South Korea Continues To
First, South Korean officials examined the first
shipment of beef from the U.S. for more than a month before banning it
because they found some miniscule bone fragments. Then on Friday, South
Korea refused the second shipment -- this from a different company -- on
the same grounds after about a week's worth of inspection.
"The ongoing saga to regain our lost export opportunities in South Korea
has reached a new and unjustified road block with Korea's recent
rejection of the first two shipments of U.S. beef to reach its coast,"
said representatives of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA)
last week. "With Korea's promise to resume imports of U.S. boneless
beef, it appeared we were making progress. However, it's now clear
these were empty promises, as South Korea simply refuses to play by the
rules. Their partial reopening has been an uphill battle since the
beginning of the year and the recent shipment rejections due to
miniscule bone fragments is simply the last straw."
With that in mind, NCBA president, Mike John, sent a letter to President
Bush asking his help in resolving the matter. NCBA is asking its members
to write letters to the president along the same lines.
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Weather And Crops
Welcome to Winter
As much as 20 inches of snow last week slowed cattle
trade and stymied the efforts of some farmers still trying to finish
"The hardest hit area stretched from the Texas panhandle to Illinois,"
say Ag Marketing Service reporters.
For the week ending Nov. 25, according to National Ag Statistics Service
- Corn -- 97% is harvested, which is 2% behind last year and 1% behind the
five-year average. Harvest was nearly complete in all regions except the
northern Corn Belt and Ohio River Valley.
- Winter Wheat -- 94% of the crop has
emerged, 1% ahead of last year but the same as the
five-year average. Emergence was ahead of normal in most areas, but
trailed behind in the eastern Corn Belt due to delayed planting.
Indiana's crop was over a week behind normal, while Ohio's was two weeks
behind and Michigan's nearly four weeks behind. 53%
is rated good or excellent, compared to 52% at the
same time last year; condition continues to decline.
- Sorghum -- 94% has been harvested, compared to 95% last year and 92% for average. Harvest
advanced 20 points in Colorado but was still behind normal. In all
remaining States, however, progress was at or ahead of the normal
An open-and-shut case.
The case for Strategic Parasite Control is stronger than ever.
Especially where liver flukes reduce conception rates, weaning weights
and rate of gain. Reduce the number of open cows. Shut the door on
flukes and other internal and external parasites with
IVOMEC® Plus (ivermectin/clorsulon).
®IVOMEC and the CATTLE HEAD LOGO are registered trademarks of
Merial. © 2005 Merial Limited. Duluth, GA. All right
Distiller's Grain Cautions
Though distiller's grain (DG) can be a valuable,
cost-effective component of growing rations, Chris Reinhardt, a Kansas
State University feedlot specialist, cautions producers, "The phosphorus
content (about 0.8-0.9%) of DG may increase the required calcium content
in order to maintain a proper calcium to phosphorus ratio. Excess
phosphorus also will result in increased phosphorus excretion in the
manure and the associated need to dispose of this element. Excessive
sulfur content (about .5-1.2%) can limit the potential use of DG due to
mineral imbalances, health problems, reduced intake and possibly death."
Further, he explains, "The fat content of DG is beneficial to growing
and finishing cattle as a concentrated energy source; but excessive fat
in the diet of forage-fed animals can reduce forage digestibility,
resulting in lower net energy consumption and lost body condition."
You can find more pros and cons in the article Reinhardt penned for the
Kansas Livestock Association at www.kla.org/PDFS/Newsletter%2011-17-06.pdf.
Incidentally, Reinhardt also provided research to Certified Angus Beef,
LLC (CAB) last summer for a project examining the effect of popular
feeding trends on carcass quality. That research showed a 20-point drop
in marbling on a 1,000-point scale, when cattle were fed a diet of 30%
or more DG, compared to feeding them none.
"That may not sound like much of a drop, but it is significant,
especially when grid premiums are on the line," says Larry Corah, CAB
vice president. "For producers trying to hit a high-quality target, like
the Certified Angus Beef(R) brand, this is one of dozens of little
things that can add up."
According to Corah, distillers grains are commonly fed at 10% to 40% of
feedlot diets, on a dry-matter basis.
You can find more out about DG in the CAB project at www.cabpartners.com/news/press/wp_feed_effect_080206.pdf.
Getting And Keeping
"It's a challenge for rural employers to find employees
with the skill sets they need," says Sarah Fogleman, Kansas State
University Extension economist and a nationally recognized expert in
agriculture human resources.
On the other hand, she says, "The economist in me says there's never a
labor shortage, just too low of a wage and compensation package."
The truth probably lies somewhere in between.
