In This Issue...
Beetf anaildement Calendiar
Li\ stock SuL11lllnl
Breedi nu I lanallenIent Slhot Course 3
\'nenman AnnouniIces Bo\ ine Genome Sequenciniu
An\ Labelinu Programi Nlust Result in Filancial
Benefit to Producers 0
Nutrient Boost tfoi lfialfa Silaue
Prepared by Extension Specialists in
BeefCattle Management, Ona
BeefCattle Extension Specialist, Marianna
*: GR. Hansen
BeefCattle Production, Marianna
o EG Hembry, Professor
Department Chairman, Gainesville
Extension BeefCattle Specialist, Gainesville
E.L. Johnson, Associate Professor
Extension Equine Specialist, Gainesville
T.T. Marshall, Professor
BeefCattle Management, Gainesville
: R.O. Myer, Professor
Animal Nutritionist, Marianna
R.S. Sand, Associate Professor .
Extension Livestock Specialist, Gaine ille
W. Taylor, Coordinator
Youth Education/ .......... Gainesville
S.H. TenBroeck, Associate Professor
Extension Equine Specialist, Gainesville
T.A. Thrift, Assistant Professor
BeefCattle Nutrition, Gainesville
SDates to Remember
I NL'\\ Yc.u11' D.'.
10 Horse Judging School Gainesville, FL
10 4thl .Annual L.ik ( It'. In\ itationIil Bi.anI;lu A n& ii.;l-u
Bull SNa. L.ike it'.. FL
13 Ocala Bull Sale Ocala, FL
15 2 l-t .A null l l Folii (. jttlcmlllin'. I nltitutl .inJ A\lllic
Tuiild Sii\\ Ki-'inimmnic. FL
15-16 Humane Care and Handling of Livestock Conference -
16-18 Breeding Management Short Course Gainesville, FL
17 County 4-H & Open Horse Show Newberry, FL
19 1 .tlinl LutliliK Kii-. Jir D.t. I HollJ.t. I
20 North FL Beef & Forage Group Presents:
Forage & Pasture Management Suwanee County
Extension, Live Oak, FL
21-23 XI 1\.tl.ti'.i.nlit Sc. h'ii (LOkcLc lih h FL
22 North FL Beef& Forage Group Presents:
Forage & Pasture Management Putnam County
Extension, East Palatka, FL
22-23 21111-1 Fhriid.i RUit I.trIiit Nlii.I i S.inilii-iim -
tii. nnn\ nilk:. rL
24 Florida Bull Test Sale Marianna, FL
27 4-H Hoii Pl'.lccLt Ct iinniirttl.c M\cL t .A-\lchu
( ount'. E\tL-ion. kinni-\ illk. FL
27 4-H Horse Project Seminar Alachua County
Extension, Gainesville, FL
5&9 FL Stt.' r.r F ll- 1, n Bl..f l'Shti\\ T.iin'p.. FL
6&10 FL State Fair: Youth Beef Shows Tampa, FL
7 FL Str.~. Fr.ii 4-I-H D.,, T.niln.i. FL
7 FL State Fair: 4-H Livestock Judging Tampa, FL
III FL St.at .ii ull t ,ill .I k Sli.t i n.ini!- lp T.tinil.. FL
11 FL State Fair: Youth Steer Show Tampa, FL
Breeding Management Short Course
January 16-18, 2004
See page 3 for more details.
UNIVERSITY OF 1
FLORIDA -d ceffce
IFAS EXTENSION A'irslr .
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Employment Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research, educational information, and
other services only to individuals that function with regard to race, color sex, age, handicap, or national origin. For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your
county Cooperative Extension Service office.
0 Apply lime for summer crops.
0 Check for lice and treat if necessary.
0 Control weeds in cool season pastures.
0 Begin grazing winter clover pastures when
approximately 6 inches high. Rye should be 12-8
0 Check mineral feeders.
0 Put bulls out for October calving season.
0 Make up breeding herd lists if using single sire herds.
0 Watch for calf scours.
0 Give bulls extra feed and care so they will be in
condition for breeding season.
0 Make sure cow herd has access to adequate fresh
0 Buy only performance tested bulls with superior
0 Get taxes filed.
0 Discuss herd health with you veterinarian and outline
a program for the year. Review herd health program
with your veterinarian regularly.
0 Carry a pocket notebook to record heat, breeding
abnormalities, discharges, abortions, retained
placentas, difficult calvings and other data.
0 Observe cow herd for calving difficulties.
0 Watch for grass tetany on winter pastures.
0 Increase magnesium levels in mineral mixes if grass
tetany has been previous problem (if you are not
already using a high magnesium mineral).
