Monthly Archives: May 2008

Mandatory price reporting gives producers transparency

Mandatory price reporting gives producers transparency

American Farm Bureau Federation/Prairie Star

The American Farm Bureau Federation hailed a final rule issued by the Agriculture Department that requires meat packers to report prices paid to producers for food animals. Farm Bureau has been an ardent supporter of the livestock mandatory price reporting (LMPR) law and has worked tirelessly toward its implementation.

“The implementation of LMPR 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 AFBF President Bob Stallman. “The LMPR also offers new market information on pricing, contracting and demand conditions, which will greatly benefit livestock producers.”


National Beef Will Reduce Slaughter on Lower Profits

National Beef Will Reduce Slaughter on Lower Profits

Carlos Caminada


National Beef Packing Co., a U.S. meat processor being acquired by Brazil’s JBS SA, plans to reduce the cattle slaughter at three plants starting this week as rising costs erode profit.

Operations at plants in Liberal and Dodge City, Kansas, and Brawley, California, will be reduced to five days a week from six, cutting the slaughter weekly rate by 15,000 head of cattle, Kansas City, Missouri-based National Beef said today in a statement. The company’s daily capacity was 13,900 head in 2007, based on estimates by industry magazine Cattle Buyers Weekly.


Cattle Feed Byproducts: Ask The Nutritionist – Nutrient Content

Cattle Feed Byproducts: Ask The Nutritionist – Nutrient Content

Q: I’ve heard that distillers’ grains plus solubles (DGS) are quite variable in nutrient content. Is this true? If so, is it a concern, and what can I do to manage this situation?

A: In short, the answer is “yes”, DGS can be quite variable in nutrient content. A more detailed answer considers the factors that make up that variation. First, the feed grains that are used to make ethanol (such as corn and grain sorghum) are themselves variable in nutrient content. This source of variability is difficult to control and is magnified in the DGS because the nutrients that remain after starch is removed from grain are concentrated in the DGS. Second, some ethanol plants add variable amounts of the solubles portion back to the grains themselves. This source of variability can change from day to day, depending on both marketing conditions for the DGS and current supply of byproducts at the plant. Third, research indicates that variation between ethanol plants is another source of variation. Not every plant has the same degree of commitment to distillers’ grains quality.


Farming Cliques?

Farming Cliques?

Ethan Book

Today I am continuing on with the questions that were submitted in this post (remember you can still post a farming question there). I have to admit that at first the opening sentence in this question made me chuckle, but as I spent some time this past weekend around a table with some farmers at a graduation party, I realized that the question was more valid than I had thought. Read more after the question and the jump.

Within the farming community are there cliques? Like farmers who maybe raise cattle (or are they called ranchers and aren’t a “farmer”?) along with crops? Or, farmers who grow only, say, corn and soybeans vs. farmers who grow heirlooms. Hydroponics vs. traditional grow in the field sort of farming, etc.


Sanilac farmers support organic trend

Sanilac farmers support organic trend


Sanila County News

What can you do to ensure the purity of your food, support your local economy and improve the environment at the same time.

Sanilac farmers are increasingly jumping onto the organic food wagon, raising produce, grain, beef, pork and poultry, and selling it directly to customers.

“Many people think organic food is more expensive. It’s not, if you buy it locally,” said Sandy Bowerman, who last year started a weekly farmer’s market in Sandusky that proved to be a tremendous success.


Soaring costs pinch ranchers; farmers enjoy higher grain prices, for now

Soaring costs pinch ranchers; farmers enjoy higher grain prices, for now


The Enterprise

While farmers are reaping the rewards of climbing commodity prices, ranchers are watching their livestock eat into dwindling profit margins.

Chuck Kiker, a 48-year-old Beaumont cattle rancher and rice farmer, said cattle prices haven’t been rising enough to offset the climbing cost of fuel.

Fuel prices affect not only how much it costs to run trucks needed for feeding and caring for the cattle but how much ranchers have to pay for feed, he said.


Calf Health: Receiving & Health Management Program

Calf Health: Receiving & Health Management Program

A planned receiving program is the most important part of an overall health plan for purchased calves. Effective planned programs help improve performance, cut death losses and treatment costs, and reduce time spent caring for sick cattle.

