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by WLJ
2005 January 10
— Four plants shut down for 3-5 weeks. — Washington plant to single shift. Tyson Foods last week announced it was temporarily shutting down all shifts in four of its cattle/beef processing facilities and suspending one of two shifts in another facility. The company’s formal statement said the shutdowns are expected to last three to five weeks. There was some indication, however, that one or two plants may be “dark” for a longer period of time. The four operations suspending all shifts are in Denison, IA; Norfolk and West Point, NE; and Kuna, ID. The second shift is being discontinued at Tyson’s cattle
by WLJ
2005 January 10
Several market analysts said last month’s boxed beef sales indicate domestic beef demand is better than once projected and that fed cattle prices could remain $90 or higher throughout much of the first few months of 2005. Most sources said a 14 percent increase in boxed beef sales between December 2003 and December 2004 and a 9.5 percent increase from December 2002 shows domestic demand is very strong for U.S. beef right now. Market analysts said that extra movement was surprising since 70-80 percent of U.S. export markets are still closed to U.S. beef. “There were over 2,700 more loads—108 million lbs.—of
by WLJ
2005 January 7
— Marbling, quality grade not affected. Cattle feeders may be well served to feed cattle “organic” zinc supplements instead of more readily available “inorganic” sources of the important trace nutrient, according to researcher from Colorado State University (CSU). A cattle feeding study held during the summer and fall of 2004 showed that feeding organic zinc led to improved yield grades in fed cattle, compared to inorganic zinc supplementation. According to Terry Engle, assistant professor of animal science at CSU, organic zinc is bound to a group of proteins or amino acids, instead of being fed in the inorganic, or sulfate, form. “Our study
by WLJ
2005 January 3
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) needs to refocus on improvements to water and soil quality, according to a news release from four grain-related organizations. Those organizations urged the USDA that substantial changes need to be made in the CRP to sustain growing demand for grains and oilseeds. The CRP should shift away from whole-farm enrollments, the four organizations said in a joint statement submitted in response to USDA’s request for comments on long-term CRP policy. Under the CRP, enrolled acreage is idled under 10- to 15-year contracts, with USDA making annual rental payments and financing up to 50 percent of the cost
by WLJ
2005 January 3
The U.S. Congress recently approved the Miscellaneous Trade Bill, which includes language calling for a two-year extension of the American Wool Trust. As ranking member of the finance committee, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) led the effort in the Senate along with Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY) in extending the trust through 2008. The American Wool Trust, which was established in 2000 in agreement with the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), utilizes a portion of the wool tariff to advance the marketing potential for U.S. wool, improve wool quality and enhance production information. The Trust has been the instrumental factor in the success of the
by WLJ
2005 January 3
Australia has suspended imports of beef from Brazil after a suspected case of hoof-and-mouth disease (HMD). The case has been reported on a property in a state of the country which had been recognized as HMD free. Australia’s Minister for Agriculture Warren Truss said Australia has only ever imported a small sample of Brazilian beef for processing, but all import permits have now been canceled. “We do not import beef from Brazil in any quantities and so there's no likelihood of there being significant quantities coming into Australia," he said. “But any risk is too much risk in these circumstances, and so all import
by WLJ
2005 January 3
Promo boosts steak sales A recently-concluded 15-week retail promotion resulted in a spike in sales of steak cuts most commonly grilled, according to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The promotion was said to have contributed to a 2.2 percent gain in unit sales over the summer and an 8.2 percent increase in dollar sales. Radio advertising and in-store promotions, as well as a partnership with Kraft's A-1 steak sauce, which gave away grills to contest winners, were some of the high points of the promotion. The promotion ran in 44 U.S. markets from May through Labor Day and was funded by
by WLJ
2005 January 3
Brazil’s meat industry is looking to consolidate on a spectacular year of growth in 2004, cementing its position as the world’s largest meat exporter. Beef, chicken and pork exporters saw orders grow despite a recent import ban by Russia, its largest client, and continuing restrictions on Brazilian meat in the Far East. Meat shipments are expected to total $5.8 billion in 2004, some 42 percent higher than 2003, with physical sales expected to reach 4.2 million metric tons, 23 percent higher than the year before. The challenge for Brazil’s industry is to take advantage of the continuing sanitary problems in competing countries and
by WLJ
2005 January 3
— Export, domestic demand both helped. While the Dec. 23, 2003 confirmation of BSE being found in a cow located in Washington-state turned the U.S. cattle industry on its ear, the U.S. pork industry found the ramification from that situation much more to its liking. According to Chris Hurt, livestock economist at the University of Purdue, that single case of BSE was almost singlehandedly responsible for one of the biggest pork market turnarounds in U.S. history. Hurt remembers that the U.S. hog market started out 2004 with cash prices mostly in the $30 range. By April, prices had risen significantly as export
by WLJ
2005 January 3
— Earliest date to apply in April 25. California cattle producers are hopeful that 2005 brings fewer bovine tuberculosis (TB) testing requirements and that restrictions on shipping cattle across state lines will be significantly lessened. Currently, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) projects it will ask USDA to consider reinstating TB-free status for the state in late April. The first day the state can do that, according to federal regulations, is April 25, and the process USDA would then go through is expected to be at least three months, if not a little longer. The date for reapplying could be
