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News Update

October 31, 2012

Angus Journal Offers Digital Edition

Angus Journal subscribers are getting a bonus this month as the flagship publication of the American Angus Association premiers its digital component. The new format puts the entire magazine — articles and advertising — online as soon as the issue comes off the printing press, giving subscribers access to the issue a week to 10 days earlier than usual.

"That's a great benefit to readers wanting to review sale offerings before attending a producer's sale, not to mention the advertiser hoping to give potential customers a few extra days to evaluate the cattle," says Terry Cotton, general manager. "The new format will allow advertisers to include video that will be accessible in the digital edition, and, of course, website addresses will provide instant access to the advertiser's homepage or sale book."

"Editorially, we hope to enhance articles with video interviews of sources that can add a new dimension to our stories," says Shauna Hermel, editor. "We always try to give our readers information on where to go to get additional information. The new format will allow that at the click of a button, and we'll be able to add bonus features."

Navigation is simple. Readers can click on a story title in the table of contents and go directly to the article or use the search feature to find an advertiser or article topic. Readers can share stories or advertisements with the click of a button.

"We are not moving away from the print edition," Cotton assures readers, "and that's why we have chosen to couple the digital edition with the print subscription. Both formats are included in one subscription rate. We simply want to enhance your experience with what we think is the best publication in the beef industry.

Instructions for how to sign up for Angus Journal Login to gain access to the digital format are available at To subscribe to the Angus Journal or to purchase a gift subscription for an Angus enthusiast, visit For assistance, contact the Angus Journal staff at 816-383-5200 or email

East Central/Select Sires to Hold AI Trainings

Farm owners or employees who want to learn the skill of artificial insemination (AI) for dairy cattle can sign up for several training sessions being offered in the coming months by East Central/Select Sires.

The Waupun-based cooperative announced it will host three-day workshops around the state of Wisconsin. Participants will spend one day learning about the basics of AI in a classroom setting. The remainder of the time will be spent on the farm mastering the techniques firsthand.

The sessions are from 9 a.m. to noon. Dates and locations are as follows: Oct. 29-31, Dodgeville, Wisc.; Nov. 13-15, Waupun, Wisc.; Dec. 4-6, Janesville, Wisc.; Dec. 5-7, Sparta, Wisc.; Jan. 7-9, DeForest, Wisc.

There is a training fee of $200 per person. All students who complete the course will receive a certificate of completion and a $100 semen voucher that can be used for future semen purchases.

To reserve your spot for the training in your area, call 1-800-288-7473.

Cow Selection Strategies that Complement Your Feed Resources

During the last six years, there has been a steady reduction in beef cow numbers nationally. This reduction in cow inventory means fewer feeder calves. Lower feeder calf inventory has put pressure on feedlot operators because of the increased competition for the calves that are available and excess bunk space in the feedlots.

Due to the price slide that exists when pricing feeder calves, heavy calves are priced at a lower price, in dollars per pound or dollars per hundredweight (cwt.), compared to lighter weight calves. In the past, the value of the added gain was usually about 55¢ per pound. Looking at feeder-calf prices in late June and comparing 500-pound (lb.) and 600-lb. calves in the Nebraska markets, the value of added weight is more like 84¢ per pound of added gain. Even with fewer calves, total beef production has increased.

Some cow-calf producers may interpret the current market signals to investigate opportunities to increase weaning weight. What management decisions, other than creep feeding the calves, might cow-calf producers consider to stay profitable?

There are at least a couple of genetic tools that can be used by the commercial cow-calf producer to increase weaning weight. The ones that first come to mind are to select sires with high EPDs for weaning weight and yearling weight and/or select sires that have higher expected progeny differences (EPDs) for milk production. There is ample information from seedstock producers and breed associations that can be used to select for increasing weaning weight.

Breed association data would suggest that the trend lines over time indicate there has been an increase in most of the growth traits and milk production. In addition, in most breeds, the trend line for mature weight has gradually increased over time. In most cow-calf operations, replacement heifers are selected from within the herd and not purchased outside the herd. With this information, it is hard to think that mature weight of the cow herd nationally hasn't increased. This is likely one reason that, although feeder calf numbers have decreased, total beef production hasn't decreased.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Save a Horse by Feeding Cornstalk Bales to Cattle

The short supply of hay in 2012 is placing farm families and other owners of hay-consuming animals in difficult situations as much of the United States begins entering the winter. Hay yields for the year were down 20% to 50% across many states because of drought and reduced hay acreage.

