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Livestock “The greatest homage we can pay to truth is to use it.”


Digest Y

FEBRUARY 15, 2013 • www. aaalivestock . com

Volume 55 • No. 2

Ghost Cattle

by Lee Pitts


The Magical Elixir


You can see the trend to heavier cattle in this country by look-

“The best way to appreciate how another person rides is to get on their horse.”

steers getting less efficient for the extra days on feed? But how would they do it? One way would be in the breeding of cattle, and certainly the trend to more efficient cattle is occurring. But that takes years and generations to accomplish. The cattle feeders gushing red ink need help now and some of them think their salvation may come in pharmaceutical form.

The Chemical Advantage ing at the show ring winners lately. Last month’s Grand Champion steer at Denver’s National Western weighed 1,335 pounds, and just months before the Grand Champion at the American Royal weighed 1,344 pounds. Wow! That’s 350 more pounds than my Grand Champions weighed 50 years ago! Sure enough, the week this story was

written the average slaughter weight for steers at our nation’s slaughter plants was 1,330 pounds. Obviously, the thinking is that rather than having to buy more high priced feeder cattle, why not make the cattle you already have, weigh more. And what if cattle feeders could get around the age old problem of their

In 2004 Elanco came out with a product called Optaflexx®, also known as ractopamine, a product whose primary active ingredient is ractopamine hydrochloride. Two years later Intervet, Inc., a subsidiary of Merck, came out with a competing product they called Zilmax®, or zilpaterol. Make no mistake, these are not new natural or syncontinued on page two

N.M. legislation to take federal lands egislation that would move the ownership and management of U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands in New Mexico to the state has been introduced at the Roundhouse. The Transfer of Public Lands Act is sponsored by Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-Alamogordo, and Sen. Richard C. Martinez, D-Espanola. In a prepared statement, Herrell said New Mexico has a rich history of farming, ranching, hunting, fishing and oil drilling. “In our past we have also had a thriving timber industry that is unfortunately near nonexistent,” Herrell said. “We have been fortunate to have vast expanses of land that can be utilized by New Mexicans to help feed their families and enrich their communities. However, we are currently not getting the full use of the land that could be available. Instead, we are paying a management fee to the federal government in order to allow them to make the rules on how our land is used.” The legislation, introduced recently, would exclude national parks, national historic parks, national monuments, wilderness areas, and tribal lands. The bill calls on the U.S. Government to extinguish title to the public lands and transfer title to the state on or before Dec. 31, 2015. “In my home of Otero County, we would greatly benefit from this act as it has the poten-



Counterfeit Cowboys


ut yourself in the boots of a beleaguered cattle feeder for a minute. Your job presently consists of buying feeder cattle costing in excess of a thousand dollars each and then feeding them record-setting, high priced grain. To stay in the business your options are limited. You could try to get more retained ownership cattle and make your money by selling feed, but just try convincing a cow-calf rancher who is getting that thousand dollars each for his steers that he should instead hang on to them and take the losses the cattle feeders have been experiencing for months on end. Or, you could sell more pounds of beef by selling the cattle you do buy at heavier weights. The only problem with that scenario is that the last pounds you put on a steer or heifer are also the most inefficient pounds they’ll ever gain. So that’s a nonstarter. But what if someone were to sell a magical potion that would allow you to put on those extra pounds just as easy as those first pounds the animal put on when it first came to your feedyard. Wouldn’t you buy and use that product?

Riding Herd

tial to allow for a renewal of the timber industry,” Herrell said. “A healthy timber industry, managed responsibly by New Mexicans, would not only help our economy by creating a large number of jobs, but it would also help to protect our watersheds and keep our forests as livable habitat for all wildlife. Additionally, by responsibly thinning our overgrown forests, we can help decrease the devastation of wildfires. As it is currently, the federal government has logging restrictions that keep our forests overgrown, creating a hazardous environment. When a fire starts, the overgrowth serves as kindling, creating a massive forest fire that threatens the safety of our homes and communities.” Herrell said it is time to put an end to the wildland fire danger. The legislation is similar to the Transfer of Public Lands Act enacted last year in Utah. But an analysis by the Utah Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel cautioned lawmakers and the governor that the act would interfere with Congress' power to dispose of public lands. The review noted that any attempt by Utah to enforce the requirement would have a high probability of being declared unconstitutional. Staff in the New Mexico Attorney General’s continued on page five

ou sure do see a lot of folks who were raised on pavement trying to look and act like cowboys and cowgirls. Us cowboys are all so cool who can really blame them? There are sure signs of counterfeit cowboys, such as no spur marks on their Ugg Boots or flip flops, and a flat saddle tied on to a miniature horse. But in some cases it’s harder to tell, so here’s a little guide that will help you sort out the cowboys from the folks whose only encounter with cows is the calf slobber (what my Grandpa called cream) they put in their Starbucks double latte frappacinos. Or whatever. If they use words like paradigm, stakeholders, outside the box, certificate of deposit, box spring and mattress, or sommelier . . . they aren’t a cowboy. If they wear things like a crash helmet in the shape of a Stetson or Resistol, wing tips, cummerbund, tie, fedora, soccer jersey, or anything designed by Paris Hilton, Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt or Versace . . . they are definitely not a cowboy. If they shop in Victoria’s Secret, jewelry shops, Tofu for Less, Rodeo Drive, or Bichon Frises R Us . . . they aren’t a cowboy. (Places they do shop include gas stations, saddleries, truck stops, and Goodwill Industries.) If you look in their saddle bags, or on their saddle, and find sunscreen, an umbrella, GPS, paperback by Danielle Steele, little cute dog dressed in clothes, cup holder, New York Times, makeup kit or tofu trail mix . . . they aren’t a cowboy. A real cowboy wouldn’t be caught dead driving a Beamer, tractor, Rolls Royce (except if it’s an old one used to feed cows) or Smart Car. (No room for their hat.) The only vehicle a real cowboy will be caught dead in is a pickup or a hearse. If they eat ratatouille, vichyssoise, matzo balls, chicken, vegetarian lasagna, their dog or their horse . . . continued on page thirteen

