Daily Archives: July 2, 2008

Eye in the Sky: A Global Beef Perspective

Thebeefsite.com

In recent years the global beef market has been shaken by unforeseen issues. The rules of the game have already changed. Now is the time for the industry to follow suit – but how exactly will it meet these new requirements? writes Adam Anson, reporting for the Beefsite.

New Mouths to Feed

Beneath the surface, the beef export market is in turmoil. Changes in the nature of foreign markets have diverged the flow of business to previously unattainable territories, tightening competition whilst food prices sky-rocket. Crops are no longer merely the domain of food, but are fed to machines to supplement a fuel industry, which is running out of fuel.

Meanwhile the media is rife with stories of an economic Asian boom. New wealth leading to new desires and a growing appetite for meat, but not so far away, in less fortunate countries a food crisis is growing also, and it grows with an appetite for anything.

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A Will is Important for Farmers and Ranchers

John Alan Cohan, Attorney at Law

Cattle Today

Most Americans, as compared with Europeans, die without a will. Even in cases involving extensive wealth I am amazed to see the difficulty people have in taking the necessary steps to implement a will. This is particularly an issue for farmers, owners and breeders of livestock, and horse farms. Usually one’s principal assets are tied up in the animals and land, and if you have no will there can be uncertainty as to what will happen after you die. Without a will, the continuity of your activity is something outside your control. Most people procrastinate making a will until it is too late.

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Cattle Handling: Loading Chute

cattlenetwork.com

Cattle can be loaded on stock trailers from the working chute. If pick-ups are used, a loading chute is required. Make sure the height of the chute fits your truck and that you can back the truck squarely against the chute. If you use more than one type of truck, build an adjustable loading chute. Do not exceed 3-1/2 inches of rise per foot of length.

A flooring of packed earth or gravel provides the best footing but is not adjustable. On wooden floored chutes, use cleats that are one inch to two inches in height. Space cleats six inches to eight inches apart from edge to edge. Build loading chutes 30 inches wide for cow-calf operations.

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Prison farms are up for sale

CONNIE BAGGETT

Press-Register

A year ago, budget shortfalls forced the Alabama Department of Corrections to scrap its money-losing farming operations.

That decision left the prison system one less industry to wrest productivity from convicted criminals and it rendered idle thousands of acres of farmland in this summer of skyrocketing grain and produce prices.

Corrections officials said that the department is again about $30 million short for the coming fiscal year’s needs.

About 5,000 acres of corrections farmland is for sale in the Atmore area, near Holman Correctional Facility, land that once produced soybeans, corn, and beef cattle for market.

Even the promise of higher prices has failed to resurrect prison farming.

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Barta Brothers Ranch research shows deferred, short-duration grazing similar

High Plains Journal

When it comes to grazing upland range in the Sandhills of Nebraska, there’s little difference between short-duration and deferred grazing systems in forage production, diet quality and animal performance, University of Nebraska-Lincoln range scientists found.

In a nine-year grazing study at UNL’s Barta Brothers Ranch near Rose in the eastern Nebraska Sandhills, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources researchers studied the plant and livestock response to short-duration grazing and deferred rotation systems.

The university usually recommends the deferred rotation grazing system for semi-arid rangelands such as the uplands of the Nebraska Sandhills. However, short-duration grazing is thought to provide a consistent supply of high quality forage through the growing season, and therefore greater animal performance, said Walt Schacht, UNL range scientist.

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Cattle Feed Byproducts: Distillers Feeds For Heifers

cattlenetwork.com

Distillers dried grain is well known as a good source of “bypass” protein. About twice as much protein from distillers dried grain bypasses the rumen as compared to soybean meal. Because of this, distillers dried grain works well as a protein source for classes of cattle that have a high protein requirement relative to their feed intake, such as young calves.

It is unknown if wet distillers grain has the same “bypass” characteristics. The proteins in distillers dried grain may become less rumen degradable due to the heat of the drying process.

As an energy source, distillers dried grain has a similar feeding value to corn grain. However, recent work with finishing cattle has indicated that wet distillers grain and condensed distillers solubles may have up to 125% of the energy in corn. This varies based on the feeding level and the base ingredients.

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AgSense: Need will grow for more forage crops to meet demand for ethanol

Leonard Lauriaul

QCSUNonline.com

Federal expectations are to provide for 38 percent of ethanol needs from cellulosic sources, such as crop residue, wood, specialty crops, like kenaf, and traditional forage crops without interfering with projected food and fiber needs.

Crop residue is not viable because removing greater than 25 percent is detrimental to soil and water conservation.

Wood can meet short-term supplies but is not sustainable due to growth rates. Additionally, it apparently will take much longer to develop the digestion process for wood compared to grasses, which is projected to be defined within five years. Existing perennial pastures and hay production are excluded because they are needed to meet the projected food and feed requirements.

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Calif. bill to OK slaughterhouse surveillance fails

DVM Newsmagazine

The same day a new tape was released by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) showing alleged new abuse of cattle at a New Mexico livestock auction, a state Assembly panel rejected legislation that would have required slaughterhouses to install surveillance cameras.

SB 200 would have required cameras to follow the movement of cattle through the slaughterhouse to prevent any mistreatment. The tapes would have been up for review by the California Department of Public Health. However, the bill failed to move past the Assembly to an appropriations committee June 25. That would have been the final step toward passage, according to Sen. Dean Florez’s office.

