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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

October 11, 2013

Donate to South Dakota Rancher’s
Relief Fund

The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association (SDCA), South Dakota Stockgrowers Association (SDSA) and South Dakota Sheep Growers Association (SDSGA) established the South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund Oct. 8, 2013, with the Black Hills Area Community Foundation to provide support and relief assistance to those in the agriculture industry impacted by the blizzard of Oct. 4-7, 2013.

The fund will be administered by the SDSA, the SDCA and the SDSGA for the direct benefit of the livestock producers impacted by this devastating blizzard.

To donate to the Rancher Relief Fund, visit and search “Rancher Relief Fund” or donate online here. Donors can also mail checks to Black Hills Community Area Foundation/SD Rancher Relief Fund made out to the “Rancher Relief Fund” at PO Box 231, Rapid City, SD 57709.

Water Rights Must Remain With States

Continued state control of water rights is critically important to farmers and ranchers, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) told Congress.

“Farm Bureau supports H.R. 3189, the Water Rights Protection Act, because it is designed to dispel uncertainty and recognizes state sovereignty and historic water law,” said Randy Parker, CEO of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, testifying to the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power on behalf of AFBF. Further, noted Parker, H.R. 3189 recognizes states’ sovereign water rights and protects livestock water rights from illegal federal claims and takings.

Parker said some Utah ranchers have been asked by the Forest Service (FS) to sign “change-of-use” applications that would allow the agency to change the use of the water from livestock to other uses. Ranchers were also told non-compliance could adversely affect them being able to “turn-out” cattle on FS grazing allotments.

FS representatives later suggested the requests had been made in error and ranchers had only been asked to sign a “joint ownership” agreement.

“In either case — signing a change-of-use application or agreeing to a certificate of joint ownership — the federal agency is seeking a relinquishment, either in whole or in part, as a condition of access to the grazing allotment,” Parker explained.

He closed by calling on Congress to dispel uncertainty related to this issue and support H.R. 3189, which provides greater certainty to ranchers and the future of public land grazing.

Iowa State University Releases
New Potassium Recommendations

As postharvest soil test and fertilization season begins, growers and ag retailers need to be aware that Iowa State University recently announced changes to potassium (K) fertility guidelines based on moist soil measurements. These may be viewed online here.

While it has been known for decades that drying can change the chemistry of soil, altering the amount of extractable potassium (K), it’s just been in the last two years that Solum entered the market with a commercially viable process measuring soil in its field moist state.

The new K recommendations document from Iowa State notes, “Research has indicated that the moist K test is more reliable than the test based on dried samples, and is a better predictor of crop K fertilization need.”

Speaking at a midyear conference, Iowa State Professor of Soil Science and Nutrient Management, Antonio Mallarino, reminded the audience that soil test interpretation classes should be understood in terms of probability of response. “The amounts of K extracted can differ greatly between moist and dried samples, and the differences change greatly across soil series, the soil-test K levels, and soil conditions related to drainage and moisture content cycles.”

While other tests are still available for potassium, he noted that they encourage the use of the moist test for K because it has more predictive value and a more consistent meaning across different soils and conditions.

Cattle Producers Hear Latest On
Herd Bull Selection At Workshop

A herd bull is a key investment for cattle producers, and several factors come into consideration when deciding on which one is best for an operation, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.

Jason Cleere and Jason Banta, AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialists from College Station and Overton, respectively, recently conducted a one-day workshop on bull selection. When selecting a bull, Cleere said, “I encourage you to look at the big picture.”

Herd size and correctly matching the prospective bull to cow ratio is one thing to keep in mind.

“Part of this decision is the age of the bull and its previous breeding experience,” Banta said. “A bull that has bred before as a yearling will cover more cows than one without previous experience. Acreage size is another thing to consider or how much a bull can cover to breed a cow. Hilly terrain can affect breeding coverage, so also keep this in mind.”

Banta said one of the factors affecting fertility in a bull is size of testicles.

“We are actually measuring the widest part of the scrotal circumference,” he said. “Once a bull starts puberty, scrotal size grows and slows down as they get older. It’s not uncommon to see a centimeter to two centimeters change per month.”

Measuring scrotal circumference provides a good indication of testicular volume, sperm production, sperm quality, puberty of bull and puberty of daughters, and it is a heritable trait, Banta said.

Two big things when we talk about sperm quality are motility (how many sperm cells are alive and moving) when looking under a microscope, and morphology — are the sperm cells normal?

For more information, please view the full release here.

October is Protect Your Hearing Month

Have you heard? Most hearing loss is preventable.

“Nothing can restore lost hearing. Once it’s gone, it’s gone!” says Karen Funkenbusch, University of Missouri Extension rural safety and health specialist. “But hearing loss caused by noise is preventable and you can choose to prevent it.”

Funkenbusch offers sound advice for agricultural workers during harvest season and National Protect Your Hearing Month.

She recommends using hearing protection that will cut down on background noise.

A side benefit is that hearing protection reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue at the end of the day. Funkenbusch recommends that agricultural workers put earplugs in their pockets each morning when they grab their cellphone and keys. Canal caps or muffs should be on the tractor steering wheel, combine or lawn mower.

“The easier it is to use, the more likely you will use it,” she says. Hearing-loss prevention also means reducing equipment noise by replacing worn, loose or unbalanced machine parts. Keep equipment well lubricated and maintained to reduce noise, she says.

Noise levels above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. Examples of common sounds above this include gunshots, firecrackers, grain dryers, chain saws, rock bands, circular saws, squealing pigs, a tractor idling in the shop 6 feet or less away, hand drills, a combine 10 feet away and at full throttle, table saws, a tractor without a cab, or a combine while riding in the cab.

“If you need to raise your voice to be heard an arm’s length away, the noise is probably loud enough to damage your hearing,” she said.

For more information, please view the full release here.


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