Livestock Market Digest

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February 15, 2013

Ghost Cattle thetic hormones. They are not implants but are medicated feed additives that, rather than increase the hormone level, instead work at the cellular level to change more of the feed’s energy into muscle instead of fat. According to Ty Lawrence of West Texas A&M University, these beta agonists “cause each muscle fiber to expand just three microns in cattle fed Zilmax®. But with each muscle containing millions of fibers, the muscle growth is significant, resulting in more lean-meat yield from each carcass, thereby increasing weight gain, ribeye area, and total red meat yield.” The extra pounds of beef produced with fewer animals is equivalent to a ghost herd of cattle we don’t have to ride herd over. Even more impressive, it solves the age-old problem of cattle becoming less efficient during the last month of the fin-

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ishing period. Thus we’ve had a whole host of beta agonists like PayleanTM for hogs with the same active ingredient as Optaflexx®. While Zilmax® and Optaflexx® can only be purchased by cattle feeders, ranchers, 4H and FFA members can buy similar products called Showmaxx® or Explosion®, the latter being a mixture of Optaflexx® whey, milk, and barley. But there’s really no point in a cow-calf operator using such products because the cost is prohibitive. And why would a cattleman need more muscular cows in the first place? Besides, these products are NOT approved for use in breeding animals because we don’t know what the effects would be. But with junior livestock shows being so competitive, and steer jocks and overly indulgent parents on the lookout continued on page three

ongtime cattle consultant, southwest rancher and President of Agrotech, Inc. Dr. Ray Rodriguez has some concerns that beta agonists can cause serious animal and human welfare problems if they are fed for too many days, or at too high a dose. What got him interested was a serious attack of really high blood pressure that lasted for a couple days and then went away. All the medical tests that were performed on him found no root cause and it hasn’t happened since. Then his doctor asked him about his activities prior to the attack and he replied that he’d eaten out at a restaurant and had a steak. The doctor then hinted at the possibility the Ray’s attack could have been caused by traces of beta agonists in his steak. Dr. Rodriguez is not ready to pin the blame on beta agonists but it caused him, a man with a scientific mind to begin with, to delve more deeply into the subject.


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At the Digest’s request Dr. Rodriguez complied a compendium of industry concerns about beta agonists. “In one study, ractopamine fed at 200 mg/day for 28 days, caused a slight increase in the speed cattle moved during handling in British, Continental and Braham cross steers,” says Rodriguez. “Anecdotal reports also indicate that it may cause hoof problems in Holsteins housed in a muddy lot, when given at the same dose.” “Stockyard managers at slaughter plants and my own observations, indicate that higher doses for longer times cause weakness and more “downers” non ambulatory pigs. It can also make pigs more difficult to handle. The manufacturers have lowered the recommended dosage from 18 grams per ton of feed to 4.5 grains per ton of feed. In cattle, overuse and too high a dose of zilpateral (Zilmax®) or ractopamine in cattle has resulted in lameness and heat stress. Stockyard managers in two plants have reported that the outer shell of the hoof fell off of feedlot cattle fed too much zilpateral.” “Data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act from Food and Drug Administration approval trials for zilpateral indicate that it made beef tougher when fed at 6.8 grams per ton of feed, “ says Rodriguez. “The Warner Bratzler shear force test

results were 3.29 for the control and 4.01 kg for the zilpateral cattle. Research conducted by Vasconcelos showed that cattle fed zilpateral had less marbling. In pigs, ractopamine made pork tougher unless it was aged for 10 days. All of the studies showed that beta-agonists greatly increased muscle mass and the area of the loin. The cost of this increased amount of meat is poorer meat quality and bad effects on animal welfare unless beta-agonists are used very carefully.” Rodriguez told the Digest, “Quality and quantity of meat are two opposing goals. Beef cattle fed two many beta-agonists will have less marbling and tougher meat. Meat companies who want high quality meat have banned or greatly restricted these products in their programs. Unfortunately there are some meat companies who pay a premium for animals with a high percentage of lean meat. This has provided an economic incentive to overuse beta-agonists, which have resulted in many lame cattle. They do this because they are selling beef to low end consumers and they put all the meat through a needle machine to tenderize it. Low income consumers buy most of this beef. Beta-agonists can cause lameness, weakness, and hoof problems because they are vaso constrictors.” continued on page three

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February 15, 2013

Ghost Cattle for any advantage, we certainly hope that young people are not feeding such products to their show heifers to make them more muscular.

