The latest quarterly reports are out and they brought generally good
news for the beef industry. Burger King beat expectations with
25¢/share earnings in the last quarter -- the improved results
attributed to increased burger sales fueled by three new burger
Tyson also beat Wall Street expectations with numbers that almost
doubled expected earnings -- 19¢/share vs. expectations of
11¢. Beef was a huge part of that, posting a $24-million profit,
compared to a $188-million loss last year.
On a related note, with most of the packers showing drastically improved
results, it just highlights Swift's continued woes from a profitability
standpoint. Rampant rumors continue that a Swift sale is imminent.
-- Troy Marshall
Take the Producer Poll!
Results from last week's poll:
Do you vaccinate against Lepto hardjo-bovis?
Vote now to answer
this week's question:
- Yes -- 83.33%
- No -- 9.26%
- Not sure -- 0%
- No, but I'm thinking about including it -- 7.41%
When you have cows turn up open, what is usually at fault?
Stay tuned next week for the poll results and a new question.
- Leptospirosis, including L. hardjo-bovis
- Bull problems
- Poor nutrition
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A checkoff-funded study on beef tenderness provided some carcass
insights between steers and heifers. Authored by Colorado State
University's Darryl Tatum, the study showed that, despite heifers
tending to have higher quality grades than steers, they're consistently
tougher, have a much higher percentage of undesirable eating experiences
due to tenderness, and produce a significantly higher number of dark
Click here to read more of this story by Troy
Beef imports to South Korea surged 22.9% in the first quarter of
2007, despite aggressive marketing efforts to promote homegrown beef, or
"hanwoo," the Korea Herald reports.
The country shipped in a total of 62,481 mt of foreign beef, for a value
of $267 million, a 42.7% jump from the $187.1 million recorded a year
ago. Australia topped the list at 46,024 mt, a 29.1% increase from a
year ago, followed by the Netherlands and Mexico.
Hanwoo is marketed as a premium product and, depending on the cut and
grade, can cost two times more than imports. During the hiatus of U.S.
beef, Korean producers expanded their market share through aggressive
marketing efforts, the article says. But the reopening of beef trade
with the U.S., and the forging of new free-trade agreements, has Korean
ranchers even more anxious.
-- Joe Roybal
"The Repercussions Of Lifetime Nutrition Programs" is the theme of a
Western Section, American Society of Animal Science symposium planned
for June 20 in Moscow, ID.
Set for the University of Idaho campus, the symposium begins at 8 a.m.,
tackling the morning topics of: "Impact of lifetime nutrition on beef
female development and reproductive efficiency," "Impact of cow
nutrition on subsequent calf development," "Impact of preweaning
nutrition programs on calf growth and development" and "The relationship
of genetic traits to lifetime productivity."
Following lunch are the topics of: "Producer perspective: How do
nutrition programs influence bull-selection decisions?" "Influence of
commodity prices on long-term nutritional decisions," and a panel Q&A.
The meeting adjourns at 4:30 p.m.
For more info, visit www.asas.org/westernsection/
or contact Chad Mueller at 541-737-3292 or Chad.Mueller@oregonstate.edu.
-- Joe Roybal
BullShop.com. is a useful site to
anyone buying or selling breeding stock. Over the past five years, it
has grown into the largest, all breeds, breeding stock site serving the
cow-calf industry. The site is presented in a state-by-state format
making it easy for buyers and sellers to use.
Breeders can choose national or state ads in their marketing efforts.
The various free and paid ad categories include breeder ads, semen ads,
embryo ads, state ads, featured ads and sale ads. Click to visit www.BullShop.com. Click to checkout
the free ads you can post on BullShop at www.bullshop.com/show_page.php?id=38
It appears the 66-month-old (age is preliminary) Canadian dairy cow
announced as positive this week was born prior to that country's feed
ban, and isn't expected to affect Canada's "controlled risk"
designation. It's expected that Canada will find several more cases
through its surveillance program before BSE is eradicated from its
The exciting news from a U.S. cattle industry standpoint is the global
beef market reacted to the latest announcement with a ho-hum attitude,
even though it likely sent shivers up and down the spines of Canadian
BSE remains the most over-hyped disease in the history of the cattle
business, from both a cattle herd and human risk standpoint. Its
exaggerated importance is largely attributable to the fact so little was
known about the disease when it first was recognized and the hysteria
that was generated.
