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WLJ

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 5, 2005
Malaysia bans Aussie beef Malaysia has suspended beef imports from several Australian abattoirs, claiming slaughter methods do not meet Islamic law and the meat is unfit for Muslims to eat. Inspectors from Malaysia’s Department of Islamic Development have refused to approve Halal certification to Australian processors that stun animals to ease their suffering before slaughter. The Australian government has refused to say how many processors have been denied certification. The trade minister, Mark Vaile, has been talking to the Malaysian government to try to resolve the standoff. Processors finalize merger Rosen’s Diversified Inc., Fairmont, MN, and American Foods Group (AFG), Green Bay, WI,
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 5, 2005
— “Most at risk” population almost exhausted. An official with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) told WLJ last week that their stepped up bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) testing program has succeeded with testing most of the U.S. cattle considered most at risk for the disease. As of Aug. 28, USDA has tested a total of 452,760 cattle for the disease, with only one confirmed case of the disease being found. USDA has conducted its more aggressive testing for the disease since June 1, of last year. Over the last two months, the weekly testing pace has been mostly steady with
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 5, 2005
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) last week said it has concluded its investigation into the over-30-month bovine animal that entered the U.S. and was processed as if it was an under-30-month animal. The agency announced it has suspended the accreditation of the veterinarian who inspected the suspect animal and that it will suspend issuing any more export certificates to the exporter that shipped the animal. Names of the veterinarian and the exporter were not released. Accredited private-sector veterinarians who act on behalf of the CFIA in this program and exporters are being reminded that there will be zero tolerance by the
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 5, 2005
Preconditioned calves averaged a premium of $20-plus per head over the previous 10 years, according to a recent Colorado State University (CSU) study. Conducted on behalf of Pfizer Animal Health, the study showed that higher prices consistently go to calves enrolled in value-added preconditioning and animal health programs. CSU catalogued and examined data from more than 2.7 million lots of cattle sold through the Superior Video auction since 1995. The information was examined for factors such as calf color, breed, size, sex, lot uniformity, location and selected preconditioning program to determine which factors drive the sale price of a lot. Mike Amos, spokesman
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 29, 2005
Swift plant hikes wages Employees at Hyrum-based meat packing plant, E.A. Miller, will soon see more money in their paychecks thanks to a recent announcement by the plant’s parent company to hike wages. Officials with Swift and Company announced Aug. 19 a 21-percent hike in starting wages, in an effort to restaff key areas following the reopening of the U.S.-Canada border to calves 30 months of age and younger. New employees will make $10 an hour, up from $8.25, while current employees will see up to a $1.75 hourly rate increase. Staffing levels at the Hyrum plant waned six percent since
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 29, 2005
A shipment of 35 live cattle from Canada which contained 8 pregnant heiferettes, including one animal more than 30 months of age, were slaughtered by a U.S. packing facility earlier this month. The shipment and subsequent processing of the cattle violated USDA rules concerning cattle imported from north of the border. According to USDA officials, the animal’s age was questioned after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) noted a wide range of ages on a load of cattle approved for shipment to Green Bay Dressed Beef, Green Bay, WI, a subsidiary of American Foods Group (AFG). USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 29, 2005
A two-year study by Oklahoma State University professor Bob Wetteman shows that heat stress can significantly shorten gestation length in early fall calving cows and heifers. Wetteman monitored gestation length for a group of 50 Angus-Hereford cross “early” (August) and “late” (October) fall-calving cows. Wetteman found that when subjected to the stress of hot days in late summer, cows tended to have shorter gestation lengths than cows bred to the same bull due to calve later in the fall. The average maximum temperature for the early calving group was 93 degrees during the week prior to calving. Wettemann found that cows in
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 29, 2005
Fed cattle trade was much stronger last week on good cash sales volume. Trade broke lose Thursday at noon. Southern feeders established trade at $82-82.50 and northern dressed trade was $3-5 higher at $127-130. The Labor Day rally allowed some recovery on beef and prices, but late week trade at $2-3 higher was a surprise to most market watchers. Packers needed more cattle than many analysts expected. Cattle feeders held their ground and packers were aggressively buying cattle to fill early September features. However, analysts still expect large front end supplies of fed cattle to continue to keep pressure on the
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 29, 2005
Market analysts were split on what USDA’s Aug. 1 Cattle-on-Feed Report meant for the near term fed cattle market. Although marketings were within the range of pre-report estimates, whether or not the numbers were favorable was questioned by analysts last week. However, analysts were in agreement that July placement numbers were small enough to support next spring’s fed market. USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service said July marketings were 1.92 million head, slightly below 2004 and 16 percent below 2003. The USDA report noted July’s marketing figure was the lowest since the current on-feed data started being collected. “Based on the number of
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 29, 2005
The beef products that have been recalled from Green Bay Dressed Beef, a subsidiary of American Foods Group, are: • Five boxes (243 pounds) of vacuum pouched packages of “American Foods Group, NECKBONE UNTRIM’D, USDA CHOICE OR HIGHER” with the case code of 77333; • One 50-pound box of vacuum pouched package “American Foods Group, SHORTLOIN 2X2, USDA SELECT OR HIGHER” with the case code of 75231; • One 60-pound box of vacuum packaged “American Foods Group, SHORTLOIN 2X2, USDA CHOICE OR HIGHER” with the case code of 75060; • Five boxes (258 pounds) of vacuum packaged “Dakota Supreme Beef, SHORTLOIN 0X11/4, USDA SELECT
