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Kris Ringwall, North Dakota State University

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Nov 26, 2007
A burden or opportunity? For the past six years, North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association producers have been involved with age- and source-verification research with North Dakota State University (NDSU) and numerous partners. This partnership led to a successful application to USDA to provide third-party verification for age and source by the North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association. The CalfAID program was named an official USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service Process Verified Program in 2006. Data collected is processed through the cow herd appraisal performance software for nearly 400 North Dakota cow/calf producers, with a typical herd size of 190 cows, as well
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Nov 12, 2007
Forward thinkers always needed in the beef industry Organizations come and go, especially organizations formed for a specific purpose. As that purpose or the need diminishes, so does the organization. Some organizations seem to have a purpose or function that extends through time. These organizations are made up of forward-thinking people who have an ability to keep the never ending complex world organized. One such group is the North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association (NDBCIA). I turned to the group for assistance when I was asked to testify before the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC). The request was for information related to a qualitative
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Nov 5, 2007
Buy a scale The beef industry has been producing beef since the first two cows were domesticated. We hope one cow produced a heifer to be kept as a replacement and the other cow produced a bull calf suitable for harvest. In the early days, calf size would have been noticed, if for nothing else, because of the number of people who could be invited over for pot roast. Through the years, weight and frame still remain critical to the success of a commercial beef operation. Through time, calves and cows got bigger in weight, muscle and frame. The current benchmarks for those
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Oct 29, 2007
Load’em up and bring those “doggies” home The fall of the year represents changing times. Colors change, the air becomes crisp, and the growing season comes to a close. It is time to move on. The grain harvest is an early indicator that the time to move from field to bin is here, but the real clincher is the movement of calves. Last week, the Dickinson Research Extension Center started bringing home the calves for weaning and sorting. In the end, cows go one way and calves the other. This activity is motivated by good management principles, which are driven by survival. Soon
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Sep 3, 2007
Animal identification slowly is becoming a maze that goes nowhere At one time, the process of tracking cattle was simple. Cattle did not move far and any transactions that involved swapping cattle were recorded to memory. In fact, prior to the concept of crossbreeding, cattle were moved only between the same types. This was a concept that was put in place by English animal breeder Robert Bakewell during the 18th century. Of course, there were cattle that were rogues, feral in nature, but these were considered inferior to well-bred cattle. Prominent societies were established to track cattle and record offspring and transfer
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Jul 16, 2007
Back to the fungus Reviewing the cow/calf priority list (“Priorities First: Identifying Management Priorities in the Commercial Cow-calf Business”) that was summarized and authored by Tom Field, Ph.D., Fort Collins, CO, it is very obvious that the highest priorities for cow/calf producers are directly related to the purpose of the cow. That purpose, to annually produce a calf that will convert roughage from ruminant forage to nonruminant feed, is a very important part of the food chain. Whether food for other animals or food for humans, the conversion of forage by ruminants to protein for use in nonruminant diets certainly is important.
