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Friday, April 4,2008

Fortifying Feed with Biodiesel co products

by WLJ
Fortifying feed with biodiesel co-products Biofuel research isn’t just a matter of finding the right type of biomass—corn grain, soybean oil, animal fat, wood or other material—and converting it into fuel. Scientists must also find environmentally and economically sound uses for the by-products of biofuel production. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists Brian Kerr and William Dozier have done just that. Current biodiesel supplies are often made from the triglycerides, or fat, found in soybean oil. But processing biodiesel from soybean oil also yields crude glycerin, also known as glycerol, which has a purity level of about 85 percent. It also contains small amounts of salt, methanol and free fatty acids. If glycerol is refined to 99 percent purity, it can be used in many products, including pharmaceuticals, foods, drinks, cosmetics and toiletries. Kerr, Dozier and Iowa State University colleague Kristjan Bregendahl studied whether crude glycerin could be used to supplement the feed of laying hens, broilers and swine. They found that crude glycerin provided a supply of caloric energy that equaled or exceeded the caloric energy available in corn grain. Feeds containing up to 10 percent glycerin had little to no adverse effect on laying hen egg production or broiler body weight gain. Pig body weight gain, carcass composition and meat quality also showed little to no adverse change after equivalent levels of crude glycerin were added to their feed. Safe levels for salt, methanol and free fatty acids in crude glycerin consumed by nonruminant livestock still need to be determined. But as corn grain ethanol production and conversion soar, corn grain supplies for livestock feed are decreasing. Using crude glycerin to supplement feed supplies could provide livestock producers with a readily available, inexpensive and energy-packed alternative to corn grain. Kerr is an animal scientist at the ARS National Soil Tilth Laboratory, Ames, IA. Dozier is an animal scientist at the ARS Poultry Research Unit, Mississippi State, MS. They presented their findings last week at the 68th annual Minnesota Nutrition Conference in Minneapolis, MN. — WLJ  

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Thursday, December 20,2007

Research shows spike in E. Coli from feeding ethanol byproduct

by WLJ
December 10, 2007 Ethanol plants and livestock producers have created a symbiotic relationship. Cattle producers feed their livestock distillers grains, a byproduct of the ethanol distilling process, giving ethanol producers an added source of income. But recent research at Kansas State University (K-State) has found that cattle fed distillers grain have an increased prevalence of E. coli 0157 in their hindgut. This particular type of E. coli is present in healthy cattle but poses a health risk to humans, who can acquire it through undercooked meat, raw dairy products and produce contaminated with cattle manure. “Distillers grain is a good animal feed. That’s why ethanol plants are often built next to feedlots,” said T.G. Nagaraja, a professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology at K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. The growth in ethanol plants means more cattle are likely to be fed distillers grain, therefore harboring 0157 and potentially a source of health risks to humans, Nagaraja said. That’s why he and Jim Drouillard, K-State professor of animal sciences, have been collaborating on testing distillers grain-fed cattle for 0157. Nagaraja and Drouillard, who studied the carcass quality of cattle fed distillers grain, are joined by Megan Jacob, a K-State doctoral student in pathobiology. Through three rounds of testing, Nagaraja said the prevalence of 0157 was about twice as high in cattle fed distillers grain compared with those cattle that were on a diet lacking the ethanol byproduct. Food safety and animal health are research priorities at K-State which, since 1999, has dedicated more than $70 million on research related to animal health and food safety. More than 150 K-Staters are actively involved in these areas. Nagaraja said research in the next few years will focus on finding out why 0157 is more prevalent in cattle fed a distillers grain diet. He said it could be something that changes in the animals’ hindgut as a result of feeding distillers grains, or maybe the byproduct provides a nutrient for the bacteria.

