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Articles from 2007 In January

Record-keeping made easy

Calving season has about to arrive for many cattle producers and that also means time to get your new calving book ready. The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) has available the “Pocket Calving and AI Record book," a compact pocket-sized calving book to record birth, weaning, breeding and pregnancy checking records for up to 100 head of cows. Books are available for $1 plus postage. To order call Kellie Carolan at the ICA office, 515-296-2266.



BEEF magazine and Elanco Animal Health developed and sponsor the National Stocker Award to showcase the best of the best in stocker management and to highlight this critical segment of the beef cattle industry.

Though you will see this official nomination form requires plenty of effort, the reward is plentiful, too: the overall winner receives a $10,000 cash prize and two other finalists receive $2,500 each, sponsored by Elanco Animal Health. The overall winner also receives a trip to the 2008 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association annual meeting and convention of the, paid for by Elanco.

As you complete this application, either nominating your own program, or nominating someone else’s operation, keep in mind that you are encouraged to enlist the expertise of folks that you consult with in your business, such as extension agents, veterinarians, sales representatives and others.

Also, you can find a completed sample application at You may find this sample application useful in completing the application.

Submission Instructions:
Complete the form by typing in or handwriting* the answers, and send via mail to:
Marilyn Anderson
BEEF magazine
7900 International Drive, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55425

*Please note that all handwritten entries must be legible. Illegible entries will not be judged.

If you run out of space for the essay questions, feel free to use additional paper. The judges may call you to gain more clarification when they are evaluating your nomination.

Inquiries can be made to Wes Ishmael, BEEF magazine’s National Stocker Award coordinator at 817-249-4545.
All nominations become the property of BEEF magazine. See page 14 for contest rules.

Please consider (name of operation)______________________ for the 2007 National Beef Stocker Award in the following category (select only one by typing or writing yes next to the choice—Programs can be nominated in only one category—nominations in multiple categories will be ineligible.
Summer Stocker Program* (forage-based) e.g. calves purchased or retained for grazing from approximately April 1 to August 30.

Fall / Winter Stocker Program* (forage-based, including crop residues such as corn stalks) e.g. calves purchased or retained for post-weaning gain, primarily using standing forages such as winter wheat or ryegrass pasture, or crop residues such as corn stalks, from approximately September 1 through March 31.

Backgrounding / Drylot Stocker* (feed-based) e.g. calves purchased or retained for pre-stocker backgrounding and/or postweaning gains primarily using feeds other than forage.

*Programs participating in a combination of these programs—such as backgrounding, then grazing fall pasture, then grazing summer pasture—should select the single segment they believe offered the most competitive returns and/or best achieved their goals for the group(s) of calves cited in the nomination form. For instance, an operation that receives a group of calves in the fall, then grazes them until the following summer or fall could be nominated in either the Summer Stocker program or Fall/Winter Stocker program categories. Though the evaluation committee will consider the complete production cycle for the animals, nominees should enter in the category in which they believe the calves generated the most return relative to the cited goals.

The nominated operation understands that the award evaluation committee may contact it for further information. If selected as an award finalist the nominee understands that BEEF magazinewill conduct an on-site interview and take photos for an article to appear in BEEF magazine and through other media. If selected as the National Stocker Award winner, the nominee agrees to attend the 2008 NCBA Convention to accept the award (specified travel expenses will be paid by Elanco Animal Health).

Information provided in this application will be used solely by the evaluation committee and held in the strictest confidence by BEEF magazine. Should you earn the national award, you and BEEF will agree upon what specific details can be shared about your operation.

Name of person submitting application
Phone number
Relationship to nominee
Address (headquarters)__________________________________________________________
Town_____________________State__________________________Zip code______________
If different from above…
Name of nominated operation
Contact person at nominated operation
Address (headquarters)__________________________________________________________
Town_____________________State__________________________Zip code______________
Phone number

I (type or print name) agree that the information on this nomination form is accurate, timely, and not fabricated.


