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How to determine the best cows for your land PAGE 12

PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID BRYAN, TX 77802 PERMIT # 23

JAMES ON THE RISE THOMPSON

JAMES NICE CALVES THOMPSON

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JAMES PLAN AHEAD THOMPSON

JAMES THOMPSON LANDING THE RIGHT PROPERTY

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February 2014 — Issue 1

The Land & Livestock Post


News From the General Manager

M

y daughter was born mid-month in January, and I have slipped back into the office to finish up work on this issue. I want to tell you all how sweet and cute and tiny she is, but it’s difficult. It’s not difficult emotionally or anything, it’s actually very difficult to get anything done at all in JESSE WRIGHT this office right now because contractors are remodeling parts of it. Every time I start to write a sweet little line about my daughter’s little nose or tiny fingers a WHUMP! WHUMP! WHUMP! causes me to cringe and start over. I’m not sure what they are doing, but whatever it is takes a lot of WHUMP!-ing. It’s a vicious cycle I’m in right now. At home, when there are small periods of silence, I quickly try to get as much sleep as I can, and at work, I have to utilize the silent moments to get as much work done as I can. Once the wailing starts — whether from a baby’s mouth or on a seemingly indestructible wall — I have a very small window to get things done. As far as problems to have, I guess complaining about a

remodel and a healthy baby are pretty low down the list, so I’m not really that bent out of shape. Also, this column gives me a forum to vent, because if I tried sharing these troubles with my wife, my next column may be about me complaining about how cold it is sleeping outside. In this issue we look at two similar issues that can affect your herd: genetics and environment. These two factors play a major role in beef cattle production. We take a look at some of the details and examine some changes or tweaks you can make to produce a better herd. We also have news about upcoming programs as well as a column from Dr. Steve Wikse on calf health. All this and more await in these pages. Hope you can find a quiet place to read and enjoy. ’Til next time,

• For more information about content or advertising, contact Jesse Wright at jesse,wright@theeagle.com.

PRAIRIE MINERAL CO. Prairie Mineral Company is currently buying royalty and mineral interests in your area. Shoule you wish to consider the sale of your interests, please contact us. Office: 817-332-6797

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The Land & Livestock Post

Cell: 817-980-9697 Tom L. Scott

Economist: Beef cattle prices poised to continue record run in 2014, 2015 By Blair Fannin Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

MILANO — For beef cattle prices to continue their record run, the 2014 U.S. corn crop will have to produce record yields, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist. That aside, the 2014 beef cattle market outlook is poised for another historic run as lack of supply will continue to fetch strong bids on calves. “Look for continued high prices,” said David Anderson at the recent Central Texas Cow-Calf Clinic at the Milano Livestock Exchange. “Tight supplies are underpinning the market. I think we are going to have higher calf prices than we did in 2013 and higher prices in 2015 than we did in 2014.” Fewer cows and calves will lead to less beef production over the next couple of years, Anderson said. Cattle on feed numbers as well as slaughter and beef production are down from levels a year ago, signaling less supply.

See PRICES, Page 4

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin

Jon Gersbach, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Milam County, welcomes beef producers at the Central Texas Cow-Calf Clinic in Milano.

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February 2014 — Issue 1

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News Prices, from Page 3 Anderson said the biggest threat to future high calf prices is feed prices. “If the n ation’s corn crop comes up short, that could drive up prices putting downward bid prices on the calves,” he said. Fed cattle set new record prices the first week of the new year. In 2013, Anderson said there were as many beef cows slaughtered for the year as there were in 2012, as a percentage of the herd. “We kept culling, which is why I think we will continue to have tighter supplies going forward,” Anderson said. He predicts beef production to be down 6 percent for 2014 and another 4 percent for 2015. “I think we will have higher prices whether it is retail or cattle prices,” he said. “I don’t think we are there yet as far as herd expansion.” The only concern ahead is the 2014 corn crop. Anderson said corn prices today “are darn near half of what they were in 2012. In 2013, the opposite happened. We had a record corn crop and corn prices went down, while calf prices took off. Going forward, to maintain these high calf prices we’ve got to have a record corn crop.” Anderson said there will be fewer acres of corn planted this year as some farmers shift to soybeans. Demand remains strong for beef despite record-high beef prices, Anderson said. “The question I get all of the time is when are people going to quit eating beef in reaction to record-high beef prices?” he said.