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Thursday, December 20,2007

Holiday beef demand is beginning to pick up

by WLJ
December 10, 2007 Some light cash trade was underway by mid-day last Thursday at $145-147 in Nebraska, however most other areas were quiet, with the majority of trade expected to occur on Friday. Analysts expected a steady to weak trend last week. Prior week trade came in at $95-95.50 in the southern Plains. Live sales in Nebraska and Colorado sold from $95-96 and dressed sales ranged from $150-151. Live sales in Iowa/Minnesota sold from $94-95 with dressed sales from $148-150. Packers werte working off available supplies of contract and formula cattle and slaughter volume early in the week was indicative of a healthy supply of cattle available. Week-to-date total harvest through last Thursday was pegged at 520,000 head, compared to 505,000 for the same period a week earlier and 502,000 for the same period in 2006. The heavy slaughter volume indicates that the packer battle for market share, despite heavy losses for much of the year, continues. Packer losses last week were estimated at $56.25 per head by HedgersEdge.com. Without positive margins in pork and poultry production, packers would likely be in far greater trouble than they are. Current packer margins in the pork industry were estimated at $8.60 per head by HedgersEdge.com. Analysts at the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) said that pork margins are at their best in six years. That profitability comes despite heavy production levels indicating very good demand for the product. “Very strong byproduct prices and surging numbers of slaughter-ready hogs have bolstered pork packer gross margins. The live-to-cutout price spread is the difference between the purchase price of a hog and the value of the wholesale meat cuts plus the by-product value. On a monthly basis, the pork live-to-cutout price spread was estimated at nearly $21 per hog in November, the largest since December 2001,” LMIC analysts said last week in a release. The volume of pork and poultry production remains a concern for beef producers simply due to the fact that competing lower-priced proteins keeps a lid on beef sales at the retail level and reduces consumer willingness to pay up to purchase beef. Seasonal demand for rib and loin products helped to support the boxed beef market last week, however, end meats traded lower for much of the week and pulled cutout prices down with them. The Choice cutout at mid-day last Thursday was down another 40 cents to trade at $147.81, while Select moved 93 cents lower to trade at $131.42. Volume at mid-week was heavy with nearly 600 loads moving last Wednesday. The export market for protein has been a key this year to supporting prices and last week’s export numbers showed the importance of overseas sales to the beef and pork markets in particular. High volumes of both meats are being shipped with an emphasis on trade with Mexico. For the week of Nov. 23-29, beef export volume to Mexico totaled 5,100 metric tons. Shipments to Canada, the next largest customer by volume, accounted for 1,000 metric tons of beef. Advanced sales for delivery in 2008 to Mexico totaled 600 metric tons. Iowa State University ag economist Shane Ellis said the falling dollar has been a boon for agricultural exports and meat, in particular. As the dollar has weakened over the last eight months, other nations have increasingly used their purchasing power to buy supplies of U.S. farm goods, including beef. He pointed out that U.S. beef exports are up 26 percent over year ago levels. Poultry exports are up 14 percent. “Growth in meat export volumes has occurred for several reasons. First, foreign markets have growing economies, increasing wealth, and willingness to pay for U.S. food products. Second, the foreign consumer’s opinion of beef safety is improving, which builds consumer preference,” Ellis said. “In the case of poultry, disease has hampered other countries’ ability to produce the product.” Exports to Asia included just 500 metric tons for Japan and 200 metric tons for Taiwan during the Nov. 23-29 period. The importance of the Asian markets has many asking when they will come back online. Most analysts are expecting trade will resume with South Korea and Japan sometime early in 2008. The best news is that trade is expected to open wider as the two nations loosen standards to allow imports of bone-in beef from older animals. The cow markets, which have been solid throughout the fall, continued to perform well last week, said Ehedger.com market analyst Troy Vetterkind. “Boneless beef markets were mostly steady as supply and demand are in balance, although it is said that fed cattle 50’s were becoming available, which has some thinking lower toward the end of the week,” he said. “The beef market should find a little stability toward the end of this week, going into next (week of Dec. 10) now that packers have cleaned up some inventory.” Vetterkind said the live cattle trading action on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange last week was the result of low volume and concerns about cash direction for the week. He