Provide a brief review of the general nature, history and production of the nominee’s operation. 15 points
 How many years has the nominee been involved in the stocker / backgrounding business?

 During this period of involvement, has the scope of the nominee’s stocker / backgrounding operation (select only one by typing or writing yes next to the choice):
Grown Declined Remained Static
 How many head were part of the nominated program in 2006 (i.e., only the cattle included in the winter forage program if that is the category of nomination)?

 Percentage of total cattle revenue generated by stocker / backgrounding business?

To be eligible for the National Beef Stocker Award, the nominated operation must derive the majority of its cattle revenue from the stocker / backgrounding operation.
 Percentage of total stocker revenue derived from nominated category e.g. if you backgrounded calves, then retained them through fall and summer grazing, but nominated your operation (and these calves) in the fall category, what percentage of the return came from this portion of the program? Or, if you’re dealing with multiple groups of calves across all categories, but were nominated in the fall category, what portion of your stocker revenue stems from that segment?

Primary goals of this stocker/backgrounding enterprise:

 Primary challenge to the stocker/backgrounding operation in 2006:

 Including yourself, how many individuals are involved in handling the day-to-day operation of the enterprise? (fill in appropriate numbers):
Full-Time Part-Time
 Why is the operation being nominated in this particular award category, and what sets the nominee apart from the others in this segment of the stocker industry? e.g. what aspects of the operation are different from or allow the nominated operation to be more competitive than peers engaged in the same stocker category?(*Use additional paper as necessary)

Describe the objectives of the nominee’s health program, including the role of the veterinarian. 10 points
 Describe the receiving program, including how soon after arrival cattle are processed, turned out; whether the nominated group received metaphylactic treatment; treatment protocol, etc.

 Is there an established animal-handling protocol? ______
If so, are any employees trained in that protocol? ______
 Which statement best reflects the nominee’s relationship with the veterinarian?
Only use in case of emergency
Use regularly and include in planning process for the stocker enterprise
Somewhere between the previous options

 What management practices do you routinely apply? (select all that apply; provide description if selecting “Other”):
 Are you and your employees trained in Beef Quality Assurance?
_____Yes _____No

 If yes, is your operation certified in Beef Quality Assurance?

_____Yes _____No

Explain the nominee’s nutrition program and how that fits with the land resources that are available.
10 points
 Is the nutrition program determined to optimize gain per day or least cost? (*Use additional paper as necessary)

 Who helps determine the nutrition program? (e.g. consultant, feed company representative, extension) (*Use additional paper as necessary)

 If grazing is a central component, describe the primary challenges and how you mange the forage resource for sustainability, including key environmental stewardship practices applied to this resource._____________________________________________________


How are cattle purchased for the nominee’s stocker operation and what are the practices associated with that phase of the business? 10 points
 Are stocker cattle purchased throughout the year or seasonally? (select only one by typing or writing yes next to the choice):
Throughout the year Seasonally
 Are cattle purchased? (select only one by typing or writing yes next to the choice):
Sale barn (preconditioned sale)
Sale barn (regular sale)
Video auction (non-pre-conditioned)
Video auction (preconditioned)
 Is the distance purchased cattle may be shipped limited? If so, what is the maximum distance?

 Are the cattle managed individually or as a group?

 Is knowledge of the health history of the cattle that are being purchased required?

 Must cattle have animal ID tags in order to be purchased?
How are calves typically identified? (select only one by typing or writing yes next to the choice):
Group ID tag Individual ID tag No ID
 Are calves typically weighed individually or as a group?

 What records are kept and how are they used to improve the operation?

 Has the nominee started incorporating electronic ID and if so how?

Risk Management / Marketing
How does the nominee manage risk in his/her stocker/backgrounding operation and what marketing strategies are employed? 10 points
 Are the futures markets used to manage risk? If so, describe the strategy.(*Use additional paper as necessary)

 If so, which markets (e.g. feeder cattle, corn, options)?

 Describe the relationship the nominee has with his / her customers, e.g. do you know who purchased the cattle at marketing (the buyer, rather than the order buyer) and do you know how the cattle performed for them?

