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Producers Must Educate, Adapt On Animal Well-Being

Kansas State University (KSU) animal scientist Lily Edwards believes producers shouldn’t be defined by a few "bad apples" when it comes to animal well-being. But, she adds, there are some animal-management practices that could be improved upon.

Speaking on "Animal Well-Being: Bridging the Gap Between Consumers and Producers" at KSU’s recent Cattlemen´s Day program, Edwards says there’s been a shift in the public´s ethical consideration of animals. The concept of humane treatment of animals has transformed into the concept of "well-being," which not only includes an animal´s physical welfare but its quality of life.

Edwards encouraged producers to take every opportunity to educate consumers about what the livestock industry does to promote the well-being of animals, and to consider altering some practices that could impair animal well-being.

She cited a list devised by D.A. Daley, California State University-Chico, entitled “How to Lose the Argument on Animal Welfare – Top 10 Reasons.”

  1. Assuming science will give us all the answers; it only gives us some of the answers. Science doesn´t solve ethical questions.
  2. Using economics as the justification for all of our practices. We need to convince the public that we truly care about animals, not just about dollars.
  3. Assuming that you have to defend all ag practices, regardless of what they are. Defending all practices makes no sense and causes you to lose credibility with the public.
  4. Agriculture is about evolving practices. Why can´t we continue to improve a system that is already good but will continue to change?
  5. Attacking everyone who disagrees with you in a negative, critical manner.
  6. Not being willing to listen because we are so busy responding.
  7. Assuming that the lunatic fringe is the general public. We spend way too much time focusing on lunatics and not working with the public.
  8. Being reactive rather than proactive.
  9. Assuming that because someone disagrees with you they are stupid, evil or both. Good people can look at the same issue differently.
  10. Not working hard enough to build coalitions that include the public (consumers). Most of our coalition efforts are focused on bringing ag groups together. There aren´t enough of us, and we don´t represent enough votes.

Daley´s list also includes two bonus points in advising producers what not to do:
  • Criticizing or mocking any animal production system that is not "conventional." There is room in agriculture for lots of different methods of production. Let the market determine their success.
  • Trying to lead a parade without seeing if anyone is following.
    Listen to an audio interview with Edwards at Go to K-State Radio Network at the bottom of the page and click on Agriculture Today. The interview is available on the March 5 broadcast.
-- Mary Lou Peter, KSU

The Rules Of Yearling Bull Management

When it comes to buying bulls, a diligent amount of time spent studying performance data, EPDs, pedigrees and other pertinent info is warranted as sire selection is the most important tool for making genetic progress in the herd. Of equal importance, however, is the care and management of the newly acquired bull, says Scott P. Greiner, Virginia Tech Extension animal scientist.

Greiner says proper management and nutrition are essential for bulls to perform satisfactorily during the breeding season. Particularly with yearling bulls, management prior to, during and after the first breeding season is particularly important, he says.

Prior to the breeding season. Many newly purchased yearling bulls are coming off a performance test that provided a high plane of nutrition, so their diet’s energy level should gradually be reduced to prevent excessive fat deposition. Do this by restricting intake of high-energy grain supplements, in conjunction with supplying a total diet lower in energy content (primarily forage), he says.

Young bulls should be managed to be a body condition score 6 at turn-out. This will give him adequate energy reserves for the breeding season. Yearling bulls can be expected to lose 100 lbs. or more during the course of the breeding season.

Acquiring a new yearling bull at least 60 to 90 days prior to the breeding season is critical from several aspects. First, this leaves ample time for the new bull to get adjusted to the feed and environment of his new home, as well as an opportunity for several new bulls to be comingled for a period of time prior to turnout.

Second, adequate exercise, in combination with proper nutrition, is essential to "harden" up these bulls prior to the breeding season. A facility for the newly acquired bull that allows for ample exercise will help create bulls that are physically fit for the breeding season.

A bull’s nutrition will be dependent on his body condition. Yearling bulls are still developing and should be targeted to gain 2-2½ lbs./day from a year of age through the breeding season. Bulls weighing about 1,200 lbs. will consume 25-30 lbs./day of dry matter. This intake may consist of high-quality pasture, plus 12 lbs. corn; grass legume hay, plus 12 lbs. of corn; or 80 lbs. of corn silage and 2 lbs. of protein supplement. Provide adequate clean water, and a complete mineral free-choice.