0 Examine bulls for breeding soundness and semen
quality prior to the breeding season.
0 Vaccinate cows and heifers against vibriosis and
leptospirosis prior to the breeding season.
0 Top dress winter forages, if needed.
0 Check and fill mineral feeders.
0 Put bulls out with breeding herd.
0 Work calves (identify, implant with growth stimulant,
0 Make sure lactating cows are receiving an adequate
level of energy.
0 Watch calves for signs of respiratory diseases.
0 Cull cows that failed to calve while prices are
0 Check for lice and treat if needed.
0 Prepare land for summer crops.
R Begin grazing warm season permanent pastures.
0 Check and fill mineral feeder.
0 Observe bulls for condition and success. Rotate and
rest if needed.
0 Deworm cows as needed.
0 Make sure calves are healthy and making good
0 Hang forced-use dust bags by April 1 st for external
parasite control or use insecticide impregnated ear
0 Identify, vaccinate, implant, and work late calves.
0 Put bulls out March 1 st for calving season to start
0 Remove bulls March 22nd to end calving season
Cattle prices are at record levels
thanks to continued very strong
domestic and export demand for beef.
This trend has pulled fed cattle
marketing ahead of schedule and
producers are showing little inclination
toward herd expansion.
Continued poor forage conditions in many areas
and uncertainties over domestic cattle/beef prices
stemming from the discovery of a single cow with BSE
in Canada on May 20 has also contributed to this caution.
To make matters worse, the opportunity cost of
retaining heifers, even in areas with adequate forage, is
very high. Consequently, female slaughter remains very
large with third-quarter heifer production mirroring the
record levels of the mid-1970's.
Similarly, total cow and dairy cow slaughter this
summer will likely be the largest since 1997, being the
second year of herd liquidation in this cattle cycle.
Conversely, beef cow production is the largest since
The dairy cow sector continues to adjust cow
inventories down in response to poor returns, while the
beef sector in many areas still remains concerned with
forage uncertainties and faces a high opportunity cost
for retaining replacement heifers.
This September, Choice boxed beef prices
averaged $156.55 per cwt which ran about 40 percent
higher than last year's prices. Select beef prices were
also up about 20 percent during that same period.
These dramatic price increases are serving to
ration the extremely tight supply of higher quality beef.
As fed cattle supplies have been pulled ahead and
slaughter weights have been held down, consumers are
starting to shift their preference toward Select beef.
Given this tight fed cattle supply situation, retail
beef prices are likely to continue on a record-setting
pace as the higher prices are passed onto consumers.
This year's calf crop is expected to be 38 million
head, the smallest calf crop since 1951. These supplies
will continue to tighten until additional beef and/or
slaughter feeder cattle begin to be imported from Canada.
Regardless of what happens with Canada, beef
supplies will remain very tight over the next couple of
years as increased supplies are simply not biologically
possible until at least 2006.
To say the least, 2003 has become a very
interesting year for Florida's cow/calf operators while
the future of the industry holds many challenges and
Florida Beef Cow Inventory
Florida Commercial Hog Slaughter
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002:.
Researched by Tony Young
Marketing Specialist I
Release November 5, 2003
Breeding Management Short
January 16-18, 2004
Conducted jointly by the Department of Animal
Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
(IFAS) and the Department of Large Animal Clinical
Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM).
This short course provides horse breeders with the
opportunity to learn fundamental concepts and techniques
of artificial insemination and breeding management.
This intensified 2 1/2 day program offers an
1999 20 22 opportunity to collect and evaluate stallion semen
samples, including cooled or frozen storage and shipping,
samples, including cooled or frozen storage and shipping,
Florida Milk Production
and appropriate hygiene techniques for genital tract
examination of mares, as well as various insemination
Participants will attend lectures which include: mare
and stallion anatomy, physiology of the estrous cycle,
and the use and interpretation of uterine culture and
biopsy. Participants will also see demonstrations on
embryo transfer and pregnancy diagnosis techniques.
Emphasis will be placed on obtaining basic
understanding of reproductive function as well as learning
Attendance Limited Hands-on Interactive -
Location: All lectures and labs will be held on the
University of Florida campus in the Animal Sciences
Building and the Large Animal Teaching Hospital located
on Shealy Drive off of Archer Road. Check-in will be in
room 102 of the Animal Sciences building. Driving
directions available at: www.animal.ufl.edu
Hotel Accommodations: A block of rooms are
reserved for BMSC participants at the Cabot Lodge in
Gainesville, Florida, 3726 SW 40th Blvd. Contact the
hotel directly at 1(800)843-8735 or (352)375-2400 and
mention the Breeding Management Short Course to
receive the reduced rate of $65 per night. The hotel
features daily continental breakfast and a cocktail
reception in the evening. After December 31, reservations
are on space available basis.
