The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) convention is
always the largest gathering of cattlemen every year. No one would argue
the importance of the NCBA meeting but, for my money, the Beef
Improvement Federation (BIF), which is meeting in Ft. Collins, CO, this
week, is always the most informative meeting I attend.
One could argue that the mantra, "adapting to change," is the most
overused theme at cattle-industry meetings, but it is highly relevant.
This year's BIF meeting is, of course, dwelling on the effects of $4
corn on the cattle industry, as well as reviews of all the latest
research. There's also plenty of discussion about industry direction and
ensuring the industry continues to provide the tools to position
producers to take advantage of the opportunities that will be created.
But it's impossible at this year's meeting to miss the overriding theme
that the industry is changing significantly and the industry must
respond in a very aggressive manner to adapt to those changes.
EPDs and the current genetic evaluation programs that have been adopted
by the various breed associations have been great for the industry, but
the very models we've operated under for the last 20 years are in
desperate need of being revamped. The role of Extension and the
land-grant universities has already changed significantly; research will
be funded in different ways and access to that research will be affected
as a result.
The very role of breed associations is somewhat in doubt as the latest
generation of genetic evaluations will take us away from a breed
mentality to a gene-pool mentality. Molecular genetics, selection
indices, feed efficiency, adaptability measures and changes in our
marketing system will reshape what the seedstock industry produces and
how commercial producers will select their genetic inputs.
The net result is we have an opportunity to make revolutionary
improvements in cattle profitability through these new tools. But,
first, the industry must pick up the mantel of leadership and ensure the
U.S remains the world's leader in beef genetics.
-- Troy Marshall
This year Camp Cooley Ranch celebrates 20 years of
ultrasound performance in our Brangus herd. From this work results some
of the most powerful, performance proven Brangus, Angus and Charolais
bulls to ever sell at Camp Cooley. Your search for Quality in
Volume begins and ends at Camp Cooley Ranch. Give us a call or
stop by for a visit!
This week, I had the opportunity to talk to representatives from
several of the larger packing entities and they all mentioned the fact
that they can't find enough age- or source-verified cattle to meet
demand. Like most premiums, the $20/head premiums will only be realized
by those able to assemble load-lot sizes of cattle, either individually
or collectively. But the premiums are real and are expected to remain at
least through the marketing of the next several calf crops.
At some point, the premiums will give way to discounts for cattle that
aren't enrolled. The old argument of: "I'll do it when they pay for it,"
certainly isn't valid in this case as the premiums are available, but
they are temporary. The truly important consideration when it comes to
source and age verification is that it's something a fairly large
segment of our customer base is demanding. Responding to customer
demands is always about profitability in the long term.
-- Troy Marshall
The Hanwoo Association, South Korea's umbrella beef cattle
association, is calling for a year's delay in further market opening for
U.S. beef, and U.S. processors are helping make the Hanwoo dream come
Last week, the Hanwoo Association, which represents 200,000 South Korean
cattle ranchers, called on policymakers to diligently adhere to all
aspects of the eight-point risk assessment analysis to check the safety
of U.S. beef, a process that could take more than a year.
At about that same time, South Korean inspectors found two boxes of beef
ribs in a 15.2-ton shipment of U.S. beef. A few days later, Tyson
shipped 51.2 tons of beef to South Korea that was labeled for the U.S.
The result is that South Korea suspended quarantine inspections of U.S.
beef this week pending a full investigation into the two mislabeled
shipments. The move effectively closes South Korea to U.S. beef exports
In addition, South Korea barred four processing facilities belonging to
Cargill and Tyson Foods from exporting beef to South Korea for the time
In a statement released June 4, J. Patrick Boyle, president of the
American Meat Institute, expressed his disappointment that "failures in
the system allowed the shipment of beef that should not have been
exported to Korea."
He pointed out that the situation didn't result from any plant errors,
and urged the Koreans to re-list those plants for export to Korea.
"The products exported were produced in compliance with federal rules
and inspected by federal inspectors, but they were never intended for
export. Rather, the products were shipped by brokers and were eligible
for export to most nations, but not Korea," he said.
Meanwhile, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) asked USDA
to conduct a full investigation into the mislabeling incidents to
determine where the breakdowns in protocol occurred.
