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A big "thank you" to all of you who took the time last week to
register your feedback regarding the new look of BEEF Cow-Calf
Weekly. We're still in the process of evaluating and tweaking the
final look but many of you commented that you liked the fewer number of
linked articles -- five of 18 articles linked last week vs. the previous
week's 18 links out of a total of 26 articles. For this week, we've
retained that same number of linked articles -- five.
Classic e-newsletter design suggests formats be brief -- both in the
number of items and their length. But we've always felt it a better
reader service to present all the news of the week -- in a concise
format -- and allow readers to select what they want to read. Readers
have indicated they like this approach but the previous all-in-one
format made for a large total file. The use of links minimizes the load
time of BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly on your computer, and allows us to
track -- on a weekly basis -- items of the most reader interest. In last
week's issue, for instance, the most read article was the piece on the
University of Nebraska's Sandhills Calving System.
In addition, this week, we've changed our headline treatment on
individual stories to increase readability. Some readers complained that
the blue field behind the reversed headline type was too light, so we
have changed the headline style to black.
Keep your comments coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration
published the final report of their Livestock and Meat Marketing Study,
which was commissioned by Congress to determine the impact of
alternative marketing arrangements (AMA). See "Report On Alternative
Marketing Arrangements Released" elsewhere in this week's issue.
The study held few surprises, and confirmed what other studies continue
to show. That is that the impact of AMAs is negligible and is likely
beneficial to the industry as a whole. Nonetheless, the economic studies
continue to be commissioned and the outcry to eliminate any move away
from a commodity system will continue.
It's increasingly clear that the upcoming farm bill will be a focal
point for those trying to eliminate producer choice in marketing their
cattle. Economists and experts have always discounted this movement,
believing that the numbers tell the story, but they've missed the point.
This movement is against change, and it's about uncertainty and a
fundamental belief that someone else is in control of the industry's
-- Troy Marshall
USDA released its 10-year ag outlook last week, and there was much
good news in the report -- even for the short term. Admittedly, one must
realize that, while looking out 10 years is a good exercise, it's likely
not a very accurate one.
Click here to read more of this story by Troy
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Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the "Competitive and Fair
Agricultural Markets Acts" to "correct deficiencies in USDA's
enforcement over agricultural markets and provided needed protections
for producers involved in production contracts for agricultural
commodities." Harkin said, "Producers need to have a fighting chance in
an industry that is becoming far too consolidated and vertically
Click here to read more of this story by
P. Scott Shearer,
Washington, D.C., correspondent
For the third consecutive year, Mexico led all markets in volume and
value for U.S. beef and beef variety meats in 2006, reports the U.S.
Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
Meanwhile, overall exports of U.S. beef and beef variety meats worldwide
increased 39% in volume to 655,920 metric tons (mt) and 50% in value to
$2.04 billion in 2006 compared to 2005. This was despite no market
access to Korea, and limited access to Japan. In Mexico, the volume of
U.S. beef products increased 32% to 371,087 mt and value jumped 33% to
$1.17 billion over the 2005 figure.
For a breakdown of export statistics by market, click here: usmef.org/TradeLibrary/files/06_12_BVMPlus.pdf
Meanwhile, year-end numbers show U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports
continued their record-breaking volume growth for a 15th year, totaling
1.26 million metric tons (mt), a 9% increase over 2005. Their value also
increased 9%, reaching more than $2.86 billion.
And exports of U.S. lamb and mutton plus lamb variety meat increased 55%
in volume in 2006 to 13,934 mt and 66% in value to $27.8 million over
-- USMEF news release
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From data collection to secure data sharing and reporting to
AgInfoLink's wide range of products allows us to design a solution to
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The Spring 2007 Hereford Sire Summary is available in print or
online. The summary includes a detailed listing of 2,051 bulls. Sire
entries not only include EPDs, but also $Profit Indexes for cattlemen
who want one number rather than many. Those four indexes are Baldy
Maternal Index, Brahman Influence Index, Certified Hereford Beef Index
and Calving EZ Index.
To request a sire summary, call the American Hereford Association at
816-842-3757. Or visit www.hereford.org and look under the "Whole Herd
TPR" tab, then under the "EPD Search & Reference" tab.
-- American Hereford Association news release
A bill introduced in the Illinois State Legislature could signal the
end to horse slaughter in the U.S. Illinois is the only state where
continued horse slaughter isn't threatened following a Fifth Circuit
Court of Appeals decision in mid January that ruled as valid a 1949
Texas law banning horse slaughter for human consumption.
