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Friday, June 6,2008

Tyson chickens test positive for avian influenza

by WLJ
Tyson chickens test positive for avian influenza Tyson Foods announced on June 3 that a flock of chickens at a farm in northwest Arkansas have tested positive for a mild strain of avian influenza. The company said that they are working cooperatively with USDA and the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission to manage the exposed flock of breeder hens. Preliminary tests on the flock indicate the presence of antibodies for H7N3 avian influenza, however, there is no indication the birds currently have the virus. The 15,000 chickens involved show no signs of illness and the situation poses no risk to human health. News of the virus caused Tyson’s shares to fall 7.9 percent lower, to $17, during afternoon trading. Market analysts fear that while the outbreak may be harmless, the economic effect to the U.S. poultry industry could be large if other countries ban U.S. poultry. Russia has taken similar measures in the past, and if countries such as Japan join in banning poultry from Arkansas, there could be significant effects. The discovery came as part of routine, pre-slaughter surveillance conducted by the company. The strain involved is low pathogenic H7N3. It is not the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus that has previously affected birds in Asia, Europe and Africa. Even though the affected birds do not currently have the virus, the flock is being depopulated as a precautionary measure and will not enter the human food chain. While the birds’ exposure to this strain of avian influenza poses no risk to human health, USDA’s policy is to eradicate all H5 and H7 subtypes. As a preventative measure, Tyson is also stepping up its surveillance of avian influenza in the area. The company plans to test all breeder farms that serve the local Tyson poultry complex, as well as any farms within a 10-mile radius of the affected farm. The increased surveillance is in addition to Tyson’s existing testing program which involves the company checking all flocks for avian influenza before they leave the farm. The test results are known before the birds are shipped to a Tyson plant for processing. — WLJ

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Friday, June 6,2008

Beef Bits

by WLJ
Tyson removes antibiotic-free label Under pressure from regulators and competitors, Tyson Foods Inc. recently withdrew its antibiotic-free chicken label awarded by the Agriculture Department barely a year ago. The company said in a recent news release that it was "voluntarily" withdrawing the label "due to uncertainty and controversy over product labeling regulations and advertising claims." Soon after USDA approved the label in May 2007, Tyson’s competitors cried foul. In September, Tyson was notified by the agency that it had made a mistake in awarding the label because Tyson was using ionophores, an antibiotic widely used in the industry. Australia eyes entry into Chinese beef market A recent delegation led by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) to China has visited with more than 140 importers and retailers over the course of the 10-day visit. The trip is designed to create connections in the country, where Australia is pushing strongly to expand its exports of red meat. Glen Thompson, MLA’s regional manager for Southeast Asia and China, said the market is almost 100 percent supplied by domestic product, but that the sheer size alone offers marketing opportunities for Australia’s red meat industry. More burgers appearing on menus Whatever they’re calling it, however they’re dressing it up, restaurants are putting burgers on the menu with increasing frequency, according to market research company NPD Group and Datassential, a foodservice research firm. The two firms found that 7 percent more restaurants, from quick service to fine dining establishments, offered burgers on their menus in 2007 than two years earlier. In fact, burgers comprised 14 percent of all restaurant orders last year, or the equivalent of 8.5 billion burgers. In many cases, the ingredients have become more exotic. For example, cheddar cheese has been replaced in some cases by pepperjack, Parmesan and Tillamook. Restaurants with pepperjack burgers on the menu grew by 25 percent last year over the number in 2006. USDA on inspection trip to Brazil USDA officials will depart for the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina this month to assess fresh beef and pork production conditions there. The trip is a result of discussions which were recently completed by the U.S. and Brazilian delegates at the Consultative Committee on Agriculture held in Brasilia. The U.S. hopes to export cattle and beef to Brazil, and Brazil hopes to send fresh beef and pork to the U.S. USDA will determine the risk of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the state of Santa Catarina. It has been one year since the state received official recognition from the World Organization for Animal Health as being FMD-free, though many in the U.S. fear that the country’s regionalization efforts are not effective. Global beef trade may expand 40 percent World trade in beef and pork is expected to grow by more than 40 percent by 2017 while poultry trade expands by just below 40 percent, according to the latest Agricultural Outlook from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Increased import demand for beef and pork will be dominated by OECD countries while Asian developing countries will drive poultry import gains, the study predicts. Between now and 2017, average global prices for both beef and pork are expected to rise by about 20 percent, while wheat and corn prices rise 40 percent to 60 percent, and oilseed prices increase by more than 60 percent, as compared to average prices from 1998 to 2007. AMI to host two webinars on COOL The American Meat Institute (AMI) will host two webinars in June about implementation of mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL), which is scheduled to go into effect on Sept. 30, 2008. AMI Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel Mark Dopp will discuss what meat products must bear origin information, how labeling should be written, as well as record-keeping and other requirements. The first webinar will be held June 10, 2008, at 2 p.m. EST, and will be an informational presentation, with Q&A as time allows. Participants may submit questions to AMI and these questions will be addressed in a second, follow-up webinar June 12, 2008, at 2 p.m. EST. To register, visit: http://www.meatami.com/ht/d/MeetingDetailsMO/mid/00000016. Australia’s beef exports to Russia more than doubled in May, from April, making it the second-biggest buyer, overtaking the U.S. and South Korea. Exports to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), chiefly Russia, in May rose to 17,557 boneless metric tons from 8,426 metric tons in April, both up from 87 metric tons in May last year, according to figures supplied by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Exports to CIS in the first five months of this year rose to 30,749 tons, compared with 532 tons in the year-earlier period, figures show. Total Australian beef exports in May totaled 93,933 tons, up 6.4 percent on the month and up 5.4 percent on the year.   Australia doubles beef exports to Russia

