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by WLJ
2007 December 20
Roundup Ready alfalfa, which is manufactured by Monsanto Co., has been marketed for more than a year and already, there are an estimated 200,000 acres planted in the U.S. The court’s ruling allows the continued harvest of that crop which is already established, however, it places limits on the future planting of the GM alfalfa seeds. The seeds cannot be sold after March 12 and the crop cannot be planted after March 30 until the court issues a final ruling. The court will hear oral arguments on April 27 and issue a final ruling thereafter. The seed is one of
by WLJ
2007 December 20
If a producer chooses to implement an estrus synchronization program, whether it be for breeding heifers or utilizing artificial insemination (AI) technology, he needs to also consider that there are many factors that determine the success of such a program. It’s like a great big puzzle and all of the pieces have to fit together before the program can be successful. One of the most important pieces of the puzzle is nutrition. Breeding success, whether the practice is simply natural cover or a labor intensive embryo transfer and/or AI situation, begins with nutrition. Nutrition and cow body condition score (BCS) are
by WLJ
2007 December 20
There was only very light fed cattle trade last week as of press time. In the northern tier fed cattle market, there were a few thousand head traded at $160 dressed basis, which was about $5 higher than the prior week’s sharply higher weighted average. However, in the remainder of cattle feeding regions, ask and offer prices were still well apart. Fed cattle in the southern tier were expected to trade in a range of $100-101, as much as $1-2 higher, although it appeared likely that packers would wait until last Friday to replenish what were thought to be relatively
by WLJ
2007 December 20
“There just wasn’t enough time at the end of the session and in the middle of a political campaign for control of Congress,” Sen. Mike Crapo, R-ID, said during a conference call held last week to announce the reintroduction of his Owyhee Canyonlands bill. “All wilderness bills go through a fairly lengthy legislative process. There is definite hope for the bill in the future.” He pointed out that the bill has taken years to assemble and should be considered a group effort with wide-ranging support in his home state. “As I’ve said dozens and dozens of times, we’ve done our homework.
by WLJ
2007 December 20
LMA’s Board of Directors met at the 2007 Cattle Industry Conference in Nashville, TN, in February to establish policy for the upcoming year. One resolution that was passed and approved by member vote was regarding what it would take for the marketing trade group to get behind a very controversial proposal made by the Beef Checkoff Task Force to increase the beef checkoff assessment. The current assessment is $1 per head at the time of sale. “It’s time to listen to the producers,” said LMA’s Director of Information John McBride. “The survey (conducted late last year) showed support for the program
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Claims have been made that it has a relative feed value of 200 from bud to bloom. It is easy to establish and highly palatable. In fact, it is actually preferred to alfalfa by sheep, cattle, deer and elk. However, its main advantage is its bloat-free characteristic which makes it grazing friendly. Throughout its long history, sainfoin has never been known to cause bloat, nor has it ever reportedly been attacked by alfalfa weevils. Dr. Bruce Anderson, professor of agronomy at the University of Nebraska, says that not only does sainfoin have a nutritional value similar to alfalfa, but it can
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Humane treatment of animals in the food chain is getting some significant traction among chefs and restaurants in the U.S. On the heels of prestigious restaurants such as Wolfgang Puck, Equinox, and Marcel’s making the decision to improve animal welfare in their supply chain, Burger King, the nation’s No. 2 fast food chain, has recently announced their intention to purchase a portion of their products from farms that observe humane animal treatment practices in their operations. “With its new policy changes, Burger King is signaling to agribusiness that the most inhumane factory farming practices are on the way out,” said Wayne
2007 December 20
Someone you should get to know—your waste management professional Change in the world of livestock is not new and comes in many forms. Today, the most obvious is the little spots that are starting to show up on the hillsides as spring calving gets under way. The spring sun certainly brings a new light to the operations and it doesn’t take much time for the newborn calves to take advantage of the weather. These are good changes because the inventory is growing again. Along with inventory growth comes the opportunity for additional revenue. Great news for producers, but you quickly notice
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Lower corn adds to feeder prices. For the second time this year, cash prices topped the $1 level last week. Packer buyers raised the stakes, bidding cash fed cattle prices $4-5 higher on a dressed basis in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt. Additionally, prices were $3-4 higher on a live basis last Thursday in the southern tier where buyers paid $100-100.50 live basis. Volume was reportedly good in all regions, with more than 70,000 head trading hands through last Wednesday. The jump in market prices, coupled with a decline in corn and the likelihood of continued upward gains in the
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Humane marketing You have to love it when all the stars align and the fed cattle markets go over a buck. The last time we saw $1 plus fed cattle was the fall of 2002. Then we got a Christmas present from Canada, a nice case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Ever since then, it’s been a struggle to get the markets back to pre-BSE levels. Congratulations! Here we are at a $1, and it could go higher. Our industry has experienced good demand for nearly 10 years. However, since the day BSE showed up, and our foreign customers shut
