Daily Archives: July 21, 2008

Vintage Video Feature: The Cattle Feeders part 2

This film profiles three cattle feeders who show a great disparity in their facilities and methods for handling cattle.

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Weaning Strategies Impact Feedlot Calf Health & Gain


Weaning strategies are becoming an ever increasing topic of discussion for cow/calf operators and feedlot managers.  Should the calves be weaned ahead of time at home before shipping?  Should they be weaned on the truck on the way to the feedlot?  Should the calves have fenceline contact with their mothers during the weaning process?  Should calves be weaned in drylot or on pasture?

Ohio State University animal scientists conducted a trial to explore possible advantages of pasture-weaning calves with contact to their dams.  Three weaning strategies were investigated: 1) weaned directly onto the truck, 2) weaned 30 days before trucking and confined in drylot, 3) weaned 30 days before trucking and pastured with fence-line contact with their dams.  Steers from the drylot weaning strategy lost 1.32 lb/day the first week in the feedlot, whereas steers from the truck weaning and pasture–weaning treatments gained 1.1 lb/day and .88 lb/day, respectively.  Body weight gain in the subsequent 3 weeks was similar among treatments.

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New ARS project develops way to talk to cows


Minnesota Farm Guide

Cows wearing Walkman-type radios and being herded by the voice of a rancher coming through the earphones.

Sounds like a sci-fi storyline dreamed up by a science-fiction writer that grew up in the ranching area of the U.S. But actually, it’s a project currently under way at the Agricultural Research Services (ARS) at the Jornada Experiment Range in Las Cruces, N.M.

ARS animal scientist Dean M. Anderson and other colleagues are working on technology that will use a doughnut-shaped stereo headset called an Ear-A-Round (EAR), which is worn over each ear of the cow. This device will not only allow a rancher to track an animal’s location but actually enable him to “whisper” wireless commands to cows as a way of controlling their movements across a landscape and even remotely gather them into a corral.

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South Sioux plant will use beef tallow to make biodiesel

By Dave Dreeszen

Sioux City Journal

In a week’s time, Beef Products Inc.’s plant in South Sioux City churns out about 22 million pounds of beef tallow.

That’s a whole lot of fat. Soon, most, if not all, of it will be used to power semi-trucks, pickups and other vehicles that run on diesel fuel.

BPI, the world’s largest producer of lean boneless beef, has teamed with a biodiesel producer, Natural Innovative Renewable Energy. The two firms on Friday formally unveiled plans for a 60-million-gallon-per-year biodiesel plant, expected to create three dozen new jobs.

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Beef Producers Should Maintain Parasite Programs


An Iowa State University study concluded that parasite control is the most economically important practice in beef production. Therefore, it is critical that beef producers not reduce their parasite control programs during difficult economic times. The study revealed that at the cow/calf level dewormers affect weaning rates and weights more than any other technology a producer can employ.

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Senators push to block Argentine livestock imports

High Plains Journal

A bipartisan group of senators hopes to block importation of livestock from Argentina until it’s clear the nation is free of foot-and-mouth disease.

South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson, a Democrat, and Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi, a Republican, introduced legislation July 10 to prevent livestock importation from Argentina until the U.S. Department of Agriculture can certify that it’s safe.

The region has seen outbreaks of the highly contagious disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals like cattle and pigs. It is a viral illness that can be spread through even minimal contact with infected animals, farm equipment or meat. It can be fatal to animals, but does not harm humans.

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Minnesota Farm Bureau applauds signing of bovine TB legislation

Minnesota Farm Guide

 “The Minnesota Farm Bureau thanks Governor Pawlenty, members of the Minnesota Senate and members of the House of Representatives for passage of bovine Tuberculosis (TB) legislation signed into law today,” said Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap. “This is an important step on the road to regaining TB-free status.”

“This critical legislation will provide the Board of Animal Health the authority they need to restrict movement of livestock within the bovine TB management zone and implement split-state status,” said Paap. “The bill also provides significant resources to control and eradicate bovine TB, including a voluntary herd buyout for cattle producers in the management zone and cost-share money for fencing.”

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Tolland Farm Features Rare Dutch Belted Cows


Hartford Courant

Kathy Bach keeps Oreo cookies in her pantry and "Oreo cookie cows" in her pasture.

The cookies are for children who come to see Bach’s herd of cows. A broad white band bisects each cow’s black hide, making it look like the popular Nabisco cookie.