“It hasn’t happened yet. We’ve had record prices for months and months, and I think they are going to continue to go up. We’ve seen a shift in the kind of beef we eat, but haven’t seen people giving up their hamburgers for pork or chicken. We continue to have slowly growing beef demand with a slowly growing economy. We could see it pick up for beef demand as the economy grows in the latter half of 2014. If you put tighter supplies with growing demand, I think we will be talking about higher prices in the years ahead.” Anderson said there have been reports of declining beef consumption, but said the real result is a reduction in beef production. “I think as we produce more cattle, consumption will go up.” Looking ahead, Anderson said he predicts higher calf prices for 2014 than levels hit in 2013. For 500-pound to 600-pound steers, he sees prices of $178 per hundredweight and $184 per hundredweight for the first quarter of the year. By the first quarter of 2015, those prices could the $189 per hundredweight mark for No. 1 steers. For now, Anderson said there has been a tendency for packers to overpay for cattle, which continues to pressure bids for feeder cattle with fewer to be sold. That’s led to packers losing money as competition heats up to purchase a shrinking inventory.

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February 2014 — Issue 1

The Land & Livestock Post


News Five workshops set to explore estate planning and transition Special to The Post

STEPHENVILLE — The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will offer five Estate and Transition Planning Workshops for Agricultural Producers in February and March. All five workshops share a similar curriculum. All five workshops start with registration at 9:45 a.m. followed by the program from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Individual registration is $35 and covers all materials and lunch. For more information contact Jason Johnson at 254968-4144 or email jljohnson@ tamu.edu Download a registration brochure at stephenville.tamu.edu/ estate-planning/ or contact the AgriLife Extension agent in any of the participating counties. The dates and locations are as

follows: • Feb. 19, AgriLife Extension office in Taylor County, 1982 Lytle Way, Abilene. • Feb. 21, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 1229 North U.S. 281, Stephenville. • Feb. 27, AgriLife Extension office in Gillespie County, 95 Frederick Road, Fredericksburg. • Mar. 4, Myers Park and Event Center, 7117 County Road 166, McKinney. • Mar. 6, Waco Association of Realtors office, 2025 N. 44th St., Waco. The workshops are hands-on and will address critical estate, retirement and transition planning issues and resources, Johnson said. Program topics and resources to be covered will include estate planning concepts, gifting and gift tax considerations, estate

planning goals and objectives, retirement planning resources and transition planning alternatives. “Participants will leave the program better prepared to work effectively with their trusted advisors and implement their desired plans,” Johnson said. “Talking about estate planning is difficult and implementing an estate plan can be even harder. That’s why these workshops have been designed to enable sufficient time for questions and discussions in a safe harbor learning environment so participants can relate the information from their own individual circumstances and perspectives. “To further ensure those in attendance get the most out of the material, all will receive a workbook containing the materials covered along with references to other useful planning

resources.” Along with Johnson, the presenters will include Wayne Hayenga and Bill Thompson, both faculty with Texas A&M University’s department of agricultural economics and AgriLife Extension. Hayenga is an attorney and

has conducted estate planning seminars for more than 40 years. Johnson and Thompson each have more than 20 years experience working with farm and ranch families in their roles as regional agricultural economists in Stephenville and San Angelo, respectively.

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The Land & Livestock Post

February 2014 — Issue 1

located just off Hwy. 6 and OSR 1415 East OSR • Bryan, Texas 77808 Office: (979) 776-5760 • Fax: (979) 776-4818 Website: www.circlexbrangus.com Steve Densmore, Cattle Mgr., (979) 450-0819, cell • (979) 778-1055, home Chris Duewall, Operations Mgr., (979) 777-6803, cell

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News Blackland Income Growth Conference to feature grain session • Farm Bill Management/Marketing, Jason Johnson, AgriLife Extension economist-management, Stephenville. • New Technologies and Management in Corn and Grain Sorghum, Ronnie Schnell, AgriLife Extension cropping systems specialist, College Station.

