In This Issue...
Beef M management Calendar ............................ 2
New Cattle-Tracking System Garners
Farm-to-Fork Support................................ 3
Early Weaning Had a Greater Effect on
Carcass Quality Grade than Did Creep
F eeding ........................ .................... 4
Wintering Beef Cows on Limit-Fed High
E energy D iets ................................ ........ .. 5
Measuring Dust on Feedlots ............... ....... 5
Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition..................... 6
Feedlots Targeted as Next Step in E. coli
Intervention ................................. ........... 7
Cargill Analyst Expects Beefs Bull Run to
Continue ....................... .. ....... .......... 8
Prepared by Extension
Specialists in Animal Sciences
*. F.G. Hembry, Professor, Department
E.L. Johnson, Associate Professor, Extension
T.T. Marshall, Professor, Beef Cattle
R.O. Myer, Professor, Animal Nutritionist,
R.S. Sand, Associate Pr
W. Taylor, Coordinator Youth
*: S.H. TenBroeck, Associate Professor,
Extension Youth Specialist
: T.A. Thrift, Assistant Professor, Beef Cattle
2 4-H & FFA Cattle Feeding Workshop Alachua County
Extension, Gainesville, FL
2-4 Southern Region 4-H Volunteer Forum Eatonton, GA
3 FCA Quality Replacement Heifer Sale Ocala Livestock
Market Ocala, FL
3 The Farm / Brangus Bonanza Sale Okeechobee, FL
6 Mo Brangus & Oak Knoll Ranch Brangus Bull Sale -
7 3rd Annual Florida Cow/Calf Seminar Gainesville, FL
10-11 Cow Creek Ranch Bull Sale Aliceville, AL
18 Ankony at Pine Ridge Bull Sale Ocala Livestock Market -
18 4-H Foundation Sport Clay Shoot Fundraiser Orlando, FL
18 St. Johns County 45th Annual Cracker Day St. Augustine,
21-23 2nd Annual Artificial Insemination School Wauchula, FL
24 Graham Angus Bull Sale Okeechobee, FL
25 Debtor Hereford Bull Sale Horton, AL
31 Ankony Angus Sale Omega, FL
31 Lemmon Angus Sale Okeechobee, FL
1 Osceola County Sporting Clay Shoot TM Ranch, Orlando,
1 Hines Brothers/Express Ranches Bull Sale High Springs,
1 Black & White Bull Sale Ocala Livestock Market, Ocala,
1 Twin Valley Farms Bull Sale Prattsville, AL
7 Callaway Farms Black Angus Sale Hardee Farms,
7 Hardee Farms Black Bull Sale Chiefland, FL
7 Rogers Charolais Okeechobee, FL
8 Walden Farms Charolais Annual Production Sale Brantley,
14 Leachman Bull Sale Okeechobee, FL
21 Hardee County Cattlemen's Association 4th Annual All
Breed Bull Sale Wauchula, FL
.IF UNIVERSITY OF
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to
individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county
Cooperative Extension Service Office Florida Cooperative Extension Service/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences/University of Florida/ Christine Taylor Waddill, Director
2 October 2003
t Beef Management
0 Plant cool season legumes.
0 Plant small grain pastures.
0 Check mineral feeder.
0 Check for external parasites, especially lice, and
treat if needed.
0 Check for spittlebugs and grassloopers and treat,
0 Watch condition of cow herd; maintain adequate
0 Isolate any additions to the herd for 30 to 60
days and observe for signs of disease; retest for
brucellosis and leptospirosis.
0 Be sure you have adequate handling facilities,
and they are in good working order.
0 If you are raising bulls for the commercial
market, October thru December is the main
bull-buying season for cattlemen in south
Florida and now is the time to have your
promotion program fully activated.
0 Have soils tested.
0 Observe cows daily to detect calving difficulty.
0 Use mineral with high level of magnesium if
grass tetany has been a problem in the past.
0 Check for external parasites and treat if needed.
0 Maintain adequate nutrient level for cow herd.
0 Calve in well-drained pastures.
0 Survey pastures for poisonous plants.
0 Start summarizing your annual records, both
production and financial-then you will have
time to make adjustments for tax purposes.
0 Re-evaluate winter feeding program and feed
0 Get breeding soundness exams on bull battery
so you have time to find replacements if some
0 Implement bull conditioning program.
0 Review plans and arrangements for the
upcoming breeding season.
0 Check progress of developing replacement
heifers are they going to meet your target
weight by the start of the breeding season?