by WLJ
2005 January 3
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) last Wednesday announced Canadian live cattle destined for slaughter and all classes of Canadian beef would be allowed reentry into the U.S. starting March 7, pending no more positive cases of BSE are found north of the border before that deadline. Questions surrounding Canada’s ability to meet the no more BSE infection criteria surfaced later that day after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that preliminary testing indicated a 10-year-old cow could be infected with the disease. If confirmatory tests come back positive for the disease, it is unlikely Canadian producers will be allowed
by WLJ
2005 January 3
The Canadian cattle import rule was announced last week by USDA and the intention is to resume full beef and cattle trade with Canada starting March 7. The announcement comes one year after the U.S. found its Canadian case of BSE and nearly 19 months after Canada announced its first case of the disease. Last Wednesday’s announcement will, without doubt, cause an immediate reaction from R-CALF USA who is expected to file an injunction to the rule stating that a previous risk assessment of Canada’s BSE measures is not valid and that the Canadian feed ban has not been adequately implemented. The
by WLJ
2005 January 3
Socorro County, New Mexico, 4-H members are lending a hand with an innovative project to furnish water for livestock and wildlife. The project, at a silt-filled earthen water tank at the Ligon Ranch, is a chance for 4-H and FFA members and other students at nearby Socorro High School to learn about topics ranging from wildlife habitats to sophisticated global positioning system (GPS) equipment. For sophomore Jacob Finch, it’s a chance to add to his knowledge of range plants. Finch already has some expertise as he took second place last summer in range management competition at the State 4-H Conference at New
by WLJ
2005 January 3
Beef producers have a lot to be thankful for as the industry turns its back on one of the most momentous years in its history. Most importantly, there have been no more BSE cases discovered in the U.S. since the first case was announced on Dec. 23, 2003. That is despite a significant ramp-up in BSE testing by USDA. Since it began its enhanced surveillance testing on June 1, it had tested just under 153,000 samples by Dec. 22 and found no more positives. The testing reinforces USDA’s and industry’s view that BSE is not prevalent in the U.S. In fact,
by WLJ
2005 January 3
The voting period for the lamb referendum will be Jan. 31 through Feb. 28, according to the notice published in the Dec. 27 issue of the Federal Register. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) also announced the final referendum rules under the Lamb Promotion, Research and Information Order, more commonly known as the American Lamb Board or Lamb Checkoff Program. “We are pleased that the voting period has been scheduled. The effort that countless individuals and USDA have generated to get to this point is incredible,” said Spence Rule, chairman of the American Lamb Board. The referendum will be conducted at USDA's
by WLJ
2005 January 3
As 2005 starts up, real estate brokers across Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona indicated they are busy helping prospective ranch buyers look for properties to purchase, however, they are having difficulty locating extremely large ranches, which are in highest demand. “We just can’t find tracts big enough right now for our clients,” said Nancy Wendland, Wendland & Associates, Kerrville, TX. “When I say big, I mean big. Five thousand acres are small ranch properties in this area right now, and aren’t big enough for most interested ranch buyers.” She said that 20,000-acre ranches are about the smallest that out-of-area ranchers
by WLJ
2005 January 3
Most cattle cycles last 10 years, but the current cycle has lasted 14 years. Why is this cycle longer than normal? What will the next cycle look like? Cattle cycles have been measured for more than 100 years. There are actually three components to a cycle—the cattle inventory, beef production and the cattle price cycle. Cattle inventory cycles experience periods of increasing numbers called accumulation phases and periods of decreasing numbers called liquidation phases. Beef production cycles lag inventory cycles by about a year because, to liquidate numbers, more cattle must be slaughtered. To accumulate numbers, fewer cattle are slaughtered. Price cycles are
by WLJ
2005 January 3
USDA last week was sued by a packer organization because last week’s announcement reopening the U.S. border to some Canadian slaughter cattle starting in early March did not include cattle, specifically cows, over the age of 30 months. According to the American Meat Institute (AMI), continuing to enforce a ban on importing older cattle is “arbitrary and capricious,”and has no legal or scientific justification. Last Thursday’s filing of the suit came a day after USDA announced a new rule affecting beef and cattle imports from Canada. A full ban on Canadian live cattle and bone-in beef dates back to May 2003,
by WLJ
2005 January 3
New West Nile virus treatment Colorado Serum Company recently introduced its West Nile Virus Antibody, Equine Origin, for use in controlling West Nile Virus (WNV) in horses. It is recommended that veterinarians use the West Nile Virus Antibody when the disease is detected in an unvaccinated horse or a vaccinated horse that has contracted the disease. Administered intravenously, West Nile Virus Antibody will enhance an animal’s ability to fight the virus by neutralizing it, and aid in the overall treatment. Unlike other WNV antibody treatments, this product is concentrated, purified and ready to use straight from the bottle—offering veterinarians an easy
by WLJ
2005 January 3
— Online purchases to remain slow. Ranch real estate brokers and estate auction companies are indicating that online bidding for extensive ranch and recreational properties has grown by leaps and bounds. In fact, several sources said they wouldn’t be surprised if 50 percent of interested investors would choose to bid via the Internet or other electronic avenues by the end of 2005. “That doesn’t mean that half of all ranch auction acquisitions would be made through online bidding, but it does mean a lot more bidding competition would come from prospective buyers unable to attend a one-day auction or if an auction


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