By Blair Fannin Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

WACO — New technologies in corn and grain sorghum, plus an overview of farm legislation and marketing options, will be featured during the grain session Feb. 4 at the Blackland Income Growth Conference at the Extraco Events Center in Waco. The center is located at 4601 Bosque Blvd. The annual conference, which includes multiple sessions over two days and concludes Feb. 5 at 3:30 p.m., is sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Waco Chamber of Commerce. The g rain session is from 9-11:45 a.m. and will feature the following session topics and speakers: • Fertility Management – Soil Applied and Foliar, Mark McFarland, AgriLife Extension state soil fertility specialist, College Station.

Other scheduled sessions on Feb. 4 will be rural land management, horticulture, cotton, wildlife and horses. Doug Steele, AgriLife Extension director in College Station, will be the keynote luncheon speaker. The first

See CONFERENCE, Page 11

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New technologies in corn and grain sorghum, plus an overview of farm legislation and marketing options, will be featured during the grain session Feb. 4 at the Blackland Income Growth Conference. • Management in Wheat and Feasibility of Alternative Crops, Clark Neely, AgriLife Extension specialist, College Station.

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February 2014 — Issue 1

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The Land & Livestock Post


News USDA proposes to allow importation of beef from specific Brazilian states Special to The Post

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing to amend its regulations to allow, under certain conditions, the importation of fresh beef from specific Brazilian states. Earlier in December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply issued a joint statement affirming their mutual commitment to science-based rulemaking and announcing both countries agreed to a path forward to address rules that currently limit bilateral beef trade. The proposed re gulation changes would allow the importation of chilled or frozen beef while continuing to protect the United States from an introduction of foot-and-mouth disease. Based on a risk assessment and series of site visits, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service concluded that Brazil has the veterinary infrastructure in place to detect and effectively eradicate an foot-and-mouth disease outbreak if necessary. And, imported beef would

be subject to regulations that would mitigate the risk of footand-mouth disease introduction, including movement restrictions, inspections, removal of potentially affected parts and a maturation process. Prior to actual importation of beef from these Brazilian states, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service also must determine Brazil as eligible to export fresh/ frozen beef products after a final regulation by Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has been published. Foot-and-mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease of cloven-hoofed animals that only rarely is transmitted to humans. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has a strong system in place for detecting and responding to outbreaks of foreign animal diseases, including foot-and-mouth disease, and places restrictions on affected regions to protect against the introduction of diseases of concern. All imported meat and meat products must follow USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service regulations for food safety and labeling.

See BRAZIL, Page 11

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February 2014 — Issue 1

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News High Plains Dairy Conference set for March 5-6 in Lubbock By Kay LedBetter Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

LUBBOCK — The High Plains Dairy Conference will bring experts from across the country to address topics specific to the region March 5-6 in Lubbock. The conference will be at The Overton Hotel and Conference Center, 2322 Mac Davis Lane in Lubbock. “The High Plains dairy industry has unique needs created by dairy size, location and complexity,” said Ellen Jordan, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service dairy specialist in Dallas and conference coordinator. “This conference was designed to address specific issues from animal welfare to adopting new technology to labor and management.”

The conference will begin with registration each day at 6:30 a.m. with the seminars starting at 8 a.m. The conference fee is $250 for everyone after Feb. 1. Online registration is available at www.highplainsdairy. org. Those who print and mail the registration form should send it to High Plains Dairy Conference, Attn: Charlotte Bruna, 244 Cyclone Lane, Waterville, Kan. 66548, or fax to 785-532-2333. Checks should be made payable to Texas Animal Nutrition Council. Credit card payments will be accepted with online registration or onsite only. The fee includes two continental breakfasts, one lunch, an evening reception and a copy of the conference proceedings,

Jordan said. Additional copies of the proceedings may be purchased for $25 each. Topics of discussion will be: • Implications of groundwater minerals in dairy cattle nutrition. • Feeding calves for performance. • Using technology to improve calf raising. • Mastitis in the vital 90 days … what’s the real cost? • TCI — An objective way to benchmark and monitor the effectiveness of your transition management program. • Is shrink robbing your operation of profits? • Micromachines on dairies — do they have a place? • Managing stress, anger, anxiety and depression on dairy farms.

• Dairy outlook and the importance of trade. • Precision dairy monitoring technology opportunities and challenges. • Lameness and leg injuries in open lot dairies in the Southwestern U.S. • Food morality movement.

A panel discussion will cover managing water resources, and shorter discussions will cover LED lighting; farm bill dairy decision aid; economic impacts of employee turnover; diagnostic and heat stress “apps,” and an update on human resources training and safety programs.

