Daily Archives: September 12, 2008

Video Feature: Humane Animal Handling in the Meat Industry, Part 1 of 3

Video Feature: Humane Animal Handling in the Meat Industry, Part 1 of 3

This video details the U.S. meat industry’s partnership with animal welfare expert Dr. Temple Grandin. The video details the benefits of humane handling and how the industry strives for low-stress cattle handling.


Cow Calf Production Costs On The Rise

Cow Calf Production Costs On The Rise


With the rising costs of pasture, feed and fuel, production costs in the beef industry are well above previous years. “Total cow/calf operating costs are expected to be more than $800 per cow this year, an increase greater than 25 percent since 2005,” said a University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist.

While costs have increased, calf prices have declined since a peak in 2005, said David Hoffman. “Beef producers are facing a challenge to find ways to remain profitable in light of the current increase in input costs of raising cattle,” hesaid.

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BeefTalk: Pounds Weaned Per Cow Exposed Holding at 500 Pounds

BeefTalk: Pounds Weaned Per Cow Exposed Holding at 500 Pounds

Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

CHAPS 2008 Production Benchmarks CHAPS 2008 Production Benchmarks

All those “naysayers” that claim you cannot wean 500 pounds per cow exposed to the bull should look again.

The market talk was casual until the producer leaned over and said, “We just marketed a 90.8 percent calf crop with an average weight of 560 pounds at 189 days of age.”

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USDA Considers Irradiation as a Processing Aid

USDA Considers Irradiation as a Processing Aid


The US Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), has said that it will consider irradiation of meat as a processing aid.

The inspection service announced this week that it has received a petition from the American Meat Institute (AMI) to recognize the use of low penetration and low dose electron beam irradiation on the surface of chilled beef carcasses as a processing aid.

Low-dose electron beam irradiation can kill bacteria such as E. coli. The technology is seen by the industry as a means of ensuring food safety and extending shelf life.

“Based on its consideration of the data and information contained in the petition, FSIS believes that the petition has merit.” a statement said.

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Clovers Can Reduce Dependence on Expensive Inputs

Clovers Can Reduce Dependence on Expensive Inputs

Cattle Today

Forage legumes can provide livestock producers some relief from the skyrocketing cost of applying nitrogen fertilizer to their pastures, said a Texas AgriLife Research scientist.

But there is a lot of “hype” surrounding forage legumes such as crimson or arrowleaf clovers, said Dr. Ray Smith, AgriLife Research legume breeder based in Overton.

“They’re not a ‘get-out-of-jail card.’ They’re not a silver bullet, but they do offer some valuable alternatives to high-cost nitrogen,” Smith said.

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Food companies shy away from “natural” label

Food companies shy away from “natural” label

Bob Meyer

Brownfield Network

Food manufacturers are shying away from using the term “natural” on their labels. A new study from Packaged Facts says the definition has become fuzzy because the Food & Drug Administration has not specified what defines “natural”. Manufacturers say the use of “natural” just raises skepticism about a product.

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So, You Want To Feed Cattle?

So, You Want To Feed Cattle?

Troy Smith

Angus Beef Bulletin

What makes a cow-calf producer want to establish a cattle-feeding enterprise? In the past, producers who also raised corn or other feedgrains may have viewed cattle feeding as a way to add value to their crops. At today’s grain prices, that’s an unlikely reason. It could be, however, that marketing finished cattle looks like the best way to capture more value from the cattle.

If the cow-calf producer has invested well in genetics and quality-focused management, he or she may decide the best payoff comes from marketing finished animals, rather than feeder cattle. And, if selling calves has been a producer’s traditional marketing method, the forecast for lower calf prices could give cause to ponder alternatives.

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Unintended Consequences Of The Ethanol Boom

Unintended Consequences Of The Ethanol Boom


While increased ethanol production has certainly yielded some benefits, it has also carried with it a number of unintended consequences, particularly for the livestock sector.

A few short years ago, most analysts and policy makers contemplating a four- or five-fold increase in ethanol use would probably have envisioned an array of related external benefits: a reduction in harmful automobile emissions, a lessening of dependence on foreign petroleum, a boost in corn prices for farmers, and an abundance of cheap by-product feeds for live-stock producers.

