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Farm Progress America, June 28, 2017

Max Armstrong offers insight into Cuba, its economy, and how it is providing limited economic reforms. The moves have opened some new opportunities in the country for future trade and other businesses. Farm organizations, however, are not happy that the current Administration has backed off from trade with the country.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Antibiotic feeding trial cuts usage

Alan Newport Feedlot ration
Researchers tested whether they could control liver abscesses with reduced feeding of the antibiotic Tylan.

Kansas State University researchers recently found they could successfully feed Tylan on an intermittent basis to control liver abscesses and reduce overall antibiotic volume.

In this study, 312 crossbred steers weighing 908 pounds were randomly assigned to three treatments:

1) No Tylan

2) Tylan fed continuously

3) Tylan fed on an intermittent basis.

In the intermittent treatment, steers were fed Tylan during a step-up period of 21 days and after that received Tylan on a one-week on, two-week off pattern through the rest of the feeding period. All Tylan was removed for a two-week withdrawal period prior to the harvest date.

Researchers said the practice did not adversely affect carcass traits, cattle performance, or the incidence and severity of liver abscesses.

The chart with this story shows no significant difference in final body weight, average daily gain, dry matter intake, or feed efficiency.

It also shows no statistical difference between the treatments with respect to hot-carcass weight, dressed yield, ribeye area, backfat thickness, or quality and yield grades.

Britt Hicks, Oklahoma State University

This chart shows the results from intermittent feeding of Tylan provided essentially the same control of liver abscesses as did full-time feeding.

The use of Tylan was reduced by 60% using the intermittent treatment.

One of the goals was to measure antibiotic resistance and see whether reduced exposure via the decrease in Tylan feeding would cut into resistance levels. That was not the case.

Researchers collected feces from eight randomly selected animals in each pen on days 0, 20 and 118 to assess the impact of treatment on the amount of antimicrobial resistant enterococci bacteria.

They reported that enterococcus bacterial counts did not differ by treatment group over time, and that there was a strong period effect for antimicrobial resistance among all groups. Resistance increased dramatically from day 0 to day 118.

Researchers suggested the development of antimicrobial resistance is not necessarily driven by exposure to antibiotics included in the diet, because resistance increased in all treatments. Instead, they thought more likely it is acquired through exposure to resistance elements that have accumulated in the feeding environment over time.

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Rural Media Group launches The Cowboy Channel

Rural Media Group has announced that its FamilyNet cable television network will be rebranded “The Cowboy Channel” effective July 1. Programming will shift from airing the nostalgic and popular comedy sitcoms of the 70’s & 80’s to being anchored by western sports and everything that encompasses the popular western lifestyle.

At launch, “The Cowboy Channel” will enjoy distribution into over 30 million homes on cable/satellite systems which carried FamilyNet, and will grow from that great foundation of being on DISH Network channel 232, AT&T U-Verse channel 566, Charter Spectrum channel 468, and selected Cox, Comcast, Mediacom, and many rural cable systems. In addition, “The Cowboy Channel” will have an aggressive Over-the-Top (OTT) strategy through its cable partners and offer the service on digital platforms including Amazon Fire Stick, Hulu, Roku, Apple TV and others which will allow viewing on mobile devices, iPads, computers, and wireless devices.

“When RMG originally purchased FamilyNet in 2012, it was our intention to make it a western lifestyle channel to compliment the rural programming on RFD-TV,” stated Patrick Gottsch, founder & president of Rural Media Group. “At that time, we just didn’t pull the trigger as I was uncomfortable that there was enough original programming or interest to support such a full-time independent channel and decided that RFD-TV was able to handle the demand. However, over the past four years, we have been able to prove the viability for such a channel lead by the success of RFD-TV’s The American, which has developed a strong track record of Nielsen ratings and built tremendous sponsor/advertiser support for our yearly rodeo at AT&T Stadium.  In addition, the popularity of western sports for both participants and audiences continues to grow as evidenced by our daily Western Sports Roundup on SiriusXM radio, and the Western Sports Wednesday prime-time programming now featured each week on RFD-TV.”

“The Cowboy Channel” name was chosen because of the iconic image that the American cowboy enjoys not only in America, but throughout the world. Say the word “cowboy” and people already have a recognition and expectation on what would or should be on such a channel. It immediately congers up so many different associations with different people for the western lifestyle – cowgirls, rodeo, ranching, music, horses, cattle, environmentalist, family, hard work, tradition – the list goes on and on. All will be featured on the network and provides an almost endless list of topics and programming to build upon.

