Daily Archives: August 1, 2008

Feeder Calf Marketing, Tips for adding value.

Sara Gugelmeyer

Hereford World

When it comes right down to it, there are two ways to approach feeder calf marketing. The first is to raise a commodity product with costs as low as possible and sell it at the sale barn for a commodity price. This puts you at the mercy of the market. When feeder calf prices are high and your costs are low, you reap the benefits. Otherwise, there is little you can do.

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Q&A Should you feed grain to beef cattle before slaughter?Is it best? How long before slaughter?

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

A:   There are forage finished beef that do not receive grain. It usually take a longer period of time to finish these cattle (harvested at a specific weight or a specific backfat) as average daily gain is lower for forage finished diets.

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New COOL Website

Thebeefsite.com

The American Meat Institute unveiled an updated country-of-origin labelling (COOL) Website.

The new site http://www.countryoforiginlabel.org/, that reflects changes included in the recently passed 2008 Farm Bill. Mandatory COOL takes effect 30 September.

As part of AMI’s continued efforts to provide the most current information about the law’s requirements, the Web site contains a "Frequently Asked Questions" section where meat and poultry companies and the public may submit questions about implementating the law.

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Backgrounding Calves On Cornstalk Residue

cattlenetwork.com

With the current high costs for feed, fuel, and fertilizer, there is a renewed emphasis on utilizing low-cost feedstuffs to put weight on calves. Feedlot operators are looking to place heavier cattle on feed to shorten the finishing period, so it is left to cow/calf producers and backgrounders to determine the best way to put extra pounds on calves prior to entry into the feedlot.

In a recent Minnesota Farm Guide article, Dr. Ryon Walker of the U of M Beef Team detailed backgrounding calves on grass as a management option. Another option for backgrounding calves is to utilize corn stalk residue after harvest. In 2007 Minnesota ranked fourth in the United States with 7.8 million acres of corn harvested. In theory this abundance of corn stalk residue could serve as an excellent low cost feedstuff for weaned calves or wintering cows, however, it is estimated by the American Forage and Grassland Council that only 25% of crop residues nationwide are utilized each year. The corn plant has 50-55% of its weight in stalks, leaves, husks, and cobs.

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Research Aims to Improve Beef’s Nutritional Quality

Cattle Today

Iowa State University researchers are identifying opportunities to advance the nutritional value of beef.

Funded by recent grants from Pfizer Animal Genetics and the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium, the research brings together experts on molecular genetics, biochemistry, meat science and animal breeding to identify cattle genetics that lead to desired nutritional traits in beef.

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Industry executives respond to meat labeling guideline

Country of origin labeling law gets mixed reactions from cattle producers

Jeff Bunn

Capital Journal

The announcement that a label, 16 years in the making, will be placed on meat in grocery stores by the fall has been met with varying degrees of enthusiasm by cattle-producer groups in the state.

On Monday, Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., announced the guidelines for country of origin labeling had been released to the public and will take effect Sept. 30 with a six-month compliance period.

The act has been a priority for Johnson since 1992 and cattle-producer groups such as R-CALF that want consumers to know where the beef they buy is from. At the same time, groups for the measure feel it allows U.S. cattle producers the opportunity to market their homegrown beef.

But the provision has faced “years of foot-dragging by the United States Department of Agriculture” and “obstruction from the White House,” according to a Johnson press release.

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The question is premiums

Wes Ishmael

Beef Magazine

“With high feed prices, producers might be tempted to skip preconditioning calves this fall to save on costs, but if producers get a premium of $6/cwt., preconditioning will still be profitable,” says Kevin Dhuyvetter, Kansas State University agricultural economist. That’s his conclusion after updating an in-depth analysis with current feed prices (August 8).

Specifically, Dhuyvetter points out if calves only gain 1 lb./day, preconditioning is barely breakeven in his scenarios (Table 1) with corn prices at $7.35/bu., soybean meal at $399/ton and hay at $80/ton. As usual, increased mortality rates also submarine net potential, but increased performance can overcome a reduced premium.

