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Articles from 2015 In July


Meat Market Update | Cutout drops in $16 in past month

Ed Czerwien, USDA Market News reporter in Amarillo, TX, provides us with the latest outlook on boxed beef prices and the weekly cattle trade.

The Comprehensive or Average Choice Cutout was only down $1.26 for the week, but has dropped about $16 in the past month, putting it at the lowest level since June 2014. The total volume of Box Beef Sales was down 691 loads.
 
The positive news for the week was that some of the average prices for out-front sales have started to improve over the current average prices, since most of the out-front sales prices had been at a discount to the current prices for several weeks.

When working with family isn’t all that great

When working with family isn’t all that great

One of the greatest aspects about living on a ranch is working side by side with your family. And occasionally, one of the worst aspects about ranching is working side by side with your family. 

It’s hard to explain. As a dad, I have a sense of pride when my three kids and wife are helping work cattle. The kids have turned into pretty good hands; but even so, we have a tendency at times to not treat each other like we should in these circumstances. I don’t expect an employee to read my mind, but I think my family should. When an employee lets a cow go back, we laugh; but when it is one of the kids, I give this exasperated look and chomp my nicotine gum in such a way that everyone knows I’m disgusted. 

And it’s just not me. The kids will talk to each other in a way that they would never dream of talking to someone else. The whole thing can go from bliss to misery in just a few brief moments. 

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Readers share their favorite photos of cattle grazing or steers bellied up to the feedbunk. See reader favorite nutrition photos here.

 

I’ve been the one to throw a wet blanket on the party more than once. Yet, a few moments ago, the tables turned and I got called in after the deterioration had occurred. They were moving a large group of cows and a few got into the neighbor’s corn field. By the time all the cows were back where they belonged, a few cornstalks and a lot of feelings had been trampled. Having the perspective of not being involved in the whole fray, I could tell the damage was minimal and all the cows were in their place. It all should have been a good laugh at the dinner table that night; instead, there were three people who were angry at each other. In a rare bout of common sense, I held my tongue and didn’t offer my typical words of wisdom; words that would have gone over like a lead balloon. 

Working with cattle and equipment almost assures that everything doesn’t go as planned. The damage, though, usually tends to be minimal and the setback not that severe. I should have gathered everyone around, told them how much I appreciated their help, and took the crew in for a cold drink, a hot lunch and a heart-felt prayer. I even thought about taking the kids down to the Quonset and schooling them in a game of table tennis. But since I’m still a long way away from being a great boss or dad, we just went back to work. 

Getting to work with your kids is a gift. I think it is why the primary goal for so many of us in ranching is to grow the operation to the point where it can allow the kids to come back. I won’t promise, the next time something goes awry, that I won’t give my patented disgusted look, speak harshly or make a snide comment. But I will try to laugh and smile more the next time we are working together. 

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Why stop with food? I am going to champion my own movement

Why stop with food? I am going to champion my own movement

The food movement wants to put a halt to modern agriculture. They want us to forsake technology and modern practices, and somehow they have made it sound not only morally right but intellectually justified as well. That got me thinking that maybe I could write a few books; champion my own movement.  

My GMO is going to be the computer chip. Like GMOs, the evidence is that they’re harmless, but do we really know all the terrible effects of those insidious things? It’s clear that social media (fueled by microchips) has killed conversation, and it undoubtedly has done more to fuel the obesity epidemic than soda and candy bars, what with all the hours spent on the couch playing electronic games or just watching TV. What’s more, microchip-powered gizmos have eliminated who knows how many jobs by reduced manual labor by a considerable amount. While it might be a better-made car, don’t we all prefer one made with human hands rather than a robot? 

Food activists love to hate Monsanto. Yet, while the food activists rail against big ag corporations, the technology front gives me Microsoft, IBM and Intel, just to name a few. Since they protect intellectual property and strive to make a profit, I should be able to take the same anti-big company rhetoric and just transfer it over to technology. Global warming or the population explosion have always been the Armageddon scenario that activists have used to make the case that action needs to be taken, and taken immediately. I could use Big Brother and artificial intelligence to my advantage. After all, nearly everyone has seen at least one of the Terminator movies. Technology unleashed always has the potential for calamity. 