"It's important to remember that this is not a food safety issue -- as
the beef shipment was perfectly safe -- but rather an issue of adhering
to South Korea's particular export-verification standards of accepting
only boneless products at this time. All of these products were fully
inspected by the U.S., deemed safe and approved for sale," NCBA says.
-- Joe Roybal
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The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats,
Cybersecurity, Science and Technology approved H.R. 1717, which would
create a National Bio- and Agro-Defense facility to study diseases
caused by livestock and poultry. The legislation would require research
and development on a range of foreign animal and zoonotic diseases. The
Department of Homeland Security is considering a number of sites for the
new facility from which it expects to select one in October 2008. This
research currently is done at Plum Island Animal Disease Center on Long
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C.
The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF), meeting in Colorado Springs,
CO, this week, is commemorating the 40th anniversary of its founding.
Among the presentations and festivities, BIF presented a number of
Click here to read more of this BIF news release
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The Farm Credit System (FCS) made $5.5 billion available to young
farmers and $9.3 billion for beginning farmers in 2006.
A new report says Farm Credit institutions made more than 46,000 new
loans totaling almost $5.5 billion to young farmers (age 35 or younger)
in 2006, which represents 17% of all new loans made by the system during
the year and 10.5% of the new loan dollar volume. Compared to 2005, Farm
Credit institutions made more than 4,000 more loans to young farmers and
made available an additional $400 million in 2006.
Meanwhile, beginning farmers (10 or fewer years of farming) accounted
for more than 57,000 new loans totaling $9.3 billion in 2006. That was
21.2% of all new loans and 17.8% of new loan dollar volume. This signals
increases of more than 1,000 loans over 2005 and more than $1 billion in
loan volume to beginning farmers in the past year.
-- Farm Credit news release
With very little fanfare, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) this
week kicked off around-the-clock weekday trading on its livestock
futures. Electronic trading on futures, including live cattle and feeder
cattle, will be available from 9:05 a.m. Monday Chicago time through
1:30 p.m. Fridays, with a daily 60-minute trading halt at 4 p.m.,
according to Ron Hays with Radio Oklahoma Network.
The halt in trade over the weekends is due to USDA reports that are
typically released on Fridays after normal trading hours. The halt in
weekend trade will prevent the open outcry pits from being at a trading
disadvantage in reacting to the reports, Hays says. Electronic trading
for most of the affected commodities has been offered on CME's Globex
platform since March 2002 alongside the open outcry markets. However,
the electronic markets lacked liquidity and volume compared with the
open outcry pits.
-- Burt Rutherford
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
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Reps. Collin Peterson (D-MN), chairman of the House Ag Committee;
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), ranking member of the House Ag Committee; and Sen.
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), ranking member of the Senate Ag Committee; have
written producer and industry groups asking them to participate in
discussions concerning country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for meat sold
The letter states, "We've heard from many producers that they see the
current law and regulations as too burdensome from a record-keeping
perspective. And we've heard from other stakeholders that the law will
interfere with some of the branded and value-added programs that have
evolved quickly over the last few years. We know there are complexities
with ensuring the origin of culled cows and even with this spring's calf
crop. Pork producers have other challenges to manage, such as the impact
on those operators who solely source their feeders from outside the
The members are asking the groups to address these issues that could
"lead to a workable solution" of COOL.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C.
Under a temporary restraining order that ends June 14, Belgian-owned
Cavel International Inc. can resume horse-slaughtering operations while
it challenges a state law that forced its closure. A federal judge said
last week that officials can't enforce the processing ban while a suit
challenging the constitutionality of a new state law banning the
slaughter of horses for human consumption is considered.
Cavel claims the state has no constitutional authority to ban horse
slaughter on moral grounds. The suit also claims the law restrains
commerce and infringes on federal authority over slaughterhouses.
Hearings are set for June 12 and 14.
