Daily Archives: July 1, 2008

A Strategy To Survive

A Strategy To Survive

As the beef industry struggles, this Texas cow/calf producer put a plan in place to stay in business.

Del Deterling

Progressive Farmer

According to some experts, over the next few years the beef cattle industry will undergo some of the most dramatic changes in recent history. Greatly increased production costs, economic factors and environmental policies will impact the entire cattle industry, squeezing profits and forcing consolidation from cattle producers to packers.

The bottom line is there will be fewer players in the industry. E.C. Crump intends to be one of those remaining in the game.

With 400 Angus/Brangus cows at Henrietta, Texas, 20 miles east of Wichita Falls, Crump has outlined a plan he hopes will enable him to survive during a stagnant beef economy. And once economic conditions improve, he believes he will be in the driver’s seat to capitalize on new market opportunities.

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Super science creates super cattle

Super science creates super cattle

Report finds genetically engineered animals a benefit to public

 Codi Vallery

The CattleBusiness Weekly

Genetically engineered animals and public health may appear as an oxymoron in this article’s headline, but two medical and biology professionals say that isn’t necessarily the case. Scott Gottlieb, MD with the American Enterprise Institute and Matthew B. Wheeler, PhD, Institute of Genomic Biology say there is compelling evidence of benefits to health care, nutrition, the environment and animal welfare by using technology to genetically engineer animals.

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Black ink possible with cattle

Black ink possible with cattle

 Jeff DeYoung,
Missouri Farmer Today

Cattle feeders could find some black ink this fall if they are willing to play the market.

Shane Ellis, Iowa State University Extension livestock marketing specialist, says with fall fed cattle futures around $107 per hundredweight, producers may find some profitability.

“Those fall futures prices look pretty good, so if you can lock in your corn price, there is a chance you could lock in some profitability,” he says. “I think the futures may be overestimating prices right now and could well back off some, so if you are going to do it, I would jump right in now.”

Ellis says corn prices that are expected to approach $7 per bushel could minimize any profit-making. There could be some pricing opportunities for corn, he adds and much of that depends on the weather.

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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.

The purpose of this chapter is to review the relationship of body condition to performance, provide pictures of beef cattle representative of different body condition scores (BCS) and give a few examples of the use of body condition in making management decisions in your herd.

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Trent Loos: Pride of ownership

Trent Loos:  Pride of ownership

High Plains Journal

Here I sit in my “playground of mental gymnastics for food production” on another airplane. I am en route from Orlando to Omaha, returning from the 61st Reciprocal Meat Conference, which is sponsored by the American Meat Science Association and was hosted by the University of Florida, Gainesville. Ironically, I had the great opportunity of addressing over 600 meat scientists from around the nation and I did share a few of the airport conversations I have had on previous flights. The most common response I heard from attendees after my presentation was that most of them had passed on opportunities to tell people about meat science on their recent flights and I made them realize that they had missed a great “teachable moment.”

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HSUS Videos Engender Varied Emotions

HSUS Videos Engender Varied Emotions

Troy Marshall

Beef Magazine

If you haven’t seen the latest Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) video on YouTube, it’s probably worth viewing. It was shot at the Portales Livestock Auction in New Mexico.

Most cattlemen seem to go through a similar range of emotions upon viewing these videos. It starts with revulsion at the treatment of these animals, and anger that some people can put the industry in such a terrible position, followed by sadness over the bad perception that these videos engender among those with no other experience or exposure to livestock production. Next comes denial due to the fact all these debacles involve dairy cows, which constitute such a small portion of the population but produce an overwhelming number of the “black eyes” in animal handling and welfare.

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Hay Storing Considerations

Hay Storing Considerations

Dr. Bruce Anderson, Professor of Agronomy, University of Nebraska

Over one-fourth of your hay’s nutrients can be lost due to weathering between now and feeding next winter. To minimize these losses, begin by making dense, evenly formed bales or stacks. They will shed water better and sag less than a soft core or less dense package. Use net wrap or plastic twine spaced no more than four inches apart on round bales to maintain bale shape and provide a smooth surface that encourages water runoff.

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New test should ensure no more Mini-Moos

New test should ensure no more Mini-Moos

High Plains Journal

Mini-Moo, a five-year-old Angus who lives at Iowa State University’s Beef Nutrition Farm, was born with a condition known as “long head dwarfism.” This genetic mutation caused her legs to stop growing before the rest of her was fully grown.

However, Angus cattle like Mini-Moo may become a thing of the past because of a new test for the mutation developed by James Reecy, an associate professor in animal science at Iowa State University.

Reecy and a research team identified the genetic marker for the long head dwarfism mutation and developed a test to find it.