A basic receiving health program for purchased calves is not as easy to formulate as a program for home-reared calves. The prior health history of the calf or the herd it originates from is generally unknown as is the relative level of stress it encountered in marketing channels. Excessive time in transport, lack of weaning, inadequate water and feed intake, and exposure to diseases influence a calf’s potential of developing sickness at the receiving farm. Generalizations relative to these factors, oftentimes assuming the worst, enter into the design of basic receiving health programs for purchased calves.


Ultra Saber Pour-On

Ultra Saber Pour-On

The Prairie Star

Schering-Plough Animal Health Corp. announces the release of Ultra Saber, a new pour-on insecticide that controls horn flies on beef cattle and calves. Ultra Saber is a new type of pour-on insecticide that contains 1 percent lambdacyhalothrin and 5 percent piperonyl butoxide, a synergist which improves insecticidal activity.


Slaughterhouse High

Slaughterhouse High

A Brief Lesson in Abbatoirs –

Saute Wednesday

Bruce Cole

Although this article is specific to Northern California, it adresses some of the issues facing small grassfed/finished beef ranchers today. It was originally published in the spring issue of Edible San Francisco.

The last time you picked up an apple at the grocery store you probably had a pretty good idea of where it came from. Besides the identifying label conveniently stuck to it’s side, you also know it came from a tree. Pretty simple really. The tree blossoms, the blossom turns into fruit, the fruit ripens (well, sometimes), then it’s picked and shipped to the supermarket.


Cow-yearling programs may be more profitable with current markets

Cow-yearling programs may be more profitable with current markets


Farm & Ranch Guide

Evaluating current and future cattle markets is more than just a matter of supply and demand. There are numerous other factors that come into play.

Current feed costs and the role the ethanol industry plays in determining that, as well as the U.S. economy, foreign markets, cattle inventory and cattle cycles are also factors, said economist Jim Robb, director of the Livestock Marketing Information Center, during the Montana Livestock Forum and Nutrition Conference in Bozeman.




I know what you are thinking. The same thing I was when I saw the news proclaiming Speedo has invented the world’s fastest swimsuit. Yes, practical fashion at last.

I don’t know if it will have an impact equal to the invention of the men’s fly. That was earth-shattering! Of course they didn’t need it in the days of the loincloth and toga. Then people had more time because they hadn’t invented the wristwatch. Bathroom breaks were longer. No one knew if you were late. Did you ever hear two 3-year old kids say, “Well, it’s getting late,” or a turtle say, “Well, it’s time to go!”


Using EPDs in a Commercial Herd

Using EPDs in a Commercial Herd

R. R. Schalles and K. O. Zoellner

Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, Kansas State University

Today, beef cattle producers have the best tools for specification production ever available. The biggest problem that cattlemen have is defining the specifications. Many traits are important when considering the production system from conception to consumption. Genetics plays an important role in some of these traits while management is more important in others.

All cattlemen, purebred and commercial, need to be conscious of the ultimate product of the production system—quality beef at a reasonable price. It all starts at conception of the calf. Reproduction failures are primarily due to management failures, most often inadequate nutrition.


USDA Announces CRP Permitted Use for Livestock Feed Needs

USDA Announces CRP Permitted Use for Livestock Feed Needs

Cattle Today

Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer today announced that USDA has authorized certain acreage enrolled under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to be available for hay and forage after the primary nesting season ends for grass-nesting birds.

“This action will provide much needed feed and forage while maintaining the conservation benefits from the nation’s premier conservation program,” said Schafer. “Eligible farmers and ranchers will be able to plan for harvest of forage after the end of the primary nesting season this summer.”

Prices for most field crops have advanced to record or near record levels in recent months, reflecting strong demand, tight supplies and competition for acres. The increased demand for commodities and resulting higher prices has impacted the livestock industry in particular.


Marketing Value Begins in the Pasture

Marketing Value Begins in the Pasture

American Angus Assn.

Marketing completes the top five priorities, making this aspect of the business a high management priority for cowcalf producers. More than 80% of a typical operation’s revenue comes from the sale of calves and yearlings, making it the marketing sweet spot in the cow-calf business.


Cattle Feed Byproducts: Establishing Value

Cattle Feed Byproducts: Establishing Value

There are several ways of estimating the value of any feedstuff, including co-products. These range from simple calculations based on the value of one nutrient in one common feedstuff to very specific ration analyses and comparison. The simpler methods may help determine if a feedstuff is generally priced so that it may be a competitive feedstuff.


