Beef Cattle Seedstock
The title pretty much says it all, and for all intents it comes as no surprise. In October, the WTO publicly released their awaited opinion from the dispute settlement body on the US Country of Origin Labeling rule. The rule, placed into effect in 2008 requiring all beef be labeled as to its origin, was found not to be compliant with our international trade obligations, first in 2011. It was amended in May 2013 by the USDA to include born, raised and slaughtered information. The intent according to USDA, was to bring this rule into compliance.
When raising livestock, even the gentlest cows may unintentionally cause injury to a handler. In fact, the National Agricultural Safety Database statistics show that one in three farm worker injuries involve handling animals.
Many of these injuries include broken bones and crushed limbs that lead to missed days of work and unnecessary medical expenses due to a lack of safety awareness. That’s why an understanding of animal behavior is essential to prevent accidents.
We have been running British Whites here, on our ranch in northwestern South Dakota for years. They are truly a wonderful breed of cattle. I realized recently, however, that these unique animals have a very desirable trait that I’d overlooked or just not thought about. Now I call them “Timesavers.”
Cattle people are constantly trying to improve their herds. It’s automatic. When the shadows get long in the evening, and the cattle are grazing so placidly, we stop by and critique and evaluate mothers and the offspring there at their side. We want them to be prospering happily under our management and maybe even making us a little more money.
“Beautiful females are what we are after and that’s what Beefmaster bulls do for us,” says Travis Brown of Lykes Brothers Ranch in Okeechobee, Florida. This is the common language used by commercial cattlemen throughout the United States, appreciating the superior females that Beefmaster bulls produce. As our country is steadily working its way out of drought conditions and rebuilding cattle herds, there is a stronger emphasis on purchasing the right bull to produce superior replacement females. Cattle prices are up and cattlemen are overall experiencing a good year. However, it can become expensive to purchase high-end replacement females to rebuild excellent cattle herds.
Every winter cattle producers across the Snowbelt face the challenges of the harsh conditions that the winter season brings. It’s tough on both the cattle and the producers who work diligently to keep their herd in the best condition possible. As below-freezing temperatures set in, animals need additional feed and water to replenish the energy they expend to keep warm. In this food/water equation, it is their water consumption that helps keep everything in balance.
As previously stated “the objective of feeding a total mixed ration (TMR) is to provide a consistently uniform mix, with the intended ingredient and nutrient composition, across the entire length of the feedbunk with every batch.” And while a number of factors such as ingredient variability and moisture content, consistency of mixing procedures, operator error, and weighing system variability contribute to batch-to-batch variation, it is the characteristics of the mixer itself that essentially control within batch variation, and uniformity across the feedbunk. In this article we will discuss TMR mixer characteristics that affect mix uniformity and a sieving technique that can be used to evaluate it and make adjustments to improve animal performance.
Few families have influenced the livestock handling industry as significantly as the Priefert family from Mount Pleasant, Texas. For half a century, the Prieferts have been designing, building, and marketing cattle handling equipment, and, in the process, changing the way the American rancher handles cattle. Marvin Priefert founded Priefert Manufacturing in 1964 with the invention of the first fully front-opening headgate. 50 years later, Marvin’s son Bill, and his grandsons, Eddie, Nate, and Travis, still own and operate the family business, with the goal of continuing to improve upon the design and functionality of today’s livestock handling equipment.
Sustainability is a word we hear a lot in the beef industry these days. Some of the nation’s largest buyers of beef are heavily focused on the topic right now and I don’t think it’s a topic that will go away any time soon. You’ve no doubt heard McDonald’s plan to source verified sustainable beef by 2016. Walmart is also developing plans to ensure the sustainability of its beef supply chain.
Leachman has selected bulls for feed efficiency and $Profit and then progeny tested the bulls to prove that the Leachman-generated EPDs accurately predict steer performance in the feedlot. Resolution is progeny proven to be high feed efficiency and high $Profit.
Can anyone really look at a cow or a bull and tell you if it will enhance the profitability of your cow herd? No, that’s why the industry has been performance testing cattle for almost 50 years. Performance testing in the early days was simply getting a birth weight, weaning weight, and yearling weight. Then sometime in the ’70s, breeders and researchers started going deeper and developed Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs), which changed everything.
We read with great interest last month’s article, “Crossbred bull fix’” by Miranda Reiman of Certified Angus Beef (CAB). The hypothesis of the article was that using composite (F1) bulls had a number of disadvantages compared to purebred bulls and straightbreeding. Her reasoning was that composites (F1): had unpredictable calf crops; less reliable EPDs, which included lack of genomics; and could not be purchased in bulk. I would like to address these points.