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Cattle Management Practices For Difficult Times

cattlenetwork.com

I can’t remember a time when the grass has been as green, the cows have been as fat, ponds have been as full, and producers have been as worried about their future and the future of agriculture as a whole. The really frustrating part about the predicament we find in mid-2008 is that so many of the contributing factors are beyond our control. It is easier to deal with a crisis when it is an act of Mother Nature (e.g., the drought of 2005 and 2006) than when fingers can be pointed at something tangible (e.g., individuals, groups or policies) that results in hardships, however unintended they may be. Seemingly, the only silver lining is that calf prices have stabilized and are staying relatively strong.

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Meat Safety: It All Works Out in the Wash

Laura McGinnis

USDA ARS

When it comes to the safety of the U.S. beef supply, everything works out in the wash–the hide wash, that is.

Scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) developed a hide-washing tool that has significantly improved the safety of U.S. beef while saving the beef industry millions of dollars each year. An estimated 50 percent of U.S. feedlot-raised beef cattle undergo the washing treatment, which has reduced the national incidence of pathogenic Escherichia coli in ground beef samples by about 43 percent.

The tool was developed by ARS scientists at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, Neb. The research team included microbiologists Terry Arthur and Joseph Bosilevac, food technologists Steven Shackelford and Tommy Wheeler, and center director Mohammad Koohmaraie, formerly with ARS.

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No Decision For Now On Proposed Feedlot

Kevin Gribble

KMOT-TV

The Morton County Commission is delaying a decision on whether to allow a controversial feedlot to be built less than ten miles from Mandan. The feedlot`s owner says it would be good for the county. Dozens of people living nearby disagree. If it eventually gets built, the feedlot would hold 4,000 head of cattle at first, then eventually 8,000. But not if the people of Crown Butte have anything to say about it.

It`s not often that a Morton County Commission meeting is this packed. But the people near the proposed feedlot at Crown Butte are adamant that it go some place else.

"I am very scared for my family and health and safety if this feedlot were to be constructed. I have other concerns, as well, like who will maintain the roads the cattle trucks will be using?"

Others are concerned that thousands of animals would create quite a stench for people living just a few miles away.

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Oklahoma Marketman Bobby Smith Takes Reins At LMA

cattlenetwork.com

Oklahoman Bobby Smith, who grew up working in the livestock market he now owns and operates, is Livestock Marketing Association’s new president for 2008-2010.

Smith’s market is the Fairview Sale Barn, Fairview, Okla.  He took office here during LMA’s recent annual meeting, June 25-27.

His inaugural address was a wide-ranging review of key topics for producers and markets, including humane livestock handling, the new mandatory country of origin labeling (mCOOL) law, and concerns over the National Animal Identification System.

Smith, 57, succeeds Jim Santomaso, Sterling, Colo., who becomes chairman of the board.

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Group calls for ‘fair’ vote on union for feedlot workers

 ED MERRIMAN

Baker City Herald

Out of concern for family ranchers who raise cattle for Country Natural Beef and the rights of employees at Beef Northwest feedlots, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon is calling for United Farm Workers to support a free, fair and neutral vote on union representation.

"Our position is that a vote should be taken as soon as possible in a free, fair and non-threatening environment," David Leslie, executive director of Ecumenical Ministries said Sunday afternoon, following a Friday meeting in Portland with representatives of United Farm Workers and Country Natural Beef.

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Byproduct Feeds can be Self Fed to Backgrounding Calves

Mark Wahlberg, Extension Animal Scientist, 4-H Livestock, VA Tech

Backgrounding calves prior to them entering feedlots is a sound management practice. Extra pounds are put on the calves during an efficient stage of their life, they become adapted to feed, water, confinement conditions, and they overcome weaning and health challenges. Traditionally, cattle are managed to gain at moderate rates with diets having fairly high forage levels. Certain byproduct feeds are available which have had the starch removed, leaving behind a highly digestible material that consists mostly of fiber. These feeds, including soy hulls, corn gluten feed, and wheat middlings, were investigated in a couple of studies recently reported by the researchers.

A group of North Dakota scientists used crossbred heifers starting at 620 pounds in a backgrounding study. One ration consisted of a Total Mixed Ration (TMR) containing 48% grass hay, 48% wheat middlings, and 4% supplement. This was compared to a group offered self fed chopped hay in a fence line bunk and wheat middlings (consisting of 93.2% wheat midds and 6.8% supplement) available at all times in a portable creep feeder. Supplements were formulated such that the total diet had a Calcium:Phosphorous ration of 1.5:1.

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U.S. cattlemen keep eye on JBS beef company deals

U.S. cattlemen keep eye on JBS beef company deals

Diane Bartz

Reuters

As Americans stock up on ground beef for Independence Day hamburgers this week, struggling cattlemen are watching a merger that some say could cost them millions of dollars.

Brazil’s JBS (JBSS3.SA: Quote, Profile, Research) is awaiting U.S. Justice Department approval to buy two of the ranchers’ big customers — National Beef Packing Co and Smithfield Foods Inc’s (SFD.N: Quote, Profile, Research) beef unit.

The deals worry some cattlemen, who fear that if beef packers consolidate, they will have the power to push prices lower.

On his family farm in the low, green hills of Minnesota, Jerry Wulf shrugs and exchanges glances with his brother Dave when asked about the mergers.

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