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News Update

March 6, 2013

Angus Revises Approach to Age-and-Source Verification

The Japanese export market has been topping beef industry headlines in recent months. The country’s decision to revise import guidelines to include cattle less than 30 months of age is positive news for U.S. beef demand, but it also brings about changes to age-and-source verification programs.

“There are still benefits associated with verifying information on your calf crop,” says Ginette Kurtz, AngusSource® quality manager. “In previous years that focus was age; however, our program must shift to reflect current market demands.”

To better serve the producers using registered Angus bulls, AngusSource and Gateway will take on a new approach to providing documented age, source and genetic information on Angus-influenced cattle. The Association is transitioning the age-and-source programs with the goal to provide in-house verification standards for cattle to qualify for AngusSource, while still continuing to verify the age, source and genetics with the same confidence the industry has come to trust and value.

With herd expansion on the horizon, the need for replacement heifers is expected to rise. Producers looking to purchase new females need to be confident in the genetic quality of each animal. Additionally, as consumers demand superior beef products, the ability to validate high performing animals will only become more important.

To meet that need, the AngusSource mission holds true ­–­ to increase the value of Angus-sired calves by ear-tag identification, updated marketing documents and additional strategies to promote Angus-sired calves.

“Calves wearing the AngusSource tag will continue to be in demand,” Kurtz says. “The genetic data AngusSource provides and the additional information included in the marketing document conveys to buyers the added value of an AngusSource-tagged calf. This will not change.”

For further information on AngusSource and to stay up-to-date on program announcements, visit the Association website,

I Am Angus Season Finale Airs March 7

From the ranch to the grocery store, and everywhere in between, the upcoming I Am Angus episode introduces individuals and families dedicated to raising cattle, selling beef and caring for the land. The I Am Angus season finale airs at 10 p.m. Eastern (9 p.m. Central) Thursday, March 7 on RFD-TV.

“A number of moving parts make up the modern-day beef production cycle,” says Eric Grant, American Angus Association director of communications and public relations. “In this episode we visit with ranch families, feeders, retailers and scientists who explain what this process means to them. We also share why life on the farm means much more than simply providing a product.”

I Am Angus focuses on the heart of the Angus cattle business — its people, their heritage and why they are involved in agriculture. In its fourth season, the hour-long documentary series explores each corner of the beef industry. The program is produced entirely by the Association and is sponsored by Merck Animal Health and the science of healthier animals.

I Am Angus broadcasts on RFD-TV. The channel is distributed by more than 625 cable operators, and can be found on DirecTV channel 345 and Dish Network channel 231. Check local listings for more information.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Antibiotics Remain Important for Animal and Public Health

The American Farm Bureau Federation and other members of the Coalition for Animal Health hosted an educational briefing for congressional staff on meat production, public health and the importance of antibiotics. The briefing focused on helping legislators understand how and why farmers and ranchers use antibiotics.

Presenters included Scott Hurd, a veterinarian and epidemiologist at Iowa State University; Christine Hoang with the American Veterinary Medical Association; and Rich Carnevale from the Animal Health Institute.

The risk to humans is negligible due to on-farm antibiotic use, Hurd said, citing numerous peer-reviewed scientific assessments that have failed to demonstrate any detectable risk by treatment failure in humans caused by on-farm antibiotic use in animals.

Failure to prevent or treat illness causes unnecessary animal suffering and death, Hurd pointed out. Further, he explained, animals with residual effects of illness are more likely to cause human foodborne disease.

“Every farm with animals is both a maternity hospital and a day care,” Hurd said. “Animals need medicines at times, just like kids do. This becomes a moral and ethical issue … at what point will we deny treatment? It’s not right to withhold veterinary care for animals.”

Antibiotics for animals are needed because illnesses can move quickly through populations and livestock cannot “stay home” when they are sick.

Farmers and veterinarians are working together to manage potential hazards, with the goal of producing a safe and wholesome food supply, protecting public health and preserving antibiotics for use by future generations.

“It’s a long way from farm to harm,” Hurd said.

Commenting on several bacteria of concern to the Infectious Disease Society, Hurd said most, including Staphyloccous infections (MRSA), Streptococcus pneumoniae and drug-resistant tuberculosis, are not foodborne infections or related in any way to food-producing animals.

