News Update

May 4, 2005

Early Weaning Could Improve Carcass Quality

Kansas State University (K-State) researchers have found that weaning calves earlier can improve carcass quality.

According to a university release, a research project designed to investigate the effects of early weaning on carcass characteristics of bulls and steers confirmed that early weaning measurably improves carcass quality of both bulls and steers.

Twig Marston, K-State beef specialist and one of the researchers, said the early-maturing cattle used in the study were weaned at 117 days, compared to the more common 220 days, and cattle were harvested at about 12 months of age. Of the steaks from young bulls and steers, the bull samples had a greater incidence of less tender meat; however, carcass cutability was better compared to steer calves. Young bulls also had a greater percentage of dark-cutting carcasses.

“Early-weaned bulls were expected to outperform early-weaned steers and have as good or better carcass quality,” Marston stated in the release. “But that didn’t happen. In addition, the eating quality characteristics were better for the early-weaned steers than early-weaned bulls or the cattle weaned at seven to eight months of age. We believe that greater differences between bulls and steers would occur if the cattle would have been slaughtered at older ages than those used in the trial.”

For more information and a complete analysis of the research project, visit

Legislation for Young Ag Producers Introduced

Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) and Congressman Lee Terry (R-Neb.) introduced legislation into the House of Representatives last week to provide tax relief to landowners who sell to beginning farmers and ranchers.

The legislation is meant to increase the number of first-time farmers and ranchers, while keeping more of the nation’s agricultural land in production, according to a release issued by Pomeroy’s office.

The bipartisan legislation would provide capital gains tax relief for landowners who voluntarily sell their land to “first-time buyer” farmers, ranchers or others who would keep the land in agricultural use. The proposal would create three levels of relief for farmers and ranchers selling their land, including:

1) Producers who sell their ag land to a beginning farmer or rancher would receive a 100% reduction in their capital gains taxes, helping younger producers compete with larger, established producers and developers.

2) Producers selling land that will be kept in ag production would receive a 50% reduction in capital gains taxes.

3) All ag producers selling their farm or ranchland would receive an automatic 25% reduction in their capital gains taxes regardless of to whom they sell their land.

VS Confirmed in New Mexico

The first 2005 case of vesicular stomatitis (VS) has been confirmed in New Mexico, the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) reported. Lab results last week confirmed the infection in two horses on a premises in Grant County.

VS, a disease causing temporary blister-like lesions similar to symptoms of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), usually appears sporadically throughout the summer and has involved New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and Colorado in previous outbreaks.

VS-infected animals on a premises are quarantined until 30 days after all lesions are healed to ensure sick animals aren’t moved and to prevent disease spread.

To report suspected cases of VS, owners and veterinarians should call their state’s livestock health regulatory agency. For Texas, producers should call 1-800-550-8242; New Mexico, (505) 841-6161; and Colorado, (303) 239-4161.

Novartis Sweepstakes Announced

To celebrate the sale of its 200 millionth dose of Vira Shield®, Novartis Animal Health is sponsoring the “Legacy of Leadership” sweepstakes.

Five $5,000 cash prizes will be awarded to participants to use toward education expenses for themselves, a family member or friend. Winners will also receive a free trip to accept their cash awards at the 2006 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Convention in Denver, Colo., or the 2006 World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif. The company will also make contributions to the National FFA and 4-H organizations.

For an entry form and official rules, go to

Canada Boosts Surveillance Almost 800%, CCA Reports

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) yesterday released a statement applauding the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for boosting bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) surveillance in the country by almost 800% from January to April 2005, compared to the same time period in 2004.

In the release, CCA President Stan Eby said he foresees Canada surpassing original 2005 surveillance goals — set at 30,000 tested high-risk animals — by at least 100%.

by Crystal Albers, Angus Productions Inc. assistant editor

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