Byrns

Texas A&M

The Heart of Texas Cow/Calf Clinic, a long-standing educational program conducted by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, will hold its 29th edition in Brownwood.

The event will start with a catered meal at 6 p.m. June 12 at the Brown County Fairgrounds on U.S. Hwy.377 South.

“Even though you may not see as many cows here as you once did, beef cattle are still the number one agricultural enterprise in Brown and surrounding counties,” said Scott Anderson, AgriLife Extension agent for Brown County.