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February 2014 — Issue 1

The Land & Livestock Post


Ask the Vet

Tips for springing into a good calving season

N

ow that calving season is in full swing, it’s a good time to focus on calf health. Survival of the maximum number of calves from birth to weaning is critical to the financial success of beef ranches. Standardized Performance Analysis of production data on Texas beef ranches show average loss of calves between birth and weaning to vary from 5 percent to 8 percent of all calves born. Implementation of the following key management practices for calf survival can cut those losses in half.

Nurture healthy cows Healthy dams are the foundation for healthy calves. Weak calves that die within hours of birth or later from calf diarrhea infections come from thin, non-

vaccinated cows with untreated parasite infections. Proper nutrition of the dam is critical to calf health. Body condition score is a practical measure of the amount of fatness of a cow. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service bulletin B-1526, “Body Condition, Nutrition and Reproduction of Beef Cows,” by Dennis Herd and L.R. Sprott, is an excellent guide on how to visually score cows. The authors recommend that cows Dr. STEVE calve at body condition WIKSE score 5 to 6 and heifers calve at body condition score 6. There is a long list of profitable outcomes for the calves of cows that calve in good condition. They are more likely to survive the first 24 hours of life because they are born with adequate fat

reserves to withstand cold stress. They also are more likely to survive the threat of infectious diseases during their first few weeks of life because they get up fast, nurse colostrum and efficiently absorb its antibodies. An added benefit is that because cows with good body condition score’s produce more milk than thin cows, their calves grow faster and have higher weaning weights than calves of thin cows.

Be a watchful midwife More than 50 percent of calf deaths occur at birth or within 24 hours of birth and are caused directly or indirectly by difficult births (dystocia). Thus, efforts to assist dams having difficult births are successful in increasing calf survival. Check the calving pasture at least three times a day and jump in to help if your

calvers show any of the following three main signs of dystocia: • Stage 1 of labor, the “getting ready stage” lasts longer than six hours. The dam continues to be restless, but never lies down and strains, and the water bag never appears. • Stage 2 of labor, the “true labor” or “expulsion of the fetus” stage is prolonged. The amniotic sac (water bag) protruding from the birth canal marks the beginning of stage 2. Expulsion of the fetus normally lasts 30 to 45 minutes in cows and 45 to 60 minutes in heifers. A calf should be on the ground within an hour of protrusion of the water bag, even in heifers. Another sign of prolonged stage 2 in the dam is straining hard for 30 minutes and no progress. • The third main sign of dystocia is

See CALVING, Page 10

Jordan Cattle Auction. San Saba, TX.

ollow us on

Events Calendar

February Feb. 2 - 45th Annual Premium Whiteface

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Replacement Female Show & Sale. Fort Worth, TX. 817-831-3161

Feb. 2 – Cowtown Select Sale, Horned &

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Feb. 8 – Happy 11 Charolais, Charolais for

Profit Bull Sale. Columbus, TX.

Feb 13 – Special Bull Offerings, Jordan Cattle

Auction. San Saba, TX.

Feb. 15 – Bradley 3 Ranch Annual Angus and Charolais Bull Sale. Estelline, TX. (940) 585-6471 Feb. 22 - 44 Farms Prime Cut Bull Sale. Cameron, TX. (254) 697-4401 facebook.com/texasllp The Land & Livestock Post

Feb, 22 - Special Replacement Female Sale,

February 2014 — Issue 1

March March 1 – South Texas Cattle Marketing’s

“Cattleman’s Opportunity” Replacement Sale. Nixon, TX. (830) 334-8227

March 1 – Foundation Angus Alliance Sale.

Luling, TX. 830-875-2438

March 5 - Houston Livestock Show and

Rodeo 47th Annual All Breeds Sale. Houston, TX. 979-482-2018

March 8 – The Black Hereford Sale. Alvarado, TX.

March 15 – 44 Farms Bull Sale. Cameron,

TX. (254) 697-4401

Do you have a sale or event you’d like listed? Call Jesse Wright at (979) 731-4721 or email jesse.wright@theeagle.com

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Calving, from Page 9 any obvious abnormality in the birth process that seems to immediately tell you it’s an impossible situation. The first image that comes to mind is a huge head and two huge feet protruding from the dam’s birth canal. Another dire situation is seeing nothing but a tail protruding from the birth canal which indicates a breech presentation. Two other situations where the need for help is obvious are seeing nothing but a huge swollen head or just a foot and leg protruding from the birth canal.