Fogleman explains some cattle operations are finding success looking for
help from non-traditional directions. Teachers for summer help leap to
mind, as does a collection of part-time retirees who add up to a
full-time position. A glaring example of this is a dairy in upstate New
York whose nursery calf manager is a retired nurse who spent her career
in the neonatal intensive care unit of a large hospital in New York
City. She wanted to return to the country she remembered on her
grandparent's farm. Suffice it to say, she can tell a sick one.
It also doesn't hurt to be what Fogleman terms an employer of
If someone came through town and stopped at the Gas N' Guzzle on the
highway, or the local restaurant, and asked if there was good place
around town to work, would your operation be one of the handful of names
"Brag about how you take care of employees. Offer school tours. Support
the auction at the county fair," says Fogleman. "Do those things not
only out of civic responsibility and pride, but also to become
recognized not only as a farm or ranch in the community but as an
employer in the community."
Still, much of the game comes down to personality. As Fogleman says,
"Some employees will always be able to find people who want to work with
them and some others will always struggle."
The Best Defense...
Once you've got them rounded up, Fogleman says, "The best thing
employers can do -- and you can take this to the bank -- is calculate
the value of non-cash benefits employees receive. Do it periodically, be
it once a month or once a quarter. And send it home with employees so
the spouses see it, too."
It's too easy for a couple of extra bucks per hour somewhere else to
look like a better deal. Fogelman has had more than one employer tell
her about folks who left for a higher wage, and then wanted their job
back in a few months because they figured out they were money ahead
because of the benefits they'd been receiving.
"That's not a compensation problem, that's a communication problem,"
For the record, University of California research sums up employee wage
expectations this way: They expect wages to cover basic living expenses,
keep up with inflation, and to provide some funds for savings or
recreation. Employees also expect wages to increase over time.
"The success of compensation packages isn't measured by the dollar cost
to the employer. The success of a compensation package is measured in
how difficult it would be to duplicate those same benefits from a
competing employer," explains Fogleman. "This refers not just to cash
wages but also to direct and indirect benefits, including such items as
flexibility in scheduling or working conditions.
"So, step one for any employer who is trying to create a competitive
compensation package is to develop an understanding of what their
employees need. Step two is to gain an understanding of what competing
employers are currently offering."
Whether perks and bonuses are as simple as pizza and suds when a
particular goal has been achieved, or as elaborate as a percentage of
the value of calves weaned past a target goal, Fogleman emphasizes
bonuses should be just that.
"A bonus should not be what employees bank on to make a living," says
Fogleman. "Wages should provide the living."
You can find more detail in the November 2006 BEEF story, "And
All the Beef You Can Eat..."
Don't take a chance. Treat all incoming cattle with
IVOMEC® Plus (ivermectin/clorsulon)
Liver flukes are spreading and every load of incoming cattle could be
carrying them. The liver fluke problem is hard to diagnose and rarely
shows in clinical signs. Only IVOMEC® Plus
(ivermectin/clorsulon) kills liver flukes and other internal and
external parasites, all in a single dose. Product
®IVOMEC and the CATTLE HEAD LOGO are registered trademarks of
Merial. © 2006 Merial Limited. All rights reserved.
The OSU Stocker Receiving Management
Conference & The Mid-South Stocker Conference
Jan. 25 -- 2007 OSU Stocker Receiving Management
Conference, Enid, OK. Registration is $25. Speakers include Tom
Noffsinger, Dan Thomson, Mike Apley, David Anderson, David Lalman, Clint
Krehbiel, D.L. Step. For more info, contact, Greg Highfill at
580-237-7677 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb. 13-14 -- Mid-South Stocker Conference, Cave City, KY,
presented by the University of Kentucky and the University of Tennessee.
For more info, visit
www.midsouthstocker.org. You can also contact Jim Neel at
865-974-7294 or email@example.com;
John Bartee at 931-648-5725 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or John T.
Johns at 859-257-2853 or email@example.com.
Prices Search For Stability
"Even though this week's trend was mostly higher than
two weeks ago, the general mood of the feeder-cattle sector isn't as
positive as it was during the holiday week," say USDA Ag Marketing
Service (AMS) analysts. "The feeder cattle market seems to be struggling
for a sense of direction or some kind of confirmation that we've found
solid bottom-side support."
For the week, AMS reports feeder and stocker cattle selling for mostly
steady to $3 higher than two weeks ago (the holiday week); these
categories were mostly steady to $3 down in the Southeast. Fed cattle
lost some ground, too -- $1-$2 on live sales (mostly $86) and $3-$4 in
the beef ($135).
According to AMS, "Most reporting areas have indicated that buyers have
become very selective, resulting in erratic price trends and uneven
trading. This fall's lower price levels have allowed those buyers that
are in the market to go after exactly what they want, instead of
settling for the class of cattle that appears to have the best value."