0 Begin grazing small grain pastures (if ready).
0 Check mineral feeder.
0 Check for external parasites and treat if needed.
0 Deworm cows and heifers prior to winter
0 Observe regularly for calving difficulties.
0 Rotate calving pastures to prevent diseases.
0 Watch for scours in calves.
0 Investigate health of bulls before you buy.
0 Have dead animals posted by a veterinarian or
0 Complete review of management plan and
update for next year. Check replacement heifers
to be sure they will be ready to breed 3 4
weeks prior to the main cow herd.
On August 8, the USDA
announced conditions for resuming
imports of certain ruminant-derived
products from Canada. Under the
terms, no Canadian cattle are
allowed into the United States until
a protocol is worked out for their
movement. However, beef from
these animals and any others may
be imported provided that it is certified that the
slaughtered animal is under 30 months of age and
has been deboned under acceptable procedures.
On the home front, rapidly deteriorating
grazing conditions have spread from the western
States to most of the Great Plains. Currently 12.2
million head, or approximately 40 percent of the
30.6 million total domestic beef cows, are located
within an area experiencing a drought.
Accumulating grass for fall and winter grazing
and rebuilding hay stocks will be a major concern
as the industry moves into the calf weaning and cow
culling season. Total hay production is expected to
rise sharply this year. Alfalfa production and other
hay is forecast to rise 6 percent as yields are
expected to reach record levels, although excessive
moisture conditions in many areas could result in
poor harvesting conditions and hay quality.
October 2003 3
Beef and especially dairy cow slaughter has
remained large this year, and beef cow slaughter has
increased due to the worsening drought situation.
Cattle inventories continue to decline in 2003 as
drought and increased market uncertainties make
producers reluctant to begin expansion.
This year's calf crop is expected to be 38
million head, down less than 1 percent from last
year, and the smallest calf crop since 1951.
Continued large cow slaughter and low heifer
retention will insure declining beginning cattle
inventories in 2004 and 2005.
Fed cattle continue to be marketed ahead of
schedule and at lighter weights to fill the beef void
due to the Canadian ban and because of the
discounted futures market. Fed cattle marketing
and slaughter rates are expected to remain strong
through September, but the rate will slow as
Canadian beef comes into the market again and U.S.
cattle pick up more days on feed to compete in the
higher quality domestic and export beef market.
Retail Choice beef prices have been on a
record setting pace since February due to poor
winter weather conditions and sharply lower
slaughter weights. Retail prices hit record marks
averaging $3.65 a pound in July. Similarly fed cattle
prices have been on a record setting pace for the
past 2 months and are likely to approach the old
August 1990 record of $77.18 per cwt.
The last quarter of 2003 looks to be interesting
for Florida's cow calf operators. U.S. slaughter
weights are predicted to rise, but it will likely be
winter before the industries come into balance and
more normal feeding periods.
Florida Steer Production Values
1999 2o00 2a01
Florida Hog Cash Receipts
1999 2000 2001 2002
Florida Milk Cash Receipts
The Florida Agri-Journal
Researched by Tony Young
Marketing Specialist I
Division of Marketing
Release September 5, 2003
() Garners Farm-to-
A caucus of brand-name
beef packers, producers and
fast-feeders gathered in
Washington, D.C., to endorse a
new database designed to trace the source of a food
borne illness anywhere in the food chain.
At a press conference at the Dirksen Senate
office building, representatives from Swift & Co.,
Burger King and ConAgra Cattle Feeding Co. gave
their backing to the new database, created by
Wichita, Kansas-based VeriPrime Inc.
4 October 2003
The system reportedly tracks cattle herds from
birth to slaughter with coded tags. Although the
beef industry is its first target market, the company
said it plans to eventually cover hogs, poultry and
The company said the system allows anyone in
the supply chain to track the source of tainted beef
back to the original lot and herd in the event of a
recall, or as a countermeasure against diseases, such
as foot-and-mouth. Other purported benefits include
verification of safeguards against cattle feed
contamination and monitoring of animal welfare
policies set by supermarkets and fast-food chains,
such as Burger King.
Restaurants and supermarkets will be charged
5 cents for every pound of meat to cover the cost of
tagging animals and plugging information about
them into the database, said a VeriPrime
Although the Agriculture Department is not
endorsing this system per se, it does support a
unified industry tracking system. A voluntary plan
for tagging animals is expected to be in place by
Swift & Co. spokesman Jim Herlihy says he
expects the new system to be widely adopted. "We
envision that VeriPrime will be like a 'Good
Housekeeping' seal to show that the process has
been reviewed from start to finish," Herlihy said.