The Sales Pitch Interestingly, these drugs were discovered as scientists were working on a way to treat asthma in humans. As many times happens, they accidentally discovered that the drugs turned fat into muscle. According to Merck, they’ll do more than that: ■ Zilmax® is designed to improve production efficiencies in both steers and heifers during the last 20 days of the feeding period prior to harvest. ■ When fed at the recommended 20 days, Zilmax®-fed cattle showed an improvement in carcass weight gain of 24 to 33 pounds and dressing percentage of about 1.4 percent. Further, Zilmax® doubled the percentage

Rodriguez is also concerned about the trade implications of beta agonists. “The latest USAHA report shows that the problems are coming home to roost from Russia as early as Feb 4, 201. Never mind that China bans the usage of ractopamine already. When the Russians and Chinese realize that we are using Zilmax®, a more powerful beta agonist in our beef production, I fear our market expansion dreams will hit a brick wall. Are we shooting ourselves on the foot on purpose?” “The concerns of China, Russia, Australia, Cargill, Dr. Temple Grandin among many others need to be addressed.” “Beta agonists are powerful agents,” says Rodriguez. “We need to know the effects and tolerances of residues in human populations, with emphasis on older populations suffering from hypertension and other health impairments. We need to have a monitoring system that assures us of the consistency of residue levels from carcass to carcass. We need to assess the error variance in the mixing of these agents into our rations. We need to know the effects on stress, heat stress and well being of the cattle that have been fed beta agonists, in our age of animal rights and animal welfare is a must do. It is the 800 pounds gorilla in the middle of the living room! With very serious implications against our industry and its future.” Rodriguez stresses that he “is not advocating the banning or continuance of beta agonist use. I am calling for clarification and explanation of the concerns of our meat client countries, renowned scientists and refusal of one of our our major packers from processing animals treated with BAs. The consumer needs to know and some of us that might be adversely affected due to age and other health issues need to know as well.”

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of Yield Grade 1 cattle and cut in half the number of Yield Grade 4 and 5 cattle with minimal effects on quality grade. ■ Results from the largest consumer beef sensory study ever conducted confirms beef from Zilmax®-fed cattle tasted no different in overall acceptability. ■ The additional beef from two Zilmax® supplemented cattle supports the annual beef consumption for a U.S. consumer, with no additional resources of land, feed, animals, water or carbon energy required. That’s good for our environment.

$$$$$$$$ All this added performance comes with a hefty price tag. A 22 pound bag of Zilmax® in January cost $8,428.50. Yes, you read that right. One wonders if cattle feeders lock their Zilmax® in a vault overnight. Merck says the price of Zilmax® is determined using the Select USDA Beef Carcass price-equivalent index value for 600 to 900 pound carcasses, multiplied by the predetermined constant factor of 50. So let’s do the math. If the

steers average 20 more pounds over the Zilmax® feeding period and cattle are selling for $1.22 per pound, as they were as this story was being written, that means that Zilmax® gave an added value of $24.40. But after you subtract the cost of the product, which comes to about $25 per head, you’d end up losing sixty cents per head. It sounds like the old joke of a farmer who was buying hammers for six bucks and selling them for five, but figured he’d make it up in volume. The math may not compute when cattle are sold on a live weight basis but if you sell cattle on a grid it begins to make sense. And cents. Because of the extra muscle produced and the additional carcass weight, the use of Zilmax® on cattle sold on a grid can be as much as $35 extra. For cattle feeders that could be the difference between making a profit or taking a loss on a pen of cattle.

Chemical Cattle So far we’ve spent over half of this article extolling the benefits of beta agonists and you’d think we were pimping for big drug companies who spend millions of dollars every year advertising

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such products in livestock publications. And that’s why you rarely hear the downside. But there definitely is one. Don’t get us wrong, if we were a cattle feeder we’d be looking for any way to stem the losses, too. And if we did remove beta agonists from the arsenal of cattle feeders the reduction in beef produced would mean we’d just have to import more beef from foreign countries where we have no idea what was used in its production. But there certainly is the possibility that by thinking short term and using the beta agonists we could be shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot with the consumer. Even the drug companies admit beta agonists do reduce marbling and grading percentages in finished cattle. Zilmax® has also been shown to increase rib eye area by an average 1.25 square inches. The increased size of muscle cuts and reduced marbling, that lends beef its flavor, are diametrically opposed to what butchers and chefs say their customers are demanding these days. Mike Callicrate, Industry watchdog and owner of Ranch Foods Direct who sells natural

beef, goes further than that. “Zilmax®, even more than Optiflexx, drastically reduces meat quality, makes cattle crazy, increases chances of respiratory distress, and damages joint health-thereby increasing the incidence of lameness. Is this the kind of animal production we want? Is this the kind of beef we want to eat? Per capita demand is already decreasing at a fast pace as consumers react negatively to bad meat eating experiences.” At a forum for cattlemen in Omaha, Callicrate says that Glen Dolezal, an executive of Cargill, said that “while the company supports some use of drugs to increase weight gain in cattle, Zilmax® had taken the process too far.” Another critic of beta agonists is John Stika, president of Certified Angus Beef. In a March 2008 article in in Beef magazine, Sitka said he “was alarmed by the effects the new drug had on meat.” He stated that our business has become “too open to options that could simply make beef taste like the breading you put on it. And we can’t afford to give people another reason not to buy beef.” continued on page four