Everyone cares about food. It fuels our bodies and many of us eat three times a day or more. Smart phones and email may not be as crucial to sustaining life, but I know some teenagers who would rather go without food than their Snapchat. Sure, there will always be those who like their computers or prefer to use a calculator, but weren’t we all a little better off when we had typewriters and had to add up all those columns by hand? There was something simpler and purer about life back then. 

I’m still struggling with the elitist part; the poor will be disadvantaged by eliminating technology. But the food movement hasn’t been particularly concerned about that either. They accept that their vision of nutritional utopia is a luxury that only the wealthy can participate in and, if implemented, the disadvantaged will go hungry. I think I’ve discovered, though, that they realize that the economics of food production will keep the world from turning away from modern agriculture altogether.

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So it is with my cause, too. I’ll just have to accept that some people will prefer efficiency and the convenience of using microchips, but I’m sure I can make the case with almost religious zeal that the microchip has made the world not only unhealthy, but also somehow diminished.  

I also was worried that I would have a hard time getting the word out about my new movement without using the microchip-laced world of communication. A good friend eliminated that worry, pointing out that Al Gore can fly all over the world in his private jet to deliver speeches on the harm of carbon-based fuels and conspicuous consumption. Perhaps I can even convince Intel to market some chips with less computing power to fill in the gap of those who feel guilty about using the technology but still want the benefits.  

In today’s world, less is more.   

The opinions of Troy Marshall are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com and the Penton Agriculture Group.

 

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Remember, sustainability still needs to feed 10 billion people

Remember, sustainability still needs to feed 10 billion people

“If I have to feed 10 billion people, do I get there feeding cage-free chickens?”

That blunt question from Cameron Bruett, head of corporate affairs for JBS USA, defines how the call for “sustainability” in food production must also take into account a huge population growth the next three decades.

Bruett, also immediate past president of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), addressed the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association’s 63rd Annual Convention last week. He outlined how GRSB works to advance beef sustainability in manner that’s fair to all players in the beef value chain.

“We envision a world in which all aspects of the beef value chain are environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable,” Bruett said, describing GRSB’s vision. “The mission of GRSB is to advance continuous improvement in global beef value chain sustainability, through leadership, science, and multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration.”

Producer organizations like NCBA are among GRSB leadership. It also includes educational institutions like Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension, animal health companies, environmental groups and retailers. Bruett emphasized that scientifically proven advances in beef and other animal protein technology must be part of a sustainability program.

With world population projected to reach some 10 billion by 2050, “the world will need 70% more food,” Bruett said. “If we look at today’s food consumption, we need three more planet Earths” to generate the feed, water and other resources to meet that enormous task.

World food demand cannot be met via the lifestyle and diet preached by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other animal activists and some other environmental groups, he said.

“We know technology is going to be part of meeting the challenge. We can’t go back to 1940s agriculture,” he said. “The reason we have 7.5 billion people on the planet now is because we can feed them. A lot of people in the world are hungry. They don’t want a bottled-fed, petted calf. They just want meat.”

Bruett stressed that ranchers and feeders continue to expand their efforts to educate consumers about how cattle are handled properly and produced in a manner that enhances the environment. Such actions are needed to offset misinformation spouted by HSUS and other entities, which oppose modern agriculture and meat production, he said.

Many Americans remain ignorant about agricultural production, and some believe farmers, ranchers and feeders “jeopardize the land,” he said. “If it’s on the Internet, some people believe it’s true.

“The demands of sustainability go right to your operation,” stressing how producers and feeders must remain involved in the process, even if they are skeptical. “With sustainability, it’s all about continuous improvement.”

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BEEF Seedstock 100
Looking for a new seedstock provider? Use our BEEF Seedstock 100 listing to find the largest bull sellers in the U.S. Browse the Seedstock 100 list here.

 

Beef’s story of reducing its environmental footprint must be told, he said, noting that the U.S. produces more pounds of beef than Brazil from more than half as many cattle. “Be proud of what you do, talk about what you do,” he said.

For more on GRSB, visit grsbeef.org.

