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by WLJ
2007 December 20
  According to Sen. Pat Roberts, R-KS, Kansas livestock producers, alone, were to have gotten as much as $4.2 million dollars under the USDA drought assistance package announced Aug. 29 that consisted of $800 million. Instead, they will get just over $900,000.   This significant gap is due to a mistake that inflated the figures, according to Roberts, who addressed producers regarding the issue Sept. 9 at the Kansas State Fair. Roberts added that Wyoming and Arizona will see similar reductions in their program.   He said figures were inflated for the three states used by the federal agency in calculating those states' share
by WLJ
2007 December 20
September 18, 2006 A different approach   Several articles have appeared in the daily press discussing the Owyhee Initiative Agreement, often focusing on certain aspects of the Agreement which may have given readers an inaccurate impression of what the Initiative is about. The Owyhee Cattlemen’s Assn Board of Directors believe that clarification of the goals and intent of the Initiative is in order to help the public have an accurate understanding of the document.   The initiative was conceived as a positive, proactive effort in an attempt to break out of the negative rut the various sportsmen, environmental, and livestock groups found themselves operating in
by WLJ
2007 December 20
  “While producers may have historically been most concerned about production risks such as weather, pests and other natural perils, many of the risks now facing their operation relate to management and marketing decisions,” said Darrell Mark, livestock marketing specialist at the University of Nebraska.   He said sometimes, producers give up price potential just to reduce variability. Consequently, this causes them to spend less time worrying about market prices and instead direct focus to other facets of their operation. Mark said one survey conducted revealed that more than 70 percent of producers cited risk reduction as their top marketing goal. At
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Prior to the announcement last week, legislation passed in 2002 allowed cattle producers four years (until 2006) to replace livestock sold because of drought without being penalized for capital gains.   U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, last week, extended the provision for an additional year if, in the 12 months ending Aug. 31, there was severe, extreme or exceptional drought conditions in the producer’s area. “Nebraska cattle producers are very grateful for this common sense modification," said Michael Kelsey, Executive Vice President of the Nebraska Cattlemen. “This announcement will aid many cattle producers who have been struggling with drought conditions for several
by WLJ
2007 December 20
  In the report, NASS predicted corn production would reach 11.1 billion bushels, up 1 percent from last month’s estimate and slightly above 2005 levels. Based on conditions as of Sept. 1, yields are expected to average 154.7 bushels per acre, up 2.5 bushels from August and 6.8 bushels from last year. If realized, yield and production would be the second largest on record, behind 2004’s record harvest level of 11.8 billion bushels. Forecast yields are higher than August across the northern Great Plains and western Corn Belt because of improvements in the precipitation situation in those areas. According to reports,
by WLJ
2007 December 20
  Livestock producers in the western states have been engaged in disputes over water for many years, something that producers in that region are accustomed to. However, the dispute is shifting. Instead of battling over enough water, which is still a concern, the larger issue at the moment is the water quality. Producers say the water they are getting is the wrong kind to support livestock.   By support livestock, ranchers mean the water is not of the quality to sustain forage growth and, in fact, can destroy it. The issue revolves around the search for a type of natural gas called coal
by WLJ
2007 December 20
New Zealand’s beef import volume in 2006 is forecast to increase 7%, to 615,000 tons, according to a USDA report. The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (FSA) recently completed an assessment of the U.S. BSE regime and determined that U.S. safeguards were equivalent to those provided by New Zealand’s BSE measures. Following a certification agreement, FSA will remove its case-by-case assessment requirement for imports of U.S. beef and beef variety meats, which will allow for U.S. beef to cross New Zealand borders.   Mexico beef, cattle exports to grow Mexico continued to relax its import restrictions on U.S. bovine products during 2005, and
by WLJ
2007 December 20
California state Sen. Mike Machado, D-Linden, has proposed two separate pieces of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) legislation this term. The two bills, Senate Bill 905 (SB 905) and Senate Joint Resolution 16 (SJR 16), seek to amend what the senator believes are shortcomings in USDA BSE prevention protocols. The first measure, SB 905, is a former education bill which Machado gutted and amended. The bill now seeks to create a voluntary state program which will allow beef products to be labeled “BSE tested.” In order for a beef product to be labeled, it must meet a specific set of criteria; it
by WLJ
2007 December 20
It wasn’t supposed to happen this way, the market that is. There wasn’t supposed to be this kind of strength in the late summer/early fall markets. September feeder cattle futures have been very strong hanging around the $114 level and the cash fed cattle markets gained $3 to $87.00. Again, there was a big wall of cattle that was to materialize in the late summer and early fall, which doesn’t seem to be there. I’m pretty certain that aggressive fed cattle marketings haven’t played a role because fed cattle marketings haven’t been that good. The market was also expected, by some, to
by WLJ
2007 December 20
week. Feeders didn’t have to play the hold out game with packers as they came to the table relatively quick, moving fed prices up $2-3 to $87 live and $136 to $137 dressed. Over 150,000 head traded on Wednesday. All signals were go in the markets—lower cost feed, stronger futures markets, stronger boxed beef markets, strong slaughter—nearly every indicator suggested an improved market. Futures markets were much higher with the October live cattle reaching $86.38 and the February contract was a dime short of $90. Feeder cattle just keep getting stronger with September at $115.37, a contract high. Ann Barnhardt, an independent analyst