said the technical signals in the market were creating a tough situation for traders. “The next meaningful support on the charts for December live cattle looks to be around $92.50. Perhaps the fundamentals won’t let us get down there in the near-term, however, the funds are going to be looking to sell cattle on rallies now,” he said. “As I have been mentioning, any near-term strength in the cash markets that gets the futures market to rally needs to be sold from a hedge standpoint going into the first of the year.” Feeder cattle Western Video Market and Superior Livestock Auction both held sales last week, with well over 20,000 head sold in both. Western Video reported strong demand for all classes of feeder cattle, with a large majority of deliveries being current, with some January delivery dates. Large runs of feeder cattle were seen at auction markets around the country, causing the recently rising prices to be tempered, even falling into a glut in some markets where weather also played a factor. USDA Market News Reporter Corbitt Wall explained that there are too many feeder cattle for the current feed situation. “Being as there is not very much wheat available and many places had a very dry year, there are just way too many calves coming to market, and no place to put them,” said Wall. “There were a few Midwestern and Corn Belt auctions where everything was called $5-10 lower, and that was even being optimistic.” Wall explained that while demand for calves from farmer-feeders is strong, they are not absorbing enough cattle in the Corn Belt to counter the supply. “One of the problems with a lot of farmer-feeders in the northern areas is that the only thing they want is big steers,” says Wall. “Further south, where buyers for commercial yards are at the auctions, they look at some of the heifers which are way back in price and will buy them; but to the north, most farmers don’t want any heifers. It’s just dragging the price down.” “Oklahoma City saw over 13,000 head sell and there weren’t even enough yearling cattle to set a trend,” continued Wall. “It’s pretty easy for most people to make the decision to bring small and unweaned calves to market when they don’t have much competition.” DTN analyst Walt Hackney explained that high corn and distillers grain prices are also contributing to the softening market. “Originally, cattle feeders felt that with the all-time record of corn produced this year, the price of corn would settle to more manageable levels. But so far, anyway, corn is seeking higher ground and taking the byproduct with it,” Hackney added. At the Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City last week, there were 13,532 head sold, with larger feeder cattle being lightly tested and selling $1-2 lower. Steer calves were mostly steady, with heifer calves steady to $2 higher. Demand was moderate to good for calves, with the least demand on short-weaned or grain fed fleshy calves. Most morning sales were certified preconditioned calves quoted as value-added. The large run was partially due to the number of program calves and traditional year-end receipts. Steers weighing an average of 735 lbs. sold for $109.86, and heifers of the same type weighing 723 lbs. sold at $102.48. In Joplin, MO, last week, there were 9,050 head sold, with steers and heifers steady to $3 lower. Demand was moderate, with a heavy supply. The weather was cool and dry, which was ideal for transporting and marketing cattle. Steers of 718 lbs. at this sale went for $106.05, while heifers weighing 724 lbs. sold at $95.21. To the north in Bassett, NE, last week, there was no trend on the 4,650 head sold, though a firm to higher undertone was noted. The quality of cattle was good to very good, with strong demand for 500-550 weight steers and heifers. A short list of yearlings also received very competitive bidding. A group of 708 lb. steer calves sold at $109.95, while heifer calves weighing 710 lbs. went for $98. In Dodge City, KS, last week at the Winter Livestock Feeder Cattle Auction, there were 4,013 head sold. Steers between 400-700 lbs. were steady, with weights 750-950 lbs. going $1-3 lower. Heifers at 350-650 lbs. were steady to $2 lower, with other weights not well tested but showing a lower undertone. Steer calves weighing 720 lbs. were good for $105.50, while good heifers weighing 740 lbs. were selling at $103. Last week in Torrington, WY, a total of 3,550 head were sold with steer calves under 700 lbs. selling steady to $2 lower, with instances of $3 lower. Heifer calves under 600 lbs. were $103 lower. There were not enough comparable sales on yearling steers and heifers for a good price comparison. Demand was moderate to good, with overall quality not nearly as attractive as the week previous. Steers of 725 lbs. sold for $103.50 at this sale, with 725 lb. heifers bringing $99.75. At the Cattlemen’s Livestock Market in Galt, CA, last week, there was a total of 1,550 head of feeder cattle sold with steers and heifers under 650 lbs. selling $1-3 lower. Feeder steers and heifers over 650 lbs. were $2-4 lower. Feeder steers weighing 600-700 lbs. sold for $97-105, while heifers weighing 600-700 lbs. sold for $85-93.