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Mar 26, 2007
Vaccinate and get ahead of the storm We seem to expect and accept some level of illness from the people we associate with and from the living things that are entrusted to our care. During certain times of the year, there seems to be a marked increase in sickness. Now seems to be one of those times. Blame it on the weather. The “cooping” phenomenon because of the weather causes everyone to remain in fairly close contact. In fact, one has the tendency to ask if anyone actually is feeling well. One of our children noted that a friend had chicken
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Jan 29, 2007
The trick in a good beef-breeding plan is to stack the bull pen full of great EPDs. On most winter nights or even days, most cattle producers do not sit around and ponder the activity of blowfish, sometimes called puffer fish. No, this time of year, cattle producers find themselves paging through bull catalogs and dreaming of the perfect bull. The evening pictures bring about a certain amount of contentment to finish the day. The perusal of the estimated progeny differences (EPDs) rejuvenates some basic math skills, quickly sorting the best to the top. But what about blowfish? Blowfish have the unique
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Dec 4, 2006
  The future of beef—global competitiveness In the world of food production, beef is one piece of a very big picture. Today’s beef production plans need to include the rest of the world, which is very complex and sometimes volatile. Trade across borders means survival. Flynn Adcock and Associates opined in “Consumer Issues and Demand,” published by the American Agricultural Economics Association’s online Choices magazine (www.choicesmagazine.org, Volume 21, No. 3, 2006), that three global forces impacting us are “animal disease outbreaks and discoveries, income growth in developing economies and trade liberalizations.” The faces and expressions of these forces are hard to decipher
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Oct 30, 2006
Do not cut out tags The other day I was visiting with a producer who wanted carcass information on the calves he sold. His frustration was directed at the failure of the system. None of the performance data from his calves was coming back to him. He tagged his calves with electronic identification (EID) tags and followed all the appropriate steps, but nothing happened. The principal reason was the electronic ID tags in his calves had been cut out when the calves arrived at the feed yard. Sometimes the message needs to be very blunt: “Do not cut out electronic identification tags,
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Oct 22, 2006
Attending the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association annual meeting in Fargo, ND, was good. The meeting, as with all meetings, picked up the flavor of the region, a fact of life throughout the world. It seems beef meetings are filled with good humor, with much of it directed at chickens. Unlike many ethnic stories, there is no offense taken to a good chicken joke among the beef folks. In this case, egg laying Ginger was the center of attraction. Ginger starred in the movie “Chicken Run,” a funny movie by Aardman Animations involving a flock of chickens bent on not becoming chicken pie.
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Jul 10, 2006
Around mid-June to early July, Mother Nature usually kicks summer into gear. The first noticeable symptom in the upper Great Plains is an increase in temperature and a decrease in moisture. It’s a thin line in determining if a drought is in progress, or if one is simply experiencing good haying weather. There is a concern surfacing, however, that livestock feed may be in short supply. Panic may be too harsh of a word, but some producers do panic.
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Jun 19, 2006
There is nothing more serious in the cattle business than buying a bull. Much time is spent evaluating available information, such as performance data and pedigree, to assure that the right bull is brought home. Not everyone will use the right information (a personal bias), but when the gavel strikes the podium, the bull has a new owner and home. The process essentially has bonded the bull to the new operation. There is always the need to look over the fence as the bull settles into the new surroundings.
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
May 23, 2005
The beef business could be called a very static business in some respects. Granted, the world of politics certainly keeps life interesting and the daily markets are far from constant. However, in the big picture, individual beef operations do not change much from year to year. The cows usually calve at the same time and the pasture choice seldom
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Apr 18, 2005
The Dickinson Research Extension Center has been actively evaluating the many processes involved in the electronic tracking of cattle. The early prognosis is simple: The industry is not ready for the implementation of a uniform, nationally recognizable numbering system for individual animal identification as called for in the U.S. animal identification plan. This same plan, developed by the national identification development team, also identified the need for a uniform premises identification system. The implementation of the premises allocation process and subsequent utilization of the premises number seems to be on track. The center had excellent
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Mar 14, 2005
The Dickinson Research Extension Center is evaluating the process involved with tracking cattle. The results have not always been positive, but the data collection continues. The effort is important because the beef cattle industry needs information to assist with decisions relative to age and source verification. The data could be important in implementing a tagging system and a mechanism for tracking cattle as they pass through the many different enterprises involved in raising beef cattle. The center has accounted for the location of 89 percent of the CalfAID calves tagged last fall. The remaining calves are slowly being accounted for, but calf
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Feb 28, 2005
"You hold the world in your hands" is an apt description of the beef business. It is evident during the winter beef cattle meeting circuit. There is discussion about tracking cattle, premises-to-premises movement of animals, or going all the way and actually tracking individual animals. The meeting probably will get a little spicy if you add to the discussion the movement of cattle across international borders. I was asked the other day what I think of all this discussion. No quick point came to mind, but I did think of the producers I know and pondered what they must think. The answer
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Jan 14, 2005
The discussion remains heated on animal identification. As the winter picks up and the meeting season clicks along, a very common request is for more information on what is new in the world of cattle electronic identification. The Dickinson Research Extension Center is deep in the throws of the animal identification issue. The DREC actively was placing electronic IDs (EIDs) in calves this past fall. Currently, the tracing process is getting started and the total results are still in the future. Numerically, the center physically tagged 3,323 calves and 944 cows at 28 different work sites for an average of 152 cattle

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