‘Special’ weak calves

Normal, healthy calves stand and nurse within an hour of birth. If a calf does not, it is a weak calf at risk of dying. During the Vietnam War, combat nurses “specialed” the most seriously wounded soldiers by taking extra good care of them. Weak calves need to be specialed. First, respiration must be stimulated if a calf is having trouble breathing. There are many ways to stimulate a calf to breathe. Tickling the nasal passages with a piece of straw

10

is one. I like to rub a calf vigorously all over its body to really wake it up. Suddenly squeezing the chest over the heart will stimulate the phrenic nerve and hopefully initiate breathing. Pouring cold water over a calf’s head or down a calf’s ear will induce a gasp reflex. Research has shown that this increases oxygen exchange in the lung. If you get desperate, stick your fingers way back in the calf’s mouth to try to induce it to gasp in air. One of these tricks should work. Next, you must make sure the weak calf ingests enough colostrum within four hours of birth to ensure it absorbs antibodies to protect it against infections such as calf diarrhea. The calf should be coaxed to nurse two quarts of its dam’s colostrum from an Albers bottle with a rubber nipple. Large beef calves need three quarts of colostrum. If the calf is too weak to suckle, warm colostrum can be given with an esophageal feeder tube. Knowing how to safely pass an esophageal tube is a very useful skill for ranchers and has been covered in a previous Ask the Vet column.

See SURVIVAL, Page 13

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February 2014 — Issue 1

The Land & Livestock Post


News Brazil, from Page 7 This action was published in the Dec. 23 Federal Register. Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Feb. 21. You may submit comments by either of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking portal — Go to www.regulations. gov/#!documentDetail;D=APH IS-2009-0017-0001. • Postal mail/commercial delivery — Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2009-0017, Regulatory Analysis and Devel-

Conference, from Page 6 day of programs concludes at 5 p.m. “The Blackland Income Growth Conference has a long history of providing the latest research information and production management practices for farmers and ranchers throughout the region,” said Ronald Woolley, conference coordinator and AgriLife Extension regional program director in Stephenville. “This year’s conference has several experts in each commodity session. We think we have something for everyone, and producers will take home plenty of

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opment, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at www. regulations.gov/#!docketDetai l;D=APHIS-2009-0017 or in our reading room, which is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call 202-690-2817. strategies they can incorporate into their operations.” Registration f or the main Blackland Income Growth Conference on Feb. 4 is $20 per person and includes lunch. Registration for Feb. 5 programs vary depending on program choices. Several sessions throughout the conference will award continuing education units. Producers may download the brochure at bit.ly/17IGNEB to see specific continuing education credit allocations, sessions and speakers. For additional information, contact the AgriLife Extension agent in your county or call 254968-4144.

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News

Choices

Decisions that help decide the best cows for your land By RoBeRt FeaRs Special to The Post

B

eef cattle production is affected by two factors: genetics and environment. In the dictionary, environment is defined as all the conditions, circumstances and influences surrounding and affecting the development of an organism or a group of organisms. In a cow-calf operation, the environment includes climate, topography and forage properties, as well as exposure to disease, management practices and economics. A lot of choices are required when designing herd genetics. Selections normally are based on desired traits such as calving ease, milk production and weaning weights, while possible interactions with environmental stresses or feed availability often are overlooked. Sources of environmental stress include heat, cold, internal and external parasites, diseases, mud, drought and altitude. Feed availability refers to quantity, quality and regular availability of grazed or harvested forage and supplemental feed.