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Thursday, December 20,2007

Nevada cattlemen gather in Elko

by WLJ
“Cattlemen participated in discussions and listened to educational sessions which impact their ranching operations. It was obvious due diligence will be required in the upcoming year to make certain ranching is not left out of the decisions being made; ensuring ranching remains a vital and profit-able business,” commented Rachel Buzzetti, executive director of the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association (NCA). The Cattlemen’s College was overwhelmingly attended and the first topic of the day included a panel of experts who talked about wildfire prevention and suppression. The panelists included moderator John McLain of Resource Concepts; University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) Range Specialist Emeritus Wayne Burkhardt; Bureau of Land Management Director Ron Wenker; Forest Service Supervisor Ed Monnig; Maggie Creek Ranch manager Jon Griggs; State Forester Pete Anderson; and Director of Natural Resources Allen Biaggi. Secondly, experts Gary McCuin, with the Department of Agriculture, UNR's Range Specialist Sherm Swanson, UNR’s Range Ecologist Barry Perryman, UNR Cooperative Extension Kent McAdoo, and UNR Beef Cattle Specialist Ben Bruce explained the importance of ranchers doing their own monitoring in cooperation with the federal agencies. During the convention, new priorities and policies were adopted by the Nevada Cattlemen’s and Woolgrower’s membership. Following are some of the policies highlighted: •A call for the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Nevada Department of Natural Resources, and Nevada Division of Forestry to aggressively move towards a fire prevention and pre-suppression mode, rather than a reactionary suppression approach. •A request of the Nevada Congressional delegation to support modification of the estate tax that allows for the protection and preservation of farm and ranching lands and families. •A request that the state Legislature amend the Nevada Revised Statutes to expand Nevada farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to post and identify their properties to reduce incidents of trespass by public land users. In addition, several other policies from past years were renewed by the membership. In other related business, the membership approved the nomination of Neil McQueary of Ruby Valley and J.J. Goicoechea of Diamond Valley as new members of the Board of Directors. At the conclusion of the meeting, a number of people who were leaders or who had excelled over the past year, were recognized and awarded during the Nevada Cattlemen’s annual banquet. This year’s Teacher of the Year was Dee Dee Dann, a sixth-grade science teacher from Owyhee Combined Schools, who undeniably incorporates agriculture into her curriculum for her students. She was presented with a plaque and a $1,000 stipend to be used in the classroom, sponsored by the Nevada Ag Foundation. This year, the “Rancher of the Year” Award was presented to Merlin Flake, manager of Delamar Valley Cattle. Boyd Spratling presented this year’s President’s Award to outgoing executive director Rachel Buzzetti for all of her guidance and support of the association this past year. Lastly, Boyd Spratling presented Buster Wines of Ruby Valley with the “Cattleman of the Year” award, which is sponsored by American Ag Credit. “This award, in my mind, recognizes someone who stands out and is a symbol of what a rancher should be,” said Boyd Spratling, president of NCA. Afterwards, Spratling drew Gene Buzzetti’s name as the raffle winner of the 25 tons of hay donated by the TS Ranch. The proceeds will benefit the Young Cattlemen’s College Tour. He also drew Ted Zimmerman’s name as the winner of a Dell Computer. This year’s Western Saddle Silent Auction item was purchased by Mitch Buzzetti. The Western saddle was donated by American Ag Credit and made by Tips Custom Saddles.  