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Livestock Market Digest

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Ghost Cattle Certainly the politics of beta agonists sure do get interesting. Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall in NCBA meetings, where they think up ways to spend your checkoff dollars, when the big drug companies who sponsor NCBA meetings and are a big source of income for them go up against the likes of Cargill and the interests of Angus breeders. Callicrate thinks it’s no contest and accuses the NCBA of “catering to their drug company board members, continuing to push the use of growth promoting compounds and antibiotics.” Callicrate asks, “Why has the NCBA and the Beef Checkoff ignored the drastic quality decline in commodity beef. In the interests of technology and drug company profits, we are feeding Optiflexx® and Zilmax® to increase carcass weights, while reducing eating quality to new lows.”

Drug Wars On the one hand you have Merck saying that Zilmax® has been used globally for over 14 years, providing beef for hundreds of millions of people, with

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zero human food safety issues or animal safety concerns, while on the other hand the tests they conducted to get Zilmax® approved showed that the the drug increased heart rate and caused tremors in human test subjects. Proponents of the drug say that federal inspectors who are on the lookout for illegal use of drugs have found no evidence of Zilmax® showing up in the samples they tested. But, detractors will point out that of the 30 million cattle slaughtered in 2009, federal inspectors tested just 170 steers for Zilmax® residues. If many Americans have yet to make up their minds about beta agonists, some of our trade partners have already decided. Russia is our the sixth-largest market for beef and pork and they have said that countries are in violation of trade agreements when they send them meat with residues of ractopamine. A Russian ban on such products could jeopardize the more than $500 million a year in exports of U.S. beef and pork to Russia. Of course, this could all be a smokescreen and, if not for beta agonists, they’d find another


Many of the bulls offered are 18-month-olds from our embryo transplant program. They are by leading sires for calving-ease, muscle and carcass merit. Bulls are on feed south of Dimmit, Texas and can be viewed at any time. The Sale is at Mimms Sale Facility in Hereford, Texas. The bulls will be videoed in February for broadcast along with being scanned for carcass merit.

reason not to accept our beef. Still, much of the European Economic Union and China have also banned meat produced with such drugs.

Pushing The Biology This entire topic of drugs and cattle production has also raised another important topic. That is the issue of college professors who do research and make favorable presentations to rancher groups about the use of beta agonists and other drugs without making it clear to the ranchers that they were paid by the drug companies, either in the form of research grants, or consulting and presenting fees. But that’s probably a subject that requires it’s own story in the future. One professor who speaks her mind without being influenced by big bucks from drug companies is Temple Grandin, well

February 15, 2013 known professor of animal science at Colorado State University. Temple is as much of an expert as we have on the subject of animal safety and behavior in our industry and if you go to her website, as we did, you will read that in her opinion, “Heat stress reduces weight gain and is more likely to occur in cattle fed beta agonists such as Zilmax® or Optaflexx®.” During the dog days of summer in 2006 Temple went to three slaughterhouses where the temps were in the 90 degree range and noticed that at each plant she found lame cattle — as many as a third of the cattle at one slaughterhouse. “Cattle suffer these problems,” she said, “When you push the biology.” Grandin also spoke at an animal welfare symposium in Manhattan, Kansas, where she said, “If you can’t explain to people at

The biggest delusion of all DAN MURPHY, WWW.CATTLENETWORK.COM

spend a lot of time scouring anti-industry, pro-vegetarian websites and blogs. I do it so you don’t have to. The constant refrain voice by virtually all veggie activists, of course, is that meat production is cruel to animals, dangerous to human health and ecologically unsustainable. All three are minority viewpoints, and all three are fairly easily refuted. Lately, however, the argument goes further. A more radical segment of the veggie coalition — the vegan purists — has begun to complain that Meatless Mondays doesn’t go far enough, that switching from red meat to poultry isn’t a positive change and that raising concerns about the excessive consumption of soy protein is a false and foolish detour distracting true believers from the cause. The cause being a vegan world, one in which animals have but one role: To roam freely through untrammeled wilderness (killing and eating each other), while we humans turn to our bowls of cornmeal mush and tofu as our daily fare. It’s a nice fantasy, one completely and utterly impossible to achieve, even if humanity did suddenly decide that beans-and-rice was the ultimate gourmet meal. Heck, such a transition wouldn’t have been possible a thousand years ago, much less today, when seven billion people need sustenance. Of course, we could try to transform what’s left of the planet’s prairies and forests into farmland, and for a time we’d probably be able to grow enough food crops to replace the world’s supply of animal protein, but ultimately, that would represent an ecological disaster of epic proportions, certainly not a scenario any born-again vegan would ever entertain. Yet there are millions of people who buy into the notion that if only they shop hard enough at Whole Foods, if only they order religiously from the vegetarian choices on the menu, if only they spend lavishly enough on soy-based entrées and out-of-season produce jet-freighted from elsewhere in the world, then one day the world’s livestock will wander away from their barns and corrals, and we’ll all join hands around a communal pot of vegetable soup, rejoicing in the triumph of enlightened activism. Or something like that.