Swift itself has invested more than $30 million
in food safety interventions and testing following
the August 2002 recall of 18.6 million pounds of E.
coli-tainted ground beef from its Greeley, Colo.,
Release September 18, 2003
Early Weaning Had
a Greater Effect on
Grade than Did
Previous research has shown that either early
weaning or a high-energy creep diet in conjunction
with normal weaning can enhance carcass quality
grade. In this University of Illinois study, Angus X
Simmental steer calves (n=168) were assigned to
four treatments: 1) Early Wean/High Concentrate
(EW); 2) Normal Wean/Creep (C); 3) Normal
Wean/Fiber Creep (FC); and 4) Normal Wean/No
Creep (NC) to determine the effects of weaning age,
creep feeding and type of creep on performance and
carcass traits. Steers were weaned at 63 or 189 days
of age. EW were fed to gain the same as the two
creep-fed (CR-F) treatments during the growing
period. Overall (including growing, adaptation, and
finishing periods), NC steers had significantly lower
ADG (2.82 lb/d) and were older at harvest (407 d)
than other treatments (3.09 lb/d and 396 d). There
were no differences in ADG or age at harvest
between EW and CR-F steers or between C and FC
steers. EW steers had a significantly higher
marbling score (663), a higher percent that graded
Mid-Choice or higher (72.5%), and a higher percent
of Prime (12.5%) than CR-F steers (598, 38.8% and
2.5%, respectively). There was no difference in
yield grade. The authors concluded that feeding
early weaned steers a high concentrate diet
improved quality grade compared to creep feeding
normally weaned calved, and that type of creep did
not affect carcass quality or overall performance
(Shike et al., 2003. Midwestern Section ASAS,
Abstract No. 80).
Beef Cattle Research Update
Harlan Ritchie, Steven Rust, and
Beef Cattle Specialists
Michigan State University
Release Summer 2003
October 2003 5
Wintering Beef Cows on Limit-
Fed High Energy Diets
University of Illinois animal scientist Dan
Faulkner presented a compelling case for wintering
beef cows in northern environments on alternative
feeding strategies such as program feeding (feeding
a limited amount of a high energy feed to achieve a
described level of performance). Because grain and
coproduct feedstuffs are often a cheaper source of
energy than hay, there are opportunities to winter
cows more economically with savings of over
$1/cow/day compared to traditional hay diets. In
Illinois studies, cattle have consistently performed
better than NRC predictions, which may be due to
several factors. They have observed increased
digestibility with program-fed diets. Visceral organ
weight is also reduced with program feeding, which
could reduce maintenance requirements because
these organs are so highly metabolically active.
Program feeding can also reduce manure production
by over 75% compared to hay diets. One problem
Illinois workers have observed with limit feeding
occurs when diets are very low in roughage. On
such diets, the cows will chew fences. They found
that feeding 10-15% roughage in the diet alleviated
such behavior (Faulkner, 2003. Midwestern Section
ASAS, Abstract No. 39).
SOURCE: Beef Cattle Research Update
Harlan Ritchie, Steven Rust, and
Beef Cattle Specialists
Michigan State University
Release Summer 2003
Measuring Dust on Feedlots
If you need to borrow a kitchen blender, make
sure you don't use the one belonging to Agricultural
Research Service's Daniel N. Miller. That's because
he uses his slightly modified blender to pulverize
soil from cattle feedlots so he can measure the dust
Miller is a microbiologist at ARS' Roman L.
Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay
Center, Neb. He and ARS agricultural engineer
Bryan L. Woodbury are trying to determine the
amount of dust produced in various sections of
feedlots and why significant differences exist.
Dust can be inhaled into the lungs of both
humans and animals and thus cause respiratory
problems. Dust is also a carrier for odors, as well as
ammonia and microorganisms.
The soil is first dried to remove excess
moisture and then screened through a sieve. After
the scientists put the soil sample into the blender,
they turn it on for a series of blends totaling one
minute. They collect the dust on a round filter that
looks similar to fiberglass insulation.
They've verified that areas with a lot of
moisture-which usually comes from rain, urine or
water a farmer adds-have less dust. They've also
gained new insights into the role of organic matter
in dust production. Areas with greater amounts of
dried manure actually needed more moisture to
control dust than low-manure areas. Furthermore,
they found that even small increases in moisture
transformed dust-producing soil into soil that didn't
In the future, the researchers want to look at
other characteristics of dust, such as odor
compounds bound to dust particles. They also want
to look at other types of dust control besides adding
sprinklers to the feedlot.
