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Livestock News

by WLJ
2007 December 20
Japanese inspectors arrived on Monday last week to begin a two-week inspection tour of U.S. meatpackers. The officials will examine those plants authorized to export beef to Japan in an effort to evaluate their compliance with restrictions Tokyo imposed over bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) concerns. Three inspection teams left Japan on May 13 to check on 28 packing plants in 14 states on a tour that wraps up May 28, the Japanese Farm and Health ministries said. The inspection tour comes after USDA Secretary Mike Johanns reached an agreement with Japanese officials to begin lowering inspection protocols for beef shipped
by WLJ
2007 December 20
A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week would allow state-inspected processing plants to ship beef across state lines just like federally inspected plants. Reps. Earl Pomeroy, D-ND, and Roy Blunt, R-MO, introduced H.R. 2315, the New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act of 2007, along with 15 other cosponsors.   Federal law requires USDA to inspect all meat products. In the 1960s, Congress created state inspection programs that are mandated to be “at least equal to” the federal inspection program. Perishable products—including milk and other dairy items, fruit, vegetables, and fish—are freely shipped across state lines after
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Human health risk assessment updated. Testing confirms that meat from swine fed rations supplemented with pet food scraps containing melamine and related compounds is safe for human consumption, prompting USDA to allow swine held on farms to be released and approved for processing. Testing of meat from swine exposed to the feed in question confirms that melamine and melamine compounds do not accumulate in pork and are filtered out of the body by the action of the kidneys. The testing also bolsters the conclusions reached by a human health risk assessment that there is a very low risk of human illness
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The cattle business had one heck of a year in 2003. Fed cattle prices for the month of September averaged $88.08, the best September in history. In November, fed cattle averaged $1, also the best November in history. However, we all remember far too well what happened in December that year. Black Thursday. The BSE bombshell hit. Now we’re in the throes of the summer market, it would be helpful if Japan and the other Pacific
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Weather across the West continues to present problems for producers. In many areas, dry conditions are worsening. In the central and southern Plains states, drought conditions continue and are leading to a sell-off of cattle in some areas. Already, producers are making arrangements to ship cattle to areas where feed is available or hauling in feed for cattle on marginal grass. Short-term forecasts show little relief in sight for much of the central U.S. as large, high pressure systems settle over the country giving most of the lower
by WLJ
2007 December 20
— Cattle producers may gain instead of lose. Tensions are rising as fuel prices skyrocket. In response to the mounting tension, President George W. Bush plans to attempt to reduce dependency on foreign oil. To do so, the Bush administration has prepared a four-point energy plan. As part of the proposal, he calls for more biofuels usage, doubling the current amount in just six years. This plan follows his 2005 Energy Policy Act which mandates the use
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Fed cattle trade got started mostly $1 higher last Thursday. Trade occurred at $126-127 dressed in the north and a few live sales at $79, steady with the previous week. Packer demand increased as they upped the harvest level and were looking to procure cattle to fulfill the Memorial Day demand. Packers came out early in the week offering $74-75 live and $124-126 dressed. However, projections for packer margins at a positive $60 per head, combined
by WLJ
2007 December 20
On May 16, authorities in Hong Kong found bone fragments in a shipment of beef from California beef processing plant, Harris Ranch Beef Company. After finding the bone material, the Hong Kong Food & Environmental Hygiene Department immediately suspended all future shipments from Harris Ranch. “This is an over-reaction.” said Lynn Heinze, Vice President of Information Services for the U.S. Meat Export Federation. “The individual meat inspector who is responsible for all inspections was not present
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The proposed description of the terms is significantly different from the present definition in that it will not allow cattle to be fed grain in a feedlot or elsewhere. The proposed criteria reads as follows: “Grass (forage) Fed-Grass (annual and perennial), forbs (legumes, brassicas), browse, forage or stockpiled forages post-harvest crop residue without separated grain shall be at least 99 percent of the energy source for the lifetime of the ruminant specie, with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning. Routine mineral and vitamin supplementation may also
by WLJ
2007 December 20
According to the USDA’s Meat Animal Research Center (MARC), production environment is broadly defined as the non-genetic drivers from all segments of the horizontally integrated U.S. beef cattle industry. Tom Jenkins, genetics and breeding research animal scientist for MARC, said the mobility of cattle in today’s beef industry challenges the commercial cow/calf producer to effectively identify the cattle genetics appropriate to meet all the demands of the various environments encountered. “Meeting this goal is not feasible, but