The impact of affluence Contact Larry Plote at 806/240-1941 or by email at

a Barnes and Noble in New York City what you are doing and have them understand and accept it, you shouldn’t be doing it.” I try really hard not to go to New York City, and we don’t have a Barnes and Noble in our little town, but we do have a small independent bookstore. So I went there to explain the use of zilpaterol to a random customer, that I just happened to know. After hearing me out she said, “zilpaterol. I love it.” “You do?” I asked, much surprised. “Sure” she said. “I’m a Scrabble junky and I’m always looking for words that contain the letter Z. It’s worth ten points, you know? That’s the most of any letter.” “But how about eating beef fed zilpaterol, how do you feel about that?” “Oh, I gave up on beef years ago, for similar reasons.”

It’s easy (and tempting) to simply dismiss

such thinking as deranged and move on. But the thought process shared by so many activists doesn’t arise from delusions, but from disconnections. A majority of people who have decided to forego animal foods do so in the belief they’re doing something noble and good, that switching one’s dietary choices will trigger a profound revolution in the way the world feeds itself. God bless ’em for that, but such thinking a direct result of the material affluence the developed world has enjoyed for some 50 years now. Most of us simply haven’t experienced real food shortages, nor had to deny ourselves anything we want to eat. From fast-food drive-thrus to white-tablecloth bistros, we demand — and we get — pretty much whatever we want, whenever we want it. Is it any wonder, then, that so many people believe that if they only demand loudly enough, if they insist on it long enough, if they explain clearly enough the rationale behind converting to vegetarian diets, then it’ll be served up to them? In 30 minutes or less? As a society, we’re slowly (re)connecting to the reality that there are limits to consumer demands, that there are consequences to lifestyles based on satisfying those demands, that in fact there is a serious downside to a society driven by an unrelenting quest to provide whatever anybody can afford, regardless of how it impacts larger issues of health and food security. Ironically, the vegetarian movement prides itself on being more aware, more enlightened, more knowledgeable than meat-eaters about resource limitations, energy consumption and carbon footprints as they relate to food production. Yet, so many of its followers entertain the biggest delusion of all: That the domestication of animals across hundreds of millennia was some sort of historical aberration we no longer need to continue. The typical veggie’s analysis of human history is even more harmful than the junk food diets they condemn. That’s because there are important, urgent issues that need to be discussed regarding the challenge of ensuring that all people, no matter where they happen to live, have enough nutritious food to sustain a healthy life, issues that include dietary modifications, farm productivity, and yes, the best and most sustainable methods of growing food and raising livestock. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Dan Murphy, a veteran food-industry journalist and commentator.

“America’s Favorite Livestock Newspaper”

February 15, 2013

Overreacting to Environmental Crimes vercriminalization, the act of making too many actions or behaviors illegal, is a problem that plagues Gulf Coast states struggling to stay on the right side of environmental law. Indeed, nearly 1,000 laws have passed that criminalize various activities in the five states that border the Gulf of Mexico, say Marc Levin and Vikrant Reddy of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Environmental crimes can be defined as crimes that relate to air, water, waste, land use or other commercial activity involving


natural resources. Many of the crimes on the books can lead to imprisonment. Texas has 263 environmental crimes, Louisiana has 286, Mississippi has 94, Alabama has 185 and Florida has 107 environmental crimes. Some crimes, like the improper disposal of hazardous waste in Texas, are felonies carrying stiff sentences of up to 10 years in prison. In each state, the attorney general, a state agency or district attorneys are responsible for prosecuting the expanse of appli-

cable environmental laws. Unlike many prosecutable crimes, many statutes in the Gulf Coast states do not require the perpetrator to act with mens rea, or a “guilty mind,” meaning that violators could unknowingly wind up on the wrong side of the law. Levin and Reddy consider the overcriminalization of environmental crimes a scourge that disproportionately punishes criminal infractions even if no human is harmed. In many instances criminal sanctions are not necessary. To adjust current policies, Levin and Reddy suggest review-

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ing all environmental laws to ensure that the punishment matches the crime. Strengthening the mens rea requirements of environmental statutes so that only those who are willingly and knowingly breaking the law are punished would increase justice and equity. Eliminating provisions that delegate the power to criminalize an action by the rulemaking authority of an agency would reduce the glut of criminalized actions. Implementing a “safe harbor”

provision that allows violators to come into regulatory compliance and avoid prosecution would encourage citizens to obey the law. Business owners in particular, many of whom run afoul of environmental laws, would benefit from implementing these suggestions. Without any reform, residents of the Gulf Coast states could continue to unknowingly commit felonies every day. Source: Marc Levin and Vikrant Reddy, “Engulfed by Environmental Crimes: Overcriminalization on the Gulf Coast,” Texas Public Policy Foundation, December 2012.