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Ranchers Reluctantly Auction Livestock Early

Andrew Keller

KFYR

Most people aren`t thinking about winter yet, but cattle farmers in southwestern North Dakota definitely are. They are at work baling hay, or at least trying to.

"The hay isn`t worth putting up. Some of it hasn`t even greened up yet, it`s just plum dry," says David Panasak, a farmer in western North Dakota and eastern Montana.

Because of the dry conditions this year, many farmers are facing a dilemma:.pay a big price for hay or sell off cattle.

"In our area it`s dry, normally we wouldn`t be selling in July, we usually sell in August or September," Panasak says. "I believe a bunch of cows will be sold this fall because hay is going to be higher plus freight is going to be higher, and it isn`t going to be in our area because we just do not have the hay in the area to purchase."

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2008 Beef Queen says winning isn’t everything

BOBBIE CARPENTER

News-Tribune

Mineral County FFA and 4-H member Megan Webb, this year’s 2008 West Virginia Beef Queen, knows the importance of raising beef cattle and said the focus shouldn’t be on whether they win first place, but rather consistency.

“It’s really important to be proud of an animal. Even if it doesn’t win, still be proud of it,” said Webb. “Every judge has his or her own view and perspective. Consistency is what to look for. You can’t always be number one, but being consistent is just as good.”

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Raising a global stink, Activists target methane gas from, um, cows

Michael Hawthorne

Chicago Tribune

Burgeoning efforts to curb global-warming pollution are taking aim at an unlikely new target: the placid, cud-chewing cow.

Scientists have long known that cattle and other livestock are a major contributor to climate change worldwide, and although researchers, regulators and activists have devoted most of their attention to other culprits—such as cars and coal-fired power plants—that is starting to change.

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JBS Posts Fourth Straight Loss, Citing Acquisitions

Carlos Caminada and Laura Price

Bloomberg

JBS SA, the world’s biggest beef producer, posted its fourth straight quarterly net loss on expenses related to U.S. acquisitions and currency declines.

The second-quarter net loss of 364.4 million reais ($233.4 million) compares with net income of 38.7 million reais a year earlier, Sao Paulo-based JBS said today in a statement. Net sales increased more than six fold to 7.13 billion reais.

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Consider Early Weaning In Areas Experiencing Drought

cattlenetwork.com

Ranchers in parts of North Dakota experiencing significant reductions in forage production because of dry weather conditions should consider early weaning as a management tool, a North Dakota State University cattle expert advises.

"Early weaning also should be considered as a management tool to improve or manipulate body condition, especially in young or thin cows," says Greg Lardy, NDSU Extension Service beef cattle specialist and associate professor in the Animal Sciences Department. "Time of weaning will have impacts on cow and calf performance, as well as health and productivity of the native range or pasture."

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CME: Livestock Producers Face Prospects of $8 Corn

Thebeefsite.com

Good weather conditions have allowed the current corn crop to improve at a much faster pace than previously expected and we have started seeing private forecasts that now have corn yields above the $150 bushel market, maybe as high as $155-56 bushels per acre. Topsoil moisture in much of the corn belt appears to be in great shape and with no significant dry weather patterns expected in the near future, corn prices have been under significant pressure recently. However, the market found some support in the USDA announcement that it would not allow an early release of acres that are currently enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). After the June floods in Iowa and Illinois, USDA was urged to grant an early release of CRP acres in order to mitigate the flooding impact and provide relief for livestock and poultry producers facing prospects of $8 corn, as indicated in futures markets.

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Will grass-fed beef catch on at high-profile Atlanta restaurants?

ELIZABETH LEE

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dawn is just breaking as a group of local chefs gather in a parking lot south of Atlanta, where a tour bus idles.

Before the day ends, they will travel 400 miles, shoot skeet as the temperature blazes toward 95 degrees, chow down on two-inch-thick burgers — and retrace the path of that meat from cattle grazing on nearby pastures to an on-farm slaughterhouse that’s the main attraction on this trip. Eight animals pacing around holding pens will turn into sides of beef. And rancher Will Harris may find a few chefs who believe in his vision enough to place White Oak Pastures meat on their menus.

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