Prior to the breeding season, all bulls should receive a breeding soundness exam (BSE) to assure fertility. In fact, all working bulls should have an annual BSE. Because a variety of factors may affect bull fertility, it’s smart to retest young bulls before the breeding season even if it has only been a few months since their pre-sale BSE.

Management during the breeding season. Breed young bulls for a maximum of 60 days in order to prevent overuse, severe weight loss and reduced libido. Severe weight loss can impair future growth and development, and reduce his lifetime usefulness. When practical, supplementing young bulls with grain during the breeding season will reduce excessive weight loss.

In single-sire situations, young bulls can normally breed a number of females about equal to their age in months. Thus, a newly purchased, 18-month-old bull could be placed with 18 cows or heifers.

Bulls used together in multiple-sire breeding pastures should be of similar age and size. Young bulls can’t compete with older bulls in the same breeding pasture.

A common practice is to rotate bulls among different breeding pastures every 21 to 28 days to decrease the breeding pressure on a single bull. Some producers use older bulls early in the breeding season and replace them with young bulls.

The appropriate bull-to-female ratio will vary from one operation to the next based on bull age, condition, fertility and libido. Other factors include the size of the breeding pasture, available forage supply, length of the breeding season and number of bulls with a group of cows.

Observe bulls closely to monitor their breeding behavior and libido to ensure they’re servicing and settling cows. Additionally, observe the cowherd to monitor their estrous cycles. Many females coming back into heat may be the result of an infertile or sub-fertile bull. All bulls should be monitored for injury or lameness that may compromise their breeding capability.

Management after the breeding season. Following breeding season, young bulls need a relatively high plane of nutrition to replenish their condition and meet demands for their continued growth. Yearling bulls should be maintained in a separate lot from mature bulls, so these additional nutritional requirements can be provided.

The body condition and projected mature size of the bull will determine his nutrient requirements during the nine months following the breeding season. Be sure to isolate bulls from cows after the breeding season, and provide winter cover from extreme weather that may cause frostbite to the scrotum resulting in decreased fertility.

All herd bulls should receive breeding soundness exams (BSE) to assure fertility on an annual basis. Assess the bull battery well in advance of the breeding season, so that new herd sires can be acquired in a timely fashion.
-- Scott P. Greiner, Virginia Tech Extension


Win a Trip to the PBR World Finals with Ariat!

Ariat to Give Lucky Fan the Trip of a Lifetimewith Three-Time PBR World Champion Adriano Moraes

Union City, Calif., March 16, 2010 – Ariat International, the leading manufacturer of performance

equestrian footwear, apparel and belts, is pleased to announce the exciting new in-store

“Ariat/PBR World Finals Promotion.”

One lucky fan will win an action-packed trip for two to the 2010 PBR World Finals in Las Vegas –

including a VIP lunch and behind-the-scenes tour with Adriano Moraes, plus a head-to-toe Ariat

outfit for the winner and a guest!

The contest runs now through Aug. 1, 2010. Entering is easy – simply head on over to your local

Ariat retailer (check to locate your nearest Western retailer), try on a pair of Ariat

boots and fill out an entry form for your chance to win. The drawing will take place on Sept. 1,


About Adriano Moraes

Three-time World Champion Adriano Moraes retired from competition in 2008, but remains active

in the PBR as a commentator and a member of the Rules and Regulations Committee as well as

the Conduct Advisory Committee. In 2009, Moraes was awarded the prestigious “Ring of Honor”

that is given annually to individuals who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the

sport of professional bull riding, both in and out of the arena.

About Ariat International, Inc.

Ariat International, Inc. is the leading manufacturer of innovative performance equestrian

footwear, apparel and belts. Featuring a patented technology designed to deliver stability,

durability and comfort, Ariat pioneered the application of advanced athletic shoe technology into

English riding boots and authentic Western boots. Ariat products are sold in a network of retail

outlets throughout the world. For more information about Ariat products or for the Ariat retailer

nearest you, contact Ariat at 800.899.8141 or visit

Official Boot of the Professional Bull Riders, Inc. (PBR)

Official Apparel and Footwear Sponsor of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games



Three Associations Receive Scholarship Grants from AgriLabs

ST. JOSEPH, Mo., March 16, 2010 — AgriLabs is awarding scholarship grants totaling $1,500 to three state associations as part of its booth promotion at the recent National Cattleman's Beef Association (NCBA) Convention in San Antonio, Texas. The Montana Stockgrowers, the Washington Cattleman’s Association, and the Oklahoma Cattlewomen, will each receive $500 to be used for an educational scholarship for a deserving youth during 2010.