Circle D Corporation N.M. Legislation

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Office normally reviews proposed legislation. “This bill does not show up on our public records site yet,” Phil Sisneros, director of communications for the AG’s office said Thursday. “That means either it is still being reviewed or it has not come to us for analysis.” The New Mexico Transfer of Public Lands measure would establish a public lands transfer task force to facilitate the transfer of the federal lands to the state. The task force would also establish a prioritized list of management actions to in part preserve and promote the state's interest in protecting public health and safety, preventing catastrophic wildfire and forest insect infestation, preserving watersheds, preserving and enhancing energy and the production of minerals, preserving and improving range conditions, and increasing plant diversity and reducing invasive weeds. Herrell said the transfer of national forest and BLM lands to the state would also provide revenues to New Mexico’s coffers instead of the feds. “If we follow suit with other states that have done exactly what I am proposing, we can bring in 100 percent of revenues from oil, gas, timber and other industries from this land instead of the less

than 50 percent that we currently keep. Doing so will allow us to put more money into our education system to ensure that the children of New Mexico get the education that they deserve.” Herrell pointed to a study done for the Otero County Commission by the Southwest Center for Resource Analysis. She said the report indicated lands currently managed by the BLM and U.S. Forest Service generates more than $500 million in annual revenues for the federal government. A Fiscal Impact Report for House Bill 292 had not been completed. Legislative Finance Committee staff analyst Mary McCoy said the report would likely be finalized on the day the bill is scheduled to be heard by its first committee, the Agriculture and Water Resources Committee. Rep. Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso, is a member of the committee. A date for a hearing had not been scheduled. Herrell said five other Western states are looking at similar legislation. “I am happy to blaze this trail along with other states in the west,” Herrell said. “New Mexicans deserve better than the land management we are currently getting from the federal government.” Editor’s Note: See related story “The Cause Of Our Lives” by Lee Pitts in the January 2013 issue of the Livestock Market Digest.

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Judge: Ranchers can pursue First Amendment case by STACY MATLOCK, Santa Fe New Mexican

federal judge has ruled that a Forest Service district supervisor may have retaliated against a group of Northern New Mexico ranchers for speaking out against her, and the group can seek to overturn her decision to reduce their grazing permits. More than a dozen ranchers from Rio Arriba County, two grazing associations and the County Commission filed a lawsuit last year against El Rito District Ranger Diana Trujillo, claiming she violated their First Amendment rights. U.S. District Judge James O. Browning in Albuquerque found the ranchers couldn’t sue Trujillo in her personal capacity but have a plausible case that Trujillo retaliated against them in 2010 for their repeated complaints about her management of the district. She reduced their grazing permits by 18 percent through 2016. Trujillo denies the accusations. “I support the right of permittees to criticize the district and me personally,” Trujillo said.


“Their complaints didn’t sway me on the grazing issue.” She said her decision in 2010 to reduce the number of cattle that ranchers could graze on the allotments each year was based on an environmental assessment of the range conditions. The alternative she chose was one of several analyzed in the environmental assessment. “It was a difficult decision,” Trujillo said. “I come from a family that has grazed cattle here for generations. I tried to be as fair as I could.” Ranchers disagree, and in the lawsuit, they detail their problems with Trujillo. The lawsuit traces a long history of tension dating to the 1920s between the Carson National Forest and Hispanic settlers grazing livestock in the Jarita Mesa area. It also is an area managed for wild horses under federal law. Richard Rosenstock, attorney for the ranchers, noted that grazing allotments have to be managed to keep a certain amount of grass on the range. But while cattle have to be removed completely for a period of time each year, wild horses and elk graze all year long.

Ranchers believe Trujillo reduced their grazing rights unfairly to make room for wild horses. Ranchers complained in 2006 to the Carson National Forest supervisor that Trujillo was failing to control the wild horse and elk numbers. Both compete with livestock for forage. Ranchers claim that shortly after they complained, Trujillo ordered all cattle removed from the allotments, according to court records. In 2009, ranchers complained again about the lack of wild horse and elk reductions, this time to New Mexico’s congressional delegation, then Gov. Bill Richardson and Trujillo’s supervisor. They claimed Trujillo was trying to end livestock grazing on the allotments and asked for her removal. They allege Trujillo again retaliated by reducing livestock numbers. The court noted there might be more “benign” reasons for Trujillo’s actions than the ranchers acknowledge, but it found “government retaliation against those who criticize the powerful is a real problem that cannot be ignored and set aside.” Contact Staci Matlock at 505/986-3055 or

February 15, 2013

From the Ground Up: Beef Cattle Numbers KBXT.COM

ith the drought that effected the Southwest in 2011, and another that damaged the central U.S. in 2012, the upcoming report on the size of the nation’s cow herd is expected to be down yet again. In this week’s From The Ground Up, Kailey Carey tells us there’s no quick fix to the problem. “Our numbers are down, we know here locally in the Brazos Valley, that we’ve lost tremendous numbers of cattle, you know when will they come back, and will they come back?” Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Beef Cattle Specialist Jason Cleere says that after the worst drought on record in 2011, the biggest challenge is going to be what the future holds from the standpoint of weather. “A lot of producers really took a big hit, to try and make it through that, and a lot of cash reserves were spent, and they’re trying to build that back up, and they’re also a little bit cautious


about what the weather will be over the next few years.” Cleere says that even though 2012 was a much better year in terms of rainfall, rebuilding takes time. “The question is when do we rebuild, and I think we need to have a number of fairly normal rainfall years where we continue the forage recovery, and producers become a little more confident in what the forage production will be because we get some rainfall. If they do that, then we can begin to add more numbers out there with a little more confidence.” There are no changes that can be made that will quickly impact the amount of beef that is being produced. “If we keep a replacement heifer today, it’s going to be another two years before she essentially can contribute to the production of our system, and so in the beef industry we’re looking long term out, and in reality, we’re probably another three to five years before we really see some numbers to come back.”

