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March 20, 2010

Calving Season

Calving Season Considerations

Experts share tips for re-evaluating calving date.

After a long, snowy and cold winter, calving in June — rather than the traditional January through March calving season — may have some appeal for northern ranchers. Extension specialists say not only is the weather more favorable in June, but the forages are better matched to that calving time as well.

"Increasingly, ranchers are recognizing that matching the physiology of the cow with the physiology of the plant is an important key to reducing costs," says Jack Whittier, Extension beef specialist at Colorado State University (CSU). "When calving season more closely matches forage growth, the cow is better able to meet her increased nutrient demand for milk production from grazing rather than from more expensive harvested feeds and supplementation."

Aaron Stalker, assistant professor of ruminant nutrition at the University of Nebraska's West Central Research and Extension Center in North Platte, agrees.

"One of the most common mistakes is that people try to change the forage nutrient supply to meet the cow's needs. I suggest doing it the other way around. Matching the cow's needs to available forage nutrients is more profitable," Stalker says. Click here to read more.


Chuck Grove

Chuck Grove

Association Perspective

Tips for how to buy the "best" bull.

The most expensive genetic improvement tool for almost every commercial operation is the herd sire. Unfortunately, price is not necessarily indicative of quality or an indicator of the "best" bull for your operation. The best bull in a sale is not the same individual for every farm or ranch.

To purchase the right bull for your operation, consider making a job description that lists all the requirements and specs the bull must meet. Age, pedigree, expected progeny difference (EPD) parameters, phenotype, whether daughters will be retained, and how progeny will be marketed are all examples of points to consider prior to buying. Click here to read more.

Meet in Montana

Association schedules National Angus Conference
& Tour Sept 15-17

Mark your calendar and make plans now to attend the 2010 National Angus Conference & Tour (NAC&T) Sept. 15-17 in Bozeman, Mont. The American Angus Association is planning the event in conjunction with the South Montana Angus Association, and Purina Mills LLC is a major partner in this year's event. Click here for more.


Nominations Sought for CAB Awards

Angus producers are fortunate to be able to work with a breed that does it all, from the cow herd to the consumer's plate. But some producers are truly visionary in their ability to work across all sectors to realize the breed's potential in high-quality beef production.

Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) recognizes those who Commit to Excellence by honoring a commercial producer and a seedstock producer at its annual conference. If you know of a deserving individual, click here to read about how to nominate them by the May 1 deadline.

What’s Inside …

In this March edition of the Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA, you'll find valuable articles devoted to the management, marketing, and health and nutrition of your beef enterprise. Select from the tabs at the top of the page to access this month's entire offering by category. A few select features include:

Non-commercials are heavily long. What does that mean for cattle prices?

MSU STOP sign program may improve health of farm animals across state, country.

Making BRD a cattle industry concern.

Task Force provides 2010 recommendations for timing of AI and synchronization protocols for heifers and cows.

How to Argue for Agriculture — And How Not To

Marketing program brings identity to New Mexico’s best calves.

Everyday practices can undermine your animal health efforts.

Back to Basics: Technology hypocrites

Illinois offers new course in revised animal sciences curriculum

News Briefs …

The American Angus Association and its subsidiaries generate a wealth of information to keep members and affiliates informed of what's happening within the industry as well as with the programs and services they offer. Click here for easy access to a summary of recent news and links to the newsrooms of the American Angus Association and Certified Angus Beef LLC and the Angus e-List archive.

Share Your Opinion

CAST seeks producer input regarding ballot initiatives and legal mandates regarding animal welfare issues.

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) is requesting producer participation in an online survey exploring producer opinions regarding the intended and unintended consequences of state ballot initiatives and other legal mandates regarding animal welfare issues. The information provided will be used to evaluate how these mandates affect food animal producers of all sizes, their communities, animal welfare, the structure of agriculture, and food security.

The opinions of farmers and other clientele (listed in question 14 of the surveymonkey request for information) will be summarized and presented on the first day of CAST's Food Animal Agriculture Symposium, "Sustaining Animal Agriculture: Balancing Bioethical, Economic and Social Issues." The symposium is scheduled to be June 8-10, 2010, in Washington, DC.

To participate in the survey, turn your Internet browser to and follow the directions after it loads onto your computer.

Reclaiming Legitimacy

U of I offers new course in revised animal sciences curriculum.

False statements and emotional untruths regarding livestock production are winning the hearts and minds of the "typical" American consumer. Next spring, University of Illinois (U of I) animal science freshmen will learn about these fundamental societal issues that are affecting the care and use of production animals in a new course titled "Contemporary Animal Issues."

Janeen Salak-Johnson, U of I associate professor in animal sciences, will explore a new and increasingly important side of those sciences, including such topics as animal well-being, animal-environment interactions, domestication of animals and contributions to human welfare, biotechnology, food safety, and societal and economic impacts of animal production. Click here to read more.

How to Argue for Agriculture — And How Not To

K-State animal scientist encourages beef producers to educate, adapt with regard to animal well-being.

Just as in every industry, most people who raise livestock are doing a lot right, and Kansas State University (K-State) animal scientist Lily Edwards believes producers should not be defined by the few "bad apples" when it comes to animal well-being. She does, however, believe that there are some animal management practices that could be improved upon.

Edwards, who spoke on the topic "Animal Well-Being: Bridging the Gap Between Consumers and Producers" at K-State's Cattlemen's Day March 5, said there has been a shift in the public's ethical consideration of animals. The concept of humane treatment of animals has transformed into the concept of "well-being," which not only includes an animal's physical welfare, but also focuses on its quality of life.

Edwards encouraged producers to take every opportunity to educate consumers about what the livestock industry does to promote the well-being of animals, and to consider altering some of their own practices that could impair animal well-being. Click here to read more.

Truth in Food

Why a Rat is no Pig is no Dog is no Boy

Award winning author Wesley J. Smith's latest book, A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement, offers animal agriculture a carefully crafted and brilliantly argued critique of the flawed ideology and dangerous tactics of the animal liberation movement behind much of today's criticism of "factory farming."

A senior fellow in human rights and bioethics at the Discovery Institute, a consultant to the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, and a special consultant for the Center for Bioethics and Culture, Smith offers a bulletproof defense of animal agriculture based on the unique importance of human exceptionalism. Precisely because humans are placed above animals — whether through divine right or by natural law is immaterial — only humans and humans alone are capable of making decisions to protect the welfare of animals, as well as decisions to use them as we see fit. The bioethical foundation of his defense of animal farming works exceptionally well to deflate the sanctimonious violence of today's animal rightists by reflecting back upon them the withering light of their movement's underlying and fatal ethical contradictions.

Required reading for anyone interested in beating the animal rights movement on its own terms, Smith's book is put into context through a 30-minute interview with “Truth in Food's” Kevin Murphy. Click here to listen.


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