When registering at the AgriLabs booth, convention participants designated which state association would receive a grant if their entries were drawn. John Grande, Martindale, Montana, designating the Montana Stockgrowers; Paula Coon, Beng, Washington, designating the Washington Cattleman’s Association; and Debra Enis, Vinita, Oklahoma, designating the Oklahoma Cattlewomen were the three winning entries drawn during the convention.

“Asking beef producers to select an NCBA or American National Cattlewomen state affiliate, or the ANCW Foundation, to be part of the scholarship grant program adds an additional element of fun to our NCBA convention scholarship program,” says Charlie Higdon, business unit manager, AgriLabs. “As a result, an additional $1,500 is in the hands of associations who will use this money to provide scholarships to three young people involved in the beef industry.”

AgriLabs is an animal-health sales-and-marketing organization with distribution throughout the United States. The company’s partnership structure and philosophy, together with a commitment to expeditious product development, provides a smooth, efficient system for manufacturers to transfer technology from research laboratories to the marketplace. Through technology transfer and cooperative development agreements, AgriLabs has introduced a number of state-of-the-art products to the beef and dairy industries.



3,000-Mile Charity Drive Aims to Raise $1 Million for the American Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund

SAVANNAH, Ga. (March 15, 2010) – In response to the ongoing needs in Haiti, JCB, one of the word’s largest manufacturers of construction equipment, today announced its Backhoe Across America charity drive, a national initiative in partnership with the American Red Cross. The cross-country campaign features a JCB 3CX backhoe loader, which will travel from Georgia to California to help raise the still-needed funds that will be critical to Haiti’s long-term rebuilding efforts.

With a fundraising goal of $1 million, JCB will donate all monies raised during the 26-day road trip directly to the American Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund. Those who wish to make a donation to the Backhoe Across America charity drive can either visit one of the 11 route stops or go to

No Ordinary Road Trip

The JCB 3CX backhoe loader will begin its coast-to-coast trek from the beach at Tybee Island, Ga., on Friday, March 26, 2010. The backhoe then will travel more than 3,000 miles across the U.S., making fundraising “pit stops” at JCB dealerships in nine cities along the way, before reaching its final destination – the beach at California’s Santa Monica Pier – on April 20, 2010.

“Haiti’s road to recovery will be long and difficult,” said John Patterson, chairman and CEO, JCB Inc. “On behalf of everyone at JCB, we hope that the miles traveled and donations secured during Backhoe Across America will help ease the burden of the journey that lies ahead for this devastated nation.”

No Ordinary Backhoe

On a recent episode of the National Geographic and Discovery Channel show, "Greatest Ever," the JCB backhoe was ranked number-one on a list of the "Greatest Ever Earthmovers." With the Backhoe Across America campaign, JCB will put the Worlds Greatest Earthmover to an even greater test to see just how far a bucketful of charity can go to help the Haitian people rebuild their lives.

JCB invented the backhoe loader in 1953; today, the company is the world’s leading manufacturer of this versatile and reliable job-site solution, producing almost one out of every two backhoes sold worldwide. In keeping with the company’s long tradition of assisting disaster-relief efforts around the world, JCB already has donated two backhoe loaders in response to Haiti’s immediate recovery needs. And, most recently, JCB pledged to provide $100,000 worth of backhoe equipment for Chile’s earthquake victims.

No Ordinary Driver

JCB veteran employee Neil Smith will be the man behind the wheel as the backhoe makes its way across America. When Neil was growing up in Rocester, England, he walked by a large factory on his way to school each and every day. That factory was JCB’s World Headquarters. Not surprisingly, Neil dreamed of operating JCB’s signature bright yellow machines – but he had no way of knowing that the family-owned manufacturer would play a major role in his life for many years to come.

Now in his 37th year with JCB, Neil will operate the 3CX machine from start to finish, traveling at speeds up to 30 mph on secondary roads, which, by law, must be used throughout the trek due to the backhoe’s maximum speed limitations.


JCB has 18 plants on four continents: 11 in the U.K., three in India and others in the U.S., China, Germany and Brazil; the company employs more than 7,000 people worldwide.

JCB celebrates its 65th anniversary in 2010. JCB is privately-owned by the Bamford family and the Chairman, Sir Anthony Bamford, is the son of the company’s late founder, Joseph Cyril Bamford.