How do you see your business evolving in the next 3 years? 15 points
 How does the nominee see his/her business evolving in the next 3 years?(*Use additional paper as necessary)

 If this operation includes more employees than the nominee, what are the key labor challenges faced by the operation and how does the nominee address these challenges?_________________


What is the nominee proudest about when it comes to his / her stocker operation?(*Use additional paper as necessary)

 Most Valuable lesson learned during the nominee’s stocker career?(*Use additional paper as necessary)

 What role does the nominee believe this operation serves in the U.S. cattle/beef business?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 Key changes/challenges the nominee believes the U.S. stocker industry faces in the next three years and how this operation will address them?_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


This section will be used to learn more about how the nominee manages specific groups of cattle to maximize profitability. The committee will be looking for the best combination of overall management practices that will help them understand the obstacles that the nominee overcame on a group of cattle to maximize his/her return. 30 points
Number of head purchased and/or added from home herd to nominated program in 2006:

These calves were managed as #_________ groups
For up to five different groups, please provide the following information by group (Use additional paper as necessary). A group can be a single load or multiple loads depending on your management scheme:
Group 1
When purchased
 # Head____________ Average weight when purchased_________
 Percent: ______ Steers ______ Heifers ______ Bulls
____Frame ____Muscle ____ Approximate age (months or days)
Breed characteristics

 Origin of calves (select only one by typing or writing yes next to the choice):
Sale Barn (preconditioned sale)
Sale Barn (regular sale)
Video Auction (non-preconditioned)
Video Auction (preconditioned)
 How purchased? (select only one by typing or writing yes next to the choice):
Order Buyer Direct Combination
Were these calves eligible for any value-added programs? If so, which ones?

Location where enterprise took place (i.e., Oklahoma dry land wheat pasture; Kansas flinthills; home native grass pasture, etc.)

Average price ($/cwt.) when purchased:______
Month(s) of purchase:_________________________________
Did the purchase price represent (select only one by typing or writing yes next to the choice):
Average Premium Discount to similar cattle

Estimated breakeven when purchased:______
Profit goal when purchased ($ / head):______

Group 1 Nutrition
 Describe ration(s):
What percentage of the total ration represents:
______ Purchased feed/leased forage ground
______ Home-raised feed/owned ground
Please provide average daily gain and cost of gain figures when available.

Does the nutritional program include supplemental feed? ___________
If so, describe ration:

If supplemental feeding takes place, how many times per week or per month is supplement fed?
______ Times per week or ______ Times per month

Group 1 Health
 Percent morbidity (pulled for treatment at least once):________
 Percentage of repulls after first treatment____________
 Maximum number of times calves were treated_________
 Percentage death loss__________
 Average total health cost per head in Group 1:_________
If the nominee’s receiving and heath management protocol for this group was different than described in the program information section, please explain:(*Use additional paper as necessary)

Group 1 Performance (Use and submit provided worksheet to complete this section)
 Total average gain daily:_________
 Total gain across group:_________
 Cost of gain per pound:_________
 Value of gain per pound: [(final weight x sales price)-(purchase weight x purchase price) ÷ total gain]: ____________________
When sold
 # Head ______
 Average sale weight per head:

Approximate age (months or days)

 How Marketed:
Load lots
Non-load lot
Sale barn
Direct sale
Video sale
Forward contract
 Were any of these verifications provided with the calves:

Other (e.g. process management, health, etc.)

Month(s) and week(s) of marketing:
Did the sale price represent:


Discount compared to other calves of similar weight and quality in the area’s selling in the same week?
Percent shrink: ______
Describe weighing conditions:

Marketing cost per head: ______
What are you including in marketing cost? __________
Actual breakeven:________
Was the profit goal achieved on this group?_________
Primary reasons why profit goal was or wasn’t met:

One reference whom we may contact:*
Relationship to nominee_____________________________________
Phone ______________________fax _________________________

*A letter of reference (up to a page) from this person can be included with this application.