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Friday, June 6,2008

Record $108.5 billion agricultural exports forecasted for 2008

by WLJ
Record $108.5 billion agricultural exports forecasted for 2008 U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer recently announced an updated quarterly forecast for U.S. agricultural exports—expected to reach a record $108.5 billion for fiscal year 2008. The upward revision is a $7.5 billion increase from February’s previous record forecast and $26.5 billion above the final 2007 exports. Grains and animal products account for two-thirds of the export gains. "America’s increased export volume in bulk commodities like corn, other animal feeds and soybeans make agriculture the bright spot in the overall balance of trade," said Schafer. "U.S. producers are on track to export a record 63 million tons of corn and set new export volume and value records for pork. Export volumes and values are also up for many horticultural products, with sales growth to Canada and the European Union being exceptionally strong." Asia continues to be an important growth market for U.S. agricultural commodities. U.S. exports to China are forecast to reach a record $10.5 billion, up almost $3.4 billion from 2007 levels. Canada and Mexico remain the U.S.’ top two markets worldwide with exports forecast to reach $30.5 billion in 2008—some $5 billion above 2007. "Trade agreements have a significant impact on our ability to sell America’s agricultural products in world markets," said Schafer. "Canada and Mexico, our two North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, currently buy 28 percent of the value of America’s agricultural exports—up from 20 percent purchased 15 years ago when trade began under NAFTA. Unfortunately, Congress has not been acting in the best interest of the American farmer and rancher by stalling approval of the signed trade agreement with Colombia, yet along with approving trade with Korea and Panama, Congress could provide three extremely important markets for expanding the trend of increased American export sales for years to come." While agricultural imports in two-way trade with the U.S. will also increase—to a record $78.5 billion forecast by USDA—the $108.5 billion in export sales by American farmers and ranchers will net a positive agricultural trade surplus of $30 billion for the U.S. — WLJ

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Friday, June 6,2008

Ranchers file additional complaints against Montana Board of Livestock

by WLJ
Ranchers file additional complaints against Montana Board of Livestock In an effort to ensure the Montana Board of Livestock’s (BOL) future full compliance with the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP), ranchers, who were granted writ of mandamus ordering BOL to immediately remove bison from the west boundary of Yellowstone National Park on May 22, filed additional complaints with the 5th Judicial District Court of Montana on May 30 to seek relief from BOL’s chronic failure in meeting IBMP requirements. Following a court order from Judge Loren Tucker, BOL finally decided to haze 150 head of bison back into the park. However, ranchers believe that BOL has failed to adhere to the bison management plan in the western boundary area for the past three years. According to the IBMP, brucellosis-exposed bison must be hazed back into the park by May 15, and captured or lethally removed after the same date, to ensure none remain outside of the park during the time cattle begin to move into the area. Their refusal to follow the May 15 IBMP deadline is a breach of temporal separation, creating additional opportunity for spatial violation and increasing the likelihood of brucellosis transmission from infected bison. The lead plaintiffs, Bob Sitz and Bill Myers, both of whom graze cattle near the park, as well as the Montana Stockgrowers Association which represents ranchers in that area, have repeatedly voiced their frustrations with relation to BOL and their lack of compliance with the IBMP. Ranchers have expressed deep concern with BOL’s blatant disregard for protecting domestic cattle from the threat of bison infected with brucellosis by not properly adhering to their legal obligations to the IBMP. Discovery of brucellosis in a Montana cattle herd last May forced the state to acknowledge the severity of the risk posed by brucellosis. In a heightened state of awareness, ranchers responded with affirmative actions to protect their herds, assessing potential risks and developing mitigation plans. BOL has failed to equal this effort. BOL’s inactivity flagrantly defies the IBMP and agreements with producers who graze cattle in the affected area. BOL’s failure to take appropriate precautions has jeopardized Montana’s class-free status and subjected ranchers to unnecessary risk. The purpose of this legal remedy is to ensure BOL’s compliance with the IBMP and protect the Montana cattle industry from further hardship. — WLJ