This year the hay supply is very low, and the corresponding price for hay is up two to four times what it was a year ago.Livestock operations can cull the herd back to a level that matches the feed resource and receive a good price for most animals sold because demand for meat remains high. They also can graze or bale feed sources such as cornstalks before winter truly arrives to fill the hay gap.

Horse owners, on the other hand, do not have these options. There is not a U.S. market for horse meat for human consumption, and with these high hay prices, it is next to impossible to give an average horse away, let alone sell it. Cornstalk consumption by horses can lead to equine health problems such as colic and laminitis, which are caused by excess mold and grain consumption.

A family owning horses may be caught in a difficult situation. They will either spend thousands of dollars more to buy the extra feed or give away the horses for virtually nothing.

"We are getting calls weekly from families that thought they had a hay supply lined up or that thought this hay shortage was being exaggerated, and now they are entering winter realizing they do not have enough hay to feed their horses," says Karen Waite, Michigan State University 4-H/youth equine specialist. "Economically and emotionally, it will be devastating for them."

For more information and the full release, click here.

Nebraska Beef Producers Still Adapting to Drought

This year's drought continues to affect Nebraska cattle producers as they move up management decisions to accommodate feed shortages.

With as much as 97% of Nebraska's pastures deemed in poor condition, most producers are already identifying which cattle will be the best candidates for breeding in the spring, according to University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) Extension beef veterinarian Richard Randle.

"With the feed shortages that we've already had, [the] likelihood is that there's going to be a number of those animals at a lower condition than we'd normally expect," Randle said.

Some herds will need to undergo closer examination during culling, he said, in terms of teeth, eyes, feet and udders, to further adjust to feed shortages. Randle said that farmers are working to keep their herds as compact as possible to help maintain the health of the herd.

"There's going to be more culling than normal," he said. "You have to reduce the herd to feel safe based on your winter feed storage."

Producers are also coping with the drought-induced forage shortage through early weaning. Some of these calves may have been sent directly to auction, rather than kept on for backgrounding after weaning. Although most calves that are weaned early do quite well, Randle said the younger animals are at a higher risk. Producers who wean early should watch the calves more closely for any health problems.

"It should be considered if early weaning does take place, that they are at a higher health risk," Randle said. "It relates to having facilities ready to address those health issues."

Feedlot Prospects Worrisome for U.S. Cattle Industry

Conversations about Mayan prophecies of doom have been all the rage this year, but for the U.S. cattle industry, dim feedlot prospects for the future have been a much more worrisome topic.

"Not only are feedlots paying record prices for feed and essentially record prices for feeder cattle, it has been recognized for quite a while now that the supply of feeder cattle will be increasingly inadequate to maintain feedlot inventories at any price," said Nathan Anderson, Payne County Extension director and agricultural educator.

Looking ahead, one of the biggest concerns is beef demand. Obviously, if demand were strong enough, the margin squeeze felt by feedlots — and packers — could be eliminated.

"The next two years will put beef demand in relatively uncharted waters so it is impossible to know exactly what to expect," said Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension livestock marketing specialist. "However, it seems likely that beef demand will continue to limit retail and wholesale beef prices relative to the input price squeeze that feedlots, as well as packers, will continue to face."

Drought is another culprit that has contributed to feedlots' difficult circumstances. Two years of unplanned additional herd liquidation has pulled cattle supplies lower than market conditions appear to support.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Women in Ag Conferences Slated

Several events targeted to women in agriculture are being jointly planned by Oklahoma State University (OSU) Cooperative Extension and the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) for October and November.

Each conference will offer a variety of sessions, with topics ranging from insurance products to contracts and leases to marketing strategies. Participants will be engaged in improving skills to manage their business risks, said Damona Doye, OSU Cooperative Extension farm management specialist.

"The one-day conferences will provide the latest information on topics that empower women to solve issues and concerns of importance to them, their families and communities," said Doye. "Each conference is tailored to agricultural interests in the local community."

For more information and the full release, click here.


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