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by WLJ
2007 December 20
In October last year, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service submitted an application and supporting documents to OIE for review and formal classification for BSE risk. That rating is one which certifies to other nations that the BSE problem in the U.S. is under control and beef from the U.S. herd is safe, a point cattle producers here have been hammering home in recent months as they work to expand trade in Asia and elsewhere. “The controlled risk status classification we have received provides strong support from an internationally recognized, standard-setting body that the science-based mitigation measures in place
by WLJ
2007 December 20
— Hogs hit the worst. Demand indexes were recently prepared by agricultural economists at the University of Missouri (MU). The calculations show a drop in demand for all meat commodities. According to Glenn Grimes, a MU professor who has been computing these indexes for several years, the reason demand is lower is due to an increase in supply across the board.
2007 December 20
May is always a busy time. The fun of the approaching summer, the warm air, occasional rain showers, and cows and calves strolling through the thick, green, cool-season grasses makes one appreciate rural life. At this time of the year, grass and calves grow at astonishing rates. Unfortunately, we all can relate to those days when all the calves didn’t bounce up like they should. After arriving at the pasture, a
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Beef production is a natural system, but management means not leaving it to the whims of nature. Everything in the cattle business begins with conception, so reproductive physiology has become a key area of study aimed at improving efficiency and beef quality. That means understanding the points where intervention can result in better performance, and developing strategies that work.
by WLJ
2007 December 20
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service estimated placements were down 2 percent from 2005, however, at 1.63 million head, the number of cattle placed on feed during April was still 2 percent above 2004. The decline in placements, while good news for feedlots and the cattle market in general, was not unexpected. Most analysts expected the number of cattle placed in April to decline, however, the actual decline was not as great as expected prior to the release of the report.
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Immigration is currently a hot topic, with strongly divided opinions amongst U.S. citizens in all geographical regions, far exceeding division within mere party politics. The voiced stance most often echoes one’s visual accounts of the issue depending on location and firsthand experiences. Coming from the Midwest where illegal immigration is present, but, of course, not nearly as prevalent as California, Texas and other border states, I tend to maintain a conservative, closed door perspective. In fact, my first thought when the debate
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Slaughter numbers last Thursday were estimated by USDA at 698,000 head, 10,000 below the previous week, but still well above 2005’s harvest of 661,000 during the same week. Despite the higher harvest, boxed beef values remained strong most of last week as order buyers were busy filling demand with immediately available Choice rib cuts bound for holiday barbeques. That demand created a strong rise in the Choice/Select spread last week. On Wednesday, the Choice product added $2.30 to trade at $147.48. Select cutout values rose 95 cents to
by WLJ
2007 December 20
— Drought means more than just limited grass, poisoned livestock.   Livestock auction markets are being flooded with cattle, in large part due to the worsening drought conditions in virtually all prominent cattle states, especially in the southern Plains states. Many cattlemen are already hauling cattle elsewhere and/or spending extra dollars to feed cattle early where grass is marginal to sparse. The USDA’s drought monitor shows conditions to be the worst in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Unfortunately, relief is not projected for
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The Mexican Gray Wolf is on the endangered species list and has been protected under federal law for several years. The reappearance of the Mexican Gray Wolf that once roamed throughout vast portions of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas in the early 1900s, is due largely to the reintroduction of the wolf in 1998. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Mexican Gray Wolf recovery coordinator, John Morgart, said the recovery got off to a rough start. “The
by WLJ
2007 December 20
President Bush made clear his desire to boost ethanol supplies and to try to generate more imports at a meeting on energy with a bipartisan group of lawmakers. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said that while the administration “will continue to consider” ways to boost imports, including removing the tariff, “it’s largely a congressional matter.” “The President has encouraged Congress to examine all alternatives for increasing
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Red meat exports The report was published by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). The documents display data for March 2006. According to the recent report, U.S. exports of beef, as well as veal cuts and beef variety meats during March, increased nearly 21 percent from February, totaling 47,228 metric tons. This figure is up 48.5 percent from a year prior, when almost all Asian borders refused U.S. beef. In addition, exports of fresh product totaled 19,614 metric tons, up nearly 24 percent over