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oncierge services offer increased medical services for a fee and will continue to expand, says Elizabeth O’Brien, a MarketWatch writer on retirement issues. Concierge services typically offer 24/7 access to the doctor, same day appointments, longer appointment times and a greater degree of personalized attention. The average annual fee for a concierge service is approximately $1,800. More than 4,000 physicians practiced privately in the United States in 2012, a 25 percent increase from 2011. Each concierge or “boutique” doctor has about 350 patients, meaning that more than 1.5 million Americans have paid the additional fee to have these extra benefits. Critics argue that concierge medicine magnifies the disparity between the haves and the havenots, as the service is usually cost prohibitive for those with less financial resources. Proponents contend that as the burden on the health care system increases, particularly through the Affordable Care Act, boutique services will make up for the lack in doctor availability. Proposed changes to the Medicare system might mean doctors are reimbursed less for care provided. Many doctors argue that the fee they charge for concierge services help to balance out the lost revenue of future Medicare cuts while simultaneously provid-


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February 15, 2013

“America’s Favorite Livestock Newspaper”

Page 7

NACD Elects New President, 2013 Leadership Team he National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) officially announced its new Officer Team for the years 2013-2014. The Officers were elected by the NACD Board during its meeting in San Antonio, Texas at the 2013 NACD Annual Meeting. Earl Garber of Basile, La. was elected as the 2013 NACD President, replacing outgoing President Gene Schmidt, whose twoyear term ended this year. Garber, a licensed crop consultant and rice, soybean and hay producer, held the position of Louisiana Board Member for NACD, prior to being elected as NACD Second Vice President in


CHB LLC: Record growth in 2012 iscal year 2012 was excellent for Certified Hereford Beef (CHB) LLC, despite a challenging economy. CHB LLC posted a record year in volume at 47 million lb. sold — a 17.5percent increase, and 2 million lb. higher than the previous record of 45 million lb. This translates to CHB® influencing the marketing of more than 350,000 head of cattle. Foodservice was the big winner with 27 percent growth and a total of 14 million lb. sold. Retail increased by 14 percent for a total of 33 million lb. sold. 2012 proved to be a very successful year in both growth and exposure for the brand, says Craig Huffhines, American Hereford Association (AHA) executive vice president. CHB LLC is a subsidiary of the AHA with its fiscal year ending Aug. 31. “The CHB brand continues to increase in recognition with the consumer,” Huffhines says. “This translates to increased benefits to CHB retailers and distributors who feature the CHB name and logo.” One of the greatest areas of growth occurred with The Fresh Market, a specialty grocery retailer, currently with 124 locations in 24 states. “The Fresh Markets continues to buoy sales of CHB,” Huffhines says. In addition, retail growth of CHB occurred among many independent retailers in the west Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma markets, which are supplied by Affiliated Foods Inc., Amarillo, Texas. In addition, 244,624 head of cattle were certified through the program this fiscal year. Currently CHB is offered in 253 retail supermarkets in 37 states, as well as 37 foodservice distribution centers serving restaurants in 25 states. Since the inception of CHB, 4.2 million head of cattle have been identified through licensed packing plants as meeting the live animal specifications to carry the CHB name.


2009, First Vice President in 2011, and President-elect in 2012. He has served as Chairman of the NACD Legislative Foundation Committee for the past four years. “I am honored and excited to serve as NACD President for the next two years. Our organization represents local district officials from all across our great nation and territories — all with the common goal of natural resource conservation,” Garber said. “With over 70 years of accomplishments, we look forward to continuing to grow our impact on conservation in the future, no matter what challenges lie ahead. As our population increases and society expectations change, additional demands will be placed on our resource base. The NACD membership, with such a broad representation of the society, is uniquely qualified to provide the knowledge base for locally led decision making. I look forward to the future, serving as the leader of such a diverse group, which can provide a national forum for implementing conservation on the landscape.”

Lee McDaniel of Darlington, Md. was elected as NACD’s First Vice President. McDaniel is the owner of Indian Spring Farm LLC, an 850-acre beef cattle and crop farm. In addition to holding various leadership positions within NACD since 2005, McDaniel served as a member of the EPA Farm Ranch and Rural Communities Committee from 2010–2011 and as President of the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts from 2005-2009. The newly-elected Second Vice President is Brent Van Dyke of Hobbs, N.M. In addition to serving as the owner and operator of Agro/Biotech — a producer of high-quality horse hay — since 1987, Van Dyke has served as an Agriculture Education teacher and as an employee of the U.S. State Department for more than 30 years. Dick Went of Scituate, RI was elected as Secretary/Treasurer. Went has served in NACD leadership since 2008. He has also served in a variety of state-level positions, including: President of the Rhode Island Association of Conservation Districts, Board

Earl Garber

Dick Went

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Member of the Rhode Island Conservators Organization, Board Member of the Rhode Island Envirothon, and member of the NRCS State Technical Committee. In addition to the new Officer team, the Board elected the following new members to the Executive Board: Rick Jeans,

South Central Region; Ron Brown, Northern Plains Region; Tim Palmer, North Central Region; Kimberly Lafleur, Northeast Region; and Shaun Sims, Southwest Region.





