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2008 June 6
How can retained placenta problems be prevented? Since there are many causes of retained placenta, there is no simple answer. Some of the obvious answers include: (1) don’t allow cows to get too thin or too fat before calving, (2) reduce stress near calving as much as possible, (3) prevent exposure to pine needles, juniper trees, and pine trees (particularly ponderosa pines) before calving, (4) make sure your trace mineral and vitamin supplementation program is adequate, (5) prevent foothill abortion problems, and (6) maintain a sound vaccination program to minimize the chance of viral or bacterial abortions. Because calving problems often result
by WLJ
2008 June 6
Research focuses on predicting steaks’ tenderness University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) scientists have developed a way to predict steak tenderness before the consumer takes that first bite. The technology could be a boon to the beef industry as it would allow retailers to charge a premium for a "guaranteed tender" label. "Beef tenderness is a primary factor in consumer satisfaction," said Jeyamkondan Subbiah, the UNL food engineer who heads the research. "However, a sufficiently accurate, nondestructive method of on-line evaluation of tenderness continues to elude the beef industry." Current USDA grading standards classify beef carcasses into quality and yield grades but do not assess
by WLJ
2008 June 6
Tyson chickens test positive for avian influenza Tyson Foods announced on June 3 that a flock of chickens at a farm in northwest Arkansas have tested positive for a mild strain of avian influenza. The company said that they are working cooperatively with USDA and the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission to manage the exposed flock of breeder hens. Preliminary tests on the flock indicate the presence of antibodies for H7N3 avian influenza, however, there is no indication the birds currently have the virus. The 15,000 chickens involved show no signs of illness and the situation poses no risk to human health. News
2008 June 6
Two weevil varieties can give growers double headaches Alfalfa growers in the central part of Nebraska should keep in mind that they may see two different varieties of weevils in their crop, said University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) Butler County Extension Educator Mike Rethwisch. The eastern strain usually invades the crop in time for the first cutting, Rethwisch said. The western strain, prevalent in the western two-thirds of Nebraska, peaks one to three weeks later. So growers may treat for one strain, then may have to treat again for the other. To check for weevils, Rethwisch advised producers to use a sweep net. They
by WLJ
2008 June 6
Wildfires affect forage production The lack of rainfall across much of North Dakota has created ample fuel for wildfires this year. Dry, brittle vegetation has gone up in smoke on hundreds of acres of range and pastureland in the western half of the state this spring. Land managers must plan their grazing or haying year differently as a result of these fires, according to Kevin Sedivec, North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension Service rangeland management specialist. Historically, land managers have taken different approaches to managing fire-impacted range and pastureland. Public lands once were rested for two years following a wildfire, whereas insurance agents
by WLJ
2008 June 2
Rangeland coalition has common goals Rangeland, one of California’s most valuable—and visible—agricultural assets, has been under siege for years. With about 38 million people, California is the most densely populated Western state and there’s great pressure to develop available land. In response to this situation, about three years ago the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition was formed. This group of about 80 diverse California ranching and conservation organizations and government agencies sat down to map out common ground. Members of the coalition found there was a good deal of shared concern and a number of common goals for the state’s rangeland. They realized those
by WLJ
2008 June 2
Thanks to a generous gift from Texas AgFinance, the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management at Texas A&M University-Kingsville will broaden the educational services it offers. With a $1 million commitment, the institute will initiate the Texas AgFinance Certificate in Advanced Ranch Management aimed at ranchers and landowners who want to expand their skills to keep up with the ever-changing ranching industry. “The ranch manager and landowner of the 21st century manages a myriad of resources and business interests including energy, recreation, pollution mitigation, water, consumptive and non-consumptive wildlife management and food production,” said Dr. Barry Dunn, executive director of
by WLJ
2008 May 23
Drought, cowherd liquidation continue —Fed cattle trade expected steady. Positive packer margins and good retail movement ahead of the Memorial Day holiday last week had market watchers predicting steady trade last week as buyers looked to fill chains for the holiday-shortened week ahead. As of mid-day last Thursday, cash fed cattle trade was still inactive although most believed that some action would get underway late Thursday or early Friday at $94-94.50 live and $148-150 dressed, prices even with prior week trade. Slaughter volume for the week through last Thursday was running at an estimated 511,000 head, just 4,000 behind the prior week’s pace
by WLJ
2008 May 23
Moisture therapy Nothing livens up a branding more than a good rain soaker. When moisture arrived before our branding, my family was excited and optimistic, even though it threw a wrench into our branding day. The large amounts of moisture we got recently made branding a challenge, but nobody complained about it or the mud it produced. It’s been the kind of therapy everybody’s mood needed. We took a chance and went ahead with branding on the day we had planned, even though a lot of rain fell the day before and more was predicted. That morning, my son informed me, "Just be
by WLJ
2008 May 23
JBS: So. America takes backseat to U.S. Brazilian-based multinational beef company, JBS SA, said its operations in Brazil and Argentina are taking a back seat to the U.S. and Australia these days as livestock prices converge with those is South America. JBS Chief Executive Officer Joesley Mendonca Batista told equity analysts during a conference call that profit margins were better in the U.S. than they are in Brazil, the world’s leading beef exporting nation. Low cost advantages are a thing of the past for Brazil, as cattle prices rise thanks to a tightening of the supply and demand equation. Moreover, a