While somewhat surprising, it remains comforting that the U.S. has not
detected another case of BSE, and that the consuming public seems to
have become fairly well educated to the actual risk it represents which,
with the safety procedures currently in place, is essentially zero.
-- Troy Marshall
Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA), chairman of the House Agriculture
Livestock Subcommittee, introduced the "Competitive and Fair
Agricultural Markets Act of 2007."
Boswell says, "The concentration in the livestock industry raises many
concerns on what the future may hold for independent producers. Last
month, we held a hearing on the market structure of the livestock
industry. Many concerns were raised about anti-competitive and unfair
practices that occur daily in the marketplace. It's my hope that this
legislation will attempt to level the playing field for independent
The legislation establishes a Special Counsel on competition matters at
USDA whose sole responsibility will be to investigate and prosecute
violations on competition matters. The bill also makes the following
changes to the Agricultural Fair Practices Act:
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced similar legislation in the Senate
earlier this year.
- "Prohibits unfair, deceptive, unjustly discriminatory and
anti-competitive practices by a person that affects the marketing,
receiving, purchasing, sale or contracting of crops.
- Provides needed contract protections to ensure that the production
contract clearly spells out what is required of the producer.
- Prevents discrimination against producers belonging to an
organization or cooperative by removing a disclaimer clause allowing
processors, handlers, or contractors to refuse to do business with
producers just because they belong to such organizations.
- Develops rulemaking by requiring the Secretary of Agriculture to
write regulations defining the term "unreasonable preference or
advantage under the Packers and Stockyards Act."
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C.,
The POWER of one BRAND can change your future in the beef
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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
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USDA sent additional legislative language to Congress concerning the
energy and rural development titles of the farm bill. In the energy
title, USDA is proposing to establish a program to invest $25
million/year for four years for incentives to encourage the development
and expansion of cellulosic ethanol production. In addition, USDA is
proposing to reauthorize the BioPreferred Program and to provide $18
million over 10 years to expand the use of biobased products by the
federal government and to "speed the development and adoption of these
products to the private sector."
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C.,
David Acheson, the FDA's chief medical officer at the Center for
Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, has been appointed assistant
commissioner for food protection or FDA's "food czar." He will also
serve as FDA's liaison to USDA, U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS), and other federal agencies involved in food safety
This is the result of the fallout from the recent contamination of feed
imported from China and fed to pets, swine and chickens. Sen. Tom Harkin
(D-IA), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has asked the
Inspector Generals from USDA and HHS to complete an audit on the U.S.
food safety system.
Harkin said, "From human food-borne illnesses linked to spinach,
tomatoes and peanut butter, to kidney failure in companion animals
caused by the chemical melamine in pet food, the breakdowns in our
nation's food and feed safety system are impacting consumers and
producers alike. We must have a comprehensive assessment of the food
safety system to learn how we can better protect the U.S. food
"I am asking the Inspectors General to evaluate how much oversight the
agencies conduct on imported food products, how the agencies are
implementing our nation's food safety standards, the adequacy of the
response to recent cases of food adulteration, and whether the agencies
have the resources and authorities needed to enforce standards
throughout the food chain. This evaluation is needed now more than ever
to determine how to remedy breakdowns in the system."
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C.,
Herefords - The Efficiency Experts
Adding Hereford genetics to your herd makes perfect business sense in a
cost-driven economy. Excellent conversion, hardiness, fertility,
longevity and even disposition can help reduce input costs. These
Hereford efficiencies are ideal for your herd, your business and your
plans for the future. Low-maintenance cattle, long-term profit. Now
There's something almost mystical about "doability" in cattle. We
all think we know what it is when we see it -- steers that keep gaining
during a Panhandle snowstorm, cows that maintain body condition through
a Dakota blizzard -- but what really is doability? How is it objectively
measured? Can we predict and select for it? Is it economically
Click here to read more of this story by Bill
Police raids this week at 32 locations in the United Kingdom,
Belgium and the Netherlands led to the arrests of 15 men and 15 women in
a crackdown on animal rights extremism. Police told the BBC the
operation -- one of the largest ever -- targeted burglary, conspiracy to
blackmail, and offenses against animal research operations.