-- Joe Roybal
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Say all you want about historically high cattle prices, the longest
sustained period of cow-calf profitability on record, robust consumer
beef demand and the growing seasonal prospects for more grass and
Click here to read more of this story by Wes
Sens. Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) have introduced
legislation to provide incentives to farmers and ranchers who
voluntarily open their land to hunting, fishing and other
wildlife-related activities. The "Open Fields" legislation would provide
modest payments to landowners who make their lands accessible for public
hunting and fishing. Conrad said, "Millions of new acres are opened to
hunters and fishermen while farmers and ranchers get a little additional
income. My bill gives rural America an economic shot in the arm and
protects the land for future generations to enjoy the great
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C.
R-CALF USA's recent analysis of a congressionally mandated USDA
GIPSA RTI Livestock and Meat Marketing Study (LMMS) is based on an
"incorrect economic interpretation." That's what Stephen R. Koontz,
professor of agricultural and resource economics, Colorado State
Click here to read more of this story by Joe
Noted Kansas State University animal scientist John Brethour passed
away May 29 at his home. Named among the BEEF Top 40 by
BEEF magazine in 2004, Brethour joined KSU in 1957, retiring in
2005. He was best known for his work perfecting ultrasound methods. The
crowning achievement of his 47-year career was the application of
ultrasound technology to precision feeding of beef cattle.
He also developed computer-processing algorithms to select genetic stock
and optimize days on feed for maximum carcass quality. He proved his
method worked when, in 1999, he used ultrasound to select and manage six
steers that placed first in the Denver Stock Show carcass contest.
The potential economic benefits from his ultrasound work are massive.
Several studies found that precision feeding increased feedlot profits
$15-20/head while improving beef quality.
Other areas of his research included ruminant nutrition, feed
evaluation, feed storage and processing, new systems design, animal
behavior, growth promotion, reproduction and cow-herd management.
For a tribute by former colleague Pat Coyne, visit www.wkarc.org. To view Brethour's
home page, visit www.wkarc.org/Arch/Research/cattle/cattle.asp.
-- Joe Roybal
When is the best time to move round bales off a field? It depends on
the field. If multiple cuttings are planned, it's best to at least move
them to the side of the field the day they're baled, says University of
Nebraska Extension forage specialist Bruce Anderson.
That's because wheel traffic can damage new growth. Alfalfa, one day
after baling, can lose 5-7% of its yield potential directly in a wheel
track. Waiting a week can result in a 25% loss.
Removal is less critical for the year's last cutting, but whatever is
sitting under a bale for a month likely will be killed. "Usually plants
can handle that kind of covering for maybe up to a week," Anderson says.
It's also important to ensure wet bales aren't moved into storage, adds
Dennis Buckmaster, Purdue ag engineer. Allow wet bales to dry before
And when it comes to storing those bales, the planning should start
before the baling, Anderson says.
-- Alaina Burt
- Begin by considering access to
bales. Don't store them where snow or mud will limit your access.
- Drainage is also important. Elevate bales by using crushed rock,
concrete, wood pallets or railroad ties, or simply store them at a high
elevation where water drains away. A lot of hay spoilage isn't
necessarily from rain hitting it from the top, but moisture wicked from
the soil, Anderson says.
- Orient bale rows in a general north-south direction to expose both
sides to sunlight. Occasionally, a southwest-to-northeast orientation
can utilize prevailing winds to aid in drying.
- Separate bale rows by 3-4 ft. to allow for air movement and moisture
- Keep track of different types of hay. Know where bad and potentially
dangerous hays are and have access to these different
Standard procedure for parasite control in most U.S. beef operations
is to treat beef cows once or twice annually, and deworm the calf only
at weaning, if at all. Research has debunked the theory that calves
don't have a sufficiently high level of parasitism to warrant treatment
Spring-born calves from Florida were utilized to conduct a nursing-calf
deworming experiment. At least two breed types were available at each
location, including Angus, Brangus, Brahman and Romosinuano, as well as
some graded combinations of these breeds (composites).
Across all locations, dewormed (DW) calves gained 8.7 lbs. more total
bodyweight during the summer, and average daily gain was 0.1 lbs./day
greater among DW calves than their unwormed counterparts.
Deworming cost about $1.57/head, and such calves returned $9.57/head
more net revenue -- total weight gain in pounds times $1.28/lb. minus
$1.57/head deworming cost. Not included in this calculation is labor
cost, which should be considered because of the potential extra working
of the cattle in early to mid-summer.
