Daily Archives: January 2, 2009

Preparing for Bull Buying Season

Preparing for Bull Buying Season

Scott P. Greiner, Ph.D, Extension Animal Scientist, VA Tech

Bull sale season is in full swing, and between now and late spring many producers will be looking to acquire additional bull power for the upcoming breeding season. Bull selection is Job #1 for genetic improvement, as nearly all herd improvement over time is a direct result of genetics infused through new bulls. Consequently, selection of the right bull is paramount. Finding the right bull is a process which should be initiated long before arrival at the bull sale or opening the sale catalog. A systematic approach which identifies genetic priorities will greatly enhance the ability to find the right bull, and ultimately make the genetic progress needed within the herd. The following outline key steps for consideration.


Bovine TB fight continues in Minnesota and elsewhere

Bovine TB fight continues in Minnesota and elsewhere


Farm and Ranch Guide

After more than three years of battling bovine tuberculosis, Minnesota’s leaders and cattle producers wait for positive news regarding eradication of this chronic respiratory disease.

If the state doesn’t find any more cases of bovine TB, it’s possible most of Minnesota could return to TB free status in about three years.


Cow Calf: Tips For Buying Replacement Cows

Cow Calf: Tips For Buying Replacement Cows


Many producers choose to purchase rather than raise replacement cows for several different reasons. While the initial cost is often the main selection criterion, it should not be the only consideration and is not necessarily the most important.


BeefTalk: Buying the Right Bull Means Checking His Grades

BeefTalk: Buying the Right Bull Means Checking His Grades

Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

In the beef business, producers need to accept the fact that bulls need to be evaluated.

The common-sense process of buying bulls has not changed much. The requirements are simple. The bull needs four decent legs, a bit of appropriate muscle indicative of the product and a functioning reproductive system.


Natural calf feedlot study looks at economics, use of ionophores

Natural calf feedlot study looks at economics, use of ionophores


Farm & Ranch Guide

Raising natural calves for natural beef markets is an alternative that can bring a better price, particularly positive these days with the overall depressed economy affecting cattle prices, according to Tim Petry, an ag economist at North Dakota State University.

Petry said raising natural beef, as well as preconditioning, verified shots and age and source verification, are all ways producers can gain the top price in the market.


‘Slick’ gene helps cattle beat heat

‘Slick’ gene helps cattle beat heat

Alfredo Flores 

By pinpointing the chromosomal location of the “slick” gene identified by Agricultural Research Service (ARS), scientists could help breeders develop cattle with shorter, slick hair that helps keep them cool in subtropical heat.

In central Florida, excessive summer heat can take its toll on cattle, leading to reduced milk production from dairy cattle and higher death rates among beef cattle. But the discovery of the slick gene by scientists at the ARS Subtropical Agricultural Research Station (STARS) in Brooksville, Florida, should help deal with these heat-related issues.



Sticky, liquidy, bulky: Consider texture when mixing ration

Sticky, liquidy, bulky: Consider texture when mixing ration


Minnesota Farm Guide

When you’re making a recipe for people, measured ingredients often have to be combined in a specific way for the dish to turn out its best.

A Total Mixed Ration (TMR) operates in the same way. The dish – the animals’ feed – will turn out differently based on how the ingredients are combined.

Feed efficiency is improved and digestive disorders are reduced when cattle receive a uniformly mixed diet on a consistent basis.


Cattle handling techniques, demos planned for Beef Cattle Short Course

Cattle handling techniques, demos planned for Beef Cattle Short Course

Dr. Jason Cleere 

Bandera County Courier

Cattle-handling, safety and chute-side work will be featured at the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course slated for Monday, August 4, through Wednesday, August 6, in College Station.

“The highlight of the Wednesday morning cattle demonstrations will be a discussion on low-stress cattle-handling principles and techniques by Curt Pate,” said Dr. Ron Gill, Texas AgriLife Extension Service livestock specialist.


Selection: Is it ‘genetic progress’ or just genetic change?

Selection: Is it ‘genetic progress’ or just genetic change?

Patrick Wall

Farm and Ranch Guide

The term “genetic progress” gets used very loosely in sale flyers, catalogs, and on the auction block. In the world of carcass ultrasound, the word progress simply implies that carcass traits are moving in a favorable direction.

As breeders, it’s all too easy to establish goals that concentrate on specific traits; the tools to make “progress” are readily available. Unfortunately, the beauty and simplicity of an Expected Progeny Difference (EPD) can also cause breeders to make unwanted changes.


Mexico Ends Meat-Import Bans on Five More U.S. Plants

Mexico Ends Meat-Import Bans on Five More U.S. Plants (Update1)

Whitney McFerron


Mexico ended bans on meat imports from five more U.S. plants that were decertified by the country last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

A total of 25 plants have been cleared to ship to Mexico, out of about 30 that lost export certification last week, USDA spokeswoman Laura Reiser said in an e-mailed statement late yesterday. Mexico halted shipments from the pork, beef and poultry plants on Dec. 23 after they failed to meet quality and technical standards, according to the USDA.


Oh, to be a cow on the Southern Plains of Texas

Oh, to be a cow on the Southern Plains of Texas

Kay Ledbetter 

Bandera County Courier

Researchers discuss feeding cattle distiller’s grains

Nutritionists and producers alike will meet for a distiller’s grain feeding update on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 6500 W. Amarillo Boulevard in Amarillo.

The program will provide up-to-date results of research conducted by university and federal scientists related to the feeding of distiller’s grains to beef cattle in the Southern Plains, said Dr. Jim MacDonald, Texas AgriLife Research beef nutritionist.


Wind can impact cattle during chilly, winter months

Wind can impact cattle during chilly, winter months


Prairie Star

As the winter drags on and calving begins, I thought it might be worth discussing something that we fight, cuss, and endure every day.

The wind.

It’s important to discuss some of the obvious things, such as the impact of wind on coldness, or wind chill, and also it’s impact on the nutritional requirements of livestock.


Plenty of topics await ICA convention-goers

Plenty of topics await ICA convention-goers

Jeff DeYoung

Iowa Farmer Today

With higher feed costs and lower fed cattle prices, efficiency might be the buzz word at the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association’s (ICA) annual convention Jan. 6-7 in the Gateway Hotel & Conference Center in Ames.

“Certainly, we are always looking to become more efficient,” says Kent Pruismann, a producer from Rock Valley and ICA president-elect.

“We are also hearing some concerns regarding the availability of ethanol co-products.


Tight feeder supplies the issue in ’09

Tight feeder supplies the issue in ’09

Prairie Star

Cattle feeders’ number one concern was feed inputs. Not any more, says Mike Sands, Informa Economics.

The market analyst predicts corn will not stay as low as $3 per bushel for long, but the new trading levels for corn may be of little consequence compared to the declining feeder calf supply.


Mad cow rule may put farmers in dumps

Mad cow rule may put farmers in dumps



Nebraska’s state veterinarian is among those worried that dead cattle could be left to rot in windbreaks or ditches because of a federal regulation intended to prevent mad cow disease.

Mad cow disease is being studied in the lab, but work also must be done in the field, where livestock producers grapple with new restrictions on carcass disposal.The new rule, which takes effect April 27, says cattle over 30 months of age can’t be rendered for animal feed unless their brains and spinal cords are removed first.