2008 May 23
Cow size—How much more does the big cow eat? The green forage tends to be seasonal, while the grazing of seeds and dry grass is the non-growing season staple. Regardless of the season, a cow’s nutritional requirements need to be met. The challenge is making sure our production expectations are in tune with what Mother Nature provides. Our pastures and feed piles may be limited as we struggle to balance feed and cattle. When seasons are as now, the lack of rain (or other environmental restraint) highlights the need to plan. The quick and easy answer is to sell cattle. However, the astute
by WLJ
2008 May 23
Several Montana agricultural and sportsman associations have moved to intervene in a federal lawsuit recently filed by environmental groups to block wolf delisting. Intervenors include the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA), the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA), the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd, the Western Montana Fish and Game Association, and the Montana Farm Bureau Federation and are seeking to ensure wolf delisting continues. If delisting stalls, it will cause irreparable harm to the Montana hunting and agricultural communities. "Every wolf pack that has come into contact with livestock has resulted in depredations. These losses have had a dramatic impact
by WLJ
2008 May 23
Predators can affect how livestock watch over their young Livestock are likely to spend more time on the lookout for predators soon after the loss of a calf and, therefore, have less time to forage for their food, according to a new study. Consequently, predators such as wolves, mountain lions, and coyotes can affect the economic solvency of livestock producers, according to an article in the May 2008 issue of Rangeland Ecology and Management published by the Society for Range Management. "Our results show that vigilance behavior in cattle is plastic," write Bryan M. Kluever, Stewart W. Breck, Larry D. Howery, Paul
by WLJ
2008 May 23
Find bad udders now One criteria that should be examined to cull cows is udder quality. Bad udders should be culled. Spring calving cows are in the peak of lactation. This is an excellent time to note in the cow record book any cow that has an unsound udder. Cows that have obviously poor udders could be marked for the cull list and removed from the herd next fall when the calves are weaned. Beef cattle producers are not as likely to think about udder health and shape as are dairy producers, but this attribute affects cow productivity and should be
by WLJ
2008 May 23
Texas agriculture production sets record at $21.8 billion Texas agricultural production for 2007 was a record $21.8 billion due to higher crop and livestock prices, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service report. Add another $20.8 billion worth of purchased items, such as tires, fuel and other agribusiness supplies used to produce a crop, and the total economic impact to rural Texas tops $42.6 billion, said Dr. Carl Anderson, professor emeritus and AgriLife Extension economist. "The economic impact to these rural communities is quite substantial, and even more so when you look at how much of an economic driver agriculture overall is to
by WLJ
2008 May 23
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo awards $4.86 million in scholarships In Reliant Stadium, Houston-area youth’s stars shone bright as the real stars of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR). Students were honored for their academic and community achievements with a scholarship presentation totaling $4.86 million on Tuesday, May 20, 2008. A four-year, $15,000 scholarship from one of three show scholarship programs—Metropolitan, Opportunity and School Art—was awarded to each of the 324 high school seniors to attend a Texas college or university. The Metropolitan, Opportunity and School Art scholarships are just part of HLSR’s $15.6 million annual commitment to scholarships, research, endowments, calf
by WLJ
2008 May 23
Tips for developing replacement females To run an efficient and progressive beef cow production system, it is important to effectively develop replacement females. Developing a sufficient number of heifers that are cycling at the beginning of the breeding season helps to assure they will breed early in the first year. Early breeding translates to earlier calving and heavier weaning weights. "Because replacement females will not begin to produce an economic return until they are around 3 years old, when they wean their first calves, they are an expensive enterprise," says Glenn Rogers, DVM, Pfizer Animal Health. "Heifers are in danger of failing
by WLJ
2008 May 23
New Holland introduces new bidirectional tractor New Holland’s new TV6070 Bidirectional tractor offers visibility and versatility that no other tractor in the market can offer. The TV6070 features a new 6.7L engine, a more efficient eight-range transmission, and other improvements designed to enhance the productivity of this unique tractor. Like its predecessors, the new TV6070 Bidirectional tractor can be operated cab-end or engine-end first to provide unparalleled versatility, productivity and exceptional loader performance. An operator can work facing either the engine or the rear because the exclusive Turnabout console rotates the seat and primary controls 180 degrees so the operator always faces
by WLJ
2008 April 4
Fortifying feed with biodiesel co-products Biofuel research isn’t just a matter of finding the right type of biomass—corn grain, soybean oil, animal fat, wood or other material—and converting it into fuel. Scientists must also find environmentally and economically sound uses for the by-products of biofuel production. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists Brian Kerr and William Dozier have done just that. Current biodiesel supplies are often made from the triglycerides, or fat, found in soybean oil. But processing biodiesel from soybean oil also yields crude glycerin, also known as glycerol, which has a purity level of about 85 percent. It also contains small
by WLJ
2008 February 12
Economics of packing nother beef slaughter plant bit the dust last week when Tyson Foods announced they were going to close the slaughter operations at their Emporia, KS, plant. They will eliminate 1,500 to 2,400 jobs in the area, which I doubt can afford to lose those jobs, just as feeders in the area can’t afford to loose that plant. Tyson said they will use the plant for cold storage, distribution, and hamburger processing, while keeping some of the fabrication portion of the plant to produce beef cuts which have a tendency to slow down the processing line. Only time will tell


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