Daily Archives: July 7, 2008


We were watching The History Channel at Grandma’s casita. It was a story about the USS Enterprise being attacked. It was 1945. They were describing acts of heroism that occurred. Stories of men risking their lives, staying with wounded comrades instead of swimming to safety. Stories that never made the paper or were recognized but were remembered only by those brave souls who dog-paddled in the waves next to a burning ship 3 miles above the sea floor.

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Q&A I am trying to compare the sales price of wet distillers grain to dry distillers grain…due to water percentage I assume you cannot compare tons to tons . . .do you have a calculator for this?

Dr. Rick Rasby, Professor of Animal Science, Animal Science, University of Nebraska

This is a common question when trying to compare prices of the same feedstuff, but the feedstuffs have different moisture content. The easiest way to compare price is to get both prices to a 100% dry matter basis. This is really quite simple to do but you will need to know the dry matter content. If wet distillers grains is 35% dry matter and 65% moisture (water) priced at $50 per ton at the plant and dry distillers grains is 90% dry matter and 10% moisture priced at $138 per ton at the plant, you have all the components to do the calculations.

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A silage alternative

Baled corn stalks and corn syrup from the ethanol milling process makes a unique silage mix

Kindra Gordon

Cattle Business Weekly

The high cost of feed has lots of beef producers looking for feed alternatives these days. Tim Luther of Lawson, Mo., tried an experiment of his own last summer with his corn crop.

Luther had a corn crop to harvest, but because corn was selling for such a good price, he didn’t want to chop his crop for silage like he has in the past. Thus, he needed to come up with a cheap alternative for roughage to use as winter feed.

Luther began to do his homework, to try and come up with a solution for his lack of roughage. After asking many questions, visiting with nutritionists, and noting how corn condensed distiller’s solubles (CDS) from ethanol plants – or what Luther calls corn syrup – were being used in different operations in Iowa, he decided to try an experiment and see if he could have the best of both worlds.

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Mid-Summer Calf Working, Especially in Tight Times

Dr. W. Dee Whittier, Extension Veterinarian, Cattle, VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

Mid-summer processing of spring-born beef calves is one of the highest return procedures available in the cattle business.  Producers should avoid the temptation to bypass this dividend just because returns from most other inputs have declined.  Out of pocket costs for most items used have increased little so mostly the inputs are a little time and labor.

Mid-summer processing is based around this being recommended as the best time to deworm spring born calves.  These babies are very susceptible to worms and are beginning to graze enough to pick up the worm larvae.  Deworming in late June or early July will remove the first worms that are grazed up and prevent major recontamination of pastures.  This coincides with a typical summer dry period so that calves then spend months with lower number of worms allowing increased growth.

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The Blame Game

High Plains Journal

At this writing, corn is approaching $8 per bushel, wheat $9 and soybeans are just under $16. Due to this unprecedented rise in grain and protein prices, all livestock feeders are losing big money. Not only that, the cost of diesel fuel to operate farms, factories and transportation is at an all-time high. In the grocery store, prices are going up and restaurants, bars and all forms of industry and services that depend on food or fuel are raising prices. The culprit has to be out there somewhere and he needs a noose around his neck.

It’s ethanol!

That’s about as corny as the screenplay of a wild west movie, but it is the mentality of livestock producers, consumers and most media. The basis of the entire ethanol debacle comes down to capitalism and politics. The marketplace is determining the value of all commodities and consumers are determining their spending based on income and needs. The result is a major shift from cheap food and fuel to (relatively) high prices for both necessities.

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BeefTalk: The Great Divide: Group Versus Individual Data

Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

The other day, a bill came across the desk. On one part of the bill was listed the number of cattle. The description of the product on the bill was carcass data information, age and source verification and the producer’s name, lot and pen. The bill was for $285 for 94 head of steers.

The information across the sheet also reported individual animal weights; carcass data including kidney, pelvic and heart fat (KPH); dressing percentage; quality grade; ribeye; marbling; yield grade; and back fat.

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Cow Calf: This Year Test the Forage Before You Cut!