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Thinking of leasing bulls? 17 things to consider when writing the lease

Black Angus Bull

Bulls are expensive to buy and they’re expensive to keep. They work three months of the year, then spend the rest of the time lying around, tearing things up and eating expensive feed. And those are just a few reasons why a cattleman may choose to lease a bull. Oftentimes, these transactions are done on a handshake; however, getting the terms of the lease in writing can protect both parties, help articulate a clear agreement, and provide a roadmap for resolving disputes to preserve a business relationship. Here are some tips on what to include in a bull lease agreement:

  • Identification of animals: The lease should be clear on which bull(s) are subject to the lease. If the bull is registered with a breed association, it is recommended to include the breed registration number and a copy of the registration paper as an addendum. Consider putting the approximate weight and body condition score of the bull at the time of the agreement; in some cases, the bull owner will include a photograph of the bull to illustrate his condition on or around the date of delivery.

    Identify the cows: In most cases, bull leases should be clear on which females the bull will be bred to. In some instances, a detailed list of the cows, their identification numbers, dates of birth and breed may be attached as an addendum to the lease. This may be important for multiple reasons: (1) to show that the bull will not be overworked; (2) to demonstrate that the bull will or will not be used on virgin heifers or; (3) the bull will not be bred to unapproved cows owned by the breeder or third parties.

  • Bull use location(s): The bull lease should be clear where the bull will be housed. Will the bull be on pasture on the breeder’s property? Will the bull transfer among three different properties owned or rented by the breeder?

  • Delivery: How is the bull being transported from the bull owner’s property to the breeder’s property? Who pays for the expense of the transportation and bears any risk of loss, injury or illness of the bull during the delivery time? Are there penalties for late delivery? Will the bull be transported to a bull stud once a month during the lease? It is also recommended that both parties agree to comply with transportation laws for the truck and trailer and any animal welfare laws that apply to the transportation of livestock, including the “twenty-eight hour law.”

  • Term: The term of the lease and procedures for extending the term should be clear.

  • Payment terms: Bull leases should have unambiguous payment terms. What is the rate, timing for payment, payment method(s) and instructions, and penalty for late payment, including interest. Some bull leases require a security deposit to help ensure the delivery of a healthy bull at the end of the term.

  • Option to purchase: Will the breeder have an option to purchase the bull at the end of the lease or is this a “rent-to-own” contract for a bull?

  • Insurance: The bull may be insured to cover risks relating to the death, injury or illness of: (a) the bull; (b) other animals caused by the bull or; (c) people caused by the bull. This coverage may be included in the Farmowner’s Comprehensive Liability Policy, coverage by specialized and targeted livestock insurance, or another type of commercial insurance; however, the parties to the bull lease should address this issue.

  • Representations: Are the parties making any representations to the other party? For example, the bull owner might be representing the bull’s ownership, breed, pedigree, expected progeny differences according to the breed association, genetic DNA markers, health, fertility and structural soundness. If the bull owner represents that the bull tested positively for a certain genetic marker, then the bull owner should make sure that the lease acknowledges that genetic DNA tests are not 100% accurate and the bull owner is not taking responsibility for any error by the tester. On the flip side, the breeder may represent the health of his or her cowherd, the breed or age of the cows, certain nutrition programs, and that the animal handling practices used on the cattle operation are in compliance with federal and state animal welfare laws.

  • Record-keeping: Are there any record-keeping requirements under the lease? For example, is the breeder required to keep any feeding or breeding records? Does the breeder have to supply the bull owner with any data on the progeny, such as weaning weight, yearling weigh or genetic DNA markers?

  • Veterinary care: The issue of veterinary care should be addressed in the bull lease. It is recommended that the breeder be required to call the bull owner immediately if a medical issue ensues. Do the parties have a list of approved veterinarians? If there is an emergency, can the breeder use any available veterinarian? Who will pay for reasonable and necessary veterinary expenses?

  • Care of the bull: Parties to a bull lease should consider adding language concerning the care of the bull. Is the breeder required to use certain management techniques or nutrition programs? Is there a penalty if the bull is delivered back to the bull owner malnourished at the end of the lease term or has experienced a significant loss of weight? Unless otherwise agreed, there should be a clause restricting the breeder from taking the bull to a bull stud or otherwise collecting his semen.

Legal considerations

  • Risk of loss, injury or illness: Who is bearing the risk of loss, death, injury or illness to: (a) the bull; (b) other animals caused by the bull or; (c) people caused by the bull. Is there a penalty if the bull is injured, either with or without the fault of the breeder, so as to make the bull unserviceable to other females, including but not limited to him being crippled, unsound, or injured sheath, penis or scrotum? As noted above, how should risk of loss, injury or illness be addressed while the bull is being transported between farms and ranches?

