Monthly Archives: August 2008

BeefTalk: Buy Feed by Value, Not Pounds

Kris Ringwall, NDSU Extension Beef Specialist

Shopping for Cattle Feed? Shopping for Cattle Feed?

A sound understanding of the nutritional requirements of cattle and the nutritional value of feed is needed.

Wintering cattle requires feed. The current tight inventories of feed suggest that cow culling should be deep.

Yet, once the culling is done, but the bales still don’t add up, the time is right to contact a good beef cattle nutritionist. The nutritionist can help develop a “least cost” ration.

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Effects of BRD Vaccines Studied

Ed Haag

Angus Beef Bulletin

Jason Sawyer, beef researcher with Texas A&M University’s (TAMU’s) Department of Animal Science, is well aware there is suspicion among some beef producers that vaccinating their cattle for bovine respiratory disease (BRD) before they enter the feedlot could cost them a whole lot more than the price of the shots.

“The premise behind our study was to try and address a concern that a lot of producers have expressed,” he says. “The concern is that by using the modified-live vaccine (MLV) on calves at weaning time, it might impair their performance in the feedlot.”

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Transitions – Part 2

Kindra Gordon

Cattle Business Weekly

So, how can ranch families move into the future with a transition plan in place? Kevin Spafford, a succession planning specialist, shares the following tactics that can be beneficial to the process.

Start communicating. Spafford – along with most succession planning experts – say the best way to resolve or minimize conflict is to keep all involved communicating and informed.

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Nutrition, genetics go hand in hand

Jeff DeYoung

Iowa Farmer Today

Ask Mason Fleenor for the best predictor of a quality beef carcass, and genetics is a quick answer.

However, it takes only a second or two before nutrition enters the conversation.

“When you are looking at how the cattle grade, I think it’s mostly genetics,” says Fleenor, who runs an Angus herd near here in Ida County.

“But I also think if you don’t feed them right, they aren’t going to grade for you.”

Genetics are a factor, but there is evidence nutrition may be just as important when it comes to quality cattle, says Larry Berger, an animal scientist at the University of Illinois.

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How Much Are Corn Stalks Worth In The Field?

A recently published NebGuide, Harvesting Crop Residues, G1846, addresses the question of how much value you lose when removing corn stalks from the field. It covers the implications of stover harvest for the value of nutrients removed, maintenance of soil organic matter and soil productivity, wind and water erosion, and runoff and evaporation. Tillage and cropping systems also are important considerations.

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Flatiron steaks get high marks for tenderness, flavor and price

Dallas News

The flatiron steak is a relatively new cut of beef popularized by chefs. Research from the universities of Florida and Nebraska uncovered a surprising fact: The flatiron cut is the second most tender cut of meat from a steer (after the tenderloin). What makes this noteworthy is its comparatively low price and great flavor.

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BEEF Completes Landmark Stocker Survey

Wes Ishmael

Beef Magazine

Results of first-ever National Stocker Survey to debut in BEEF next month

 “There’s a treasure trove of information here, some of it benchmarking what we’ve long believed about the stocker industry, and other data offering new perspectives,” says Dale Balsi, Kansas State University (KSU) Extension beef stocker specialist.

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Rotational grazing focus of pasture tour


When Abigail Jones started talking, she brought up the cryptic, silly sounding notion of “Donkey-Days.”

Though the interest of some of the attendees seemed to start fading at that, they had come back to rapt attention by the time Jones had outlined the concept.

All else being equal, she said, if you grazed 100 donkeys on one-acre of pasture for one day and one donkey on one acre for 100 days, which acre of pasture would be the most stressed?

The answer: The acre with one donkey for 100 days.

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USDA Initiate Complete Ban on Downer Cattle

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a proposed rule to amend the Federal meat inspection regulations to initiate a complete ban on the slaughter of cattle that become non-ambulatory after initial inspection by Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) inspection program personnel.

According to the USDA, this proposed rule follows the May 20 announcement by Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer to remove the provision that states that FSIS inspection program will determine the disposition of cattle that become non-ambulatory disabled after they have passed ante-mortem, before slaughter, inspection on a case-by-case basis. Under the proposed rule, all cattle that are non-ambulatory disabled at any time prior to slaughter, including those that become non-ambulatory disabled after passing ante-mortem inspection, will be condemned and properly disposed of.

