Monthly Archives: December 2017

Baxter Black, DVM:  Down On The Farm

Baxter Black, DVM:  Down On The Farm

It’s Christmas time again in the city.  Street lights, store windows, parties, jolly songs are being sung, tv and radio commercials are pronouncing its coming! Most of the attention centers around giving and receiving gifts, cards, trees, eggnog, turkey dressing, decorations and company coming.

Full Story

Latest Environmental Issues that Have Landed on NCBA’s Radar

Latest Environmental Issues that Have Landed on NCBA’s Radar

Oklahoma Farm Report

Environmental Counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Scott Yager recently spoke with cattle producers across the country via a year-end webinar to discuss some of the regulatory issues concerning cattlemen that have unfolded in Washington, DC during 2017. One of the highlights of Yager’s report was the fact that the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule is on its way out the door.

Full Story

Managing risks: A focus on decision quality

Managing risks: A focus on decision quality
Parsons, J.P. Hewlett and J.E. Tranel

Progressive Forage

Risk management is a necessary but sometimes frustrating activity. Good risk management decisions can result in bad outcomes due to the uncertainty involved. For this reason, it is important to judge the quality of a risk management decision based on the information available at the time the decision is made and not solely on the final result.

Full Story

Wading Through the Economics of Drones

Wading Through the Economics of Drones

Cheryl J. Wachenheim


Thinking about the speed at which drone-related technology has developed for use in agriculture in recent years reminds me of this quote from Brunner’s 1968 novel. A year ago, we were thinking about drone use to help tackle jobs that fell under one or more of the four D’s: dirty, dangerous, difficult or dull.

Full Story

Cattle Tags of the Future

Cattle Tags of the Future

Austin Miles

Noble Research Institute

In livestock production, most ranchers keep track of “who’s who” with the help of visual tags. These tags are placed in the cartilage of the animal’s ear, much like an earring. The number on the tag, and sometimes other details such as the tag’s color or placement, provides the rancher with information about that animal with a single glance.

Full Story

Vampire bats kill Peru Cattle

Vampire bats kill Peru Cattle

Western Livestock Journal

A study detailed in a Public Library of Science (PLOS) journal article “Neglected Tropical Diseases” shows that in Peru, more than 500 cattle a year die of rabies. The vampire bat is known to be the principle reservoir of rabies throughout Latin America, yet the burden of vampire bat-transmitted rabies on human lives and livestock has been largely anecdotal.

Full Story

New tax law allows farmers to deduct 20 percent of farm income

New tax law allows farmers to deduct 20 percent of farm income

On The Farm Radio

The following may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall: “The tax reform package passed by Congress this week will result in lower taxes for the vast majority of farmers and ranchers. This tax overhaul includes many changes to the tax code, most notably lower individual tax rates, that will benefit farmers and ranchers. Ninety-four percent of farmers and ranchers pay taxes as individuals, and those rates are coming down.

Full Story

Rethinking how the US grows beef

Rethinking how the US grows beef

Diana Gitig

Ars Technica

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.

Like the other top recommendations—drive less and fly less—this is not super appealing to most of us. But beef production in the US uses more land, water, and fertilizer than any other form of agriculture, no matter which way you cut it. Whether you measure by calories or grams of protein generated, cows are the elephant in the room.

Full Story

Zero tolerance for calving trouble

Zero tolerance for calving trouble

Monica Gokey

Progressive Cattleman

When Idaho-based grazing consultant Jim Gerrish talks about his time spent in Australia, one of the biggest cross-cultural differences he highlights is the Australian producers’ approach to calving trouble. “You know what calving assistance looks like in Australia?” he’ll ask an audience. People stare back at him blankly.

Full Story

Caring for livestock in extreme cold

Caring for livestock in extreme cold

Mark Dorenkamp

Brownfield Network

Frigid conditions sweeping across the Upper Midwest can endanger livestock. West-central Minnesota cow/calf producer Jim Wulf says cold requires calories. “Make sure they have adequate feed to keep them warm.  The other thing you have to do even before the cold hits is make sure the cows are in good body condition scores.”