Registration: Attendance is limited to 24 persons so
please register early. Included in your registration fee is
all course materials, dinner on Saturday, daily lunches,
and morning and afternoon refreshment breaks.
Cancellations: Refunds, less a $25 administrative fee,
will be issued for written requests received by January
1, 2004. A substitution of attendees may be made at
any time, with no charge, by calling (352)392-1916. If
this course is cancelled for any reason, the University's
liability is limited to a refund of the registration fees paid.
For More Information:
Please visit http://www.animal.ufl.edu/extension/
For questions concerning content contact:
Dr. Saundra TenBroeck, (352) 392-2789 or
For questions concerning registration, contact:
Pam Gross, (352) 392-1916 or
Faculty and Sponsors
Eleanor Green, DVM, Chair Department of Large
Animal Clinical Sciences (LACS)
F. Glen Hembry, PhD, Department of Animal Sciences
Ed Johnson, PhD, Extension Horse Specialist,
Department ofAnimal Sciences
Margo Macpherson, Assistant Professor, LACS
Ed Ott, PhD, Professor, Department ofAnimal Sciences
MalgorzataPozor, DVM, Instructor, LACS
Dan Sharp, PhD, Professor, Department of Animal
Mats Troedson, DVM, Professor, LACS
Saundra TenBroeck, PhD, Associate Professor,
Department ofAnimal Sciences
Dana Zimmel, DVM, Assistant Professor, LACS
Dr. Saundra TenBroeck
Extension Equine Specialist
Department ofAnimal Sciences
University of Florida
USDA Veneman Announces
NIH To Lead International Effort
Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman has
announced the launch ofthe $53 million Bovine Genome
Sequencing Project during a ceremony at the U.S.
Thisjoint sequencing effort is a collaboration among
the National Human Genome Research Institute
(NHGRI), which is part of the National Institutes of
Health (NIH); USDA; the state of Texas; Genome
Canada; The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial
Research Organization of Australia; and Agritech
Investments Ltd (a subsidiary of Meat New Zealand),
Dairy Insight Inc. and AgResearch Ltd, all of New
"This project is an excellent example of what can
happen through public/private partnerships," said
Veneman. "Sequencing the bovine genome is a vital first
step that will lay the groundwork for breakthroughs that
will benefit both human health and agriculture. Eliminating
hunger, improving nutrition and reducing agriculture's
impact on the environment are all potential outcomes of
Contributors to the Bovine Genome Sequencing
Project include: NHGRI, $25 million; USDA, $11
million; the state of Texas, $10 million; Genome Canada,
$5 million; The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial
Research Organization of Australia, $1 million and
Agritech Investments Ltd., Dairy Insight Inc. and
AgResearch Ltd., all of New Zealand, $1 million.
Attending the event were Dr. Joseph J. Jen,
agriculture undersecretary for Research, Education and
Economics; Dr. Francis Collins, director of NHGRI;
Kathie L. Olsen, associate director, White House Office
of Science and Technology Policy; Dr. Martin Godbout,
president and CEO of Genome Canada and
representatives from the state of Texas, Australia, and
"The National Human Genome Research Institute
is gratified that the U.S. federal government, state
government and international agencies have joined
together to support this important project. This unique
collaboration will have benefits for both the world's health
and the world's food supply," said Dr. Collins.
The bovine genome is similar in size to the genomes
of humans and other mammals, with an estimated size of
3 billion base pairs. Besides its potential for improving
dairy and meat products and enhancing food safety,
adding the genomic sequence of the cow (Bos taurus)
to the growing list of sequenced animal genomes will
help researchers learn more about the human genome.
The genomic DNA sequencing activities will be carried
out by Baylor College ofMedicine's Human Genome
Sequencing Center in Houston, while the full-length
cDNA sequencing (the sequencing of genes) will be
carried out at the sequencing platform of Genome British
Columbia, located at the British Columbia Cancer
Agency in Vancouver and at the University ofAlberta.
"The recent occurrence of "Mad Cow Disease,"
involving a single cow in Canada, demonstrated quite
clearly how deeply an economy can be affected by a
problem in the cattle industry and how crucial it is to
avoid another situation like this one," said Dr. Martin
Godbout, president & CEO of Genome Canada. "It is
important for the international community to invest in
fundamental science that will help us all overcome the
challenges of this industry. Research in this field is
imperative and Genome Canada is extremely proud to
be a partner in this important project and very enthusiastic
it has now been launched."