The company manufactures more than 300 different machines including: backhoe loaders; Loadall telescopic handlers; tracked and wheeled excavators; wheel loaders; articulated dump trucks; rough terrain fork lifts; mini excavators; skid steers loaders; JCB Vibromax compaction equipment; generators and Groundcare equipment. In addition, for agricultural markets, the company produces a range of telescopic handlers and the unique Fastrac tractor. JCB also manufactures the Teletruk Forklift for the industrial sector.

In 2005, JCB secured one of the largest orders in its history when it won a $290 million deal to supply the U.S. Government with High Mobility Engineer Excavators (HMEEs). Full-scale production of the HMEE is now underway at JCB’s plant in Savannah, Ga.

The HMEE fulfils a need from the military for rapid deployment high mobility products. To further meet these requirements; JCB also has developed a range of other high mobility products from the High Mobility Fastrac Tractor, through to the High Mobility Rough Terrain Forklift and the High Mobility Utility Vehicle.

JCB has won more than 50 major awards for engineering excellence, exports, design, marketing, management, as well as for its environmental stewardship. Among them are 25 Queen’s Awards for Technology and Export Achievement.


Featherlite Trailers named #1 livestock trailer manufacturer

CRESCO, Iowa (March 11, 2010) – Featherlite Trailers was recognized as the number one manufacturer of livestock trailers in 2009. Featherlite was presented the award, which is determined by data from Statistical Surveys, Inc., on March 4, 2010, in Reno, Nev., during the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers’ (NATM) Convention and Trade Show.

Statistical Surveys is a premier provider of market intelligence to the trailer, marine, manufactured housing and RV industries. They specialize in the ongoing gathering of new retail registration data in these industries and have created the world’s largest number of market share data reports. Featherlite’s award was determined based on retail registration of livestock trailers in 2009.

“We are grateful for Statistical Surveys’ recognition of Featherlite’s leadership in the livestock trailer market,” Eric Clement, Featherlite Vice President of Sales & General Manager, said. “Farmers, ranchers and ag business owners purchase Featherlites more than any other trailer brand. We appreciate the trust they have in us and look forward to offering trailers that are of superior durability and reliability and that enhance their farming operations.”

This is the third consecutive year Featherlite has received this award. Featherlite is the nation’s oldest aluminum specialty trailer brand, having built its first aluminum livestock trailer in 1973. In addition to livestock trailers, Featherlite manufactures horse trailers, car trailers, utility trailers, ATV trailers, racecar transporters and other specialty trailers.

Featherlite recently unveiled its 2011 product line, including its new Lazer stock trailer, which features a new design for the trailer’s air spacing. Other new options for Featherlite stock trailers are an anti-skid option on the trailer’s rear floor, an airflow system and treadplate on the gooseneck nose, among others.

Featherlite livestock trailers, which include gooseneck trailers, bumper pull trailers, low profile trailer, combo trailers, show trailers and semi livestock trailers, are sold through Featherlite’s dealer network of 180 across the U.S. and Canada.

For more information on Featherlite Trailers, visit or call 800-800-1230.

Meet Troy Marshall

Meet Troy Marshall

p>Troy Marshall is contributing editor for BEEF Cow/Calf Weekly electronic newsletter, providing weekly commentary and analysis on timely beef-industry topics every Friday afternoon.

He worked previously as a market analyst for Cattle-Fax, and as director of commercial marketing and a consultant for several breed associations. Troy has given over 100 presentations in five countries, and published thousands of articles.

He has served on the board of the Beef Improvement Federation, and as a member of the Beef Industry Long Range Planning Task Force.

Troy and his wife Lorna have three children, and ranch in Burlington CO. They run approximately 300 registered Angus and Sim/Angus cows and market about 125 bulls annually.

Michigan Meat Out Day During National Ag Week! Excuse Me?

ag_day_logo.jpg National Agriculture Day is March 20. This celebrated day in history is a thank you to America's farmers and ranchers for the hard work they do 365 days a year to feed the world's growing population. When I heard that Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm declared this highly revered day as Michigan Meat Out Day, I was incredibly insulted, and I imagine many of you are as well. Meat Out Day on National Ag Day? I think not! Never fear, agriculture is not one to be pushed aside and counted out. I definitely think agriculture is getting the hang of this social media thing, and I was excited to hear about a new Facebook group that is taking a stand against this ridiculous proclamation!

