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BEEF'S COW CALF WEEKLY    June 8, 2007  |  A PENTON MEDIA PUBLICATION
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    Table Of Contents
> BIF Ponders Industry Direction
> The Clock Is Ticking On Age & Source Premiums
> U.S. Meat Brokers Help Stymie Korea Access
> Ag Security Facility Measure Advances
> BIF Recognizes Top Genetic Contributors
> Billions Available To New/Beginning Farmers
> CME Offers Around-The-Clock Trading
> COOL Stakeholders Invited To Parley
> Horse Slaughter Plant To Reopen On Judge's Order
> KSU's Twig Marston Offers July Management Tips
> No Herd Expansion Expected For Several Years
> Open Fields For Hunting & Fishing Bill Proposed
> R-CALF Is Wrong In Its GIPSA Study Analysis
> Renowned Animal Scientist John Brethour Passes Away
> Some Tips For Moving And Storing Round Bales
> Study Looks At Deworming Of Nursing Calves
> USDA To Appeal Private BSE Testing Ruling
> USDA, FFA Partner On Animal ID
> Work On Farm Bill Continues
> Contract Grazing Topic Of June 20 Field Day
> NCBA Summer Meeting Is July 16-20
> Making Forages Work Field Day Is July 26
> Texas A&M Slates Cattle Short Course

    Our Perspective
      BIF Ponders Industry Direction

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



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      The Clock Is Ticking On Age & Source Premiums

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

      U.S. Meat Brokers Help Stymie Korea Access

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 true.

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. domestic market.

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 once again.

In addition, South Korea barred four processing facilities belonging to Cargill and Tyson Foods from exporting beef to South Korea for the time being.

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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      Ag Security Facility Measure Advances

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 Island, NY.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C. correspondent

      BIF Recognizes Top Genetic Contributors

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 awards.
Click here to read more of this BIF news release



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      Billions Available To New/Beginning Farmers

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

      CME Offers Around-The-Clock Trading

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



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      COOL Stakeholders Invited To Parley

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 at retail.

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 U.S."

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. correspondent

      Horse Slaughter Plant To Reopen On Judge's Order

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

      KSU's Twig Marston Offers July Management Tips

Summer's hot dry weather can take a toll on cattle in the High Plains, but producers can take steps to keep health and productivity problems at bay, says Kansas State University beef cattle specialist Twig Marston. He provides the following tips for producers as they manage their cowherd operations to maximize nutrition and health during July:
Click here to read more of this story from Kansas State University Extension news release



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      No Herd Expansion Expected For Several Years

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 forage.

Click here to read more of this story by Wes Ishmael

      Open Fields For Hunting & Fishing Bill Proposed

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 outdoors."
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C. correspondent

      R-CALF Is Wrong In Its GIPSA Study Analysis

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 University, says.

Click here to read more of this story by Joe Roybal

      Renowned Animal Scientist John Brethour Passes Away

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

      Some Tips For Moving And Storing Round Bales

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 being stored.

And when it comes to storing those bales, the planning should start before the baling, Anderson says.
  • 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 evaporation.


  • Keep track of different types of hay. Know where bad and potentially dangerous hays are and have access to these different groups.
-- Alaina Burt

      Study Looks At Deworming Of Nursing Calves

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 until weaning.

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 To Appeal Private BSE Testing Ruling

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

      USDA, FFA Partner On Animal ID

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

      Work On Farm Bill Continues

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. correspondent

    Industry Events
      Contract Grazing Topic Of June 20 Field Day

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 ethanol co-products.

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 calving.

For more info, contact Melissa Maynes at 641-322-3184, or John Klein at 641-322-3116.
-- Joe Roybal

      NCBA Summer Meeting Is July 16-20

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

      Making Forages Work Field Day Is July 26

The University of Tennessee's Making Forages Work Field Day is set for July 26 at the Middle Tennessee Research and Education Center in Nashville.

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

      Texas A&M Slates Cattle Short Course

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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