Breeding Soundness Clinics for Bulls
to be Hosted in SW Missouri

University of Missouri Extension is hosting a series of breeding-soundness-exam clinics for bulls in Lawrence and Barry counties in March. The clinics will help producers determine if bulls are fit for the breeding season, says an MU Extension livestock specialist.

“The veterinarian does a complete exam on the bull, including a semen evaluation, to find out the level of use that bull might be able to withstand during the breeding season,” Eldon Cole said.

The first clinic will be March 12 at the Dake Veterinary Clinic in Miller. A March 15 clinic will be at the Barry County Veterinarian Service in Cassville. The final clinic will be March 21 at the Countryside Animal Clinic in Aurora. Cole says each session will begin at 8 a.m. and go until all bulls have been examined.

There is a minimal fee for the basic examination, but a pharmaceutical company is providing deworming, delousing and booster shots. Cole says that bulls can be tested for trichomoniasis for an additional fee.

The clinics are a way of bringing awareness to producers and getting them thinking about the importance of a breeding soundness exam, Cole said.

Usually, about 10% of bulls examined are found unfit for very heavy usage.

Cole urges producers unable to make it to one of these clinics to work with their local veterinarian to evaluate their bulls.

“You need to have a bull examined at least a month before you are going to turn him out,” Cole said. “If you have to go look for a bull, it may be a bit of a challenge to find exactly what you like.”

For more information about the breeding soundness exam clinics, contact Cole at 417-466-3102.

Pasture Recovery Options Discussed at Blackland Conference

Beef producers should be mindful of preserving available forages for grazing, particularly as parts of Texas recover from historic drought, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service forage specialist.

Vanessa Corriher-Olson of Overton told attendees at the Blackland Income Growth Conference there are three key tools to consider when managing pastures following drought. The first is grazing management, making sure not to over-graze and allow pastures to rest and recover.

“Drought is a stressful event, so you need to allow forages to rebuild root systems into the next grazing season,” she said.

Next is weed control. Corriher-Olson said since Bermuda grass has been severely stressed during drought, it’s important that it has less competition from broadleaf weeds.

“This is very important as we move into springtime,” she said. “We need to eliminate those weeds and reduce that competition.”

OQBN Has Momentum Going Into Final Spring Sales

Buyers in the market for high-quality steers and heifers still have time to check out Oklahoma Quality Beef Network (OQBN)-certified sales this spring.

This spring’s last two OQBN-certified sales are set for April 2 and June 4 at McAlester Stockyards.

“Our program is still producing the highest-quality calves available in Oklahoma. The integrity of our program is second to none,” said Gant Mourer, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension beef value-enhancement specialist. “The buyers can trust what they are purchasing from OQBN producers.”

Mourer said the drought has sapped vital nutrients from the ground, making it tough for the state’s calf crop to get proper nutrition. With mortality and morbidity rates up as much as 8% to 10% in feedlots this fall and spring, anything producers can do to cut losses and use less antibiotics will translate into better profits for the feedlot sector.

OQBN, a partnership between the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service and the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, is definitely something producers can do. In fact, the venture is specifically designed to increase the demand for and profitability of Oklahoma cattle.

Consider the program is coming off a series of successful fall sales, which drew 85 OQBN producers who moved 3,524 head. Mourer said those numbers break down to about the same amount of cattle sold in the previous year, but reflect an uptick in the number of OQBN producers participating in the sales.

“There were more producers, but less cattle per producer,” he said. “That’s significant because once it starts raining and we get through this drought, I believe those participation numbers will go up. There will be high demand because we won’t have many cows and we should have cheaper feed due to the number of acres of grain and corn in production.”

OQBN certified producers also saw higher premiums during the fall sales.

Compared to nonpreconditioned calves and depending on weight, OQBN-certified animals posted premiums ranging from $31.27 per hundredweight (cwt.) to $4.23 per cwt. for steers, and $11.26 per cwt. to $9.96 per cwt. for heifers.

Mourer encouraged producers interested in OQBN to contact him at 405-744-6060 or Producers also can contact the local county Extension office for more information or visit the program’s website ( or Facebook page (


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