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Aging Farmers Face Increased Risk Of Injury

Aging Farmers Face Increased Risk Of Injury


“An overwhelming majority of injuries occur among workers aged 45 and older,” said Karen Funkenbusch. “Older farmers and ranchers must adjust for the effects of aging.”

In 2007, there were 715 deaths and 800,000 disabling injuries in the U.S. attributed to agriculture, according to the National Safety Council.

The theme of this year’s National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept, 21-27, is “Farm Safely: Protect Your Investment.”

“It stresses the value of the safety and wellness of the agricultural producers and the importance of protecting their hearing, vision and physical abilities,” Funkenbusch said.

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Pooling Calves Can Make Them More Profitable

Pooling Calves Can Make Them More Profitable

Heather Smith Thomas

Cattle Today

Marketing calves is a challenge sometimes, especially if a producer has a small herd. Order buyers are mainly interested in full semi-loads and it’s harder to sell a smaller number of calves. It’s also hard to get a fair price for small groups of calves at an auction yard. When cattle go through one or two at a time, you never get the best market price. “The buyers always steal those, putting them 10 cents back off the going price, and sometimes more than that,” says Ron Skinner, DVM, veterinarian and purebred breeder near Hall, Montana. Skinner has bought and sold many calves over the past 40 years and has also been an order buyer.

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R-CALF Keeps Focus on JBS Merger

R-CALF Keeps Focus on JBS Merger


R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard recently spent more than an hour with Justice Department officials to explain how the proposed acquisitions of National Beef Packing, Smithfield Beef Group and Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding by Brazillian-owned JBS would devastate the live cattle industry in the U.S. Bullard asked the panel to imagine buyers from each company meeting to discuss their plans to buy slaughter cattle.

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Commentary: Argentina is no friend of ours

Commentary: Argentina is no friend of ours

Al Davis, director, Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska

The Prairie Star

Hyannis, Neb. — It’s no secret that the economy is currently in the tank. Cattle producers are pressured from all sides. Feed and fuel have skyrocketed which has a huge impact on our industry. As bad as things are now, a real danger looms on the horizon if a little-known rule by USDA takes hold.

In the middle of the Farm Bill fight, the USDA introduced a plan to open up the U.S. market to meat from a country with documented Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) problems. Argentina does not have a tradition of democratic government and beneficent leadership. Indeed, the country has often been ruled by corrupt and incompetent leadership which is only interested in enriching itself at the expense of the Argentine people. Therefore it should not surprise anyone that Argentina has a long history of debt-default and declining standards of living for its inhabitants.

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Experts provide hurricane preparation guidelines for livestock owners

Experts provide hurricane preparation guidelines for livestock owners

Blair Fannin

Texas A&M

Experts are encouraging livestock owners to take precautions as Hurricane Ike approaches Texas.

Weather reports indicate Ike could cause severe weather in many counties and associated rains could flood low- lying areas.

“There are several measures that can be carried through in advance to minimize the threat of potential losses to a livestock operation,” said Dr. Jason Cleere, Texas AgriLife Extension Service beef cattle specialist.

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West Virginia Cattle Dealer Sentenced In Criminal & Civil Contempt Case

West Virginia Cattle Dealer Sentenced In Criminal & Civil Contempt Case


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that a West Virginia cattle dealer has been sentenced to six months probation for refusing to obey court orders in 2006 and 2008 that prohibited her from introducing animals into the food supply until the FDA had approved her record-keeping system. The FDA initiated the case after illegal levels of drug residue were found repeatedly in calves that Shirley A. Rhodes of Sandyville sold for use as human food.

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USDA downgrades NM’s bovine TB-free status

USDA downgrades NM’s bovine TB-free status


CJ Online.com

New Mexico has lost its status as a bovine tuberculosis-free state, a decision state officials say is excessive and could cost ranching and dairy operations unnecessary tests.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in a notice published in Thursday’s Federal Register, said that because two infected herds had been found in New Mexico’s accredited free-zone since May 2007, it no longer met federal requirements and the state had to be downgraded.

“This action is necessary to reduce the likelihood of the spread of bovine tuberculosis within the United States,” the notice said.

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