Dewey Mann, Purdue University, is the administrator of the Facebook Group, The Great American 'Steak' Out. It is the goal of this group to enjoy a big, juicy steak on National Ag Day/Michigan Meat Out Day (Saturday, March 20, 2010) and take a photo while enjoying that steak to send to Gov. Granholm. Considering that the average American eats 62 lbs of beef annually, I would venture to guess that this Meat Out Day is not a proclamation that represents the general population. We have an opportunity to have a real impact here, so I encourage all of you to reach out and share your thoughts with this mistaken politician.

Letters and photos can be sent to:

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm

P.O. Box 30013

Lansing, MI 48909

Here are a few facts and statistics to remind Gov. Granholm of when we contact her:

Beef and the economy: When taking a look at the agriculture industry as a whole, beef cattle production comprises a huge segment of that, which has a positive impact on our nation's economy. There are more than 1 million producers in the cattle business, and these individuals represent the largest single segment of American agriculture. In addition, the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture found that the largest single segment of the U.S. agricultural economy is beef production, with cattle and calves representing about 21% of total farm sales. (Source: Ag Marketing Resource Center)

Beef as a healthy part of a well-balanced diet: Did you know there are 29 cuts of beef that meet the government labeling guidelines for lean? Many are cuts you are probably already eating, such as flank steak, T-Bone steak, and sirloin steak. The protein in beef helps you maintain a healthy metabolism, but beef isn’t only useful in maintaining a healthy body. Studies suggest that the protein in beef may be help prevent many chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes and osteoporosis. It’s especially important that young children and older folks get sufficient protein. Children need the high-quality protein, iron and zinc in beef in order to develop their minds, as well as their bodies. Older adults can benefit from the protein in beef to help prevent loss of muscle mass and strength as they age. (Source: Beef It's What's For Dinner)

Beef and the environment: Approximately 85% of U.S. grazing lands are unsuitable for producing crops. Grazing animals on this land more than doubles the area that can be used to produce food. Cattle serve a valuable role in the ecosystem by converting the forages humans cannot consume into a nutrient-dense food. According to the EPA, the entire U.S. agricultural sector accounts for only 6.4% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and livestock production is only a portion of that total. (Source: Explore Beef)

Read Michigan Farm Bureau's response to Gov. Granholm's proclamation.

Read Dairy Agenda Today blogger Melissa Hart's response, Meat Out Day? Seriously?

Read more about it on the Detroit Free Press.

Join Michigan MEAT Day on Facebook.

I will be contacting Gov. Granholm as well as participating in the Great American 'Steak' Out, and I hope you do, too! Most importantly, I will be celebrating National Ag Day, a celebration of America's heroes, farmers and ranchers!

Everyday Environmentalists: Farmers & Ranchers Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Earth Day

April 22 will mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and once again, the beef checkoff’s issues management and producer communications teams are helping cattle farmers and ranchers across the country share their environmental sustainability message with consumers. This year’s Earth Day campaign highlights the tradition and longevity of cattlemen’s environmental stewardship practices and reinforces cattlemen’s geographic diversity yet unity around being “green” with the resources in their area.

“Each and every one of us is unique – whether it be that we’ve been in the business for 40 years, that we’re 12th generation farmers, or that we have special environmental stewardship practices in place – everyone who plays a role in the beef industry has a story worth sharing,” says Mike Stahly, backgrounder and cow/calf producer from Cavour, S.D., and chair of the industry’s Issues Management Subcommittee. “So as the nation celebrates with us on April 22, farmers and ranchers can be proud to know we celebrate EVERY day as good stewards of our environment – we just need to share that message with consumers.”

To read the entire article, link here.

A Systematic Approach To Bull Buying

With the onset of bull buying season, having a systematic approach to finding and identifying the “right” bull is imperative, says Dr Scott P. Greiner Extension Animal Scientist, Virginia University Tech.

Establish Selection Priorities

Concentrate on those factors which stand to have the largest impact on profitability. Remember that income is derived from performance (sale weight, percent calf crop weaned, carcass merit, etc.). Performance is a function of both genetics and environment/management. Superior genetics can be negated by poor management, which emphasizes the importance of separating the impact of management (nutrition, health program) from that of genetics when specific priorities for the herd are established. Considering both the genetic and management influences on various traits is important. Focus on the handful of priority traits rather than attempting to change many traits simultaneously. Establishing the few traits to focus on is the key factor.

To read the entire article, link here.