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Thursday, December 20,2007

Idaho cattlemen gather for annual convention

by WLJ
Bill Rawlings of Boise is the 2006 Cattlefeeder of the Year. He has been part of the Idaho cattle feeding industry for over 30 years, and a key part of one of the state’s largest feeders for over 27 years. A key member of the management team at Agri Beef Co., based in Boise, Rawlings has proved to be a stable voice of reason throughout the many changes in the Idaho feeding industry over the years. He has helped build one of the most dynamic and progressive companies in the industry, and has brought core values to his work—integrity, innovation, and leadership. Rawlings has generously volunteered his time with ICA since the merger of the Idaho Cattlemen and Idaho Cattlefeeders in 1984, including serving as a leader on several committees. He and his wife Lynda reside in Boise, and are the parents of two daughters. Dave Nelson of Mackay, ID, is the 2006 Cattleman of the Year. He is a past president of ICA, and has volunteered his time on numerous committees and leadership positions in the organization. Nelson has served as a key industry leader in responding to the reintroduction of wolves to Idaho, in calling for the scientific review of stubble height in range monitoring, and as a participant in trade negotiations with Canada. He currently serves as president of the Public Lands Council, a national organization that serves public lands ranchers across the west. Nelson, a native of Canada, came to Mackay to manage the San Felipe Ranch in 1973, and he and his family now operate ranches in Mackay and Dubois. Nelson is also a past recipient of the Governor’s Award for Environmental Stewardship. He and his wife Heather reside at their ranch in Mackay. Celia Tindall of Bruneau, ID, is the 2006 Cattlewoman of the Year. Tindall was born and raised in Bruneau, and is a teacher in the Rimrock School District. She and her husband Dave ranch in the Bruneau and Grasmere areas of Owyhee County. Tindall has been a lifelong member of the cattle industry and a tireless advocate for beef and the ranching lifestyle. Through her involvement with the cattlewomen organizations at the county and state levels, she has volunteered her time to help tell the story of beef and its importance to consumers and the local communities that rely on the cattle industry as an economic driver. ICA extends its warmest congratulations and appreciation to each of the 2006 award winners. Nominations for the 2007 award winners will be taken throughout the next year and information is available by contacting the ICA office at 208/343-1615, info@idahocattle.org or PO Box 15397, Boise, ID 83715. In addition to honoring some of the state’s finest producers, ICA members also elected new officers and board members during the convention. The following officials were elected during the annual meeting by the general membership. The ICA Executive Committee meets monthly with a particular focus on financial matters while the full Board meets at least quarterly to guide association activity on important cattle industry issues. The following is a complete list of the ICA Executive Committee and Board of Directors. Executive Committee: President, Jeff Faulkner, Gooding, ID; President-Elect, Jennifer Ellis, Blackfoot; Vice President, Kent Mann, Parma; Immediate Past President, Mike Webster, Roberts; CattleWomen Council Chair, Sarah Baker, Kuna; Cow/Calf Council Chair, Charles Lyons, Mountain Home; Feeder Council Chair, Jeff Johnson, Parma; Purebred Council Chair, Sam Shaw, Notus. Board of Directors: District I: Paul Schroder, Weippe; Linda Rider, Coeur d’Alene; Dennis Rowland, Cottonwood. District II: Nate Gilliam, Parma; Jim Eckhardt, Weiser; Jeff Knight, Grandview; Paul Miller, Boise. District III: Mike Telford, Malta; Bill Lickley, Jerome; Dave Rollheiser, Paul. District IV: Zac Skaar, Lewisville; Carl Ellsworth, Leadore; Norm Wallis, May; Richard Savage, Hamer. District V: Ralph Wheatley, McCammon; Curt Hoskins, Malad; Russ Boyer, Stone. ICA leaders are willing to visit with individual beef producers and speak at local or county meetings. ICA is a membership driven association representing almost 1,500 cattlemen and women across the state. To schedule one of these volunteer leaders or for more information, please contact the Idaho Cattle Association at 208,343-1615 or info@idahocattle.org.

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Thursday, December 20,2007

California cattlemen host 90th annual convention

by WLJ
The CCA convention had a little something for everyone, including two major fundraising functions. The kick-off function was a dinner and auction for the Livestock Memorial Research Fund (LMRF) and Protecting Our State’s Stewards, Economy and Environment (POSSEE) committees in which over $20,000 was raised. The Allied Industries Council hosted a wine and cheese social in addition to a bingo night on Thursday, Nov 16. Proceeds from this function went toward the Allied Industries Council Scholarship Program which, last year, paid out over $11,000 to California college students. Pfizer Animal Health once again hosted three Cattlemen’s College seminars. All three sessions focused on various aspects of the industry. The first session, held on Wednesday, Nov 15, allowed participants to tour the California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab at University of California Davis. Session two on Wednesday afternoon focused on the National Animal Identification System The final session on Friday, Nov. 17 was hosted by the California Beef Cattle Improvement Association (CBCIA). Dr. Tom Field from Colorado State University talked with the group about changes in the consumer market place and opportunities for the beef cattle industry. The CCA and CCW convention was also a time to conduct business and set policy that will be followed in the upcoming years. The following is a partial list of committees that met during the convention: Beef Quality Assurance and Care, Cattle Health, Livestock Identification, Marketing, Membership, Public Lands, Range Improvement, Land Use and Taxation, Water and Environmental Quality, Wildlife Management, CBCIA, California Rangeland Trust, Cattle PAC, Young Cattlemen’s Committee, LMRF, POSSEE and Nominating. CCW members will also be conducting their CCW board and business meetings. The annual awards banquet, held on Friday evening, honored CCA president K. Mark Nelson of Wilton and CCW president Gretchen Johnson of Los Gatos for their two years of service, and helped to welcome in Bruce Hafenfeld of Weldon and Judy Ahmann, Napa, to the helm of each association. The CCA officer team was announced including second vice president, Bill Thomas, Sacramento; second vice president, Kevin Kester, Parkfield; president, Bruce Hafenfeld, Weldon; second vice president, Carolyn Carey, Alturas; first vice president, Dr. Tom Talbot, Bishop; and treasurer, Myron Openshaw, Oroville.

