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BEEF'S COW CALF WEEKLY    May 25, 2007  |  A PENTON MEDIA PUBLICATION
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    Table Of Contents
> Eli Lilly Acquires Data Powerhouse Ivy Animal Health
> Ethanol Impacts Will Continue For Quite Some Time
> Saying Goodbye To An Old And Good Friend
> Ag Chemical Collections Set For Texas
> Beef Improvement Federation Meeting Is June 6-9
> Bird-Hunting Enterprise Conferences Set For June
> Do Your Breakeven Math Before Creep Feeding
> Don't Expect Any Movement On COOL This Summer
> Export Developments Encouraging
> Gasoline At The Pump Sets Another Nominal High
> Groups Call For COOL Funding
> Hereford Youth Heading For The Hills
> House Livestock Subcommittee Marks Up Farm Bill
> Implementation Of Price Reporting
> Mandatory Arbitration Of Livestock Contracts Advances
> Montana Escapes Brucellosis Crackdown
> Vaccine Reduces E. coli O157 Prevalence In Cattle
> What Do I Lose By Calving Early?
> What's The Value Of Exports To U.S. Cattlemen?
> Too Many Farm Programs, Reader Says
> Washington-Mandated Markets A Recipe For Disaster

    Breaking News
      Eli Lilly Acquires Data Powerhouse Ivy Animal Health

Ivy Animal Health, Inc., will become an operating unit of Eli Lilly and Company's Elanco Animal Health division under an acquisition agreement announced today by Lilly. The transaction is expected to close near the end of the second quarter of 2007, contingent upon regulatory approval.

Privately held Ivy was established in 1982 and includes four divisions -- Ivy Laboratories, VetLife, Ivy Natural Solutions and AgSpan -- and will continue to operate from its current location in Overland Park, KS, a Lilly release says. Upon deal closing, Ivy will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Lilly.

Jeffrey Simmons, Elanco executive director of global strategy, research and development and operations, says the acquisition of Ivy offers a number of strategic opportunities for Elanco, including VetLife's current differentiated implant product line, Ivy Natural Solutions' current and future products and services, and AgSpan's Benchmark Knowledge Services. "Our product lines are complimentary, and together they deliver cumulative value to our beef-producing customers," he says.

Within its Benchmark® Performance Program, Ivy Animal Health maintains extensive databases containing live cattle and carcass performance data as well as nutritional, financial and health information on more than 60 million animals, and meat-quality data on more than 26 million carcasses, its Web site says.

Richard Shuler will continue to serve as president of Ivy. He points out Ivy and Elanco's decade-long business partnership on both the domestic and international fronts, and says that relationship "has now been formalized by this acquisition." He calls it "a synergistic partnership that is beneficial to both parties and, more importantly, to the global animal stakeholders we serve."

More info on Lilly is available at www.lilly.com, about Elanco at www.elanco.com, and Ivy at www.ivyanimalhealth.com.
-- Eli Lilly & Company news release



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    Our Perspective
      Ethanol Impacts Will Continue For Quite Some Time

It's almost mind-boggling to contemplate that up to 40% of this year's corn crop could be used in ethanol production. The demand for ethanol and its financial incentives are only growing as energy costs hit record price levels.
Click here to read more of this story by Troy Marshall

      Saying Goodbye To An Old And Good Friend

I don't know who's responsible for this quote, but I've always liked it -- "Inside the heart of every boy and girl is a vacuum that can only be filled by the outside of a horse." This week, we lost one of those special horses. He not only did his job extremely well, he changed our lives.

He was my horse -- a show horse in the beginning -- a horse that had never been outside of an arena until he was four years old, when we brought him home. Through countless hours, he helped shape who I became. When I went to college, I sent him to my best friend where he helped to raise his kids, before eventually coming back home and helping spark the love of horses in my own children.

I knew the day was coming. He was 31 years old, and the arthritis in his knees had gotten pretty bad. But he'd slicked off really nice this spring, was holding his weight, and he was scheduled to help a really bright neighbor girl through her first year of 4-H this year.

But there's a time for everything, and I was glad it happened quickly. Grown men aren't supposed to cry, but I did. We buried him in the corner of our tree patch, and a teary-eyed family said a prayer over him.