If calculated at $2/head, labor costs could consume nearly 20% of the
increased revenue. These data indicated both an animal performance
advantage and a positive return on investment. The cost:benefit ratio
may not be as significant for the average producer, especially if it
means putting the herd through the chute an additional time.
Of course, this equation has various components that affect the outcome
directly -- calf prices, calf quality, animal performance as affected by
rainfall and/or forage availability, labor and processing, etc. Some
economists, however, may advise serious consideration of any procedure
that adds as little as $1 to the bottom line of any enterprise.
-- Jeff Carter, University of Florida's North
Florida Research and Education Center.
USDA will appeal a federal district court ruling, which would have
allowed Creekstone Farms to privately test its own cattle for BSE. The
National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) has stated its objections
to private testing and believes it is the role solely of the federal
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C.
In an effort to promote premises registration under the National
Animal Identification System (NAIS), USDA and the National FFA
Organization this week signed a cooperative agreement to promote premise
ID with current FFA members and alumni.
"Together we can combine our talents and resources to educate the
agriculture industry about NAIS and to help promote premises
registration," said Larry D. Case, FFA chief executive officer and
national FFA advisor.
Bruce Knight, undersecretary for USDA's marketing and regulatory
programs, said premises registration can provide vital information
should an animal disease outbreak strike. "Rapid disease response limits
the impact of an outbreak on a producer's operation -- or can stop
disease spread before it reaches the animals." According to USDA, more
than 394,000 premises nationwide have been registered to date.
-- USDA release
The House Ag Committee is continuing its efforts to complete writing
the farm bill at the subcommittee level. This week, various
subcommittees completed action on the rural development, horticulture,
organic, peanuts, and sugar provisions. Next week, the commodities and
nutrition titles will be considered at the subcommittee level. Rep.
Collin Peterson (D-MN), chairman of the House Ag Committee, has
indicated his desire for the full committee to consider the farm bill
the week of June 25 and the House of Representatives to consider the
bill in July.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C.
Two grazing education events make up the Summer Grazing Field Day
June 20 on the CRP Research and Demonstration Farm near Corning, IA.
A pasture bus tour of the paddock system of the CRP Farm demonstrating
the compatibility of grazing with wildlife precedes a 6 p.m. steak
dinner. At 6:30 p.m., three topics take center stage -- a look at
custom-grazing methods, renovation of fescue pastures, and feeding
The afternoon bus tour will also focus on the economics of using
commercial rural water for grazing livestock, demonstrations on
construction of livestock watering tanks from discarded combine tires,
rotational grazing of four cattle herds, and the advantages of fall
For more info, contact Melissa Maynes at 641-322-3184, or John Klein at
-- Joe Roybal
Pre-registration is now open for the 2007 Cattle Industry Summer
Conference, July 16-20 in Denver. The summer conference not only allows
cattlemen a chance to attend in-depth industry forums, but a chance to
attend National Cattlemen's Beef Association regional caucus meetings
and policy meetings for updates on policies adopted during the Cattle
Industry Annual Convention in February. In addition, joint industry
committees and subcommittees will meet for updates.
Pre-registration is open through June 22. Find registration and hotel
info at www.beefusa.org/convsummerconference.aspx.
-- Burt Rutherford
The University of Tennessee's Making Forages Work Field Day is set
for July 26 at the Middle Tennessee Research and Education Center in
This year's educational tours are built around three "colleges." The Cow
College will focus on production-management issues; a Grass Management
College will include a session on managing forage fertilizers; and a
Forage College will look at net-wrapping large bales and managing
warm-season bermudagrass. In addition, there's a session on establishing
switchgrass for biomass and biofuels production. Also addressed will be
animal behavior and safe handling.
For more info, visit middletennessee.tennessee.edu/
or call 931-486-2129.
-- University of Tennessee news release
Times, they are a'changing and the Texas A&M University Beef Cattle
Short Course, Aug. 6-8 in College Station, will give cattlemen a good,
long look at what those changes will mean at the ranch. Participants
will be able to choose workshops and topics on 17 different subjects,
plus attend a general session and catch up on the latest in a tradeshow
featuring around 100 exhibits. For more info, go to beef.tamu.edu or call 979-845-6931.
-- Texas A&M release
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