This research is
reported in the
of the Journal of
6 October 2003
ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
chief scientific research agency.
Release September 15, 2003
As agriculture enters a new era-technologically
and economically-farmers are finding the Sunbelt
Agricultural Exposition a vital part of their planning
"We are proud to showcase one of the largest
venues of agriculture technology in the world,"
Chip Blalock, Sunbelt Expo Executive Director.
"Every year, farmers are able to take information
and new technology garnered from the show and
directly apply it to their operation."
Over 1,100 exhibitors and thousands of visitors
are again expected to attend the Expo. This year's
show will be held October 14-16 in Moultrie, GA.
Established in 1978; the Sunbelt Expo has expanded
to become the largest farm show in the world with
on-site field crops and demonstrations.
New to the Sunbelt Expo for 2003 is the
eBay/Farmers Hot Line education booth located in
Building 4. Each day of the Expo visitors interested
in learning how they can use the Internet to actually
buy and sell agricultural products and services can
experience the process "hands on". Team members
from the eBay Business and Industry Division and
www.AgDealMall.com will be available to walk
visitors through the process. Says Blalock, "The
Sunbelt Expo is the first agricultural event attended
by eBay and AgDealMall as they announce their
intent to offer farmers and ranchers an online
superstore dedicated to agriculture. We think this
shows how important our commitment is to offering
new and exciting technology to our visiting
In the fields this year, the three-day event will
showcase "Precision Ag Technology" in addition to
the traditional demonstrations in cotton, peanuts,
hay, corn and soybeans. Trimble Navigation's
AgGPS Autopilot guidance system, which actually
steers the tractor, has been utilized from the
planting to harvesting process at Sunbelt this year.
The planting technique was shown at Field Day in
July and the harvesting technique will be the focus
in October. According to Darrell Williams, Expo
Farm Manager, "this system takes the guesswork
out of field layout, planting, cultivation, and
chemical application." Also showing precision Ag
technology will be BeeLine, AutoFarm, John Deere
& AGCO's Challenger Division.
"Our 600-arce working farm really makes us
unique," Blalock said, "Visitors see the latest
harvesting and tillage techniques in a true farm
Animal care is another strong component of
the Sunbelt Expo, and the show's diversity in this
area grows each year. Cattlemen attain valuable
management knowledge at the Beef Cattle
Management Seminars. The Southern
DairyBusiness Center sponsored by DairyBusiness
Communications will again offer a variety of
educational seminars on the dairy industry. Goat
and alpaca demonstrations are also offered as well
as the entertaining American Grand Finals Stock
Dog Trials. The horse demonstrations sponsored by
Southern States will include rein cow demos and
barrel racing. Visitors will also see demonstrations
from Tennessee Walking Horses and Andalusian
Tractor and other farm implements remain the
focus of the Expo's equipment area. Visitors have
the opportunity to actually "try out" different
models at the tractor and truck driving ranges in the
fields. GMC will again sponsor a professional test-
driving track so visitors can give the newest models
a spin. Also, do not miss the display of All Terrain
Vehicles (ATVs)--which has exploded in growth in
the past few years.
October 2003 7
Other sections at the show include a Small
Farm Center, Forestry, the Progressive Farmer
Automotive area, Lawn and Gardening, Hunting
and Fishing, and Family Living. Everyone will also
enjoy the daily parade of Antique Tractors.
The great state of Mississippi will be
recognized as the Spotlight State for 2003 and will
offer visitors a wide variety of educational as well
as entertaining exhibits showcasing Mississippi's
290-G Harper Blvd.,
Moultrie, GA 31788
Show Dates: October 14-16, 2003
Show Hours: 8:30am 5:00pm Tuesday and
8:30am 4:00pm on Thursday
Admission: $5 per person per day; children
under 6 free with parent
Release September 15, 2003
Feedlots Targeted as Next Step
in E. coli Intervention
The next front the beef industry must tackle in
combating E. coli 0157:H7 is the pre-harvest period
-- especially on feedlots -- researchers, feedlot
operators and representatives from the National
Cattlemen's Beef Association told a group of
reporters during an NCBA-sponsored visit to the
Imperial Beef feedlot in Imperial, NE. Research
into feed additives and vaccines are showing
significant results in reducing E. coli pathogens on
the hide and in the intestines of cattle while
management processes have no apparent correlation
to pathogen reduction, Keith Belk, associate
professor of meat science at Colorado State
University, told the group.