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Thursday, December 20,2007

Improving sorting reduces outliers, improves quality

by WLJ
December 3, 2006 Sorting cattle helps eliminate outliers in a pen, but the extra effort may be rewarded by higher quality grades, too. A study by Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) shows the more sorts, the better the grades in most cases. “Our data says those cattle that were sorted three or more times have much higher CAB acceptance rates than cattle that were just sold as one group,” says Gary Fike, beef cattle specialist for the company. From 2005 to 2006, CAB tracked data from its 63 licensed feedlots in 15 states. Cattle that were marketed together had an average CAB acceptance rate of 23.3 percent. Cattle in two sort groups improved to 29.6 percent, compared to those sorted three times or more at 33.9 percent. That 10-percentage-point increase means more dollars for the seller. “That’s huge,” Fike says. “In a 100-head pen, that’s 10 more head that make CAB. You’re talking about roughly $40 per head, or $400 extra.” Marbling is the most limiting factor in Angus-influence cattle that don’t qualify for the brand. Dan Loy, Iowa State University animal scientist, says it makes sense that sorting can enhance overall marbling in a pen. Although there is little research into its impact on the share of USDA Choice grades, those would likely follow CAB acceptance-rate trends. “Sorting allows you to feed the remainder slightly longer than you would have otherwise,” Loy explains. “It’s a net benefit, but not the largest benefit.” The main reason for sorting is to avoid outliers that lead to discounts in grid marketing. “You’re trying to minimize problems by marketing sooner those cattle that may have issues with over-fatness or heavyweight carcasses,” he says. Kansas cattle feeder Allan Sents says he uses multiple marketings for both reasons. “We try to optimize the return on the cattle,” says the manager of McPherson County Feeders, Marquette, KS. “We do that by minimizing discounts from Yield Grade 4s and heavyweights, while giving more cattle the opportunity to advance in quality grade. We maximize that grade potential by feeding the light end a little longer.” Although it can be hard to measure, increased feed efficiency could be another benefit. “If we can get cattle out before we get them over-finished, that’s going to help our live performance, our efficiency,” Sents explains. Loy says labor and facilities are the two main obstacles to routine sorting finished cattle. At McPherson, a 9,000-head CAB-licensed feedlot, pen layout and design are essential to success, Sents says. Several years ago he built four 40-head pens, with concrete-floors and near the office. “That has made it really workable for us to hold small groups from week to week,” he says. “We’re less likely to tie up bigger pens with small groups of cattle. When we sort cattle, we may also move some of them to a smaller pen, so our wide variety of pen sizes is an advantage.” McPherson’s regular pens vary in capacity from 40 to 200 head. Feedlots that don’t have such flexibility may not maximize pen space all the time, but Fike says it’s not usually for long periods of time. “If cattle aren’t too far apart in weight starting out, unused pen space shouldn’t be a big deal,” he says. Just spreading marketing groups by as little as 14 to 21 days could mean an improvement. Loy suggests starting out with the method developed through Iowa’s Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity. “Market a first draft when half the cattle are at approximately 0.4 to 0.5 inches of fat thickness, slightly more if you’re targeting higher carcass quality,” he says. “Then feed the rest of the cattle an extra five weeks.” Feeders can begin that way, Loy says, and then adapt the program to fit their needs. Whether by horseback or on foot, the last key is to have capable sorters. “We have some people who are very familiar with sorting and do a good job that way,” Sents says. “That’s a big help.”

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Thursday, December 20,2007

Study finds leukotoxins are main BRD concern

by WLJ
November 26, 2007 A new study conducted under feedlot conditions demonstrates that, despite improvements made in the quality of commercial vaccines against the bacterium Mannheimia haemolytica, those that don’t include a component to specifically stimulate protection against leukotoxin risk failure. Leukotoxin is a natural byproduct produced by infection with M. haemolytica. Believed to be only one of the pathogenic factors M. haemolytica produces—but the most important—leukotoxin destroys the calf’s white blood cells, preventing them from fighting the infection and the damaging inflammatory process in the lung. Adequate protection against the effects of leukotoxin is so important, for instance, that mutant M. haemolytica which do not naturally produce the toxin have been shown to cause little or no disease. The study, conducted by the independent Agri Research Center in Canyon, TX, randomly vaccinated 20 newly weaned and acclimated 352-pound-average heifers and steers against M. haemolytica, the most common bacterial cause of bovine respiratory disease (BRD), using one of two commercial vaccines. One contained a leukotoxoid to stimulate protection against leukotoxin (PULMO-GUARD PHM-1, from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica) and one did not (Once PMH SQ, from Intervet). An additional 10 calves remained unvaccinated as controls. Following challenge by direct introduction of M. haemolytica into the respiratory tract 28 days following vaccination, the Agri Research Center researchers found: • Calves vaccinated with the leukotoxoid-containing vaccine had average temperatures significantly lower than either those vaccinated with the non-leukotoxoid vaccine or those not vaccinated at all. • Calves vaccinated with the leukotoxoid-containing vaccine had significantly lower lung damage scores than either the non-leukotoxoid vaccinated or the control calves. The study showed no statistically significant difference in scores indicating clinical disease, which included appetite, respiration rate, and eye and nasal discharge. “Producers and veterinarians who were in practice 20 years ago may remember the problems associated with many of the whole-cell Mannheimia bacterins that didn’t include protection against leukotoxins,” observes Dudley Smith, DVM, professional services veterinarian for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. “And today’s manufacturers have made a lot of progress in improving vaccines compared to those first-generation products.