Hot dry summer weather brings about heat and drought stress on summer annuals.  Stressed plants such as the forage sorghums can occasionally accumulate dangerous concentrations of nitrates.  These high nitrate plants, either standing in the field, or fed as hay, can cause abortion in pregnant cattle, or death if consumed in great enough quantities.  Nitrates do not dissipate from suncured hay (in contrast to prussic acid), therefore once the hay is cut the nitrate levels remain constant.  Therefore, producers should test hay fields before they cut them for hay.  Stop by any OSU County Extension office for testing details.  This gives them an additional option of waiting and allowing for the nitrate to lower in concentration before harvesting the hay.  The major sources of nitrate toxicity in Oklahoma will be summer annual sorghum type plants, including sudan hybrids, sorgo-sudans, sorghum-sudans, millets, and Johnsongrass.  Other plants also may accumulate nitrates.  See OSU Fact Sheet F-2903 .

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Beef checkoff might go up


The beef checkoff, now $1 for every head of cattle sold, could double.

Officials from eight state agricultural groups that comprise the South Dakota Beef Industry Council have suggested the increase.

The mandatory fee, in place for 23 years, is collected by state beef councils. Half of each dollar goes to the national Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board for beef promotion and education.

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EarthTalk: Meat and the Environment

Kansas City infoZine

Editor’s note: Stories of this ilk are included in the blog to inform those in our industry how agriculture is being presented to and perceived by the public.

FoodDear EarthTalk: Vegetarians and vegans are so self-righteous about not eating meat and how meat eating is so bad for the environment. How true are these claims? — Frank Doolittle, Sudbury, MA

There has never been a better time to go vegetarian. Mounting evidence suggests that meat-based diets are not only unhealthy, but that just about every aspect of meat production-from grazing-related loss of cropland, to the inefficiencies of feeding vast quantities of water and grain to cattle, to pollution from "factory farms"-is an environmental disaster with wide and sometimes catastrophic consequences.

There are 20 billion head of livestock on Earth, more than triple the number of people. According to the Worldwatch Institute, global livestock population has increased 60 percent since 1961, and the number of fowl being raised for food has nearly quadrupled in the same time period, from 4.2 billion to 15.7 billion.

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Still farming, but for how long?


Glasgow Daily Times

Clifford Wells expects to receive 3 cents a pound more on his tobacco crop this year than he did last year.

Problem is, Wells is spending twice as much on fuel for his farm vehicles and nearly triple for fertilizer on the 320 acres he farms in Carter County where he grows tobacco, raises beef cattle and the corn and hay to feed them.

“I’m just trying to keep my head above water,” said Wells, 43, who lives on a farm which has been in his family for four generations. “But I don’t know how much longer I can hold out.”

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Locally produced food offers a choice to chew on



Produce is a safe alternative, supports area farmers

You’d think grocery stores would consider local farmers markets a competitive threat to their business.

But Festival Foods is one grocer that welcomes farmers markets onto its property. Farmers markets operate in parking lots outside three Festival Foods stores in Brown County through the summer.

"The response has been favorable," said Mark Skogen, president and chief executive officer of Festival Foods. The 10-store chain, started by his parents, first offered a farmers market at its Onalaska store years ago.

"The first thought is that it will put our produce department out of business," he said. But it hasn’t. It draws a different type of customer or those who make additional purchases.

"It feels good to support local farmers," Skogen said. "If we had our way, we would have all local produce."

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Grazing Cattle Year-Round Pays Off

Don Comis


The good ol’ days are coming back to the Northern Plains, with new twists based on recent research findings by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.

ARS researchers in Mandan, N.D., have shown that a newly designed program of "swath grazing” allows cattle to, once again, graze year-round, even in the middle of a North Dakota winter. The concept involves pushing harvested crop leftovers into row piles up to 16 inches high, to keep them within reach of cows in winter.

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Weed Pressure Mounts with Wet Weather

Gary Truitt

Hoosier AG Today

  After weeks of rainy and windy weather, many Indiana growers are behind on their herbicide spray programs. While the farmers have been kept out of the fields, the weeds have gotten out of control. According to Bill Johnson, Extension Weed Specialist at Purdue, “The weeds are definitely out of control in terms of size.” The abundant soil moisture has allowed many weeds to grow beyond a herbicide’s ability to control them.

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A different breed, Couple take a step back in time to live their dream

Judy H. Bastien
The Advertiser

She was a country girl trapped inside the body of a lifelong city dweller.

He was a welder whose work took him all over the United States, but he longed to go back to the farm life of his childhood.

Gail and Kermit LaVergne met in 2001 and it was a perfect match.

"I was kind of in the wrong place in the city," said Gail LaVergne, who was born and raised in Baltimore.

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