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 29, 2005
World meat production and consumption are continuing to grow. Total meat production reached an estimated 258 million tons in 2004, two per cent higher than the previous year, according to the Worldwatch Institute’s report, Vital Signs 2005. Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) said the report shows that meat production has more than doubled since the 1970s, due to increased demand and the introduction of large-scale production processes. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates in their Food Outlook that world production will increase to 265 million tons in 2005. World meat consumption, especially in the developing world, has also continued to
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 22, 2005
Alberta group has big beef plans A group of Alberta ranchers plans to purchase an existing beef plant in Alberta, and open a new 1,400-head-a-day slaughter facility in Manitoba. Canada Farm Direct has already raised $20 million of the $30 million through private investment it will need to obtain a large, unidentified beef processing plant in Saskatchewan. If that deal goes through, Canada Farm Direct would then move to construct a new Manitoba-based slaughterhouse capable of processing up to 1,400 fed cattle a day. Canada Farm Direct is hoping to open the new facility somewhere in western Manitoba along the Saskatchewan
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 22, 2005
— USDA says processing safeguards working. Last week, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request made by a private citizen, the USDA released statistics regarding the incidence of Specified Risk Material (SRM) contamination in meat. Records show there have been 1,036 noncompliance reports filed by federal inspectors in the 17 months that have passed since the USDA ordered the removal of all SRMs from meat products for human consumption. Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) spokeswoman Amanda Eamich said the agency encourages inspectors to file reports when they find violations of the SRM ban. SRMs are tissues that typically contain the proteins
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 22, 2005
— Spike in feed costs possible. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released a much anticipated crop production report Aug. 12. The report, which projects yields for a variety of crops, held bearish news for livestock producers across the nation. Crop estimates for corn and hay, two of the most widely used feed inputs for producers, lag behind previous year harvest levels. Corn crop yields, which were initially hampered by wet weather during planting season, have also been hurt by record heat and dry conditions across the Corn Belt. The 2005 corn harvest is expected to fall 12 percent below the record harvest
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 22, 2005
— Dressed prices fall $2-3. — Seasonal low still possible. Despite packers reporting double-digit profits most of last week, cattle sellers weren’t able to reap much of the benefits. Cattle market analysts said that if it wasn’t for packer profits last week, the fed market would have seen across-the-board declines. The spot cash fed cattle market traded at mostly steady with the prior week on a live basis, and $2-3 softer in the dressed market. Trade in northern feeding areas started Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning at mostly $79 live, $125 dressed. The percentage of cattle that traded on a live basis last week
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 22, 2005
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced he has appointed Dr. Curt J. Mann to serve as Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety. “Curt Mann brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and dedication to food security, food safety and bio-defense that will assist our efforts to protect the public health from contamination of meat, poultry and egg products,” said Johanns. “We are glad to welcome him back to USDA to serve in this important role and continue our commitment to safeguarding the public health.” Dr. Mann will begin his new duties at USDA August 22nd. Previously he served with the Biological and Chemical
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 15, 2005
Idaho plant closes permanently Swift & Company permanently shuttered its Nampa, ID, cow processing facility Aug. 5, citing poor market conditions and an inability to procure enough older cattle to sustain operations. The plant was closed the two weeks prior for those same reasons, and the company informed workers from that facility of the decision Aug. 5. Supplies of older Northwest cattle have been hurt by the previous five years of drought which forced a lot of those cattle to either be culled earlier or moved into the Midwest, far away from the processing facility. The plant had 408 employees as
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 15, 2005
— Transportation shortage could linger. Daily volumes of cattle entering the U.S. from Canada have increased slightly during the first half of August, compared to mid-July data. However, market analysts said the impact to the U.S. cattle markets has still been minimal, at most, and could remain that way through the rest of the year. According to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), 30,669 head of fed and feeder cattle entered the U.S. from Canada between July 18 and Aug. 10. However, that figure doesn’t include weekend movement of cattle, just weekday volumes. Over that period of time, 15,954 head
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 15, 2005
Two competing immigration reform bills have been introduced in Congress in past weeks and the debate over the best approach toward overhauling a broken system is raging. One proposal sponsored by Sens. John Kyl, R-AZ, and John Cornyn, R-TX, would mandate extensive reforms in border security including increases in border patrol agents and technology. The Kyl-Cornyn bill also provides funding to increase the size and number of detention facilities for holding illegal immigrants. Perhaps the most contentious portion of the Kyl-Cornyn measure is the requirement that immigrants in the U.S. illegally report for health screening and background checks before being
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 15, 2005
—Draft plan under review The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last week that it has made significant progress toward a change in policy for eliminating all bovine materials in livestock feed. FDA initially banned the feeding of bovine materials to cattle in 1997, but the rule did not cover certain feeding practices and left potential loopholes in the feed ban. The most serious concerns lie in the potential for cross contamination of feed during the milling process and the possibility of cattle being fed a ration containing banned materials accidentally. In January 2004, former FDA Commissioner, Mark McClellan announced the agency