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Thursday, December 20,2007

Pre-holiday fed market is higher

by WLJ
November 26, 2007 The rally in the boxed beef market last week of more than $4 was expected to help cattle feeders move prices higher. Analysts were calling for trade in the range of $147-$148 dressed basis in the north and $94 and higher in the south. The cutout values, which reached $148.06 on the Choice and $135.07 for Select last Wednesday, have helped boost packer margins closer to breakeven and a holiday-shortened harvest last week, along with a surge in demand for beef, drove beef prices to their highest point since early September. Although trade had yet to develop in significant quantity at mid-day last Wednesday, market watchers were anticipating trade at $1.50-2.50 higher than the prior week. Early trade was underway last Wednesday at $95 live in the south, $148 dressed basis in Nebraska, and $150 dressed in the Corn Belt. That compares to the prior week’s activity of fed cattle traded at $92.50-93.50 live in the south and at $93-94 live and $146-147.50 dressed in the north. Corn Belt trade came in at $91.50 to $92 live and $145 dressed basis the previous week. The week-to-date slaughter remained robust at 390,000 head, compared to 358,000 for the same period a week earlier and 386,000 for the same period a year earlier. However, despite the strong beef kill, it was nothing compared to the numbers being chalked up by hog processors, who last week scheduled the first Sunday slaughter since 1998, according to Jim Robb, director of Livestock Marketing Information Center. Robb said the pork market had reached a likely bottom and was set to rebound, which would benefit beef producers. “Pork and hog margins have been super strong, which in turn has helped the beef market,” Robb said. “Without the money being made by packers in the pork industry, beef would be trending lower than it has.” He said the overall market picture, with competing meats starting to climb and the export picture picking up, looks good as fed cattle supplies tighten. However, the U.S. economic picture poses a concern, particularly if consumers remain pinched as it looks like they will. “In the U.S., the economic picture looks okay. U.S. exports are strong and we have a strong overseas economy because of the weaker dollar, but U.S. consumers account for about 70 percent of all U.S. economic activity,” Robb said. “The fed cattle forecast prices are too high if we slip into a serious recession. The big question is can the strong world economy make up for it? So far, the answer has been yes.” He said the overall supply picture looks supportive well into next year. “We expect to see a year-to-year decline in the U.S. beef cattle herd when the Jan. 1 numbers are released and we expect to see declines in Mexico, Canada and Argentina,” said Robb. “So overall, the world supply side of the market looks to be very supportive ahead.” In the futures markets last week, that picture was evident with prices that were more reflective of actual market conditions, said Robb. At the close of business last Wednesday, December fed cattle contracts were 17 points higher, settling at $96.35, while February contracts gave up 7 points to end at $98.20 and April lost 12 points to finish the abbreviated trading day at $98.40. In the cow beef markets, at mid-day last Wednesday, cow beef cutout values were up slightly to trade at $103.17, while the 90 percent lean moved at $123.01 and 50 percent trim reached $53.66. Robb pointed out that cull cow prices have remained strong and he said they will remain so as slaughter volume drops off for the remainder of the year and into next year. Feeder cattle Limited supplies at auction markets around the country last week were partially due to the shortened holiday week as well as strong demand for feeders, which is currently outstripping supply in most major feeding areas. Derrell Peel, livestock marketing specialist for Oklahoma State University, said that the most recent cattle on feed report shows the dynamic feed environment which currently exists, and explains the high-demand situation. “Feedlots are beginning to take advantage of the available supplies of heavy yearling cattle coming off of summer grazing programs,” said Peel, who says demand for lighter-weight feeder cattle is somewhat less. “I suspect that some of the 600-700 pound feeders, and certainly most anything lighter than that, would have stayed on winter pasture if forage conditions were better in the country,” Peel said. “In Oklahoma, wheat pasture is limited, much of the state is quite dry and although considerable hay was harvested this summer, much of it is poor quality. All in all, it isn’t easy to put together a stocker or backgrounding program, but the incentives to do so continue to build.” Peel explained that the unusual feeder prices are occurring because of high demand for heavy feeders from feedlot buyers, and that the limited forage makes it difficult to put stocker programs together to meet the feedlot demand. “The market will continue to offer incentives for forage- based gains until enough producers respond,” said Peel. At the Joplin Regional Stockyards in Joplin, MO, last week, demand was moderate to good on the moderate supply of 3,600 head. Compared to the previous sale, steers and heifers under 500 lbs. were $2-5 higher, with weights over 500 lbs. steady. The best buyer activity was seen on light weight calves. Winter Livestock’s sale in La Junta, CO, last week saw a total of 1,353 head sell, with steer calves steady to $1 lower and heifer calves steady. In a light test, yearling feeder steers and heifers were steady, on moderate trade and demand. There was a total run of 1,405 head last week in Riverton, WY, at the Riverton Livestock Auction. There was lighter offering compared to the week prior, with feeder steers under 550 lbs. coming under pressure, with weights over 600 lbs. going $1-3 higher.

