Monthly Archives: November 2009

Can Commercial Cattlemen make AI Pay?

Can Commercial Cattlemen make AI Pay?

Troy Smith


Suppose you gathered up exactly 100 cow-calf producers representing a true cross-section of the commercial industry. And just suppose you asked all among the crowd who currently use artificial insemination in their operations to raise their hands. It’s likely there would be no more than eight hands waving in the air.

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Advocate or perish

Advocate or perish

Wes Ishmael

BEEF Magazine

“While the affluent nations can certainly afford to adopt ultra low-risk positions toward new advances in agricultural science and technology, and pay more for food produced by the so-called organic methods, the 1 billion chronically undernourished people of the low-income, food-deficit nations cannot,” said Nobel Prize winner, Norman Borlaug in a 2001 speech. “With low-cost food supplies and urban bias, is it any wonder that affluent consumers don’t understand the complexities of reproducing the world food supply each year in its entirety, and expanding it further for the nearly 80 million additional mouths that are born into this world each year?

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Watch for poisonous weeds commonly found in hay

Watch for poisonous weeds commonly found in hay

Krishona Martinson

University of Minnesota Extension

Minnesota is home to numerous toxic plants and weeds. Most weeds are not palatable and in a pasture, will be avoided by livestock if adequate forage is available. However, in hay, most livestock cannot differentiate weeds from beneficial long-stemmed forage, resulting in accidental ingestion and possibly a loss in performance or death.

Three weeds commonly found in Minnesota that remain toxic when dried in hay are hoary alyssum, wild parsnip and poison hemlock.

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Carcass Weights Falling

Carcass Weights Falling

CME Daily Market Report

There maybe plenty of problems in the beef market at this time but feeders falling behind in their marketings does not seem to be one of them. The latest USDA report showed a continued decline in steer carcass weights and, as the chart below illustrates it, the decline in weights during the past four weeks has been quite dramatic for this time of year.

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Longhorn Cattle Are Prized By The Inch

Longhorn Cattle Are Prized By The Inch


John Burnett

Texas longhorns — the cattle, not the college football team — have made a stunning comeback.

In 1964, there were believed to be fewer than 1,500 genuine longhorns in existence. Today, there are more than 330,000 in private herds scattered across the country.

The animals have grown popular among weekend ranchers who want a symbol of Western heritage but don’t want the work involved with regular cattle.

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US ranchers are wrangling over livestock

US ranchers are wrangling over livestock

Erin Snelgrove

Yakima Herald

Dust billows in the sun-drenched sky as 600 cattle charge through the chute. They act as one, a writhing mass of legs and hooves. Flies swarm in their wake, and ranchers stand on alert, ready to jump into the fray if needed.

As each animal passes, its ear tag transmits data that’s entered into a national database, allowing authorities to track each animal from birth to death.

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Brazil says US to blame for rainforest deforestation

Brazil says US to blame for rainforest deforestation

Judson Parker

Tallahassee Environmental News Examiner

On November 27, 2009, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said that "gringos" should pay Amazon nations to prevent deforestation, claiming rich Western nations have caused much of the environmental destruction.

According to a concept called Indirect Land Use Change, or ILUC, corn used for ethanol production in the United States cuts into American grain exports and thus provide a bigger market for competitors such as Brazil.

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Gillibrand pushes for testing of E. Coli in ground beef

Gillibrand pushes for testing of E. Coli in ground beef


The Post Journal

According to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, recent U.S. Dept. of Agriculture reports indicate nearly one in 300 samples of ground beef contains E. Coli. Contaminated food kills 5,700 Americans each year and the nation’s food safety laws have not been overhauled in a century, she adds. As the first New York senator to sit on the senate agriculture committee in 40 years, she announced the introduction of the E. Coli Eradication Act, legislation she authored that would, for the first time, federally mandate testing of all ground beef for E. Coli.

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Cattle Diseases:  Trichomoniasis

Cattle Diseases:  Trichomoniasis

Donald Peter, Department of Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Richard F. Randle, Commercial Agriculture Program, University of Missouri

Trichomoniasis, or "trich," is a venereal disease of cattle caused by a protozoan parasite, Tritrichomonas foetus. The disease has been reported worldwide, and while few estimates of the geographic prevalence of trichomoniasis in the United States are available, veterinarians and research workers are reporting an increased rate of diagnosis in the western U.S. It is estimated that the economic losses to the U.S. beef industry from reduced conception rates, lowered weaning weights and increased culling due to this disease exceed $100 million annually.