The report quotes Aisling Burnand, head of the BioIndustry Association,
as saying "Recent efforts of the police, government and judiciary have
resulted in a significant decline in the incidence of animal rights
extremism and are much welcomed by the UK's bioscience community."
-- Joe Roybal
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Gasoline prices rose sharply for the week of April 30, increasing
10.2¢ to $2.971/gal. -- 5.2¢ over this time last year.
Meanwhile, retail diesel fell for a second straight week, dropping
4¢ to $2.811/gal. -- 8.5¢/gal. lower than last year.
All regions reported gasoline price increases, with the East Coast up
8.2¢ to $2.917/gal., and the Midwest seeing a 15¢ jump to
$2.925. Gulf Coast prices rose 9.8¢ to $2.853, the Rocky Mountain
area was up 11.3¢ to $2.957, and the West Coast was up 5.9¢ to
$3.277. The average price for regular grade in California was up
4.3¢ to a record $3.35.9/gal., 15.7¢ over last year.
Meanwhile, retail diesel on the East Coast fell 3.7¢ to $2.80/gal.,
and was down 5.6¢ to $2.775 in the Midwest. The Gulf Coast fell
4.9¢ to $2.76, with the Rocky Mountains seeing the lone increase --
up 1¢ to $2.988. Prices on the West Coast dropped 0.1¢ to
$2.952, and California prices fell 1.7¢ to $2.987 -- 17.6¢
lower than at this time last year.
-- Energy Information
The U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia decided 2-1
this week to grant an emergency request from Cavel International to
resume its horse slaughter operations while the company considers an
appeal of a lower court ruling that put it out of business.
In that court case, a federal judge decided that an arrangement in which
slaughterhouses were paying USDA to cover inspection costs was illegal.
The suit was filed by the Humane Society of the U.S., an activist animal
rights group. The Belgium-owned plant processed about 1,000 horses a
week for export, mainly to Europe, but has been dark since March 28 when
the court order shut down the business.
In addition, the plant faces legislative challenges. The Illinois House
of Representatives recently passed a measure banning horse slaughter.
The bill is now under consideration in the state's Senate Public Health
-- Burt Rutherford
More than 200 scientists have signed a public statement in support
of FDA's science-based, draft risk assessment on the safety of food from
cloned animals and their conventionally-bred offspring. The sign-on
letter was distributed by the Federation of Animal Science Societies
(FASS). The full text and list of signatories can be found at www.fass.org/DefendScience/.
The document states that the signatories "support and agree with the
FDA's conclusion that edible products from healthy cloned animals and
progeny of cloned animals pose no additional food consumption risks
relative to corresponding products from other animals."
FASS also purchased an ad in the May 2 edition of the Washington
Post in which Terry Etherton, a member of the National Academy of
Sciences panel that evaluated the safety of food from cloned animals and
their offspring, says, "The scientific evidence is absolutely, robustly
-- FASS news release
As of April 29, 23% of this year's anticipated 90.45 million corn
acres had been planted, according to USDA, compared with a five-year
average of 42%. Looking at recent historical data, 1999 was the worst
year for planting progress at the end of April, at 16%, followed by 1996
and 1998 at 25% each. Looking ahead, Allendale, Inc. says the short-crop
year of 1996 saw planting progress at 50% by May 8, 75% by May 16, and
95% by May 29.
Indeed, the next several weeks are key for this fall's corn harvest. The
long-tem weather outlook suggests above-normal precipitation for North
Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota; and below-average precipitation for
Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. The rest of the Midwest is
forecast at normal. Provided this forecast is accurate, fewer planting
delays may be in the offing.
-- Burt Rutherford
June 1 is the deadline for private landowners to submit conservation
program applications to USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service
One such program is the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), a
voluntary program that provides technical and financial assistance to
private landowners to develop and improve fish and wildlife habitat.
WHIP funding is available on a competitive basis and is used to assist
landowners in implementing conservation practices identified in a
NRCS accepts conservation program applications year-round, but June 1 is
the application cutoff date for FY 2008 funding consideration. For more
info about WHIP, contact your local NRCS conservationist or visit www.mt.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.