Type of cow that is being sequenced.
Genome Canada is the primary funding and
information resource relating to genomics and proteomics
in Canada. To date, Genome Canada has invested more
than $310 million across Canada. With funding from other
partners, this amounts to an investment of $710 million
in 57 innovative genomics and proteomics research
projects and science and technology platforms.
NHGRI is one of the 27 institutes and centers at
NIH, an agency of the Department of Health and Human
Services. Additional information about NHGRI can be
found at www.genome.gov.
SOURCE: USDA, AlisaHarrison
Genome Canada, Anie Perrault
NHGRI, Rebecca Kolberg
Release December 12, 2003
B uE Any Labeling
EEF Program Must Result
IUSA in Financial Benefit to
Profits must end up in the pockets of cattle
producers in order for the National Cattlemen's Beef
Association (NCBA) to get behind a specific country of
origin labeling program, an NCBA representative told
participants of the R-Calf Summit on Thursday, Dec.
Jay Truitt, NCBA executive director for legislative
affairs, told the group thatNCBAfirst raised arguments
for country of origin labeling in 1996, and continues to
support the effort ofU.S. cattle producers to establish a
means for promoting their own born, raised and
processed in the U.S. product. Truitt presented to the
group the NCBA Country of Origin Labeling Task
Force's recommendation for a voluntary program that
would consist of a U.S. label providing value to the
consumer and meeting the expectations of producers.
These producers want value from the program through
differentiating their product with the USAlabel.
The NCBA Task Force, which represents all
industry segments, met December 9-10 in Denver, and
a plan will be presented to cattlemen at the Cattle Industry
Annual Convention in Phoenix, January 28-31.
Truitt told Summit participants that finding ways
around the current law does not meet requirements of
producers who want a workable country of origin labeling
plan. "You don't make mistakes in a law then try to fix
them later," he said.
According to Truitt, it's also disconcerting that R-
Calf is aligning itself on this issue with environmental and
special interest groups that do not have the best interests
of the cattle industry at heart. These include Public
Citizen, the Consumer Federation of America, the
Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club National
Truitt also warned the group of extensive record
keeping that the mandatory country of origin law would
create. "The Sierra Club Ag Committee should be
against the law, because it would require the killing of a
lot of trees to implement it," Truitt says.
Instead, Truitt outlined a proposal recommended
by the NCBA Country of Origin Labeling Task Force.
That plan would include pilot programs to be conducted
under existing approved USDA programs. The next
steps, to take place in January, would be to identify
existing programs that could be used as models, and
then hold a meeting with other industry segments to
review the task force recommendations and seek input
NCBA will ultimately use its pilot programs to
determine how the industry will implement country of
origin labeling for all segments ofthe beef marketing chain.
The efforts of the task force are being taken to meet
expectations of producers and fulfill the directives
approved by the NCBA Board of Directors.
National Cattlemen's Beef
Release December 12, 2003
U Nutrient Boost for
It's a familiar scene in the
country-a tractor chugging its way
across a field, mowing down swath after swath of green
alfalfa. Many farmers store and ferment these alfalfa
clippings in silos. By doing so, they turn the forage into
silage, the cow's equivalent of sauerkraut.
As a forage crop, alfalfa has many benefits. It fixes
nitrogen in the soil-meaning there's no need to add
nitrogen fertilizer-and it's a good scavenger of excess
soil nitrate left by overfertilized row crops. And because
it's high in protein, it's great for livestock, such as dairy
cattle. Unfortunately, when alfalfa is processed into silage,
up to 85 percent of its protein breaks down into
nonprotein nitrogen (NPN) through a process known
as proteolysis. Cows use NPN much less efficiently than
A row of wilted, chopped, green alfalfa is collected into a
wagon before being taken to the silo. Photo by Stephen
Now, researchers at ARS's U.S. Dairy Forage
Research Center in Madison, Wisconsin, and ARS's
Plant Science Research Unit in St. Paul, Minnesota, have
found an environmentally friendly way to reduce protein
degradation in ensiled crops such as alfalfa. ARS has
filed a patent application on the discovery, which could
save farmers more than $100 million per year.
"Right now, no practical techniques are available
to farmers who want to reduce protein breakdown in
alfalfa silage," says plant physiologist Ronald D. Hatfield,
of the Madison center. Research has shown that applying
formic acid or using heat treatments can reduce protein
degradation by 12 to 28 percent, but these methods are
either too caustic or too expensive for farmers to use
profitably. Formic acid, for example, must be handled
with care and can be hard on some equipment.