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Belgian Blues utilized in cross-breeding programs

Belgian Blues utilized in cross-breeding programs

Codi Vallery-Mills

The Cattle Business Weekly

Many people that see Belgian Blue cattle for the first time have to do a double-take as the breed’s double muscled body is a little awe striking.

Belgian Blues, as the name suggests, originated in central and upper Belgium. At one time the breed accounted for nearly half of the cattle in the country’s national herd being used as both meat and milk animals.

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Cow tracking– Would Canada’s model work here?

Cow tracking– Would Canada’s model work here?


Yakima Herald-Republic

As the United States grapples with developing a national system to track diseased cattle, some here have been watching the Canadian model.

Like Australia, the program requires cattle ranchers to participate and relies on ear tags to register cattle.

But unlike Australia, the Canadian system doesn’t actually track a cow’s every move from birth to death.

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Pro-baseball player interns at Ag Department

Pro-baseball player interns at Ag Department


The Wichita Eagle

An e-mail requesting an internship arrived at the Agriculture Department this summer with an impressive resume: Princeton University degree in operations research and financial engineering, 3.8 college GPA, 1520 SATs.

Ross Ohlendorf didn’t mention his 95 mph sinking fastball, but it probably wouldn’t have hurt his chances. Department officials were impressed that the Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher wanted to work for them in the offseason.

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Beefy hormones: New routes of exposure

Beefy hormones: New routes of exposure

Janet Raloff

Science News

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.

On any given day, some 750,000 U.S feedlots are beefing up between 11 million and 14 million head of cattle. The vast majority of these animals will receive muscle-building steroids — hormones they will eventually excrete into the environment. But traditional notions about where those biologically active pollutants end up may need substantial revising, several new studies find.

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Montana Board of Livestock Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Brucellosis Order

Montana Board of Livestock Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Brucellosis Order

Beef Today

The Montana Board of Livestock is seeking public comment on a draft order that proposes to create Designated Surveillance Area (DSA) for continued brucellosis surveillance, vaccination and traceability requirements in areas with risk of brucellosis transmission from wildlife to livestock.

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Animal welfare expert says beef producers are doing it right

Animal welfare expert says beef producers are doing it right

Lura Roti

The Cattle Business Weekly

"The beef industry is exactly what the public wants out of animal agriculture," says Dr. Bernard Rollin, during a lecture hosted by the Animal and Range Science Department at South Dakota State University Nov. 16.

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Video Feature: America’s Farmers a Vital Part of Our Economy

America’s farmers grow our economy. They ship nearly $100 billion of crops and products to many nations. They provide more than 24 million U.S. jobs. As farming grows, so does our quality of life. Were all connected through agriculture. Americas farmers grow America

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Will 2010 be Missouri’s year?

Will 2010 be Missouri’s year?

Steve Kopperud  

I’ve just gotten word from the Missouri Cattlemen’s Assn. that HSUS filed the necessary paperwork yesterday with the state attorney general to mount a statewide referendum. The question now is, what’s the goal? Word is Paul Shapiro, the 30-something self-styled HSUS farm animal guru, says the initiative will be focused on puppy mills. Time will tell, I guess.

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Feeding Culls May Be Effective Marketing Strategy

Feeding Culls May Be Effective Marketing Strategy

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

Producers searching for inventive ways to add dollars to their beef cow-calf operations may want to consider retaining and feeding cull cattle as a value-added marketing strategy.

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Tag NAIS Dead But Not Gone

Tag NAIS Dead But Not Gone

John Harrington


A coalition of 100 agricultural groups have sent two letters — one to USDA and one to Congress — urging that the National Animal Identification System be dissolved, according to a release by R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America.

Pointing out that the 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill reduced NAIS funding to $5.34 million, without specifying how those funds were to be spent, the coalition asked Congress to "refocus [USDA] on measures that truly improve animal health and … respect the interests of both livestock owners and consumers."

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BeefTalk: Young Minds, More Questions

BeefTalk: Young Minds, More Questions

Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

When asked, what do young people ask within the beef business?

Virtually every segment of the industry lives on limited, small margins.

How does someone reach out and make a living in the beef business?

There are many paths. Knowing which path will be the most profitable and fulfill one’s dreams is difficult to predict.

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