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BEEF'S COW CALF WEEKLY    May 4, 2007  |  A PENTON MEDIA PUBLICATION
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    Table Of Contents
> Some Of Industry's Biggest Customers Turning Profits
> Beef Tenderness -- Genetics And Management
> Foreign Beef Imports To South Korea Surge
> Western Section ASAS Sets June 20 Nutrition Symposium
> Latest Canada BSE Case Elicits Mostly A Yawn
> Competition Bill Introduced in the House
> USDA Sends More Farm Bill Language
> FDA Appoints Food Czar
> Predicting "Doability" In Cattle
> Police Raids Fight Animal Rights Extremism In Europe
> Gas Prices Up For Week; Diesel Falls Some More
> Horse Slaughter To Resume in DeKalb, IL
> Scientists Endorse FDA's Cloned Livestock Risk Study
> Weather Conditions Delaying Corn Planting Progress
> Wildlife Habitat Incentives Deadline Approaches
> World Beef Competition Growing
> Canada Confirms BSE Case In British Columbia
> Montana Gets Brucellosis Funds
> Oklahoma Uncovers TB-Infected Herd
> "Meaty May" Content Available At www.beef-mag.com
> Estate-Planning Seminar

    Our Perspective
      Some Of Industry's Biggest Customers Turning Profits

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 offerings.

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



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      Beef Tenderness -- Genetics And Management

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 cutters.

Click here to read more of this story by Troy Marshall

      Foreign Beef Imports To South Korea Surge

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

      Western Section ASAS Sets June 20 Nutrition Symposium

"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



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      Latest Canada BSE Case Elicits Mostly A Yawn

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 cowherd.

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 cattlemen.

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

      Competition Bill Introduced in the House

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 producers."

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:
  • "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."
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced similar legislation in the Senate earlier this year.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent



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      USDA Sends More Farm Bill Language

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., correspondent

      FDA Appoints Food Czar

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 issues.

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 supply.

"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., correspondent



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    Breeding & Selection
      Predicting "Doability" In Cattle

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 important?

Click here to read more of this story by Bill Zimmerman

    Activist News
      Police Raids Fight Animal Rights Extremism In Europe

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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    Industry News
      Gas Prices Up For Week; Diesel Falls Some More

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 Administration

      Horse Slaughter To Resume in DeKalb, IL

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 Committee.
-- Burt Rutherford

      Scientists Endorse FDA's Cloned Livestock Risk Study

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 clear."
-- FASS news release

      Weather Conditions Delaying Corn Planting Progress

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

      Wildlife Habitat Incentives Deadline Approaches

June 1 is the deadline for private landowners to submit conservation program applications to USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

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 conservation plan.

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

      World Beef Competition Growing

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 professor.

Click here to read more of this story by Burt Rutherford

    Animal Health
      Canada Confirms BSE Case In British Columbia

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 since 2003.

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

      Montana Gets Brucellosis Funds

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 brucellosis eradication.

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

      Oklahoma Uncovers TB-Infected Herd

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

    Tips for Profit
      "Meaty May" Content Available At www.beef-mag.com

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 consumer industry.

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 Seminar

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 s-wehring@tamu.edu.
-- Burt Rutherford



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