Feed interactions

One of the biggest mistakes made in designing breeding programs is establishing a goal of producing the largest cows possible with heavy milk production, when the ranch forage supply can’t support this type of animal. Severe drought in most of the United States during the past two to three years has caused a renewed emphasis on breeding cattle that can produce economically in an arid ranch environment and on less than optimum forage supply. The better the environment, both in terms of feed availability and lack of stress, the wider the range for optimum milk production. Optimum mature animal size changes with feed availability and amount of environmental stress. “Ability to store energy is important when feed availability is low or inconsis-

12

Photo by Robert Fears

Market demand and prices are environmental factors often overlooked in breeding programs. Making the right choices can pay big dividends at the sale barn. tent,” said Joe Paschal, livestock specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. “Without this ability, cows are less able to maintain sufficient body condition to rebreed effectively. Cows that are ‘easy keepers’ in low feed environments may become overly fat and inefficient in high feed, low stress environments. “High lean yield and ability to store

energy are genetic antagonisms. The optimal level of lean yield will vary with market objectives when feed availability is high. When feed is limited however, cows still need to fatten easily, even though this may not be beneficial to their offspring.” “Levels of cow performance affects feed inputs,” said Barbi Riggs of Oregon State University. “For example, females that

February 2014 — Issue 1

are heavy milk producers need more and higher quality feed than a cow of similar size and moderate milk yield. Selection of single traits such as yearling weight and weaning weight often leads to mature cows that are too large for some types of grass pasture or environments to support them.

See DECISIONS, Page 15

The Land & Livestock Post


News Survival: It’s up to the producer from Page 13 Finally, if the weather is bad and the weak calf is cold, it must be warmed up. Giving it colostrum will help a lot, because colostrum contains energy which aids shivering, plus heat is generated internally from its digestion. Ranchers commonly warm calves by placing them in front of the heater of a pickup. Some ranchers have pens with heat lamps in their barn to warm calves. A comatose calf can be warmed rapidly by placing it in a bathtub of

warm water.

Bottom Line Saving calves is job one during calving season. Ranchers who start the calving season with cows in good body condition can expect to lose fewer calves because healthy calves come from healthy dams. It’s not simple out on the ranch where complexities of ranching, such as wet cold weather or calves that get their legs tangled up trying to get born, inevitably result in weak calves at risk of dying. Ranchers that become “watchful midwives” and “special” their weak calves can overcome these complexities. • Dr. Steve Wikse is a retired professor of large animal clinical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University.

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News Decisions, from Page 12 “Likewise, selection for high milking ability can lead to a cow whose nutritional requirement for production may not be met by grass production alone. The result in both cases is a thin cow that does not breed back or a cow that requires supplemental feed. Genetic selection for desired traits will not only affect cow size, milking ability, and calf weaning weights but also longevity.” The bigger cows may not always be the money makers. If a ranch can support 100 head of 1,300-pound cows (130,000 pounds total), then it also should be able to support 120 head of 1,000-pound cows (120,000 pounds total). At an 85 percent calving rate, the 100 cows will produce 85 calves with average weaning weights of 600 pounds (51,000 total pounds) and the 120 cows will produce 102 calves with average weaning weights of 450 pounds (45,900 total pounds). The week before this article was written, 600 to 700 pound calves sold for an average of $105 per hundred-weight at the local livestock exchange. Four hundred to 500-pound calves averaged $188 per hundred-weight. At

Published by Bryan-College Station Communications, Inc. (979) 776-4444 or (800) 299-7355

President - Crystal Dupré .....................................................Ext. 4613 Publisher and Editor- Kelly Brown.........................................Ext. 4656 Advertising Director - Ron Prince ........................................ Ext. 4740

Photo courtesy of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

External parasites are an environmental factor that can be controlled. these prices, the 85 calves would have sold for a total of $53,550 and the 102 calves would have sold for $86,292. In this scenario, the smaller cows would have returned $32,742 more revenue than the larger cows ($86,292 vs. $53,550). “Regardless of the size of the cows, 44 percent of the approximate $33,000 difference is due to the market,” AgriLife’s Paschal said. “The 85 calves could have been sold at 400 to 500 pounds for $188, totaling $71,910. This action would have reduced the revenue margin between the two groups of cows to $14,382. ($14,382 ÷ $32,742 X 100 = 44 percent added revenue due to market.)”