JBS Risks Profit, Amasses Debt to Become Biggest Beef Producer

JBS Risks Profit, Amasses Debt to Become Biggest Beef Producer

Carlos Caminada


Joesley Batista, chief executive officer of Brazil’s JBS SA, couldn’t convince controlling shareholders of Swift & Co. to take him seriously when he first tried to buy the American meat company in July 2005.

“After three hours laying my plan out, they asked me if I was really there to buy, not sell,” said Batista, 36. Swift, based in Greeley, Colorado, was 10 times bigger than JBS. “We’re used to this kind of thing,” said Batista, wearing blue jeans and a violet shirt with a BIC pen in the pocket.


N.C.B.A. advocates for national agro-defense facility

N.C.B.A. advocates for national agro-defense facility

Meat & Poultry

Gary Voogt, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president-elect, emphasized the need for a new diagnostic and research facility to protect American agriculture from foreign animal diseases in testimony delivered May 22 before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

Mr. Voogt, a cattle producer from Marne, Mich., addressed committee members about the devastating impact that could be felt nationwide as a result of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. This disease has not been found in the United States since 1929, but is still a problem in many foreign countries.


Feeding of Corn Milling Co-products to Beef Cattle

Feeding of Corn Milling Co-products to Beef Cattle

Galen E. Erickson,Virgil R. Bremer,Terry J. Klopfenstein, Aaron Stalker, and Rick Rasby, Department of Animal Science, University of Nebraska Lincoln

Feeding corn milling co-products in feedlot diets reduces acidosis-related challenges. Both WCGF and WDGS have little to no starch remaining following the milling process. Therefore, feeding these co-products will dilute whatever starch is fed and influence rumen metabolism. Krehbiel et al. (1995) observed a decrease in subacute acidosis when WCGF was fed to metabolism steers. In many studies, feeding WCGF resulted in increased dry matter intake (DMI), which would be a common response to less subacute acidosis.

Because processing corn increases the rate of digestion by microbes, rumen acid production is increased and the risk of acidosis is increased (Stock and Britton, 1993). Feeding WCGF helps prevent the risk of acidosis with high-grain diets (Krehbiel et al., 1995). Numerous studies have been conducted at the University of Nebraska to determine if feeding values are markedly improved in diets containing WCGF when corn is more intensely processed. Scott et al. (2003) evaluated various corn processing techniques and observed improved feed conversions as processing intensity increased when feeding calves or yearlings (Table 8). Ranking of processing based on feed conversions (lowest to highest) was whole corn, DRC, HMC, and steam-flaked corn (SFC) when fed to finishing calves.


Cattle Health: Managing Our “Protein Factories”

Cattle Health: Managing Our “Protein Factories”

The path from dietary crude protein to the supply of protein available to the cow is far from direct. As much as 80% of the protein and NPN consumed by the animal will be broken down to ammonia and other compounds in the rumen, where the resident microbes have the opportunity to assimilate these nutrients into microbial cell protein (MCP). Unused ammonia may move to the liver, be converted to urea, and then recycle through the blood or saliva back to the rumen, where it rejoins the ammonia pool. Some of the bacteria and protozoa simply recycle within the rumen, as their MCP becomes “dinner” for other microbes. But the majority of these cells, either after they die or when the feed particle they are attached to is sufficiently degraded to flow out of the rumen, move on through the cow’s digestive system. Once they reach the small intestine, their MCP serves as a fundamental “natural,” or amino acid, protein source. In fact, microbial protein will account for 40-80% of a ruminant animal’s metabolizable protein supply. This range is due to a number of factors, primarily diet-related. If the feeds a cow consumes do a good job of meeting the needs of the rumen bugs — primarily supplying degradable crude protein, and an energy source that can be utilized by fiber-digesting bacteria — microbial numbers and activity will be enhanced.


Interpreting Hay and Haylage Analysis

Interpreting Hay and Haylage Analysis

Alvaro Garcia, Extension dairy specialist, Nancy Thiex, Station Biochemistry, Kenneth Kalscheur, Dairy Science, Kent Tjardes, Extension beef specialist, South Dakota State University

Feed test results can be used to: (1) balance rations, (2) improve future crop management if present forage is of unsatisfactory quality, and (3) determine equitable prices for feedstuffs based on nutritive value.

Results of analysis are expressed on an “as-received” and on a “100% dry matter (DM)” basis. As-received is sometimes also referred to “as-fed” or “fresh.” It includes the water or moisture in the feed. Nutrients expressed on this basis represent the nutrient content of the feed when it was received at the lab.