1. Prism Business Media Inc. (“Sponsor”) is offering the “National Stocker Award” contest (“Contest”). NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. CONTEST VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. Contest will be open to stocker operators who are 18 years of age and older as of February 1, 2007 who are legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia. Employees of Prism Business Media (“Sponsor”) and their respective Sponsor’s parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies and their family members (defined as parents, spouse, children, siblings, grandparents) of such employees and/or those with whom such employees are domiciled are not eligible to enter.

3. Contest begins on January 1, 2007 and ends on April 1, 2007.

4. Enter by filling out an official entry form available at and providing the requested information about your stocker operation on the entry form. Entries should be submitted to BEEF—postmarked no later than 5 p.m. April 1—Attn: Marilyn Anderson, 7900 International Drive, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55425. Sponsors shall not be responsible for lost, late, mutilated or misdirected entries. Entry forms or requests that are printed by machine, mechanically reproduced, tampered with, illegible or incomplete are not eligible.

Each entrant selected as a potential winner must comply with all terms and conditions set forth in these Official Rules, and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all such requirements.

5. Winners in each category will be selected by the judging committee, based on the criteria that are presented on the nomination form. Participants agree to be bound by these rules and the decision of the judges, whose decisions are final. Winners will be notified via telephone and/or e-mail on or about May 15, 2007. Winners will be honored at the NCBA Annual meeting to be held in 2008. Winners in each category will be featured in the October issue of BEEF. To obtain a list of winners, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope, after October 15, 2007 to BEEF, Attn: Marilyn Anderson, 7900 International Drive, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55425.

6. All entries and requests become the property of Sponsor, and will not be acknowledged or returned. Sponsor will have the right to photograph the winner. Entry constitutes permission to use the winner’s name, picture, likeness and city and state of residence for purpose of trade, publicity or promotion for no additional compensation except where prohibited by law. All entries must be original, may not have won previous prizes and must not infringe on any third party rights. Submission of an entry constitutes entrant’s consent to irrevocably assign to Sponsor any and all rights to their entry including, but not limited to, intellectual property rights. Submission of an entry grants Sponsor and its agents the right to publish, produce, use, adapt, edit and/or modify the entry in any way and in any and all media, without limitation and without compensation to the entrant.

7. All entrants release Sponsor, its affiliates, parents, subsidiaries, directors, officers, employees, and agents, and all others associated with the development and execution of this contest from any and all liability from injury, loss or damage of any kind resulting from participation in this contest.

8. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.

The Sponsor of this Contest is Prism Business Media Inc., 7900 International Drive, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55425.

Two Free Producer Programs Set For Wray, CO

The Wray, CO, First Presbyterian Church is the site for two practical beef production programs being offered free of charge on Feb. 6 and Feb. 8. Both programs include lunch.

The Feb. 6 program is a beef production seminar set for 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and session highlights include: current issues in Animal ID, establishment and management of irrigated pastures, dryland forages, utilizing corn co-products in beef ration, metabolizable protein, beef cow mineral nutrition, beef nutrition and ration evaluation, and what's new in beef home study. Register by calling 308-352-2683.

On Feb. 8, from 9:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m., Mike Slattery, DVM, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln economist Matt Stockton will present a Beef Cow Nutrition & Economics 101 workshop. Slattery will provide practical advice on ruminant function, various feed supplements, different forms and costs of protein, and the nutritional implications of calving at different times of the year. Stockton will demonstrate an interactive feed cost calculator intended for home use by producers. He'll also discuss the hidden costs of drought feeding and cost-effective decisions. For more info on the Feb. 8 program, call 970-332-3173, ext. 3; or email [email protected].
-- Joe Roybal

Massachusetts, Virginia Bills Look To Undercut NAIS

Two bills filed this week in the Massachusetts legislature seek to block funding for state use in building the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Milford Daily News reports two identical bills filed separately in the House and Senate want to force the Massachusetts Department of Ag Resources to return any money it received from the USDA for help launching the national livestock ID and traceback program. Vermont's Agency of Agriculture stopped applying for USDA funding for the program last year.