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Creekstone Farms Premium Beef and other meatpackers have the right to test all the animals they slaughter for mad cow disease, a federal judge ruled March 29. U.S. District Judge James Robertson immediately put his ruling on hold, pending a possible government appeal. If the government does not appeal by June 1, the ruling will take effect. According to Robertson’s decision, the USDA’s “prohibition of the private use of rapid test kits to screen cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is unlawful.” The ruling held that USDA has authority to regulate the use of diagnostic tests in general but that it
by WLJ
2007 December 20
With USDA’s greater-than-expected corn acreage estimate March 30, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns felt comfortable that there would be less pressure to find more crop acres through early opt-out of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The secretary waited until the grain markets closed to announce there would be no penalty-free early release for landowners with CRP contracts. Johanns said in an interview with DTN that the Prospective Plantings report was one of the “last pieces of information” he was waiting to review before deciding on whether to make the “very, very unusual move” of a CRP opt-out. With corn acres
by WLJ
2007 December 20
With USDA’s greater-than-expected corn acreage estimate March 30, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns felt comfortable that there would be less pressure to find more crop acres through early opt-out of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The secretary waited until the grain markets closed to announce there would be no penalty-free early release for landowners with CRP contracts. Johanns said in an interview with DTN that the Prospective Plantings report was one of the “last pieces of information” he was waiting to review before deciding on whether to make the “very, very unusual move” of a CRP opt-out. With corn acres
by WLJ
2007 December 20
OIE is key to Korean trade resumption It took nine months of intensive negotiations for the U.S. and South Korea to agree to a free trade agreement (FTA). It took about the same time for the U.S. to realize that Korea was going to use every trick in the book to keep U.S. beef from entering Korea. One lesson from all this is: Never underestimate the intransigence of a country’s agriculture department when it is hell bent on defending its farmers and growers. Remember how upbeat everyone was a year ago? Korea looked like it would be reopening its market to
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Chronically sick cattle in a feedlot present a variety of problems. Cattle that are classified as chronics do not perform well, lose money, and sometimes cannot be saved. Additionally, in today’s society, animal welfare is becoming more important to the consumer and chronic cattle in a feedlot can add fuel to the fire of animals’ rights groups. There seem to be many opinions regarding what constitutes a chronic animal. Some experts say a chronic is an animal that has reached a point where they have a significant and permanent decrease in their rate of gain. Some feedlots define chronics in economic
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The large jump in expected plantings caught some analysts off guard. “Prior to the report, I had expected that 87.5 million acres would be planted to corn, which is up 12 percent from year-ago levels,” said Terry Francl, American Farm Bureau Federation senior economist. “These numbers all represent a substantial increase, but you also have to look at it from a historical perspective and then you will see that today’s report is only a 10.6 percent increase from 2005.” The jump in acres expected to be planted to corn is likely due to farmers responding to an intensifying demand for corn-based
by WLJ
2007 December 20
After 10 months of negotiations and eight days of intense talks, the U.S. and South Korea last week reached a much anticipated free trade agreement (FTA). The deal is expected to lead to more than 90 percent of U.S. exports to South Korea being duty free within three years. However, the FTA will depend on approval from legislative bodies in both countries. The fact that there is no clause tied to resuming beef imports from the U.S. could make for a rocky passage through Congress. President Bush has said he intends to sign the U.S.-Korea FTA in 90 days. The current
by WLJ
2007 December 20
It was disclosed last week that Superior Livestock Auction has sold the nation’s largest livestock video auction. The sale will include Superior Livestock Auction, Superior Stampede, the Internet marketing division and Superior Productions, which produces purebred sales and other special events. Superior was sold to Dwight and Helen Mebane of Woody, CA. The closing is to be completed sometime prior to June 1. It was announced that Richard Stober will become the new general manager for the company. The Mebanes are a third generation ranching family with operations in California and Oregon. They are also partners in a Friona, TX, feedlot
by WLJ
2007 December 20
for. April 11, 2005 Many producers are seeking access to federal land when burdened by drought or lack of private land for expansion. Other producers feel their state property taxes are too high. Congressman Chris Cannon, R-UT, addressed both of these issues by introducing H.R. 1370, the Federal Lands Asset
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The herd improvement game It’s the biggest annual cost item in the cattle business, and it’s getting even bigger. Ding-ding-ding: What is feed? That’s right. If you don’t keep a lid on it, profitability of your entire cowherd will be in “Jeopardy.” Cattle for $100: The main ingredient in many cattle rations, this grain is also the staple of all those ethanol production plants that are popping up like mushrooms. Ding-ding-ding: What is corn? Right again. Oh, you want Cattle for $200? It’s the Daily Double and you’ll wager everything— fewer soybean, sorghum, wheat and hay acres, higher land prices and more


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