Daily Archives: July 10, 2008

Video Feature: Cattle Handling in Crowd Pens

Temple Grandin explains how to use behavior principles to move cattle quietly through crowd pens, chutes, races and circular tubs for low stress cattle handling.

Washington Veteran to Represent Cattlemen

The Beef Site

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has hired J. Burton Eller Jr. to manage the association’s legislative and regulatory office in Washington, D.C., a return for the senior executive of the former National Cattlemen’s Association (NCA).

Burton will report to CEO Terry Stokes, who served an additional role as interim head of the D.C. office during the search for a new senior vice president of government affairs.

“I have seen firsthand the challenges facing cattlemen in Washington, D.C.,” Stokes said. “My goal was to find someone who could step into this role without missing a beat and am confident Burton is the right man to lead NCBA government affairs as we go forward.”

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Beef Improvement Federation names Great Plains producers as honorees

Cattle Business Weekly

Cattlemen from around the world gathered in Calgary June 30-July 3 for the 2008 Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Annual Meeting and Research Symposium, "Beef Beyond Borders," hosted by the Canadian Beef Breeds Council.

The yearly event is usually held in the U.S. and is North America’s leading forum to showcase and discuss genetic advancements and innovations in beef production. During BIF’s 40th anniversary meeting discussion beef production innovations and advancements happening in the U.S. and Canada were shared along with opportunities for the two leading beef producing countries. The event had more than 400 attendees participating from eight countries: Canada, U.S., Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

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Getting Cows Bred In July & August


One of the most challenging aspects of spring calving is trying to determine when to calve to maximize reproductive rate. Reproductive efficiency in a cow herd is most accurately measured by the term "percent calf crop weaned" which is calculated by dividing the number of calves weaned by the number of cows that were in the cow herd when the breeding season began the previous year. The two factors that affect the ability of a cow to wean a calf is pregnancy rate and calf death loss.

Most spring-calving herds begin calving sometime in February or March and end sometime in May or June. Calving in February and March can be challenging because both of these months are typically wet and/or cold. Wet/cold environments result in higher calf death loss; calf death losses average 5-7% for most spring calving herds. One method to reduce calf death loss is to calve when the weather is more accommodating. For example, death loss is much lower (1-2%) for cows that calve in the fall (September and October). One might think that calving in April and May could be a better option; the weather is certainly warmer and calf death loss will likely be lower. To calve in April and May, the breeding season would be start June 23rd and would last through the month of August. Unfortunately, breeding cattle during this time results in lower pregnancy rates and would put most beef cattle producers out of business.

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Summer is Not a Time to Back Off On Management

Stephen B. Blezinger, Ph.D., PAS

Cattle Today

Part 1

Summer is typically a great time of the year. A time for baseball and watermelon, a time for home-made ice cream and fireworks. Many years it’s a great time for cattle producers as well. A time to relax a little and to get hay cut and baled or silage put up. This year is more challenging given the extremes in weather patterns – floods in the Midwest, drought in some areas of the south and other locations. Some of the areas who are receiving good rainfall may still have difficulty getting their hays and silages put up because of timing. And, as always, in other areas, the lack of rainfall will reduce levels of hay production, reduce growth of immediately grazable forages and reduce growth of forages that would be grazed in the fall and early winter. In short, significantly reduce the nutrient source available for these cattle for the coming months. And these are only the environmental effects. We won’t even mention the costs of fuel, feed and fertilizer.

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Beef Well-Positioned For Current Economic Challenges

Beef Magazine

The beef-cattle industry is well positioned to successfully compete and thrive given record-high corn and energy costs, says economist Bill Helming.

The president of Bill Helming Consulting Services, Olathe, KS, says record-high corn, soybean meal and energy costs are presenting major challenges, placing significant upside pressure on costs of gain and operating expenses, while exerting downside pressure on margins for cattle producers, cattle feeders, pork producers and chicken companies. And the prospects are high that some of these trends and developments will continue for the next 12-30 months.

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Beef Cattle Breeds and Biological Types

Scott P. Greiner, Extension Animal Scientist; Virginia Tech

Worldwide there are more than 250 breeds of beef cattle. Over 60 of these breeds are present in the United States. However, a relatively small number of breeds (less than 20) constitute the majority of the genetics utilized in the U.S. for commercial beef production. The breed, or combination of breeds, used in a defined breeding program have a significant impact on the efficiency and profitability of the beef enterprise. Breed influences the important parameters of growth rate, reproductive efficiency, maternal ability, and end-product specifications. Additionally, nutritional requirements and production costs are related to traits such as mature cow size and growth rate that are largely determined by breed. Therefore, selecting appropriate breeds to be used in a crossbreeding program is an important decision for beef cattle producers.

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