My old gelding made the world a better place. He gave his best effort, and made a difference in quite a few lives. I hope they can say the same about me.
-- Troy Marshall



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      Ag Chemical Collections Set For Texas

Texas Cooperative Extension, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the Texas Department of Ag are offering three, free ag-chemical collection events in June:
  • June 5 in Luling at the Luling Livestock Auction

  • June 6 in Giddings at the Sons of Hermann Hall

  • June 7 in Wharton at the Wharton County Youth Fairgrounds.
Acceptable chemicals include pesticides, herbicides, oil and oil filters, grease, transmission fluid, diesel fuel, power steering fluid, paint, gasoline, fluorescent bulbs, lead-acid batteries and brake fluid. Visit www.tceq.state.tx.us/assistance/AgWaste/agwaste.html for more info.
-- Texas Cooperative Extension release

      Beef Improvement Federation Meeting Is June 6-9

The 40th anniversary celebration of the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF), set for June 6-9 in the Hilton Fort Collins, Fort Collins, CO, will focus on the future of genetic evaluation and improvement with a variety of presenters from around the country. Register and check out the program details at www.beefimprovement.org under the "conventions" tab at the top of the opening page. Or contact Willie Altenburg at 970-568-7792 or willie@rmi.net, or Mark Enns at 970-491-2722 or Mark.Enns@Colostate.edu.
Click here to read more of this story by Joe Roybal



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      Bird-Hunting Enterprise Conferences Set For June

A series of conferences for landowners wishing information on bird hunting as a profit center are slated for June in Texas. Aimed at those looking to improve bird hunting, breed birds for release and protect their birds against disease, the free 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. meetings are set for June 1 in Amarillo, June 5 in Stephenville, June 7 in Overton, June 8 in Beaumont, June 13 in San Angelo, June 15 in El Paso, June 21 in Temple, and June 27 in Corpus Christi. Pre-registrants will receive a free lunch.

For more info, visit gallus.tamu.edu/ and click on the "Workshops and symposia" link, e-mail a-cartwright@tamu.edu, or call 979-845-4319.
-- Southwest Farm Press

      Do Your Breakeven Math Before Creep Feeding

The decision to creep feed, which is any feed a producer provides calves while they're still nursing, is one that must judged by its cost-effectiveness, says Karl Hoppe, North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension livestock specialist at the Carrington Research Extension Center.
Click here to read more of this story by Karl Hoppe, NDSU Extension livestock specialist



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      Don't Expect Any Movement On COOL This Summer

While the farm bill normally would be the preeminent piece of legislation everyone would be talking about at this juncture, it will be hard for any issue to displace the Iraq military situation, says Jay Truitt, National Cattlemen's Beef Association vice president of government affairs in Washington, D.C.
Click here to read more of this story by Joe Roybal

      Export Developments Encouraging

The OIE announcement this week that the U.S. is a controlled-risk nation for BSE is encouraging news, says Phil Seng of the U.S. Meat Export Federation. However, he cautions that Japan, South Korea and other countries won't open overnight to U.S. beef. Each country has processes and procedures in reopening their markets, he says.

We're probably not going to see countries change and open up overnight and release or relax some of their controls. It will be a process, but this really does help fortify our effort to get to where we want to be as far as BSE is concerned."

Seng says U.S. beef exports are up about 14% for the first three months of the year in both volume and value, a trend that will likely continue. The Japanese audits of U.S. beef plants that will conclude this week have gone well. That could lead to Japan relaxing it's 100% testing policy of every box of U.S. beef. That, combined with Japan's admission that the two alleged cases of BSE in cattle less than 30 months of age were false, should be very positive for U.S. cattlemen, he says, adding that he anticipates exports to Japan could double by August.

Meanwhile, Yonhap News quoted South Korean government and industry sources this week as saying the OIE designation is expected to pave the way for South Korea's import of U.S. bone-in beef. Currently only boneless beef from U.S. cattle less than 30 months of age is eligible for export to South Korea.

U.S. beef accounted for 75% of all beef imports before Seoul imposed a ban in late 2003, with ribs making up a sizeable part of the package. Today, almost 80% of exports into South Korea is controlled by Australia.

"Once the ruling becomes official on the last day of the OIE's general assembly slated for Friday, we expect Washington to call for immediate talks to discuss South Korea's current import guidelines," a official at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said.

The unidentified official said no date was set for the talks but that a revised import rule could be reached relatively quickly because Seoul had gone through the eight-point import risk analysis checklist with the U.S. in 2005. The risk check is a prerequisite to any import decision and includes such steps as conducting on-site inspections and issuing export permits to meat processing companies, the report says.
-- Burt Rutherford

      Gasoline At The Pump Sets Another Nominal High

Gasoline prices rose for the fourth consecutive week for the week of May 21, rising 11.5¢ to a national pump average for regular grade of $3.218/gal., or 32.6¢ higher than this time last year. It's also an all-time nominal high for gasoline for the second week in a row. Meanwhile, a gallon of diesel at retail rose 3¢ last week after four straight weeks of decline. The average price for the week was $2.803/gal., or 8.5¢/gal. lower than at this time last year.