Full Story

Udder Issues Can’t be Ignored

Udder Issues Can’t be Ignored

Dr. Ken McMillan


A heifer with a swollen udder may have edema, a very treatable condition.

Full Story

Determine what minerals your cows really need

Determine what minerals your cows really need

Jim Sprinkle

Progressive Cattleman

How good is the mineral supplementation program for your ranch? Are there financial benefits that can be gained with a good mineral program? Will an off-the-shelf mineral product satisfy the nutritional demands of your cow herd?

Full Story

Mother Knows Best – Why Your Livestock Eat What They Do

Mother Knows Best – Why Your Livestock Eat What They Do

Kathy Voth

On Pasture

f Mom didn’t eat it, chances are your young livestock won’t eat it either. Enjoy the video and the examples of what researchers have found, and then use the suggestions to work with your animals to help them make new food choices.

Full Story

Re-Purposing What ‘Factory’ Means

Re-Purposing What ‘Factory’ Means

Dan Murphy


As a (wanna-be) wordsmith, who’s spent a professional career trying to position ideas and concepts through the use of language, I’m extremely sensitive to the power of phrasing. Come up with terminology that “sticks,” and you’re halfway to the goal of winning hearts and minds in support of whatever notion you want your audience to embrace.

Full Story

All Beef is Grass-fed

All Beef is Grass-fed

Evan Whitley, Ph.D.

Noble Research Institute

Walk up to the beef case in your local grocery store, and you are sure to find a variety of labels calling out to you: “I’m the best choice for your family!” “No, I am the one you want!” If we’re going to sell beef, we have to market it. Right? Well, in the marketing process, the reality of products and how they compare to one another often gets lost.

Full Story

What Do the Tax Cuts Mean for Farmers and Ranchers?

What Do the Tax Cuts Mean for Farmers and Ranchers?

Northern AG

Benjamin Franklin is credited with the astute observation that “nothing is certain except for death and taxes.” On Dec. 20, Congress voted to pass a sweeping tax reform bill that won’t change Franklin’s sage guarantee, but does seem certain to lower federal taxes paid by most farmers and ranchers.

Full Story

Iowa’s beef industry adds to the state’s economy

Iowa’s beef industry adds to the state’s economy

Jennifer Carrico

High Plains Journal

One of the first projects funded by the Iowa Beef Checkoff was a study about the economic importance of Iowa’s beef industry. Iowa State University Extension livestock marketing specialist Lee Schulz said the study showed the $3.86 billion for cattle and calves in 2016 represented 15 percent of all Iowa agricultural cash receipts and 32 percent of all Iowa animal and animal product cash receipts.

Full Story

Plan ahead for shortage of vitamins A and E

Plan ahead for shortage of vitamins A and E

Amanda Radke

Tri State Livestock News

“Combined with a good mineral supplement, our cattle are able to better absorb the nutrients in the feedstuffs, and we are able to stretch out our forage resources a little bit further to save additional money.”

Full Story

Young Virginia farmer earns award for clean water protection practices

Young Virginia farmer earns award for clean water protection practices



Matthew Heldreth believes in not polluting the well in which he drinks. And he’s actually won recognition for doing just that. Heldreth, 28, recently won a Virginia Clean Water Farm Grand Basin Award for the Big Sandy-Tennessee River watersheds.

Full Story

Barley is ideal for cool-season cattle grazing

Barley is ideal for cool-season cattle grazing

Kay Ledbetter

Agrilife Toady

Barley may soon be planted to more grazing acres as Texas A&M AgriLife continues to research alternatives for the cattle and dairy industries in Texas. Barley grain is commonly used in other parts of the U.S. for malting and as a feed source for animals. But Dr. Clark Neely, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service state small grains and oilseed specialist in College Station, said it is a suitable forage crop for grazing and silage that offers some advantages over other cool-season forages.

Full Story