by WLJ
2007 December 20
“There is no change in the cattle coming in. Mexican cattle are still allowed to come in,” said Dr. Bob Hillman, D.V.M., executive director of the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC). “The change would have allowed cattle that originated in Sonora, or south of Sonora, to come through a new border port in Arizona.” Hillman said, “It would have opened a new direct line for cattle imports, but our concern is that I don’t know that another port is needed. Our concern with
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) stakes its claim in the beef cattle industry as being one of the most prominent diseases presenting challenges to cattlemen that could result in poor performance, weakened immunity and death. In addition, persistently infected (PI) calves are not only unthrifty, but unprofitable. In fact, according to Bob Larson, veterinarian at the University of Missouri, the cost of one PI animal in a cow/calf operation ranges from $14.85 to $24.84 per cow per
by WLJ
2007 December 20
USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Chuck Lambert wrapped up his meetings with Japanese officials on May 19. His mission was to pave the way for a new agreement with the country, which has remained on the defensive since renewing the ban on U.S. beef imports Jan. 20, after a U.S. packing plant shipped prohibited materials. Since that time, the once $14 billion market for U.S. producers has been off limits despite USDA efforts
2007 December 20
Cave images just can’t compete with cell phone text  Insight into the cattle industry is keen, but, as a producer, the ability to make use of that insight and convert that understanding to real impact is critical. The American Angus Association sponsored an effort to help categorize the many varied forms of producer managerial thoughts to produce a document that would be an excellent starting point for further discussion and understanding of the business we often simply refer to as “beef.” The initial outcome of that effort was the publication “Priorities First: Identifying Management Priorities in the Commercial Cow-Calf Business.”
by WLJ
2007 December 20
On the heels of an announcement made last week that seven cows from a ranch in Bridger, MT, were infected with brucellosis, comes more bad news as the decision has been made to depopulate the herd in its entirety. This would include about 300 cows and their calves. In addition, another 300 head of bison and their calves are to be destroyed as well. “It’s paramount in safeguarding the national herd,” said Teresa Howe, public affairs specialist at the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service. “We are stopping the spread of this disease. In some cases, there may be other options, but
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Nevada ranchers and farmers plagued by two straight devastating wildfire seasons will receive millions for livestock loss compensation under a war spending bill approved by Congress and sent to President Bush for his signature. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, who worked to include the funding in the measure, said it would help to cover increased feed costs, fence repairs and rehabilitation of private fire- damaged rangelands. While the legislation designates $1.2 billion for livestock loss compensation nationwide, no breakdown by state was immediately available. “In Nevada, more than 3 million acres were burned by wildfires in the last two
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Going global Big news in the packing business. Swift and Company finally did something; they sold the business. There has been speculation for several years that they would go public and make a lot of money that way. Some spectators felt that it wasn’t in good enough shape to go public and that an outright sale was the only way to go. But, from the get-go, HM Capital and Booth Creek Management, George Gillette’s company, seemed to have always had their eye on a fast trade. It never seemed that they were going to make Swift any better than
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Nevada ranchers and farmers plagued by two straight devastating wildfire seasons will receive millions for livestock loss compensation under a war spending bill approved by Congress and sent to President Bush for his signature. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, who worked to include the funding in the measure, said it would help to cover increased feed costs, fence repairs and rehabilitation of private fire- damaged rangelands. While the legislation designates $1.2 billion for livestock loss compensation nationwide, no breakdown by state was immediately available. “In Nevada, more than 3 million acres were burned by wildfires in the last two
by WLJ
2007 December 20
After several months and countless hours of negotiating, Wyoming and the federal government have reached an agreement on how the state will manage the wolf population, estimated at more than 300 packs in Wyoming alone, once its protection under the Endangered Species Act is lifted. Montana and Idaho have already developed a wolf management plan and the two states are in the process of working toward delisting wolves. Wyoming was supposed to be a part of that process but, until now, had been unable to come to an agreement with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) officials. The first procedural step has