by WLJ
2007 December 20
— Legislation proposed in Arizona. While most of the country was focused on the devastation Hurricane Katrina created, an Arizona animal rights group, Arizonans for Humane Farms, was busy filing proposed legislation in Arizona courts which would make many confinement farming practices illegal. The Humane Society of the U.S. and the Farm Sanctuary were also behind the proposal. The legislation will be known as the Humane Treatment of Farm Animals Act. If put into effect, it will have profound implications on most hog and dairy calf raising operations in the state. Specifically, the act states “a person shall not tether or confine
by WLJ
2007 December 20
—Researchers able to predict gains in lambs. USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are well on their way to developing a tool which livestock producers will find very useful in making every day grazing decisions. The scientists working at the Grazing lands Research Laboratory in El Reno, OK, have developed a hand-held meter which is able to instantly analyze the nutrient value of standing forage. The tool utilizes “spectral reflectance” which bounces a beam of infrared light off of standing grasses. The wavelengths of light which are reflected back to the instrument provide data which can be interpreted with a great deal
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The FSC has been slowly working on the issue in order to insure that the beef they import from the U.S. is BSE free. Last week, the panel met for the sixth time, and panel head Yasuhiro Yoshikawa said, “I hope that we can have a discussion based on the draft report at the next subcommittee meeting.” The U.S. beef industry has been frustrated with Japan’s continuing requests for more information. USDA sources have said the Japanese have all the science there is and they have the last epidemiology report on the lone BSE infected U.S. cow. U.S. congressmen have also voiced
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Colorado veterinarian Jim Kennedy, who is responsible for Colorado’s voluntary BVD control program, estimates that losses may run as high as $24 or more per head depending on market conditions for herds infected with BVD. BVD virus spreads from animal to animal within a herd. When BVD infects a pregnant cow at between 80 and 150 days gestation, it passes through the placenta to the fetus. Because the fetus’s immune system isn’t developed enough to recognize the virus as an infection, it harbors the virus rather than fight it. By the time the immune system matures, the virus has become a
by WLJ
2007 December 20
On Sept.12, USDA released the month’s revised harvest estimate. The revision tied a record for the largest upward Aug. to Sept. revision. Market analysts had generally been leaning toward a downward revision in the harvest estimate, feeling that a long, dry summer would take its toll on the national harvest. Many experts were surprised when USDA bumped its initial estimate, of 139.2 bushels per acre, up 4 bushels per acre to an average harvest estimate of 143.2 bushels per acre. Earlier in the summer, analysts were bearish on corn harvest prospects, stating that prolonged drought across the eastern corn belt would
by WLJ
2007 December 20
As of Sept.12, there had been a total of 309 premises quarantined in seven states during the 2005 disease tracking season. In the report, APHIS noted Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, Utah and Wyoming continue to have premises quarantined with a total of 357 bovine and equine cases confirmed in 35 separate counties. Both Texas and Arizona, which have had premises under quarantine this year, have had those quarantines lifted and currently have no positive cases of the disease. The disease has a rapid incubation, generally two to eight days, followed by symptoms of blister-like lesions in the mouth, dental pad, tongue,
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Ranchers can take advantage of late-season alfalfa growth this fall and winter, but without pulling the hay equipment into the field. Producers in southern areas may still have an opportunity to graze before a frost, while in northern areas, ranchers should begin preparations to work alfalfa into their winter grazing schemes. Depending on timing and weather, producers are many times left with a last cutting that may not justify the expense of putting the hay up, but have a hard time leaving the season’s last growth standing in the field. “For ranchers in the south still looking to take advantage of
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Sheep producers in 16 Montana counties are not allowed to move their sheep within or beyond their county lines until Oct. 10 because of a recent bluetongue outbreak. “Test results on Tuesday (Sept. 18) confirmed bluetongue in sheep from Musselshell County, and we’ve gotten reports of sick sheep and preliminary test results from several additional counties, so I’ve chosen to expand the hold order to also include Big Horn, Carter, Carbon, Custer, Fallon, Fergus, Garfield, Golden Valley, Petroleum, Powder River, Prairie, Rosebud, Stillwater, Treasure and Yellowstone counties,” said state veterinarian Dr. Marty Zaluski. Bluetongue had already been confirmed in whitetail deer
by WLJ
2007 December 20
No worries It was no surprise that USDA was going to approve cow trade with Canada. We’ve anticipated the final rule for two years. Starting as early as Nov. 19, beef from cattle of any age with specified risk material removed, live cows born after March 1, 1999, which must be permanently identified and age verified, blood and blood products collected under certain conditions, casings and parts of the small intestine will be eligible for import to the U.S. USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service said they are expanding the list of allowable imports from countries presenting minimal risk of introducing
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Consumers tell us that tenderness and taste are two of the most important attributes when they are evaluating their beef eating experience. They want tender beef and are willing to pay for it. That was the message Dr. Keith Belk, professor at Colorado State University’s Center for Red Meat Quality and Safety, delivered to agricultural editors and other participants at a Sensory Evaluation Briefing and Wet Lab held at Iowa State University. The training session was hosted by Elanco Animal Health as part of its continuing effort to educate beef producers on the importance of tenderness of the beef they