-- NRCS news release
In analyzing beef demand from the perspective of share of the global
stomach, some things loom on the horizon that U.S. beef producers need
to be aware of, says Ted Schroeder, Kansas State University ag economics
Click here to read more of this story by Burt
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed BSE in a
5½-year-old dairy cow from British Columbia this week. CFIA says
the animal's carcass is under its control, and no part of it entered the
human food or animal feed systems.
The animal was identified at the farm level by the national surveillance
program, which has detected all cases found in Canada, CFIA says. The
program targets at-risk cattle and has tested about 160,000 animals
To limit BSE spread among cattle, Canada banned most proteins, including
specified risk materials (SRMs), from cattle feed in 1997. As of July
12, such SRMs also will be banned from all animal feeds, pet foods and
fertilizers. Under that enhanced feed ban, CFIA expects to eliminate BSE
from the national cattle herd within about 10 years, but expects the
periodic detection of a limited number of cases to continue in the
meantime. For more details, visit the CFIA Web site: www.inspection.gc.ca:80/english/anima/heasan/disemala/bseesb/situatione.shtml
-- Joe Roybal
The Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) for the Greater
Yellowstone area got a funding boost recently from USDA's Animal and
Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The management plan includes
protecting Montana's brucellosis-free status and preventing disease
transmission to livestock. It aims to prevent bison and cattle from
commingling, and removing bison from pastures where cattle graze.
The funding provides $660,000 for the Montana Department of Livestock to
conduct bison-management activities required under the IBMP agreement.
Montana will also receive more than $277,000 for research and
However, interagency bickering over brucellosis eradication in the
Yellowstone area, described as the last remaining reservoir of the
disease in the U.S., is causing problems. In Wyoming, the APHIS
veterinarian in charge says his agency and the National Park Service
aren't on the same page regarding brucellosis eradication in Yellowstone
wildlife. Until that's resolved, Wyoming's efforts to eliminate the
disease are doomed to failure, he says.
According to John Keck, Wyoming state coordinator for the National Park
Service, the divide exists in part because the Park Service doesn't want
to handle its wildlife like livestock. The "wildness" of elk and bison
are valued and Park Service leadership balks at suggestions from APHIS
and ranchers that elk and bison be rounded up and processed through a
test-and-slaughter program, he says.
-- Burt Rutherford
Last Friday, Oklahoma received confirmation of a TB-infected herd in
Cimarron County in the Oklahoma Panhandle, according to State
Veterinarian Becky Brewer.
The 1,100-head herd in question was discovered following a slaughter
surveillance traceback. One additional infected animal was found in the
herd, which will be depopulated and the owner compensated. Working with
federal veterinarians, Oklahoma animal health officials will test
adjacent herds this month to see if additional cases are present.
Oklahoma has been TB-free since 1984. While one infected herd won't
endanger that status, additional cases could affect it.
-- Burt Rutherford
One look at the cover of BEEF's May issue and your mouth may
water. May is national hamburger month, or jokingly referred to as
"Meaty May." As warmer weather prompts families to fire up the barbeque,
you can get fired-up about building better beef and trends in the
With an eye on retail focus and quality, Diana Barto writes about the
convenience of precooked burgers in "...And They're Off." Walt Barnhart
revisits the importance of nutrition, and where beef belongs, in "Diet
Policy Déjà vu." Meanwhile, ranch business management
guru Harlan Hughes covers calculating the price of replacement heifers,
while DVM Dave Sjeklocha cautions against being pennywise and
pound-foolish when it comes to animal health.
All this and more is available online at www.beef-mag.com.
-- Alaina Burt
Estate planning is one of the most important things a rancher can
do. It's also one of the most confusing. To help cattlemen understand
how to keep the ranch in the family, Texas Cooperative Extension will
hold a Ranch Estate-Planning Seminar, Aug. 8-9 in College Station.
Wayne Hayenga, professor emeritus and Extension specialist in estate,
financial and business planning, will cover the many aspects of estate
planning, including wills, living trusts, gifts, estate taxes,
corporations and partnerships, and other estate-planning tools. Cost for
the two-day seminar is $125. For more info, call 979-845-2226 or e-mail
-- Burt Rutherford
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