Environmental interactions

Parasites and disease are en-

vironmental stresses that can be removed by management — but heat, cold, wet conditions, drought and altitude require genetic selections that will allow cattle to cope with these extremes. When moving cattle to an environment that is very different from the one in which they were raised, losses in production should be expected. In research studies, calves from cattle moved from the high altitude, dry, cold environment of Montana to the low altitude, humid, hot environment in Florida had lower weaning weights than calves from the same closed-genetics group of cows that were raised in Florida. Similar results occurred with cattle that were raised in Florida and moved to Montana. “Consider two production locations in different environments,” said Stephen Hammack, profes-

sor and extension beef cattle specialist emeritus with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. “The first is an extensive subtropical rangeland with extreme heat and humidity, distinct wet and dry seasons, and low-quality grazing. The other is an improved pasture in a climate featuring moderate temperatures, evenly distributed precipitation, and unlimited high-quality grazing or harvested forage year-round. “In the first set of conditions, the applicable genetic type is likely to be relatively small to medium in body size, of lower milking potential with some content of tropical-adapted genetics. A large, high-milking Continental European type would be unsuited to these harsh conditions. But in the more favorable environment, the Continental type could be productive and efficient. A small, low-producing type might not perform well enough

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to fully exploit the better conditions. However, most beef cows are managed under less than ideal circumstances. “These genetic-environmental interactions require intelligent choices of genetic types, not difficult and costly modifications of the environment and management.” In designing a breeding program, first assess the ranch environment, management systems and markets. Then determine the type of animal required to provide optimum economical production under those conditions.

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News Buyer goals determine land purchase considerations nomic and legal ramifications so an appropriate offer can be made.

By JoB Springer The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation

When purchasing agricultural land, it is essential to define the overall goal of the acquisition. Some people buy for quality-oflife reasons. Sometimes land is purchased as an investment. Others purchase to generate a profit from agricultural practices. With any of these goals, buyers should be aware of potential pitfalls. It is important to know if there are any liens, covenants, easements, dumps, property line disputes or endangered species on the property. Strongly consider purchasing title insurance; while it will not protect against all of these issues, it will protect from financial loss due to defects in title to the property. Any or all of these issues could

Quality of Life

For those in search of an ideal property suitable for quality-oflife goals, I recommend gathering

Photo courtesy of Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation When purchasing agricultural land, it is essential to define the overall goal of the acquisition. result in future, sometimes costly, headaches. If one or more of

as much information as possible about the owners and tenants of neighboring properties. Unattractive sights or disturbing noises and smells coming from nearby factories, machinery or

See GOALS, Page 18

SALE EACH SATURDAY

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News Goals, from Page 17 traffic are common issues that prospective buyers should take notice of while searching for land. In addition, it is important to be aware of how shifting wind direction might affect the air quality for properties located near industries such as manufacturing or oil refining. It is imperative to remember that wind can either reduce or transmit sounds and smells.

Land Appreciation

For those interested in capitalizing on long-term appreciation of agricultural land, it is important to be aware of pending or potential zoning changes. It is also vital to determine the direction in which nearby towns are growing. It is usually favorable, from a land appreciation standpoint, to have city expansion towards the property. Other things that

create land appreciation are falling interest rates and high commodity prices. Many current forecasts predict interest rates to rise while commodity prices are expected to fall or experience flat growth. Both of these factors will contribute to land values remaining approximately the same for several years.

Enterprise Profit

Individuals looking to buy land for agricultural production should consider several issues. First, one should determine what types of soils are present and if soil nutrients are adequate for the planned agricultural enterprises. This information will help guide decisions about the types of enterprises that can be supported by the land. Second, what water resources are available on the land such as watersheds and water catch-

See LAND, Page 20

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News Land, from Page 18 ments? What is the quality and quantity of the groundwater available, and what permits are needed to access surface and groundwater? Water quality is very important to the health of livestock and crops, and is directly related to profitability. Third, what types of improvements are on the property such as barns, corrals and roads? Where are they located and what is their condition? Will these improvements contribute to the planned enterprises or will they be a liability? Fourth, what is the proximity of the land from where you live or from other property that you own? Miles driven by vehicles and time spent in transit quickly can add up when several trips are made to and from the property. In addition, it is important to know the distances to purchase inputs and sell outputs for the planned enterprises.

Fifth, it is important to understand the potential net returns of enterprises that can be conducted on the property. Row crops have provided the largest net return to labor and management over the past five years, with returns of about $100 per acre, depending on the crop. Market projections, however, suggest that net returns from crop production will decrease over the coming years. Therefore, to make a profit, it is important for the landowner to have a competitive advantage and effective cost management to allow positive net returns. All these factors should be considered prior to signing a purchase agreement. The overall goal will determine what information should be discovered. While a first time land purchase may seem daunting, a little effort up front will go a long way towards making a successful purchase.