Drought conditions worsen in the Dakotas

Amanda Radke Hauling Water

Things are getting a little dry in my neck of the woods. Although there is rain in the forecast tonight, already this summer we have been hauling water daily to the empty stock dams in our nearby pastures, and while we usually bypass putting up ditch hay, we’ve been scrambling to put together winter forages before hay prices really start climbing.

While my ranch isn’t in the heart of the drought, we certainly can empathize with the folks experiencing extreme drought conditions in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.

In a recent article, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard writes, “Drought affects everyday life in South Dakota. To some, it means just minor inconveniences — like no fireworks or campfires — but to others it can mean a major disruption of one’s livelihood. More than anyone, our farmers and ranchers feel the impact. The drought has stunted grass growth and hay production in much of the state, and ag producers are scrambling to keep livestock fed."

Daugaard has declared a statewide emergency drought situation to offer producers relief. This allows folks to cut and bale state highway ditches next to their property and activates the State Drought Task Force, which coordinates the exchange of information amongst government, agriculture, fire and water supply entities.

Back at the ranch, many producers are sharing how they plan to get through the drought, including Richard Sinke, who runs cattle near Gann Valley, S.D.

Sinke told my local newspaper, The Daily Republic, that on hay fields where he normally brings home 100 bales, he’s harvested less than 20. He says his shriveling corn crop will have to be used for silage, and if he can’t get hay at a decent price, he’ll need to start selling off his herd.

Pete and Rick Severson of Onida, S.D., told AgWeek’s Mikkel Pates that plans for cover crops will need to be axed unless they can get some rain, and the summer is shaping up to look like the drought they experienced just four years previous.

"This year, I'm so disheartened with commodity prices; I just don't want to put any more money into it," Rick says. "Being this far behind in moisture this late in the game, it's hard to get a game changer that would change that.”

Agweek’s Jenny Schlecht also reports, “Cattle producers have been reducing herd sizes, mostly by cutting older cows. Now some are looking at feed for the fall and winter.

"Some went out and clipped their hay land, hoping rain would provide for a second cutting. Some soybeans had to be replanted after they didn't come up. Corn ranges from good to marginal, but the question whether it will make grain or have to be used as silage remains. Small grains are very short and are heading out, so some producers are thinking of cutting and baling it for livestock forage for themselves or to sell.”

Dennis Hanson, owner of Fort Pierre Auction, says he’s seeing more young heifers sold through the stockyard.

"A lot of replacement heifers are coming to town that wouldn't come to town normally," says Hanson, in an interview with AgWeek. "They're out of grass or trying to save their grass, keeping their cow herd.”

If conditions worsen, producers are going to be looking for signs of relief and assistance in identifying and purchasing available forages for the upcoming winter months. As for us, we’re going to continue to pray for rain and hope we can stockpile what’s available for forages in our neighborhood while also attending hay auctions in town to look for good deals.

How are moisture levels in your neck of the woods? Let us know how you’re doing in the comments section below.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Penton Agriculture.



A tragedy from fire in the home unfortunately is not uncommon in our region. In Detroit, three people died in house fire. Two of three were three-year-old twins. Third person killed was their grandmother.

The pork industry is anticipating release on latest Hogs and Pigs report. It's likely to show continued expansion. Look for that growth to continue as breeding herd is expected to be 1% higher than last year.

More of us pickup folks want more luxury in those trucks. Automakers are happy to oblige. Dodge coming out with 1500 limited edition RAM selling at just over $50,000 that is their most tricked out truck yet.

Everyday we see poor drivers. There's a list to show were worst drivers are. Many are in California. Looked at number of accidents, speeding. Omaha, Denver, Colombus were among locations with worst drivers. 

Your veterinarian’s role in responsible antibiotic use

Photo by Wes Ishmael Stockers at Timberlawn Farm

Source: Zoetis

In caring for cattle, responsible use of antibiotics involves many things and people, but there’s one person who should continue to be part of these decisions — your veterinarian.

“As veterinarians, we have an ethical responsibility to make sure that we preserve the efficacy of antibiotics for future generations and ensure continued access to certain classes of antibiotics in food animals,” says Robin Falkner, DVM, managing veterinarian at Zoetis. “We use our medical training when we prescribe these medicines to restore or maintain animal health and well-being, and we take the responsibility of using them very seriously.”