The three-judge panel ruling in New Orleans affected two of the nation's
three horse slaughter plants -- Dallas Crown Inc. at Kaufman, TX, and
Beltex Corp. in Fort Worth. Spokespeople for the Texas plants say they
are weighing their options, which includes an appeal to the U.S. Supreme
A third plant, unaffected by that ruling, is Cavel International, Inc.,
in DeKalb, IL. The three plants, which USDA says harvested 100,000
horses last year, produce horsemeat for the European Union and other
The Illinois bill sponsored by State Rep. Bob Molaro (D-Chicago) would
prohibit transportation of horses into Illinois for the sole purpose of
slaughter for human consumption. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and
the Illinois Department of Ag supported a similar bill when it was last
introduced, Molaro says, and it's anticipated they will support it
-- Joe Roybal
Bull buyers can search for Limousin and Lim-Flex® herd-sire
prospects by visiting www.nalf.org and clicking the "Limousin Exchange:
Bull Listing Service" link. Both private-treaty and public-auction sale
offerings are included in the searchable database.
Users can identify a variety of criteria -- including state, owner,
sire, expected progeny differences (EPDs), coat color, horned or polled
status, percent blood, sale date and type, and price -- to obtain info
on the bulls that fit their needs. Also included in a bull's listing are
his name, registration number, tattoo, birthdate, pedigree,
ultrasound-scan data, owner contact information and additional comments.
Users can sort the results according to any given trait.
-- North American Limousin Foundation news
Protect against major bacterial and viral scours
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- Three strains of rotavirus, including G10, G6 and G8
- One strain of coronavirus
- Four isolates of K99 E. coli
- Clostridium perfringens Type C
Thirty-nine ag organizations have written members of the House and
Senate urging Congress to oppose the Administration's proposed $96
million in "user fees" for government-mandated food safety inspection
programs. The groups said, "Meat, poultry and egg products inspection is
a public health and safety program required by federal law and funded
through tax dollars for over a century. These new food safety taxes will
be charged directly to the meat, poultry and egg products sector, who
will be forced to pass this additional cost onto tax-paying consumers."
Some of the groups signing the letter include: American Association of
Meat Processors, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Meat
Institute, American Sheep Industry Council, Food Marketing Institute,
Grocery Manufacturers/Food Products Association, National Cattlemen's
Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Pork Producers
Council, National Turkey Federation, and United Egg Producers.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C.,
USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration
(GIPSA) released the "GIPSA Livestock and Meat Marketing Study" on the
use and impacts of alternative marketing arrangements (AMAs) in the
livestock and meat industries. The report indicates AMAs increase the
economic efficiency of the cattle, hog and lamb markets, and the
economic benefits are distributed to consumers, as well as to producers
and packers. The study's general conclusions are:
The study concludes: "In aggregate, restrictions on the use of AMAs for
sale of livestock to meat packers would have negative economic effects
on livestock producers, meat packers and consumers."
- Use of AMAs during the October 2002 to March 2005 period,
including packer ownership, is estimated at 38% of the fed-beef volume,
89% of the finish-hog volume, and 44% of the fed-lamb volume sold to
- Packer-owned livestock accounted for a small percentage of
transactions for beef and lamb (5% or less), even when the small
percentage of partial ownership arrangements is included, but accounted
for a large percentage of transactions for pork (20-30% depending upon
- Given the current environment and recent trends, moderate increases
in use of AMAs are expected in the lamb industry, but little or no
increase in beef and pork.
- Cash-market transactions serve an important purpose in the industry,
particularly for small producers and small packers. In addition,
reported cash prices are frequently used as the base for formula pricing
for cash market and AMA purchases of livestock and meat.
- The use of AMAs is associated with lower cash market prices, with a
much larger effect occurring for finished hogs than for fed cattle.
- Many meat packers and livestock producers obtain benefits through
the use of AMAs, including management of costs, management of risk
(market access and price risk), and assurance of quality and consistency
The study was authorized by Congress in 2003 to assess the effects on
the market of packer ownership of livestock more than 14 days in advance
of slaughter and examine AMAs. The study was conducted by RTI
International. See the report at: www.gipsa.usda.gov.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C.,
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced the "Preservation of
Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act." Slaughter said, "When we go to
the grocery store, we should expect that the food we buy will not
inadvertently expose our families to dangerous strains of resistant
bacteria. However, the practice of over-using antibiotics in raising
livestock -- even when animals are not sick -- is one of the leading
contributors to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. As a
result, our risk of exposure to increasingly stronger bacteria is
becoming a frightening reality."
According to Slaughter, this legislation would:
Similar legislation was introduced in the Senate by Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).
- Phase out the non-therapeutic use in livestock of medically
important antibiotics, unless their manufacturers can show they pose no
danger to the public health;
- Require this same tough standard of new applications for approval of
- Provide for federal payments to farmers to defray their costs in
switching to antibiotic-free husbandry practices, with a preference
given to family farms;
- Authorize grants for research and demonstration programs on means to
reduce the use of antibiotics in the raising of livestock;
- Require manufacturers to report the amounts of antibiotics they
supply for animal use, the animals to which those drugs are given, and
the uses for which those drugs are supplied.