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Cattle Feeder, Ted Magnuson Passes

Cattle Feeder, Ted Magnuson Passes

The Fence Post

Ted Magnuson, age 56, of Eaton, Colo., died June 14, 2008, at his home.

He was born on Jan. 26, 1952, in Greeley, Colo., to Gordon F. and Margaret (Carlson) Magnuson. He grew up opn the family farm near Eaton. He is a fourth generation farmer. He graduated from Highland High School in Ault, Colo., and later Colorado State University with a degree in Ag Education.

Following his graduation, Ted returned to the family farm and farmed with his father.

On March 5, 1982, he married Susan L. Anderson at the Eaton Evangelical Free Church. This date was also his parents’ anniversary, and his Grandma and Grandpa Carlson’s anniversary. To this union were born two sons, Tim and Jim.

Ted was a cattle feeder. He loved everything about the cattle business. He farmed to support his cattle feeding habit.

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Bringing people safer food, Northstar Ranch raises livestock without antibiotics or hormones

Bringing people safer food, Northstar Ranch raises livestock without antibiotics or hormones

Albert Lea Tribune

In a day where people are beginning to ask more and more questions about the origins of their food, one Hayward man and his nephew in Texas have partnered to provide a guaranteed, safe and healthier pork and beef product to the community.

With 35 years of production experience in the commercial livestock industry, Dan Matz of Hayward and Brian High of Krum, Texas, decided they weren’t liking what they were seeing as the standard practices involved with raising an animal to slaughter. These practices included using growth hormones, antibiotics and confined livestock housing.

So they began raising their own livestock for their personal use without using all of those other practices, and after a short while, they started selling meat to their family and friends. Now it has expanded that they are selling it to the public locally under the name of Northstar Ranch at the Albert Lea Farmers Market.

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U.S. beef exports increase, less product available domestically

U.S. beef exports increase, less product available domestically

Katie Allen

Brownfield Network

An increase in U.S. beef exports might put fewer steaks and less hamburger in local grocery stores the next few years. Kevin Good, market analyst for Cattle-Fax, explains:

“Consumption levels have been pretty flat domestically for 15 or 16 years, between 64 and 67 pounds. It is going to trend lower this year and probably over the next couple years, mainly due to the fact that we’re going to produce less product. We’re going to put less product on the market. Production, domestically, is going to be close to even, but we’re going to export more product so there will be less of it for the consuming public here domestically.”

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EU relaxes beef import restrictions

EU relaxes beef import restrictions

Boston Globe

A European Union veterinary expert panel on Monday further relaxed beef import restrictions on fresh meat from three South American nations.

The European Commission said the panel backed its conclusions that additional areas in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay are now “in a position to comply” with EU food safety standards ensuring their exported meat is free from animal diseases, notably foot-and-mouth disease.

Experts recently conducted inspections of the testing procedures in the countries.

Monday’s decision will open the EU market up to parts of two provinces in Argentina, Neuquen and Rio Negro, the states of Parana and Sao Paulo in Brazil and all of Paraguay.

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Smithfield Foods Announces the Sale of 4.95 Percent of Shares to China’s Largest National Agricultural Trading and Processing Company COFCO Limited

Smithfield Foods Announces the Sale of 4.95 Percent of Shares to China’s Largest National Agricultural Trading and Processing Company COFCO Limited


Smithfield Foods, Inc. today announced that it has entered into an agreement with COFCO Limited, China’s largest national agricultural trading and processing company, for the sale of 7,000,000 shares, or 4.95 percent of Smithfield’s common stock. The purchase price per share will be equal to the closing price of Smithfield’s Common Stock on the pricing date for the offering of the company’s Convertible Senior Notes, which was announced separately today. The company plans to use the proceeds of the sale to repay indebtedness and for other general corporate purposes.

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Beef market getting stung by corn hike

Beef market getting stung by corn hike

Sharna Johnson


With the rising cost of corn and other grains, local cattle growers are struggling to stay afloat.

U.S. beef producers now spend 60-70 percent of their production costs on animal feed as corn prices hover near $8 a bushel, up from about $4 a year ago.

“This is not sustainable. The cattle industry is going to have to get smaller,” said James Herring, president and CEO of Amarillo, Texas-based Friona Industries, which buys 20 million bushels of corn each year to feed 550,000 cattle.

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Feedlot Summer School

Feedlot Summer School        

The Saskatchewan Cattle Feeders Association (SCFA) is holding the 12th annual Western Canada Feedlot Management School from July 29th to August 1st 2008, at the University of Saskatchewan.

Susan Echlin, SCFA General Manager, invites beef producers who are interested in learning more about the cattle feeding industry to get away from their farms or ranches for a few days and come back to school. “This unique educational opportunity will provide producers with improved production practices and increased marketing knowledge,” states Echlin.

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