  • Warranty/guarantee: Is either party making a warranty or guarantee? Perhaps the bull owner wants to give a warranty that the bull is of a certain breed and free of genetic birth defects. Most breed associations have posted online the genetic testing status of registered bulls, which can be included as an addendum to the lease, illustrating that the bull is pedigree-free, tested-free or assumed-free of genetic birth defects.

    If a warranty to the bull’s fertility is made, then the bull owner should supply a veterinarian-approved and signed breeding soundness evaluation as proof that the bull is a satisfactory potential breeder. On the other hand, the breeder may guarantee that the cows are healthy. Warranties on health and fertility are common if the payment terms are directly related to confirmed pregnancies. Conversely, the bull owner may want to specifically state that he does not warrant that the semen is fit for a particular purpose or that the bull’s semen will result in the production of a calf or that the progeny will result in congenital birth defects.

  • Termination: Under what circumstances can either party terminate the bull lease? For example, many bull leases allow for the termination of the lease if either party materially breaches the contract. Furthermore, there could be a clause saying that either party could terminate the lease, giving the other party X days written notice.

  • Confidentiality: This issue of confidentiality should be discussed when negotiating a bull lease. If the parties haven’t already signed a non-disclosure agreement, do they want the terms of the bull lease to be confidential? Will any exceptions to this confidentiality apply and for how long should the obligation of confidentiality apply?

  • Dispute resolution: Few bull leases address dispute resolution and they should—just ask anyone who has been a party to law suit. Litigation can be long and expensive. Parties should consider having a mediation clause requiring the parties to a bull lease to use an experienced agriculture mediator to help facilitate a settlement of the dispute. If mediation is futile, the parties should consider having a binding arbitration clause under the rules of the American Arbitration Association.

  • Relationship of parties: In most cases, the contract should be clear that the bull owner and breeder are not forming a partnership, joint venture, agency, or any other formal business association. As an exception, if the bull lease includes a provision that the parties will sell the progeny from the bull and split the proceeds, then it is a partnership and instead of a bull lease, the parties should have a general partnership agreement.

    Put simply, when two or more people go to business together and share profits, then they have formed a partnership. This is an important concept to understand because general partnerships are oftentimes formed in the livestock community, sometimes inadvertently. Partners can legally bind other partners. If it is not your intent to form a partnership, then make sure your lease includes a simple clause clarifying that it is a lessor/lessee relationship versus a partnership.

A few other provisions: If the bull owner and the breeder are in different states, it is paramount that the contract should say what the choice of law is (e.g., New York, Illinois, Texas). Is there any exclusivity between the parties? Can the agreement be modified in writing? How will the parties handle Acts of God—tornado, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fire? Can the bull be subleased?

As you can see, there is no “one-size fits” bull lease that is suitable for every transaction. That’s why it is dangerous for cattle producers to pull a form off the Internet, fill in a few blanks, and hope that it’s “good enough.” Bull leases should be carefully tailored for the unique needs of your operation and the circumstances surrounding a particular transaction. It behooves cattle producers to hire an attorney to help craft a suitable bull lease. Cattle producers can help keep legal costs down by using this checklist and working through all the issues with the other party before consulting an attorney. Even if an attorney is not used as the draftsman, cattlemen should try to memorialize the terms of the bull lease in writing.

Editor’s Note—Cari Rincker grew up on a seedstock Simmental cattle operation in Shelbyville, Ill., where she spent significant time working on her family’s farm. She showed cattle through 4-H and FFA at both the local and national levels and was in involved with the American Junior Simmental Association. She has a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Texas A&M University; a master’s degree in animal nutrition from the University of Illinois; and a Juris Doctor degree from Pace University School of Law. She has offices in New York City and in Champaign, Ill.

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How much will a trich infection cost you? The numbers aren’t pretty

Trich in bulls

Veterinarians call it a silent thief. Silent, that is, until a rancher with a herd chronically infected with trichomonaisis realizes just how much money could have been pocketed if the herd was clean.

Take a look at the estimates and let the wailing begin.

David Anderson, livestock economist at Texas A&M University and TAMU veterinarian Tom Hairgrove put some figures together that illustrate just how economically devastating trich can be. Looking at some previously-reported data for Texas, they estimate that about 20% of the roughly 150,000 cattle herds in the state could potentially be chronically infected with trich.