The cows, formally known as Dutch Belted cows, are a conservation project. Bach, a member of the state Judicial Selection Commission, and her husband, Louis Bach, a veterinarian whose practice is next to the family farm, own 13 of them, out of a global population estimated at less than 2,000.

The Dutch Belts, which originated in Holland and are also called Lakenvelders, from the Dutch word for "blanket," are one of the rarest breeds of dairy cattle in the country, with fewer than 200 purebred cows registered as being born each year, said Anneke Jakes, the registrar for the Dutch Belted Cattle Association and the breed registry manager for the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

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Jack Dillard: Organization focuses on cattle producers

Shreveport Times

Cattle Producers of Louisiana is the name selected by a group of cattlemen that has its headquarters in Prairieville. Last week, I received a call from Dave Foster, former market director for the Louisiana Agriculture Department, advising me of the new organization and a membership meeting to be held at 6 p.m. Saturday at Sibley Civic Center in Sibley.

Dave and I talked at length about the mission and goals of the group, which seems to be market-oriented with the cattle producer and owner being the main interest. The group has a brochure that is colorful and well-written. Call toll free at (888) 528-6999 to receive one. The group’s Web site is lacattle.org.

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Research, then react

Harrison Daily

Who knows when the University of Arkansas Extension Service started researching tactics for farmers to reduce expenses for raising beef cattle? Probably when fuel prices erupted during the mid-1970s.

They shared the results of that research at workshops a few years ago and methods for saving fuel, trimming labor and equipment expenses, and efficiently utilizing feed.

The free seminars stress the value of stockpiling pasture for winter feed and promote testing nutrients in everything from hay to soil. They urged farmers to fine-tune the Extension Service’s guidelines for their particular operation.

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Home on the Range

Eugene "Buddy" Lobato runs one of the 8,384 small ranches across Colorado. It’s not easy work, but "mi tierra," he says, is in his blood.

By Armand Lobato

My father’s 1960 Ford tractor is dependable, and he keeps his baler and other equipment together with duct tape, wire and prayers.

If only his health was as dependable as that tractor. Time has taken its toll. My father, Eugene, is a proud, 75-year-old rancher from Chama. He takes pride in his humble profession that pays little but continues a long tradition.

And in the ranching tradition, he rarely complains.

He is a man who can bolt heavy machinery together, despite being nearly blind as a result from heart complications suffered in 2004. He has the courage to rescue solitary animals from coyote packs, and the tenderness to gently bottle-feed calves at 2 a.m. in below-zero snowstorms.

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Beef checkoff might go up

High Plains Journal

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–which decides how to spend checkoff money in the state–have suggested the increase.

The mandatory fee, in place since 1985, 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.

The checkoff fee has been in court. Some cattle raisers didn’t want to pay it because it couldn’t be used to specifically promote American beef.

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UF plans seminar on cattle reproduction to help beef industry

Fred Hiers

Ocala Star-Banner

OCALA — Marion County may be Horse Capital of the World, but cattle is king.

The county produces about 40,000 head of beef cattle annually, compared to the nearly 30,000 horses that call the county home.

To ensure Florida maintains its cattle-production standing, which is 12th in the nation, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is holding a cattle seminar Aug. 6 through 9 in St. Cloud, with a focus on cattle reproduction.

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K-State Ag Today: Research shows ways to improve marbling in beef

Jeff Wichman


Vitamin A is a necessary nutrient for the overall health of beef cattle, but too much can result in lower-quality meat.

Michael Dikeman, a professor and researcher in the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry at Kansas State University, has been building on research first conducted in Japan.

"We basically found that vitamin A restriction during the finishing phase of young cattle, generally improved marbling. It also generally resulted in some reduction in the external or waste fat production," Dikeman said.

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Special coverage from the Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, Colo.

Rod Smith


Beef industry must do more with less

The beef cattle industry’s structure has changed dramatically in recent years, Terry Stokes, chief executive officer of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. (NCBA) told cattle producers attending this morning’s opening session. He noted that:

    * In 1975, there were 46 million beef cows, and today there are 33 million;

    * In 1980, there were 1.013 million beef cattle operations, and today there are 762,000, and

    * In 1982, the feeder cattle supply exceeded 40 million head, and today, it totals about 28 million head.

"So we have fewer cattle and less operations," he said, "but we are producing more beef today than we did in 1975 with 13 million fewer cows."

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