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News Bill Dugas named acting vice chancellor, dean at Texas A&M Special to The Post

COLLEGE STATION — Dr. Bill Dugas has been named acting vice chancellor for agriculture and life sciences and acting dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for The Texas A&M University System. Dugas, who has been associate vice chancellor and associate dean of agriculture and life sciences since 2009, will serve in the new capacity while Mark Hussey, who formerly filled those roles, serves as interim president of Texas A&M University.

“I am confident Dr. Dugas will provide the leadership needed to keep our college and agencies moving forward during this period,” Hussey said. Hussey will return to his role as vice chancellor and dean when a new president is selected for Texas A&M. As acting vice chancellor, Dugas will oversee the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M Forest Service and Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. These agencies have about

LIVESTOCK MARKET REPORT Buffalo

Results of the Buffalo Livestock Marketing’s Jan. 11 sale: Head: 1,122 Steers: 150-200 lbs., $225-$270; 200-300 lbs., $220-$255; 300-400 lbs., $200-$260; 400-500 lbs., $195-$233; 500-600 lbs., $165$212; 600-700 lbs., $160-$187; 700-800 lbs., $153-$170. Heifers: 150-200 lbs., $200$265; 200-300 lbs., $195-$250; 300-400 lbs., $190-$245; 400500 lbs., $165-$225; 500-600 lbs., $155-$192; 600-700 lbs., $150$180; 700-800 lbs., $125-$165. Slaughter bulls: $82-$117. Slaughter cows: $55-$97. Bred cows: $975-$1,525. Cow/calf pairs: $1,100-$2,200.

Caldwell

Results of the Caldwell Livestock Commission’s Jan. 15 sale: Head: 647 Steers: 200-300 lbs., $225-$280; 300-400 lbs., $200-$275; 400-500 lbs., $190-$240; 500-600 lbs., $175-$200; 600-700 lbs., $165$175; 700-800 lbs., $145-$165. Heifers: 200-300 lbs., $220$280; 300-400 lbs., $200-$240; 400-500 lbs., $175-$210; 500600 lbs., $165-$200; 600-700 lbs., $150-$175. Slaughter bulls: $88-$111. Slaughter cows: $65-$97. Stocker cows: $850-$1,350.

Navasota

Results of the Navasota Livestock Auction Co.’s Jan. 11 sale: Head: 1040 Steers: 150-300 lbs., $150-$275; 300-400 lbs., $150-$260; 400-500 lbs., $125-$245; 500-600 lbs., $120-$215; 600-700 lbs., $115$175. Heifers: 150-300 lbs., $135$250; 300-400 lbs., $130-$222.50; 400-500 lbs., $120-$205; 500-600 lbs., $115-$180; 600-700 lbs., $115-$175. Slaughter bulls: $75-$106. Slaughter cows: $65-$94. Stocker cows: $850-$1,650 Cow/calf pairs: $1,200-$1,625

3,800 employees and annual expenditures of $400 million. As acting dean, Dugas will be responsible for the academics, personnel, budgets and facilities of the college, which has more than 7,200 students and more than 400 faculty. Since 2005, Dugas has served as interim director, deputy director and associate director for AgriLife Research in College Station. Previously, he was professor and resident director at AgriLife’s Blackland Research and Extension Center in Temple. He has a bachelor’s degree in climatology/meteorology from California State UniversityChico, a master’s degree from the University of Illinois, and a doctorate in soil science and biometeorology from Utah State University.

MARK HUSSEY

BILL DUGAS

Questions About Cattle Health?

Ask the Vet! Steve Wikse - Retired DVM Large Animal Clinical Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University

Groesbeck

Results of the Groesbeck Auction and Livestock Exchange’s Jan. 16 sale: Head: 708. Steers: 300-400 lbs., $220-$270; 400-500 lbs., $175-$200; 500-600 lbs., $175-$185; 600-700 lbs., $170-$190. Heifers: 300-400 lbs., $190$235; 400-500 lbs., $175-$200; 500-600 lbs., $170-$185; 600-700 lbs., $150-$180. Slaughter bulls: $90-$112. Slaughter cows: $78-$98.50. Stocker cows: $1050-$1,800. Cow/calf pairs: $1,500-$2,200.

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February 2014 — Issue 1

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