Veterinarians strive to prescribe antibiotics in a responsible way to not only help treat infections but also to help reduce the unintended risk of antimicrobial resistance. This includes helping producers:

  • Decrease the need to use antibiotics. Doing things to help keep animals from ever getting sick is our top priority, Falkner says. This means looking at disease management and making tweaks that can help prevent disease outbreaks.
  • Ensure antibiotics are used only when they are needed. Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infection. Veterinarians help identify if a bacterial disease is present or likely to be present, and then can recommend the right antibiotic to help address the disease challenge. For instance, there are four key bacterial pathogens associated with bovine respiratory disease, and we can recommend an antibiotic that will be effective against these pathogens, Falkner says.
  • Reduce the need for additional antibiotic treatments. Animals sometimes get sick, so when we do need to treat these animals, our priority becomes getting the highest treatment success, according to Falkner. If you have the right antibiotic that works the first time, you can use fewer antibiotics and have fewer animals exposed to multiple classes of antibiotics.
  • Avoid antibiotic residues in meat. Proper administration and following label instructions are important to ensure product efficacy and safety. This means reviewing treatment protocols with your veterinarian about the correct dose, route of administration and adhering to proper withdrawal times.

See the results of a good relationship.

“What I find is, when the veterinarian understands what’s important to the producer in the long-term, the veterinarian can make recommendations beyond just treating the immediate animal that’s sick,” Falkner says. “It takes effort, and the intent of both parties, to develop that type of relationship and see the results that this relationship can bring.”

For Brenda Paul, owner at Timberlawn Farm in Paris, Ky and winner of BEEF’s 2016 National Stocker Award, it means she can keep making improvements. Having a veterinarian’s input enhances animal health decisions that can help maintain the responsible use of antibiotics.

“An outside opinion is a very helpful thing to have,” Paul says.  “We’re constantly evaluating what’s working, what’s not working and what changes we need to make.”

Her veterinarian helps in evaluating data to see if they’re heading in the right direction, if there’s a treatment need, or if they need a change in the protocol.  

“We’ve been working together on developing this program over all the years we’ve been in the business,” Paul says. “And that will continue for many years.”


Fed Cattle Recap | Cash prices continue downward dive

Fed Cattle Recap

The feedlot cattle trade dropped quite a bit again for the week ending June 24. The weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region, which includes the major feeding areas of Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Iowa, $121.50 per cwt, compared with $130.12 the previous week, for a $8.62 slide to the downside.

Click on the red arrow below for a complete audio report

The Five Area weighted average cash dressed steer price was $193.80 per cwt, compared with $205.94 the previous week, about $12.14 lower.

The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 84,100 head, compared with about 81,006 the previous week. 

The Five Area average formula price was $217.42, compared with $220.53 the previous week, for a drop of $3.11. Five Area formula sales totaled 198,367 head, compared with about 186,000 the previous week. 

Nationally reported forward contracted cattle harvest was about 64,000 head, down from 78,000 the previous week. Packers have more than 302,000 head of forward contracts available for June and 136,000 for July.            

The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending June 10 was steady at 847 pounds, compared with 864 pounds last year.   

The Choice-Select spread was $23.03 on Friday, compared with $30.04 the previous week, still significantly higher than the $16.03 spread last year. The daily Choice rib primal traded at $438 on Monday, June 12, and dropped to $404 by Friday with the Choice loin following a similar path, so we’re starting to narrow the Choice-Select spread.

Estimated total federally inspected cattle harvest was 632,000 head, compared with 608,000 the same week last year, which is 24,000 head over last year. The estimated year-to-date total is 809,000 head over last year.



It was a $20,000 grant they were seeking five years ago at Trinity Lutheran Church in Missouri for their playground. State of Missouri denied and U.S. Supreme Court said state of Missouri was wrong. 7-2 decision. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts wrote exclusion of Trinity because it is church can't stand.

Farm Bureau is out with its survey of what Fourth of July cookout will cost, it's down 1% from last year's price because of abundance of meat production.


Farm Progress America, June 27, 2017

Max Armstrong shares that stored grain can be a danger with the story of an Iowa man trapped in corn. The farmer was freed after two hours in the bin, but the local fire chief noted that not all of these incidents are rescues.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.