They then made a few other assumptions about weaning percentages. A clean herd, on average, will have an 85% weaning percentage—calves weaned per cows exposed. A chronically-infected herd would experience a 73% weaning rate. They also assumed a 90-day calving season.

So what are the damages? “We estimate that in Texas, we lose approximately 96,000 calves” to trich each year, Anderson says. “When I say lose, I mean calves that were never born that would have been produced in the absence of the disease.”

Using 2013 price data, that adds up to $95 million in revenue to the cow-calf side of the industry in Texas—value that was never realized because those calves were never born. Assuming those calves would have gone to a feedyard, that’s a lost value in fed cattle of $156 million, Anderson says.

As he points out, 96,000 feeder calves is the annual inventory of one average Texas Panhandle feedyard. “It is not an insignificant number when we start breaking it down in terms of value,” he says.

Anderson then drilled down a little deeper, taking a look at the economic impact that trich has on an individual ranch. “In our Ag and Food Policy Center, we have a series of representative ranches where we work with a group of ranchers in a particular area and build on paper what a ranch looks like—number of cows, cost, revenue, calving rates, all that basic data,” he says.

Using that approach with a group of ranchers from the Guthrie, Texas area, Anderson put together a representative ranch of 335 cows. “It was more than 500 cows before the drought,” he notes. Then, using the same assumptions—85% weaning rate for a clean herd and 73% for a chronically-infected herd, he calculated the impact of trich on an individual ranch.

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BEEF Seedstock 100
Looking for a new seedstock provider? Use our BEEF Seedstock 100 listing to find the largest bull sellers in the U.S. Browse the Seedstock 100 list here.

 

“We end up with a change in revenue of about $37,000,” he says. “But the change in the net, revenues minus expenses, is about $44,000.” And that’s not the worst of it. Looking at it from the perspective of net cash farm income, it’s an 81% decline.

Anderson points out that this estimate just looks at the impact of the disease when a rancher has a chronic problem. Fixing the problem involves cost, he says, and he’s presently looking at what the impact would be to deal with the disease. In addition, he’s running some alternative management scenarios, such as the effect a 6-month breeding season would have on the bottom line. And his analysis assumes a chronically-infected herd. Estimates are that if a clean herd gets infected with trich, weaning percentage can drop as low as 50%.

But the numbers are clear. The silent thief isn’t so quiet when it comes to the unrealized potential that it steals from ranchers every year.

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Hay Talk Part 4: Tips for planting forages in late summer & early fall

Each Thursday in July, I’ve focused on haying topics ranging from cutting length, curing time, moisture levels, bale grazing and more. Today, we’re taking a look at planting supplemental forages in early August, September and October.

In case you missed it, check out the first three Hay Talk installments here:

Hay Talk Part 1: Why cutting height & moisture levels matter

Hay Talk Part 2: 6 resources for making haylage-in-a-day & bale grazing, processing

Hay Talk Part 3: Troubleshooting rain-damaged hay & inadequate fermentation

Excessive rainfall in some parts of the country has resulted in poor-quality hay, damaged fields, and a reduced amount of tonnage stockpiled for winter. As a result, many cattle producers are considering planting supplemental forages to make it through the remaining grazing season.

In a recent Ohio BEEF Cattle newsletter, Mark Sulc, Ohio State University Extension forage specialist, offered some tips for producing supplemental forage from late summer plantings.

“The most convenient areas for planting annual forages for the remainder of this growing season are in fields coming out of wheat grain harvest and corn silage that will be harvested in late August to early September,” writes Sulc. “Of course, acres where corn or soybean plantings were prevented by wet weather can also be used, provided the corn or soybean herbicides applied are not harmful to forage plantings. Always check herbicide labels for crop rotation restrictions prior to planting forages.”

Here are 3 tips from Sulc for planting forages August-October:

1. Early August planting

Sulc says the best options for early August planting are spring oat, spring triticale, or annual ryegrass.

“Oat seed usually can be purchased at a more economical price than spring triticale, but either species will produce good dry matter yields within 60 to 80 days after planting,” says Sulc. “When planted the first two weeks of August and with adequate rainfall, oat and spring triticale can produce from 2,500 to 5,000 pounds per acre of dry matter by mid-October. The lower yields occur when leaf rust becomes a problem, which is a possibility in a damp year like we've had so far. They will reach the boot stage of growth in October, which provides the best compromise of yield and forage quality.”