- Doesn't restrict use of antibiotics to treat sick animals or to
treat pets and other animals not used for food.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C.,
The POWER of one BRAND can change your future in the beef
Certified Angus Beef ®, the oldest, most successful branded
beef program in the industry returned more than $50 million in grid
premiums in 2003. The demand for CAB® brand products translates into
fed cattle premiums of $2-$5/cwt. Source-verified, high-percentage Angus
replacement females often top auctions by selling for $50-$100 per head
above cash market. Sale barn surveys conducted at nine auction markets
indicated premiums are paid, not for black-hided cattle, but for
One brand, one breed--the power of one can change your future in the
Certified Angus Beef® and CAB® are registered trademarks of
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The Texas A&M University Ag Research and Extension Center in Overton
will host two Grazing Schools For Novices -- March 27-29 and April 3-5.
The grazing school is for novices, those persons with a range of skills
who would like to fine-tune their knowledge of soil tests, forage
analysis, animal performance, animal working, inoculations, vaccinations
-- the whole pasture-animal-care scenario, says Monte Rouquette, one of
the school organizers. Cost for either class is $350/person, which
includes meals and materials. Contact Jennifer Lloyd at 903-834-6191 or
visit email@example.com, or
visit overton/tamu.edu/grazingschool.htm for more info.
-- Burt Rutherford
Michigan State University (MSU) Extension plans nine Winter Beef
Meetings on Feb. 26 to update producers on current marketing and
The meetings will be held in Mt. Pleasant, Clarksville, Cadillac, West
Branch, Lawrence, Jackson, Gaylord, Stephenson, Escanaba and Pickford.
All meetings will be held in two sessions -- from 1-3:45 p.m. and 6-9
Among the topics are cattle and corn prices in 2007 and beyond; feeding,
finishing and backgrounding Holstein and beef steers; mandatory
radio-frequency ID; and feeding and storing distiller's grains.
Registration, which includes materials and refreshments, is $20 for the
first person from each farm and $10 for each additional representative.
College, 4-H and FFA members are free.
For more info, contact Steven Rust at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-432-1390; or
Nancy Perkins at email@example.com or 517-355-8401.
-- Joe Roybal
"Running Your Ranch Like A Business" is the theme for the 2007
School For Successful Ranching. Sponsored by the Texas and Southwestern
Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA), the March 23-24 program is in
conjunction with TSCRA's annual convention in Ft. Worth.
This year's topics include managing native and improved pastures,
business principles, bull selection, basic herd health and nutrition,
fences and fenceline weaning, land fragmentation, adding market value to
your calf crop and theft-prevention tips. Sessions run from 8 a.m. to 3
p.m. on March 23, and 8 a.m. to noon the following day.
Register by March 14 at www.texascattleraisers.org, or call Mark Perrier
at 800-242-7820, Ext. 118.
-- Joe Roybal
Steps taken now can pay off in controlling stable flies this spring,
Kansas State University Extension entomologist Albert Broce says.
"Spring and early summer populations of stable flies in pastures most
often develop at winter-feeding sites of hay in round bales," he says,
where wasted hay mixes with manure to provide ideal larval habitat for
stable flies. Broce says heavy stable fly populations can cut stocker
cattle gains by as much as 1/2 lb./head/day
during a 4- to 6-week period in spring and early summer.
Hay and manure ratios of 1:1 to 5:1 provide the best conditions for
developing stable fly larvae. So lessening the amount of wasted hay, or
controlling or reducing the accumulation of the hay-manure medium will
help cut stable fly production. His suggestions include:
For more on fly control, visit www.beefcowcalf.com, and type "fly control" into
the "Search Titles" box on the opening page.
- Frequently move the placement of the feeding tub to prevent
accumulation of the hay-manure medium over one spot.
- Use feeders, such as cone feeders, which have been demonstrated to
lower (although not prevent) the amount of wasted hay.
- Unroll the round bales on pastures, but not on the same site; or
spread the accumulated hay-manure medium to allow it to dry.
-- Kansas State University news release
"Cattle, Corn, and Alternative Feeds" and "Coping with High-Priced
Corn" are two publications from South Dakota State University Extension
specialists designed to help cow-calf producers deal with the surging
price of grain. Both are available free of charge and online.
Click here to read more of this story by Joe
Wyoming and Nebraska are teaming up to present the "High Plains
Ranch Practicum," an eight-day, five-session, hands-on program designed
to give participants the skills and application of management tools
needed to be successful in today's complex ranching industry.
A joint effort of the Extension programs of the universities of Wyoming
and Nebraska, the program begins in June and concludes in January 2008.
Sessions will be held in Scottsbluff, NE, and Lingle, WY.
The course will provide ranchers tools to understand and integrate four
areas of ranch management: range and forage resources, range beef cow
production, unit cost of production and cattle marketing. Participants
will also benefit from instruction and current research in range
livestock production, financial management, and marketing systems.
The program is limited to 35 participants, who must apply by May 1. A
$500 fee covers materials, instructor costs and meals. Applications and
more info is available at HPRanchPracticum.com, or call 308-235-3122 or
-- Joe Roybal
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