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Friday, May 23,2008

New Products

by WLJ
New Holland introduces new bidirectional tractor New Holland’s new TV6070 Bidirectional tractor offers visibility and versatility that no other tractor in the market can offer. The TV6070 features a new 6.7L engine, a more efficient eight-range transmission, and other improvements designed to enhance the productivity of this unique tractor. Like its predecessors, the new TV6070 Bidirectional tractor can be operated cab-end or engine-end first to provide unparalleled versatility, productivity and exceptional loader performance. An operator can work facing either the engine or the rear because the exclusive Turnabout console rotates the seat and primary controls 180 degrees so the operator always faces the work. Both ends of the tractor can be equipped with 3-point hitches, PTO systems, hydraulic valves, and drawbars. Depending on the application, the TV6070 can push and pull implements simultaneously. Full-time four-wheel drive and 45-degree articulated steering provide excellent traction and maneuverability in any conditions. New engine Efficient hydrostatic transmission, eight operating ranges One tractor, many uses While not designed for heavy tillage work, the TV6070 excels at loader work, and mowing hay, spraying, baling hay, spreading manure, and most other chores around the farm. Because the TV6070 can carry implements at the rear and on the engine-end, many jobs can be done faster by "doubling-up" attachments. For example, two round bales can be carried with the loader and a third one on the engine-end 3-point hitch. Hay can be cut and conditioned up to 35’ at a time by pushing a sickle header and pulling another one. Snow can be cleared faster with a blower on one end and a blade on the other one. The TV6070 transmission now has eight operating ranges, with a total ground speed selection of 0 – 19 mph depending on tire choice. The operator selects a range, and then has infinite control of the tractor’s speed with the drive control handle. The range can be shifted on-the-go as needed. If the tractor encounters a steep hill or heavy resistance, the transmission controller will automatically downshift the range, and then return to the operator’s selection when the load is reduced. The TV6070 features a new 6.7L (411cu.in.) fuel-efficient diesel engine with mechanical fuel injection. This engine meets Tier III engine emission standards, and can operate on diesel fuel or any biodiesel blend up to B100 that meets ASTM 6751 fuel quality standards. The tractor is rated at 105 PTO hp. An optional reversing engine cooling fan helps keep the radiators cleaner when the tractor is used in applications where a lot of chaff or dust is present.

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Friday, May 23,2008

Tips for developing replacement females

by WLJ
Tips for developing replacement females To run an efficient and progressive beef cow production system, it is important to effectively develop replacement females. Developing a sufficient number of heifers that are cycling at the beginning of the breeding season helps to assure they will breed early in the first year. Early breeding translates to earlier calving and heavier weaning weights. "Because replacement females will not begin to produce an economic return until they are around 3 years old, when they wean their first calves, they are an expensive enterprise," says Glenn Rogers, DVM, Pfizer Animal Health. "Heifers are in danger of failing to meet their reproductive and economic potential if they aren’t developed correctly." To effectively develop replacement females, Rogers recommends focusing on two key areas: setting cost-effective goals and developing the immune system. Setting development goals Careful consideration should be given to the costs associated with on-ranch heifer development vs. the purchase of bred heifers. Cow/calf operations are sometimes ill-equipped to efficiently develop their own heifers and many times, high-quality bred heifers can be purchased for less than the actual cost of on-ranch development. If purchasing heifers, a careful analysis of the previous health and production history should occur. If a decision is made to develop rather than purchase, goals should be set to achieve growth, reproductive and economic objectives. Rogers encourages producers to consider the following tips when setting development goals: • Approximately 10 to 25 percent more heifers than needed should be in the initial pool to allow for heifers that fail to meet reproductive and growth targets. • Estrous synchronization and artificial insemination can lead to improved genetics, a tighter calving period, and may offer economic advantages in some operations. • The traditional target weight (65 percent of projected mature weight) for heifers at breeding has been assumed to be optimal for reproduction. However, it may not be economically sound in many production systems. Recent information shows satisfactory reproductive performance can be achieved after developing heifers to a slightly lower percent of projected mature weight than mentioned above. In light of drastically increased input costs, traditional target weight goals may need to be re-evaluated. Developing the immune system The heifer immunization program is the foundation for cow herd immunity. Substantial carry-over effect in herd immunity occurs when a sound health management program for heifers is in place. And, because heifers generally have less immunity to reproductive diseases than mature cows, a sound pre-breeding vaccination program is essential in order to provide heifers with protective immunity during breeding and throughout pregnancy. The vaccination program for heifers pre-breeding should include: • Modified-Live Viral Vaccine, such as Bovi-Shield GOLD FP, for protection against IBR abortions and BVD Types 1 and 2 persistent infection. It is recommended that heifers receive at least 2 doses, with the second dose administered approximately 30 days prior to breeding. • Leptospirosis Vaccine, including hardjo-bovis and Campylobacter fetus (vibrio), with a product such as SPIROVAC VL5. — WLJ

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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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