READ: They'll expand if their forage supplies support it

2. Late August to early September plantings

Sulc says spring oat, spring triticale, and annual ryegrass can also be planted from late August to mid-September, following an early corn silage harvest.

“These later planting dates will produce lower yields (1,500 to 3,000 pounds dry matter per acre) than August plantings and harvest will be delayed into months with poor drying conditions (November to early December),” says Sulc. “Plantings in early September would be an excellent option for grazing or green chopping. If an early spring forage harvest is desirable next year, winter triticale and winter rye should be included in mixture with the spring oat and spring triticale planted in late August and early September.”

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3. Late September to October plantings

To produce a high-quality forage for early next spring, Sulc says to consider wheat, winter triticale, and winter rye.

“Rye grows and matures rapidly in the spring and has the deserved reputation of becoming ‘like straw’ in a short period of time once it turns reproductive,” says Sulc. “Wheat and winter triticale will be easier to manage next spring because they mature more slowly than rye. Forage quality can be excellent for these species if harvested in boot stage of growth in the spring, producing from 2 to 4 tons per acre of dry matter depending on stage of harvest.”

For more planting tips, seeding rates and mixtures from Sulc, click here. 

Are you planning on planting supplemental forages in late summer and early fall? If so, what is your preferred mix and how soon will you get your cover crops planted? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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

 

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Pre-harvest precautions help minimize risk of silage gas

You put up silage to help your cattle stay healthy and well-fed. You don’t put up silage to make a home-made version of a World War I-era gas bomb. But that’s what might happen if you’re not careful when you store your silage.

“Quality silage starts all the way back in the field — and so does overall silage safety,” says Renato Schmidt, Ph.D, technical services forage, Lallemand Animal Nutrition. “Dangerous gases can be produced naturally during the early stages of the ensiling process. The right conditions can intensify the production or releases of these gases.”

First, Schmidt recommends producers practice timely and adequate nitrogen fertilization as well as manure application, taking care to include the manure-slurry contribution in nitrogen calculations. Furthermore, producers need to be aware that crops like corn, sorghum, small grains and sudangrass are more likely to accumulate nitrates.

Next, producers should avoid harvesting during unfavorable weather conditions. Periods of droughts followed by heavy rainfall — as well as damage from frost and hail — can lead to increased nitrate uptake by the plants and that can lead to production of an orange, toxic silage gas. Thus, a four- to five-day wait period is recommended.

Soon after ensiling, nitrates in the plant can be converted into nitric oxide, which and becomes hazardous when it combines with oxygen in the atmosphere to form toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2). When continued oxidization occurs, dinitrogen pentoxide (N205) is produced. Schmidt warns this is a highly unstable compound that forms nitric acid when it reacts with water. The decomposition of N205 results in nitrogen dioxide, which is dangerous to famers if even small amounts are inhaled. Nitrogen dioxide can lead to pneumonia-like symptoms and death if not recognized and treated properly. Even brief exposure can be fatal.

Even if producers harvest forages correctly, it’s still important to take common-sense safety measures after ensiling. Schmidt recommends avoiding entering the silo during the first three days after filling. If it’s necessary to enter the silo, ventilate the area first and always enter with another person. If possible, use a self-contained breathing apparatus.

Warning signs of dangerous gases include a yellow or brownish color and a bleach-like odor. The gas can leave yellow or orange stains in the silage or on other materials. Even if no signs are present, don’t let children near silos. Producers can also post signage to warn people of the dangers of silage gas.

“Even a natural byproduct of the ensiling process can be dangerous when not properly recognized and handled correctly,” Schmidt says. “Silage safety begins long before fermentation is complete. Producers should take precautions to prevent dangerous gases before and during harvest.”

Detailed information on silage gas and full safety instructions can be found within technical bulletins, on-line university websites, and by Extension offices or available at www.qualitysilage.com.

 

Red Angus association ramps up feedlot, carcass data collection

Red Angus breeders and the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) have long been at the forefront of genetic improvement through the strong and long use of performance data. And that has helped make the breed a source of go-to genetics for commercial cattle producers.