But Hatfield and two other scientists at the center-
agricultural engineer Richard E. Muck and molecular
biologist Michael L. Sullivan-along with DeborahA.
Samac, a plant pathologist in the St. Paul unit, have
discovered a way to reduce protein loss by using
ingredients extracted from potato skins and red clover.
Research leading up to their invention began more than
10 years ago.
Clues in the Clover
In the early 1990s, Muck and Hatfield were helping
Beth Jones, a graduate student at the University of
Wisconsin, research red clover and alfalfa silage. They
found that although red clover and alfalfa have similar
protein levels, the protein in red clover does not degrade
during ensiling nearly as dramatically as the protein in
alfalfa. In fact, red clover silage preserves 65 to 80
percent of its protein as true protein.
The researchers wanted to know why red clover,
which outwardly seems so similar to alfalfa, made such
excellent silage. "We looked to see whether there were
different types of proteins in the two plants or differences
in their protease activity," says Muck. (Proteases are
the enzymes responsible for breaking down proteins.)
They didn't find anything at first.
But later, a clue emerged. Alfalfa clippings would
remain green for a while after being cut, but red clover
clippings would turn brown right away. Further studies
revealed that red clover contains large amounts of
polyphenol oxidase (PPO), the same enzyme that turns
cut surfaces brown in apples, bananas, potatoes, and
many other fruits and vegetables. Alfalfa has insignificant
amounts of PPO.
For PPO to cause the browning reaction, it needs
something to act on-a substrate-as well as exposure
to oxygen. The substrates of choice for PPO are 0-
diphenols. They include compounds such as caffeic acid
and related compounds, or conjugates, such as
chlorogenic acid. In addition to containing high levels of
PPO, red clover contains high amounts of caffeic acid
and its conjugates. Alfalfa doesn't.
Hatfield explains how red clover safeguards its
protein. "When the clover is chopped up, its cells release
PPO," he says. "Once the PPO is exposed to oxygen, it
reacts with the plant's caffeic acid and forms a very
reactive molecule known as an o-quinone. Quinones bind
themselves to the proteases and keep them from
degrading red clover's protein."
Since making these discoveries, Sullivan has been
able to extract the PPO gene from red clover, and Samac
has inserted it into an alfalfa plant. They recently
conducted an experiment in which they chopped some
transgenic alfalfa plants into 2-centimeter pieces, treated
them with a bacterial inoculant, applied caffeic acid to
about half of them, and let them sit for 2 weeks. Bacterial
inoculants are the principal silage additives in the United
States; they ensure fast and efficient fermentation in the
The alfalfa plants treated with caffeic acid had 15
percent less protein degradation than untreated plants.
The scientists believe they can preserve even more alfalfa
protein if they improve their processing technique and
grind the plant into smaller pieces.
A Potato Mash Alternative
Caffeic acid is present in high concentrations in a
variety of fruits and vegetables, most notably potato
skins-a common agricultural waste product. The
scientists are currently working with different potato-
processing plants to determine how easy it would be to
extract large amounts of caffeic acid from leftover skins.
They are also looking at ways to insert the PPO
gene into a bacterial inoculant. Such inoculants would
excrete the protective PPO enzyme and enhance
fermentation of the silage. Farmers could apply the
inoculant and the potato-derived caffeic acid to their
alfalfa crop. In this way, they could achieve results similar
to the ones reached with transgenic alfalfa without having
to grow a transgenic plant.
This technology should work on other ensiled crops
as well, including corn and rye grass.-By Amy Spillman,
formerly with ARS.
This work is part of Food Animal Production
(#101) and Rangeland, Pasture, and Forages (#205),
two ARS National Programs described on the World
Wide Web at www.nps.ars.usda.gov.
RonaldD. Hatfield, Richard E. Muck, and Michael L. Sullivan
are with the USDA-ARS U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center,
1925 Linden Dr., West, Madison, WI 53706-1108; phone (608)
264-5358 [Hatfield], (608) 264-5245 [Muck], (608) 264-
5397 [Sullivan], fax (608) 264-5147.
DeborahA. Samac is in the USDA-ARSPlant Science Research
Unit, 317 Christensen Laboratory, 1515 GortnerAve., St. Paul,
MN 55108; (612) 625-1243, fax (651) 649-5058.
While a front-end loader works to fill this bunker silo,
agricultural engineer Richard Muck takes forage samples
that will be analyzed later for nutritive value and moisture
content. Photo by Stephen Ausmus.
Amy Spillman, formerly with ARS
Agricultural Research Service
Release December 2003