USDA responded that the NAIS program is voluntary so producers can choose to participate or not.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, a bill seeks to prohibit the states ag commissioner from participating in establishing an animal ID system.

"This would effectively eliminate the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) from playing any role in the critical issue of animal health, and it would have serious marketing implications for livestock and poultry producers," said Wilmer Stoneman, associate director of governmental relations for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. As of Jan. 16, VDACS had registered 3,865 farms in the voluntary premises registration phase of the NAIS.
-- Joe Roybal

Storms & Corn Prices Costing Cow-Calf Producers

Between a surging corn market and some tough winter weather, cattle producers in the Central Plains have been hit hard. Feedlot cost of gains (COG) for most pens of cattle are likely surpassing $75/cwt. at the current time, says Dillon Feuz, Utah State University economist.

Writing at, Feuz says cattle purchased with a COG expectation around $60/cwt., are likely facing sizeable losses at market time.

"At the same time, cow-calf producers are seeing the price for calves dropping with each new surge in the corn market. For producers who held their calves until after the first of year, they probably are looking at losses on that decision," he says.

He expects cow-feeding costs this winter to potentially increase by $50/head, and cow-calf producer revenues to drop $50/head relative to last year. Such a large swing may alter the expansion some producers were planning prior to the corn-price surge and inclement weather.
-- Livestock Marketing Information Service

Looking For Cow-Calf Planning Calendars?

If you're looking for a handy scheduling tool for routine tasks in operating a cow-calf enterprise, visit the "Calendars For Production/Health" section at It's on the opening-page menu of management and information categories.

The Web site is a free service of BEEF magazine and offers links to 2,000 fact sheets and papers on a multitude of cow-calf production and management topics from North America's top animal scientists. Check out the site, then bookmark it for quick future reference.
-- Joe Roybal

2007 Gelbvieh Sire Summary Available

The American Gelbvieh Association (AGA) has released its 2007 Sire Summary. The 2007 Gelbvieh Sire Summary is available at no cost on the AGA Web site. Individuals can also request a CD of the Gelbvieh Sire Summary in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet form or a printed copy for $5 each. Contact AGA at 303-465-2333 or [email protected].
-- AGA news release

President Bush Calls For More Ethanol Production

If there was any doubt as to the political mood of the country, President Bush's call for more renewable fuels, and ethanol production in particular, to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil illustrated it. The proposals, outlined in Bush's State of the Union address on Tuesday night, received applause from both sides of the aisle that was as robust as any other point he made.

The President offered the goal of blending 35 billion gals. of biofuels by 2017 (a fivefold increase from today's levels) and to reduce gasoline usage by 20%. He also proposed increasing U.S. petroleum production and doubling the size of the petroleum reserve.

On the positive side, the economic numbers continue to be surprisingly strong; the Dow Jones Average hit an all-time high on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the economy remains generally supportive to overall beef demand. Oil prices have been falling pretty sharply as OPEC has failed to restrict production, and demand has been moderate due to the overall moderate 2006-07 winter thus far.

The subsidies for ethanol are politically popular and are seen as an important offset to farm subsidies that will likely be reduced in the upcoming farm bill.
-- Troy Marshall

Hay Stocks Hit 18-Year Low

Stocks of all hay stored on farms totaled 96.4 million tons on Dec. 1, 2006, 8% lower than on the same date in 2005 and the lowest since 1988, says USDA's National Ag Statistics Service. Disappearance of hay from May to December totaled 66.6 million tons compared to 73.6 million tons for the same period in 2005.

Compared to Dec. 1, 2005 figures, hay stocks decreased in most of the eastern Rocky Mountain, Great Plains, and Southeastern states. Drier conditions prevailed in many of these states, resulting in lower hay production and increased supplemental feeding of hay. Meanwhile, stocks increased compared to the previous year's levels in several states throughout the Northeast and Intermountain Region. The reason: favorable growing conditions allowed for multiple cuttings and provided good pasture and grazing conditions.
-- eHay Weekly newsletter