Beef Bits

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
May 23, 2005
by WLJ

Jack’s Q2 earnings up
Jack in the Box Inc. reported higher quarterly earnings in the second quarter, as improved sales of its chicken ciabatta sandwich and other new products offset higher beef and produce prices, sparking a 7.5 percent jump in its shares. Net income for the fiscal second quarter ended April 17 rose to $20.7 million, compared with $18.7 million the same quarter a year ago. Analysts credit revitalized sales to the addition of higher-priced products such as Caesar Salad and deli-style sandwiches, both of which have struck a chord with its adult customers.

Beef plant proposed in Edmonton
A Beaver County grant has produced a business plan for a specialist beef processing plant to be built outside Edmonton, Alberta, reports The C$21 million plant will process 500 cattle a day, specializing in hormone- and antibiotic-free beef for export to the European Union. The plant, to be located just outside the village of Ryley, will employ about 80 workers and will be called the Prairie Prime Processing Cooperative.

Iowa feedlots expanding
Half of Iowa's feedlot owners say they are feeding more cattle today than they were five years ago, while one third have remained the same size, according to the results of a winter survey done by the Iowa Beef Center (IBC) at Iowa State University (ISU) and the Iowa Cattlemen's Association (ICA). The average feedlot operation in the state includes, 241 acres of hay and pasture, 1,752 fed cattle marketed and 163 cows in a cow/calf herd. Feedlots identified environmental protection as the highest policy priority, and cattle health and financial and marketing were the highest research and education priorities.

Beef plant looking for owner
Taxpayers will bear the total cost of the failed Mississippi Beef Processors that was built with millions of dollars in state-guaranteed loans and grants. State officials ended their efforts to sel1 the Oakland, MI, plant and now must figure out how to pay the $55 million bill. Officials had hoped to find someone to buy the plant and put it back into operation. While experts had said any buyer would pay pennies on the dollar, the state had hoped some of the 400 people who lost jobs would be put back to work. The two firms the state was courting, both failed to follow through.

Aussie exports another record
Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) cited continuing strong demand as a key reason why Australia exported a record volume of beef in April. Beef exports for April 2005 rose 17 percent compared to last year and 20 percent compared to April 2003. Australia exported 83,450 metric tons of beef during April, the highest volume for April on record. Japan, Korea, and the U.S. accounted for almost 93 percent of Australia’s April 2005 beef exports. A record 37,981 metric tons of beef was exported to Japan in April, up 42 percent from April 2004. April exports to the U.S. was the second highest in over a decade. Overall, 32,640 metric tons were shipped to the U.S. during April, 20 percent above April 2004 levels. Australian beef exports to Korea, however, fell 33 percent this last April, to only 6,802 metric tons.

Kansas still TB free
Animal health authorities have found no cases of bovine tuberculosis in Kansas after testing more than 75,000 animals and slaughtering 18 cows that initially tested positive. The testing program began in April after animals from infected herds in New Mexico and Arizona were traced to dairies in southwest Kansas. The Kansas cattle herd has been tuberculosis-free since 1995. The USDA bought 18 animals after initial skin tests had shown strong positive results. All those cows cleared two subsequent tests after being butchered. A final culture test on those 18 animals will take another six weeks.

Bulgaria gets BSE lab
A laboratory for the research of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has opened doors in the city of Veliko Tarnovo, in northern Bulgaria. The new center is designed to carry out diagnostics of infected cattle in the area of North East Bulgaria. The laboratory has an equipment worth of EU250,000 and is staffed by two doctors and two nurses. Bulgaria does not have any BSE confirmed so far, but a scandal raged in August last year over an illegally imported BSE disease test. The Netherlands diagnosed its first known case of the human form of BSE earlier in April.

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