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Angus Journal

The Angus Journal Daily, formerly the Angus e-List, is a compilation of Angus industry news; information about hot topics in the beef industry; and updates about upcoming shows, sales and events. Click here to subscribe.

News Update

August 8, 2016

Improving Quality
in Nation’s Beef Supply

The evolution of genetic progress within the beef cattle industry continues to develop at a rapid pace. And while predictions for traits such as carcass quality and marbling have improved, there’s still potential for improvement, especially for the overall beef business.

Keith Belk, meat scientist with Colorado State University, says the Angus breed has made great strides toward improving end-product merit, and more opportunity lies ahead.

“In some characteristics, we do really well in making genetic progress, in others we don’t do so well, marbling being one of them,” Belk said. “I think the only way we’ve made a lot of progress in marketing, as an industry, as a complete industry, is we’ve turned cattle black.”

Belk believes the cattle industry needs to follow the example of the Certified Angus Beef®®) brand in order to remain competitive.

Belk was a featured speaker at the 2016 Beef Improvement Federation Annual Conference, and you can watch more of his interview in The Angus Report online. The news program airs each week at 7 a.m. CST Monday and 1:30 p.m. CST each Saturday on RFD-TV.

Backgrounding Calves: Opportunities and Risks

Some producers background their own calves, retaining ownership until and sometimes through the finishing phase, and some purchase light calves to background.

Terry Klopfenstein, professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska, has done several research studies on backgrounding calves and says there are lots of opportunities for backgrounding, especially if a producer has some niches with certain feedstuffs they can utilize.

Food byproducts in California or winter grazing in the Gulf States offer opportunities, he provides as examples. On the other hand, there are risks on both ends if you are buying and selling cattle.

“The market could be going up while you own those cattle and then go the other way before you sell them,” he says. “I think risk management is more difficult with backgrounding cattle than for feedlot cattle because the market for finished cattle is a lot more stable than our feeder markets. It’s a matter of risks and rewards.”

Continue reading in the Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA article online.

Managing Maternal Separation

“There is no event that we impose upon cattle that is more stressful than weaning. Looking at behavior is in our toolbox to evaluate welfare,” said Joe Stookey, professor of animal behavior in the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. He spoke at the fifth International Symposium on Beef Cattle Welfare (ISBCW) in Manhattan, Kan., June 8-10.

Weaning creates an immunocompromised calf, so more calves are treated for health reasons immediately postweaning than at any other time in their lives. A behavioral sign of stress at weaning is calling, both by calves and cows. This is out of character, per se, because calling is a risky behavior for a prey animal, Stookey noted. Weaning stress also causes a noticeable setback in gain.

Forty percent of the preweaned calves prior to feedlot shipment experienced sickness three to four days after, while 80% of the calves abruptly weaned at transport got sick.

Read more in the Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA article online.

Select Reproductive Solutions Specialist of the Year

At the 2016 Select Reproductive Solutions™ (SRS™) Conference hosted June 6-9 in Rochester, Minn., Brandon Thesing, Pine Island, Minn., was named the SRS Specialist of the Year for his outstanding work in the reproductive field.

“Brandon Thesing is the prototype of what the SRS Specialist of the future will look like,” said Ray Nebel, vice president of technical service programs at Select Sires. “He does an exceptional job in his many daily activities which include key account manager, A.I. technician supervisor and reproductive specialist.”

Thesing grew up on a 180-cow dairy in Winona, Minn. and graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a minor in applied economics.

For more information, view the Select Sires news release online.

Replacement Dilemma

As cattlemen try to build back or expand their herds, some are keeping more heifer calves and some are purchasing additional replacements. There are many factors to consider when deciding whether raising or buying heifers is best. These include feed costs, labor availability and costs, environmental factors, genetics, prices, tax implications, etc.

It’s not always easy to figure out what might be best for your ranch — and it may change from year to year. Patrick Gunn, cow-calf specialist at Iowa State University, says management issues help drive this decision.

“It often comes down to infrastructure and how much control you want of your genetics,” he says. “You want to make sure you’ll be able to feed heifers separate from the mature cow herd. Even within a group of developing heifers, we often don’t have the uniformity we’d like to see in terms of age and weight. In some cases it’s best to manage heifers in more than one development group.”

Continue reading in the Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA article online.


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