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Ranchers discuss future of industry


Garden City Telegram

Although area cattle producers voiced concern about the industry Wednesday at the Wheatlands Convention Center, one Finney County producer had something positive to say. The rest of the group agreed.

"The future has a lot of hope and brightness to it," said Sam Hands, who farms in southern Finney County.

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Q&A: What is the average shrink on corn silage pile that is tarped with a cement base and dirt walls? The pile will be about 250 tons.

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

A:   This is not an easy question to answer – – it depends. The literature suggests that the range in shrink for corn silage in the bunker is 6% to 18%.

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Beef Processing Plant Clears First Hurdle

Tulare Voice

The opposition stayed home during the first round of public hearings on the proposed beef slaughterhouse and processing plant proposed for 90 acres adjacent to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

After listening to seven people speak in favor of the project, the Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for the facility and recommended the City Council approve general plan and zoning amendments that would allow Western Pacific Meat Packing to build the project.

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Forage Harvesting in 3 Scenarios

As Autumn approaches, a University of Illinois Extension dairy specialist has outlined three scenarios for the harvesting of forage.

"We have plenty of late-planted corn and soybeans which could be nipped by an early frost," said Mike Hutjens. "It is important that dairy producers understand the alternatives and strategies should this occur."

The first scenario involves late-corn silage. The main differences will be yield (tons of dry matter per acre) and starch content.

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Overgrazing Alters Pasture Plant Composition

Range managers have long known that overgrazing changes the plant composition of pastures.

As a result, plant species are referred to as increasers, decreasers or invaders. This is a reference to their reaction to years of overgrazing (generally by cattle as opposed to sheep).

By knowing how a few common species react to grazing and monitoring their abundance in pastures, managers can improve forage quality, quantity and, consequently, profits," says Chuck Lura, rangeland specialist at North Dakota State University’s Central Grasslands Research Extension Center near Streeter.

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Journalist Kurtis chews the fat on lean, natural beef

Leslie Leader

Elmhurst Press

Veteran journalist and environmentalist Bill Kurtis paid a visit to Elmhurst Aug. 18 to lunch on Tallgrass beef from his Kansas ranch at 100 South Chop House and Grill and discuss healing gardens and the holistic approach to health with those associated with Elmhurst Memorial Hospital.

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Video Feature: Dr. Keith Johnson-How to Use a Grazing Stick

Dr. Keith Johnson show how to use a grazing stick to estimate the amount of usable forage available n a pasture.

Health Management of Newly-Arrived Beef Cattle into a Backgrounding/Stocker Operation

E.J. Richey & D.L. Prichard

University of Florida

Backgrounding (a stocker operation) describes a management system where recently weaned calves or yearling cattle are grazed for a period of time before they are placed in the feed yard. After they reach a desired size, or at the end of the "grazing" season, they are sorted into uniform loads or pen-size lots and placed in a feedlot. Sounds rather simple, but in reality, the successful management of a backgrounding operation can be rather complex. Backgrounding is a part of the cattle industry that most cow/calf operators and veterinarians are not comfortable with, especially when dealing with the problems of health management in backgrounding cattle.

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Everything You Need to Know About Steak

Francine Maroukian


A man should know his meat. We can help. We tell you everything you need to know on steak types, grades and cooking times.

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Meat’s Contribution to Global Warming

‘The Cow Is a Climate Bomb’

Michaela Schiessl and Christian Schwägerl

Der Spiegel

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.

Whether cattle are reared organically or with conventional farming methods, the end effect is bad for the environment, according to a new German consumer report. The agricultural lobby, however, is preventing politicians from tackling this massive source of greenhouse gas emissions.

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Forage Focus – Using Low Quality Hay

Producing high quality hay depends upon cutting the forage plant at a vegetative stage and then getting enough dry sunny days to allow the plants to dry, ideally, to 15 to 18 percent moisture content before baling. While the frequent rainfalls we received earlier this year was good for forage growth, it also hindered quality hay production. Many hayfields were cut at a full bloom or later stage of development. Remember that for any grass or legume plant quality as measured by crude protein, energy and digestibility declines as the plant matures. It looks like hay supplies in terms of quantity are in good shape this year, but quality, particularly of first cutting hay, is generally low.

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