Now, using its history of leading the industry in the collection of data points necessary for the further refinement of maternal strengths, RAAA is now implementing a very aggressive, multi-point plan to increase the quantity and quality of feedlot performance and carcass data. 

Carcass Data Reimbursement Program

Facilitating the collection of individual animal detailed carcass data in which the sire is known and in the Red Angus database has become a challenging task. However, the importance of such data is imperative for the reliable calculation of carcass EPDs. Recognizing this need, RAAA will compensate producers $10 per head for carcass data that meet the following requirements:

  • Sire known and in the RAAA database
  • Detailed Carcass Data: Hot Carcass Weight, Marbling Score, Ribeye Area, Back Fat
  • At least two sires represented in the contemporary group
  • At least five progeny per sire

Carcass Progeny Test

Recognizing the challenges of conducting a carcass progeny test in which young, low-accuracy bulls are tested against older, high-accuracy bulls, the RAAA provides such service through the Carcass Progeny Test (CPT). Producers who desire to ‘prove out’ the carcass genetics of a young sire through the CPT can do so by nominating their sire.

If the sire is selected, the nominating producer is obligated to pay a $1,500 nomination fee to RAAA and contribute 75 straws of semen. In return, the producer is guaranteed detailed carcass data on at least 12 progeny. In addition, RAAA and the test herd will make the best effort to collect individual animal feed intake data on 10 randomly selected steers per sire. 

Feed Intake – GGP-LD Exchange

While Red Angus’ collection of individual animal feed intake records continues to grow, RAAA leadership desires to speed the rate of that growth. To incentivize producers to collect more feed intake records, a program has been developed and launched which will provide for the exchange of a GeneSeek Genomic Profile Low-Density (GGP-LD) test, or equivalent thereof, for each individual animal feed intake record. To ensure data quality, requirements to qualify for the exchange are:

  • At least two sires represented in the contemporary group
  • At least five progeny per sire

RAAA’s aggressive effort through these three programs will provide Red Angus stakeholders with a wealth of information to include in the calculation of existing carcass EPDs, as well as the potential to research new economically relevant traits. 

To learn more about these programs contact Director of Breed Improvement Larry Keenan at larry@redangus.org or 940-387-3502, ext. 12. 

 

We lose a piece of history with every memorial service

Historic barn
<p>Historic barn on the Sheriff ranch</p>

I said goodbye last weekend. Goodbye to a man who knew me before I was born, as his wife, Ida, said when she introduced me to others that day. John and Ida Sheriff were the closest neighbors when my parents moved to Hot Sulphur Springs, Colo., in the early 50s, and like ranch folk everywhere, the Sheriffs welcomed the newcomers openly. John and Ida and Mom and Dad forged a friendship that remains as strong today as it was more than 60 years ago.

John went to meet his Lord this spring, and the family held a memorial service at the ranch in the Colorado mountains that his great-grandmother and grandfather homesteaded in 1881. During the service, his son, Steve, said simply, “My dad was a cattleman.” I can think of no higher compliment.

While the ranch and cattle were his true passions, he loved history. John and Ida were involved in the Grand County Historical Association for most of their adult lives and as Tim Nicklas, executive director of the association’s museum said, “We might have a museum, but we wouldn’t have near the museum we do without John and Ida Sheriff.” He said anytime he had a question about some aspect of local history, all he had to do was call John for an answer. When your roots run 134 years deep, and you’ve been around for almost 90 of those years, you know a thing or two.

It struck me, listening to the stories that friends and neighbors told about a truly humble and life-loving man, that not only did we lose a piece of local history, but the beef business lost a part of its history as well. John Sheriff, and all those of his generation who went to war and then came home to America’s ranches and farms, are who made the industry what it is today. It is on their broad and capable shoulders that we stand, and it is from their lives and sacrifices that we learn.

John was the first in Colorado’s Middle Park to bring Angus cattle to the region. While his ranch remained largely a Hereford herd, John was always thinking ahead, looking for ways he could improve things, do things better. However, those first few calf crops met with less-than-enthusiastic response from the buyers. He could hardly give the crossbred calves away. History has proven his foresight—he was just 60 years ahead of his time.

There’s a lesson there and there are lessons to be learned from all of John’s generation—lessons that only those who have gone before can teach.

“I feel like I’m losing a piece of history,” Nicklas said.

We all did.  

 

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