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Thursday, December 20,2007

Colorado Cattlemen’s Association wraps up successful 57th mid-winter confe

by WLJ
November 26, 2007 Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) held their 57th annual Mid-Winter Conference Nov. 14-16 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Colorado Springs, CO. With record attendance, CCA members and guests were able to come together on key issues affecting the beef industry. “We are a community of beef producers and Colorado residents dedicated to this industry and doing what is right,” said Kenny Rogers, CCA president. Representatives from across the state attended this annual event, sponsored by CCA and the Colorado CattleWomen (CCW), to share their commitment to improving Colorado’s beef industry. “As we move into the next legislative session, Colorado beef producers’ voices will be stronger than ever thanks to this year’s conference discussions and decisions,” Rogers added. Committees met Thursday, Nov. 15 to discuss key industry topics. CCA members at this event developed policies that will guide the future of Colorado’s cattle industry. Among the issues discussed among cattle producers in attendance was an endorsement of a ban on packer ownership of cattle for more than 14 days prior to slaughter, which passed unanimously, and a series of discussions on water rights. With growth all along the state’s Front Range region, producers are becoming more concerned about how urban and suburban water usage will impact their operations. CCA officers expressed their desire to involve as many cattle producers as possible in the process in an effort to present a more effective voice and a united front for the state’s cattle producers. CCA’s open and inclusive membership policy allows for anyone interested in the Colorado beef industry to join and become involved. “CCA works for ranchers and landowners on issues affecting the beef industry. Producers, consumers, land owners, businesses—we invite anyone concerned about the future of Colorado’s beef industry to join us,” Rogers said. During the awards banquet on Nov. 15, CCA and CCW gave special recognition to several members and state employees who have gone a step above their normal daily job descriptions and have shown an invaluable dedication to the beef industry. The award recipients included: Brand Inspector of the Year—Jack Haworth, Walden, CO; Law Officer of the Year—Deputy Larry Murphy, Colorado Springs, CO; Law Officer of the Year—Trooper Brian Williams, Lamar, CO; 2007 Commercial Producer of the Year—Jack and Dorothy Gilstrap, J.L. Cattle Co., Branson, CO; 2007 Seedstock Producer of the Year—Sam, Nita, and Skylar Houston, Aristocrat Ranch, Platteville, CO; Rookie CattleWoman of the Year—Christy Belton, Routt County CattleWomen; and CattleWoman of the Year—Rita Bay, Arkansas Valley CattleWomen. The Mid-Winter Conference ended with the Current Issues Breakfast Meeting on Friday, Nov. 16, where each of CCA’s affiliates reported on the activities and concerns in their areas. “The affiliate groups represent the core of CCA, and the Current Issues Breakfast Meeting is just one of many outlets CCA has to make sure every member’s voice is heard,” Rogers stated. To join CCA or to find out more information about becoming a member, contact the CCA office at 303/431-6422 or log on to www. coloradocattle.org.

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