All regions, except for the West Coast, reported price increases for gasoline, with the East Coast up 11.6¢ to $3.097, the Midwest up 15.4¢ to $3.326, and the Gulf Coast up 17.7¢ to $3.092. Prices in the Rocky Mountains jumped 7.2¢ to $3.265, while West Coast prices fell 0.6¢ to $3.372. The average price for regular grade in California was down 1.4¢ to $3.436, but is still 11.3¢ above last year's price.

Meanwhile, retail diesel on the East Coast rose 4¢ to $2.798/gal., the Midwest was up 3.3¢ to $2.773, and the Gulf Coast up 3.4¢ to $2.747. Only the Rocky Mountains registered a decrease, down 0.5¢ to $2.993, while the West Coast price climbed 0.2¢ to $2.921, and California rose 0.3¢ to $2.955, 27.9¢ lower than at this time last year.
-- U.S. Energy Information Administration



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      Groups Call For COOL Funding

A number of organizations have called upon Congress to provide sufficient funds for USDA to "immediately implement mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL)."

In a letter to the chairmen of the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee, the organizations said, "The integrity and safety of the nation's food supply is in serious jeopardy with our citizens eating an amalgam of food produced elsewhere, with no idea of its source. It is critically important that our food consumers be provided with information on the source of the food because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA have not established a food safety inspection system sufficient to deal adequately with the tidal wave of food imports included in our food supply."

Those signing included National Farmers Union, National Farmers Organization, Organic Consumers Association, Organization for Competitive Markets, R-CALF, and World Hunger Year.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C. correspondent

      Hereford Youth Heading For The Hills

Young people from across the country will be loading cattle and gear and heading for the Mile High City to take part in "A Hereford Celebration" in Denver as the Junior National Hereford Expo takes place July 7-14.

Hereford youth will not only exhibit about 1,200 animals, but will take part in numerous leadership and personal development events. For information, go to www.jrhereford.org.
-- American Hereford Association release

      House Livestock Subcommittee Marks Up Farm Bill

The House Livestock Subcommittee considered the livestock and dairy section of the farm bill this week. The subcommittee passed an arbitration amendment that requires both buyer and seller to agree to arbitration before it can be used as a tool to mediate contract disputes.

A number of amendments were discussed but were delayed until June when the full House Agriculture Committee considers the farm bill. These amendments included:

  • Price reporting: Changes the definition of negotiated purchase and negotiated sale from cattle that are scheduled for delivery to the packer not later than 21 days (currently at 14 days and under).


  • Contract: When a production contract involves investment on the part of the producer, the contractor can't terminate or cancel a production contract without giving the producer written notice and 90 days to address the causes of termination. Also, a producer can't be required to make additional capital investments that exceed the production contract's initial investment.


  • State inspection: Allow for the interstate shipment of state-inspected meat.

    • -- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C. correspondent

      Implementation Of Price Reporting

A number of senators have written USDA Secretary Mike Johanns urging him to expedite the rulemaking process to carry out the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act. The senators said, "The Agricultural Marketing Service is writing a rule, but until an interim final rule or final rule is published, the mandatory reporting system will remain a voluntary program. We ask that you expedite this process and publish an interim final rule without delay."

Those signing the letter were Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Max Baucus (D-MT), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), and Craig Thomas (R-WY).
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C. correspondent

      Mandatory Arbitration Of Livestock Contracts Advances

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed S. 221, which would limit mandatory arbitration for livestock and poultry contracts. The legislation will only allow arbitration to be used after a dispute arises and both parties agree in writing to use arbitration. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is the legislation's main sponsor.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C. correspondent

      Montana Escapes Brucellosis Crackdown

Calling the situation "CSI Montana," Gov. Brian Schweitzer this week announced that a second herd of Montana cattle on a ranch at Emigrant tested negative for brucellosis. Officials this week confirmed that six animals in a herd near Bridger were positive for brucellosis. Schweitzer said the negative test leaves the state with its brucellosis-free status intact, according to the Billings Gazette. "But it's a heck of a warning and we're not done yet," Schweitzer said.

The disease was first noted when a load of 51 cattle from mixed sources was shipped from Montana to Iowa, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. The cattle were tested on May 1; one animal was positive.

