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Livestock News

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
by WLJ
2007 December 20
There has been some previous research that has shown it may be possible to recruit the immune system to fight the disease. This has been somewhat controversial as it is understood that BSE is caused by a prion, which is a protein very similar to those already produced in the animal naturally. As such, the immune system doesn’t fight them. It is also theorized that the prion actually becomes a part of the animal’s DNA, making it even harder for their immune system to recognize it as foreign. However, this new research is the first to show that a vaccine
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The Beef Promotion Operating Committee has recommended a $48.87 million Cattlemen’s Beef Board budget for fiscal year 2008, reflecting a sharp 9 percent decrease from the $53.28 million budget for fiscal 2007. The budget for the Beef Board, which administers the national checkoff program, includes projected revenue of $45.7 million for fiscal 2008, plus money to be available from programs costing less than originally estimated in fiscal 2006. “While getting better at estimating costs is most definitely a good thing,” said Cattlemen’s Beef Board Chief Executive Officer Tom Ramey, “it does result in a decrease in the budget for next year
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Veterinary students who agree to work with farm animals in parts of rural Missouri would be eligible to have some of their student loans excused under legislation sent to the governor last week. The bill would allow six vet students at the University of Missouri-Columbia to get an $80,000 loan. It would forgive $20,000 for each year the students work in a rural area and focus on treating farm animals after they graduate. Tuition for veterinary school in Missouri costs about $60,000 over four years. The measure was approved 157-0 in the House and 33-0 in the Senate.   Sponsoring Rep. John
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


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