"The best evidence suggests that if we want to
continue to reduce the risk to consumers, we have to
include the pre-harvest sector," Belk said.
Belk's 2003 study showed reductions in the
amount of E. coli on the hide and in fecal matter of
cows fed Bovamine, with treated cows showing a
difference of 24.9 percent from the control group.
Alan Janzen, a partner at Imperial Beef, said
anecdotal testing at Imperial suggested a 40-50
percent reduction in E. coli in feces.
The cost of using Bovamine in feed was 1.5
cents per head per day, Janzen said, but added that
the product also increased daily gain and feed
conversion in cattle.
"I feel very strongly that this is a cost-neutral
product," he said.
Belk's research also tested two other
intervention methods -- Neomycin and an E. coli
vaccine -- as well as a combination of treatments.
Neomycin performed the best in the study, showing
a difference of 48.4 percent from the control group -
- almost twice that of Bovamine. Neomycin is
currently used as a treatment for bacterial enteritis,
but is not labeled for use as a pre-emptive treatment
for E. coli in feed cattle, which could be a barrier to
"We didn't see it as a long term solution," Belk
said. "We wanted to find something we could use
during the hot season."
Belk said he expects E. coli vaccines to appear
on the market in about a year.
While studies have shown management
practices like raking pens or cleaning water troughs
do not have a direct correlation to E. coli
reductions, Jack Lawless, general manager at
Imperial Beef, said proper pen maintenance and
cleaning techniques combined with E. coli
intervention in the feed help contribute to
8 October 2003
controlling pathogens. Imperial designed their pens
on a 2.5 to 4 percent slope to ensure proper
drainage. "We want pens as clean and dry as
possible to help keep the hides clean," Lawless said.
For the past 10 years the industry has devoted
its E. coli prevention focus to post-harvest kill and
processing operations, "because the squeeze point
was packers," said Bo Reagan, vice president of
research and knowledge management at NCBA. He
said that the top four or five packers harvest 90
percent of feed cattle, making it the most cost-
effective target for E. coli intervention techniques.
But in light of recent recalls for E. coli
contamination, such as Swift's July 2002 recall of
18.6 million pounds of meat, the beef industry must
continue to look to other areas to reduce the risk of
contamination, Reagan said.
"The existing post-harvest processes, we know
they work," said Reagan. "We need to change the
focus from post-harvest to pre-harvest."
Feedlots are seen as the next target of pathogen
intervention because they are the second most
consolidated point next to packers, with about 1,800
feedlots handling 85 percent of beef produced,
Reagan said. Belk emphasized that pre-harvest
intervention was just another tool available to help
combat E. coli contamination.
"There can't be a silver bullet because risk can
never be zero," Belk said. "This is not something
anyone can do overnight."
Release September 26, 2003
Cargill Analyst Expects Beef's
Bull Run to Continue
The recent premium in live cattle and beef
prices is likely to continue for some time, a senior
Cargill Foods commodity analyst said Friday,
although near-term cattle and beef prices could dip
as much as 3% before the market settles into a
trading plateau. Ken Bull, Cargill's risk
management chief who overseas all of the
Minneapolis-based company's cattle procurement,
said it will be months before the gradual easing of
the U.S. ban on live cattle and some beef products
from Canada will bring pricing pressure back to the
market. Speaking at a proprietary food safety
seminar for Cargill customers, Bull characterized
the May 20 discovery of a single case of mad cow
disease in Alberta as part of a "perfect storm" that
has driven both cattle and beef prices to recent
record highs. Cargill's estimated weekly kills for the
summer months was 720,000 head. Currently, the
company is averaging a weekly slaughter of
750,000 head-a trend echoed by other major
processors, which has resulted in younger cattle
being brought to market and, consequently, yielding
beef of increasingly falling grades, Bull said.
"I think, though, that we will move into a time
of some lower markets, but we don't expect a major
dip," Bull said. "We are looking for the market to
move backwards, maybe 2-to-3 percent, and then
trade sideways for a while."
Bull expects continued lower beef supply next
year, perhaps by as much as 3 percent, and expects
pork supplies to tighten by about the same margin.
Bull said he expects the chicken market to remain
"As for beef, prices will remain well supported
going through next year," Bull said.
While higher prices sometimes cause
decreased commodity demand, consumers have not
backed away from beef. Bull attributed consumers
continued appetite for beef partly on the impact of
the Atkins Diet, which some economists believe has
pumped as much as an additional $1 billion into the
industry last year.
Release September 29, 2003