Investigators traced the cattle movements to Bridger where more testing was done May 16. Some of the positive cattle came from the ranch in Emigrant.

While bison in Yellowstone Park are often considered a potential source of infection, these cattle probably didn't mingle with any buffalo, officials say. However, elk can also carry the disease and outbreaks several years ago in Wyoming and Idaho were most likely caused by elk, according to Teresa Howes, spokeswoman for the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The herd on the Bridger ranch will need to be depopulated for Montana to retain its brucellosis-free status, Howes said.
-- Burt Rutherford

      Vaccine Reduces E. coli O157 Prevalence In Cattle

Kansas State University (KSU) researchers testing a vaccine against E. coli O157 in feedlot cattle recently completed the third study in a series of experiments.

Sixty feedlot calves -- all testing positive for E. coli O157 -- were divided into three groups, each receiving different doses of the vaccine (E. coli O157 Siderophore Receptor Porin) on days 0 and 21 of the eight-week experiment. Group one, the control group, received a placebo vaccine, while group two was administered 2cc of the vaccine, and group three was given 3cc.

Total prevalence of E. coli O157 in cattle that received 3cc of the vaccine decreased by 15% compared to placebo cattle. Overall prevalence for each group was 33.7% for the placebo group, 29.1% for the 2cc group, and 17.7% for the 3cc group.

This study was the third in a series. The first was a challenge study where cattle were first administered the vaccine and then challenged by oral introduction to the E. coli O157 bacteria. A significant decrease in animals with E. coli was detected.

The second study was conducted on 20 lots of cattle in a commercial feedlot in Nebraska. It showed a 60% reduction in the number of cattle shedding E. coli O157 relative to the cattle that were given a placebo vaccine.

A fourth study is planned this summer in a feedlot setting and may look at the effects of different doses, says Daniel Thomson, Jones professor of production medicine and epidemiology in the KSU College of Veterinary Medicine.
-- Kansas State University Research and Extension

      What Do I Lose By Calving Early?

Given the Northeast's miserable late winter/early spring weather, some area producers are contemplating later calving seasons. Mike Baker, Cornell University Extension beef cattle specialist, offers the following summation of research on the topic:
Click here to read more of this story by Mike Baker, Cornell University Extension beef cattle specialist

      What's The Value Of Exports To U.S. Cattlemen?

Even at a limited level, the value of beef exports is evident. "Korea's renewed interest in U.S. beef has already generated tremendous additional value," according to NCBA. And we're not talking chicken scratch, either. The recent sales to South Korea, limited though they are in volume, are calculated to be worth between $40 and $48 million to the beef industry.

Wholesale prices on the three cuts exported to Korea -- chuck rolls, brisket and deboned short ribs -- have risen recently and analysts say the reopening of the Korean market has added about $31/head to the value of fed cattle sold the past 3-4 weeks.
-- Burt Rutherford

    Cow-Calf Weekly Mailbag
      Too Many Farm Programs, Reader Says

Regarding the May 18 article, "Groups Ask For Rethinking Of CRP Opt-Out Decision," I know I will most likely be in the minority, but I think we have too many farm programs in this country. On the one hand, ranchers and farmers always say we take care of the land, but the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is set up so that we don't use land for crops that should not be used for crops in the first place.

Where I live, there is a lot of land in CRP that should not be in crop production but would serve very productive use as pasture. With the payment from the government so high, it's hard to compete on the price for the land, plus build fence and water systems. A well-maintained pasture is good for the rancher, the environment and the taxpayer.
Bob Voegeli
Milan, IN

      Washington-Mandated Markets A Recipe For Disaster

I got an eerie feeling of déjà vu upon reading about the "Biofuels For Energy Security and Transportation Act of 2007" discussed in the May 18 item, "Bio-Energy Legislation Moving In Halls Of Congress."

I have a friend who went to Latvia soon after the fall of the Soviet Union. He saw a field of oats that was stunted and yellow on what should have been excellent farmland. After some poking around, he learned the oats were planted in the rain because orders came from Moscow to plant the oats that day.

This was a dairy farm that produced plenty of manure, but the people in the capital never said to put it on the fields. So when the conveyer was too short to pile the manure away from the barn, they added another conveyer to avoid trucking the manure away.

If the biofuels industry can afford to compete with livestock for corn so be it, but markets mandated by Washington or Moscow are bound to be misdirected and wasteful. I'm glad Ronald Reagan went out thinking he won the Cold War. It's too bad those who followed are surrendering even while praising his name.
Fritz Groszkruger
Dumont, IA



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