The summary below reflects the week ended Dec. 1 for Medium and Large 1
-- 500- to 550-lb., 600- to 650-lb., and 700- to 750-lb. feeder heifers
and steers (unless otherwise noted). The list is arranged in descending
order by auction volume and represents sales reported in the weekly USDA
National Feeder and Stocker Cattle Summary:
| Summary Table
| State|| Volume ||Steers || Heifers
| Calf Weight|| 500-550 lbs. || 600-650 lbs.
|| 700-750 lbs.
|| 500-550 lbs.
|| 600-650 lbs. ||
700-750 lbs. |
| MO || 44,300 || $111.01 || $101.91 || $100.97 || $99.40 || $93.63 || $92.67 |
| KY* ||31,000 || $996-109 ||
$89-99 || $86-965 || $83-93 || $80-903 || $76-865 |
| TX ||20,300 || $106.37 || $96.39 || $102.32 || $97.29 ||
$94.59 || $90.67 |
| Dakotas ||19,000 |
| OK || 17,800 || $115.80 || $103.06 || $103.33 || $98.14 || $87.97 || $90.82 |
| AL ||17,500 || $102-109 ||
$90-1003 || ** ||
$80-883 || ** |
| IA ||15,000
||$94.964 || $99.79 || $103.02 ||$101.142 || $99.76 |
| NE ||14,800 || $124.19 ||$118.112 || $105.23 || $109.67 ||
$105.372 || ** |
| TN* ||12,600 || $97.38 ||$90.91 || $87.80 || $86.04 ||$832.09 || $81.47 |
| AR ||10,100
|| $88-983 || $83-935
|| $79-893 || $79-895
||9,300 || $85-105 ||
$80-93 || $75-87 || $78-96 || $73-90 || $78-82 |
| FL* ||9,000 || $82-103 || $78-88 || $70-75 || $80-95 ||$75-87 || $72-904 |
||8,100 || $82-110 ||
$75-91.503 || $75-875 || $72-88.50 || $70-853 || $65-765 |
| MS ||7,100 || $90-1001 || $80-903 || $74-805 || $80-901
||$73-803 || ** |
| KS ||6,700 || $113.74 || $111.11 || $103.68 || $101.32 ||$95.60 || $94.75 |
| WY ||6,600
||$109.062 || **
||$95.922 || ** |
| LA(ND) ||6,500 || $88-106 ||$88-1032 || ** ||
$81-101 ||$81-1002 || ** |
| CO ||4,700
||$97.824 || $93.417
||$94.17 || $88.16 |
| NM ||3,900
|| $96.43 || $91.164 || $97.06 ||$89.46 || $81.52 |
| WA* ||3,100 || $103.42 ||$95.942 || ** ||
$88.59 ||$88.712 || $83.367 |
| VA ||2,600
|| $106.292 ||$97.06 || $91.96 || $93.73 ||$83.08 || $88.264 |
| MT ||1,500
|| $106.082 || **
||$94.102 || ** |
* Plus 2
** None reported at this weight or near weight
(***) Steers and bulls
USDA's Bruce Knight On Voluntary
I take exception to your recent characterization that
USDA's commitment to keeping the National Animal ID program voluntary
somehow constitutes a lack of resolve on our part to make this program a
success ("NAIS Is Dead," Nov. 28 BEEF Stocker Trends). I also
disagree with the notion that USDA quietly announced this decision via
release of our new draft User Guide for producers.
I've gone on the record numerous times to explain why it makes good
sense to keep the Animal ID program voluntary at the federal level. Most
importantly, around the country, producers -- the backbone of the system
-- have told USDA their preference is a voluntary system. It's their
livelihood, their business information and, quite simply, it should be
their choice to participate.
We're actively promoting the system and encouraging producers all across
the country to register their premises. The community outreach event you
mention in your story was designed for just this purpose -- sitting down
with our state and industry partners to discuss the system and new
communications tools designed to help them increase premises
registration totals across the country. The number of premises
registered across the country stands today at more than 333,000 and
continues to rise each week.
The recently released draft User Guide is another key component in this
effort. Producers interested in animal ID now have a comprehensive guide
that explains what the system is and how it can help protect their
operations and communities from the potentially devastating effects of
serious animal disease events. Releasing the guide for public comment
provides a way for producers to send us their insights into the program,
while also helping them make informed decisions regarding their
Contrary to your report of the animal ID system's demise, the program is
gaining traction across the country. The best way to enhance its
momentum -- and ultimate success -- is to keep it voluntary at the
federal level; inform producers of the system's many benefits; and, at
the end of the day, let them make the right decision for their
operations and their livelihoods.
Bruce I. Knight
USDA Under Secretary
Marketing and Regulatory Programs
Questions & Comments
Please send questions to:
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