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The effort to prevent livestock manure from being regulated as a hazardous material under Superfund regulations is gaining support in the House of Representatives. Rep. Ralph Hall, R-TX, introduced H.R. 4341 in November 2005. This legislation will clarify that manure is not considered a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant, and would prevent the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 from being used by environmental organizations to restrict or regulate livestock production. Both acts contain provisions
by WLJ
2007 December 20
In the song, the lyrics read: “You’ll ride a black tornado, ‘cross the western sky. Rope an ole blue northern, and milk it til it’s dry. Bull dawg the Mississippi, and pin her ears down flat. Long before you take this cowboy’s hat.” These words ring true for most cowboys who protect their hat and care for it as if it was a living being. The hat is as much a part of the cowboy as
by WLJ
2007 December 20
impact on the face of ranching. Surviving drought and death, Virginia Sutherland of Sutherland Ranches, is a cattle rancher through and through. She, like other women across the country, have persevered in tough times, and are vital to the ranching heritage. “Women offer a lot to ranching. We are often the feet that carry out things, and a lot of times, we have to be the voice, speaking out when there
2007 December 20
In the process of developing the weekly BeefTalk column, new thoughts came to mind. Lots 4425, 5478 and 6270 from the Dickinson Research Extension Center produced sound scientific data. This week’s column summarizes three years of feedlot performance from a set of smaller- framed, crossbred Lowline steers. Lot 4425 arrived Nov. 5, 2004. These 22 head of 2003 spring-born, grass steers (long yearlings) had an average pay weight of 945 pounds and an average frame score of 4.4. The lot averaged 85 days on feed with 2.85 pounds of average daily gain (ADG), a feed efficiency of 7.6 and a harvest
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Not so fast... “Just four easy payments of $19.95 and you can have your own copy of ‘Make Millions this Weekend.’ Follow the program to make those monthly payments easy.” Infomercials and ads tout thousands of ways to make a fortune practically over night: real estate, miracle products or “once-in-a-lifetime” investments. Farming and ranching don’t make the list. Even scam artists know people won’t fall for that. Everybody knows they take real work, time and commitment. Early on, somebody probably said, “You’re not going to get rich raising cattle.” You took that to heart while the infomercials blared on, then decided
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Since all seven animals were from the same herd, Montana will be able to maintain its brucellosis-free status as long as an animal from a second herd is not infected as well. If Montana lost its status, it would force a prolonged and costly testing and vaccination program. All cattle going out of state would have to be tested at the livestock owner’s expense. “We are concerned about our brucellosis free status,” said Schweitzer. “Federal and state agencies are investigating the test results now and we will continue to work toward solutions to keep Montana’s brucellosis free status. If we lose
by WLJ
2007 December 20
USDA’s May 1 cattle on feed report showed that the number of cattle being placed on feed in the Corn Belt states continues to grow, while feedlots in other areas, particularly Texas, cut back on the number of cattle being fed. According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), cattle on feed as of May 1 totaled 11.3 million head. The inventory number was 2 percent below May 1, 2006, but 6 percent above May 1, 2005. This is the second highest May 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. Placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.57 million, 3 percent
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Western Wanderings   Just a couple of weeks, ago Pete and I wrapped up our second WLJ Tour and, speaking for both of us, we had a great time. This year’s tour to the Gulf Coast area of Texas was extremely enjoyable and it gave us great pleasure to be able to take our tour members to ranches that one would not ordinarily get a chance to visit. One such visit this year was to the famous King Ranch, Kingsville, TX. Nearly every one of our tour members was so anxious to visit this great ranch and it was a memorable
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The current Farm Bill proposal will expand several conservation programs and increase the availability of loans through the farm credit system. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-MN, said during a press conference following the meeting that the markup session “went about as well as can be expected.” Peterson also said he had told representatives who were attempting to make changes that for any amendment requiring additional funds above the current Farm Bill baseline, they would be required to provide an offset. None of the members were willing to make such a recommendation. Peterson said he is getting “serious signals” from
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Trade was active at midweek last week in the northern Plains with Nebraska feeders trading cattle $2-3 lower at $150-151 dressed and live trade down to $94-95 on moderate trade. Southern Plains feeders were slow to trade and appeared that they would be waiting until late week before serious trade. Beef cutouts have held their own, with the Choice cutout holding strong at $161.35 and Select at $149.09. Trade volume was good and there was a solid amount of trade in the ground product. The Choice/Select spread last Thursday was $12.26, and the packer margin index showed packers earning $20.60 a


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