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February 15, 2013

Hereford: Standing the Test of Time by Callie Gnatkowski-Gibson


From the sand hills For the Mason family of Mason Cattle Company near Artesia — Jimmy and Bunny and their son Clay — Herefords are a good fit, both on the commercial and purebred sides of the business. They raise registered Hereford bulls, both to market to other producers and to use on their own commercial cattle herd. “We started raising Herefords because of my love of the breed,” Jimmy said. “When we were kids, Hereford was the king breed. That’s what everyone raised, and what I grew up showing. We raise horned Herefords just because I like the way they look.” The family started raising bulls to meet the needs of area commercial cattle producers. “A lot of guys around here raise crossbred cows. Going back to my college days, I know that you need a purebred in there to keep up the vigor,” Jimmy said. “We are not into show cattle, we just want to raise good, stout, moderate sized bulls that will work in our country,” he continued. “When we buy a bull, even from northern New Mexico, it

takes him a year or so to acclimatize to our country. When we turn new bulls out in these sand hills, it’s hard on them, and hard on their feet.” The Masons sell some bulls through the Roswell Bull Sale, and sell others private treaty to area ranchers. Jimmy said he wouldn’t mind raising some show steers, but it’s difficult for purebred Herefords to compete with some of the exotic breeds. “This year, they didn’t have enough steers to make a Hereford class at the New Mexico State Fair, and county fairs classify steers on hip height. My son showed Herefords, but today, English breeds are at a disadvantage in the show ring.” The breed’s gentle disposition is one important trait for the Masons. “When we bought the ranch, my wife asked what kind of cattle I wanted and I said gentle ones. I like to chase cows, but I don’t like ones that chase me!” Fertility is another strength of the breed. “You just can’t beat English cattle for fertility. Even last year in the drought, our cattle — the Herefords and the Englishinfluenced commercial cattle — all bred back,” he noted. He also cites their maternal traits. “I like the same things everyone does about the breed — their mothering ability, their milking ability. As a breed, they are good, protective mothers. We don’t have to worry about coyotes getting our calves.” Jimmy is working to build his herd, and saves most of his heifer calves as replacements. This year, he raised some nice black baldy steer calves from the commercial herd, which was good, he said, but he was hoping for higher heifer


numbers. The cattle market can be a strange thing, and color still plays a big part. “Straight bred Herefords do take a little bit of a beating at the sale barn in our part of the country, just because of the color. I tell people that once you take the hide off, you can’t tell the difference.”

To the mountains Partners Phil Harvey, Jr. and Jim Bob Burnett, of B&H Herefords near Piñon, raise registered Hereford cattle that will perform in New Mexico’s rough country. Jim Bob and Phil focus on raising cattle that will do well in a tough environment. “We don’t push our bulls as hard as a lot of people do. We want our cattle to be able to work anywhere,” Phil explained. “We sell quite a few bulls to local Hope and Piñon ranchers, who run their cows in rough, rocky country with deep water, and we want our bulls to get out there and survive and work. “ The cattle run at an elevation of about 5,200 feet, on gramma grass in piñon/juniper country, similar to much of New Mexico. In addition to the registered Hereford herd, both Jim Bob and his son, Denny Kyle, run commercial cattle on the ranch and all of the cattle are managed the same way. “We handle the Hereford herd just like our commercial cows, other than collecting data like birth weights and weaning weights,” Jim Bob said. Cows are supplemented with a protein block through the winter, then with 20 percent protein cubes after they calve until it greens up in the spring. After the bull calves are weaned in the fall,


or many years, Hereford was the predominant breed of cattle in this part of the country, and for good reason. These gentle, easy keeping cattle are known for their fertility and mothering ability. They will adapt to and thrive in the variety of conditions found in the Southwest, and wean a calf that holds its own in comparison to other breeds in the feedyard and at slaughter. When it comes right down to it, Hereford cattle are hard to beat.












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HWY 99


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they are fed through the winter on wheat. Bull sales begin in April and run through the fall. Jim Bob and Phil also market some heifers to commercial producers. B&H Herefords participates in the Roswell Bull Sale, but markets the majority of their bulls private treaty from the ranch. Although they have a few bulls working in registered herds, the majority of their customers are range producers. “From time to time, we’ll go to different sales with top-end cattle, when we have an animal that we think can do well,” Phil said. The mother cows at B&H Herefords are moderate framed, between 1,100 and 1,200 pounds, and their range bulls mature at between 1,800 and 2,000 pounds. “We are shooting for moderate sized, moderate framed, easy fleshing cattle. We also watch the carcass traits, and select herd sires with high marbling scores, and a good-sized ribeye,” Jim Bob explained. The goal is to produce bulls whose calves fit commercial producers’ parameters, he continued. “We want bulls that produce carcasses 600 and 800 pounds, with an eleven- to thirteen-inch ribeye, that will grade low choice.” Hardiness is one of the breed’s best traits, according to Phil. “The thing about Herefords that makes them excel is their ability to get out and rustle. They can get out and get it done when other breeds cannot. That’s where they came from, it’s in their genetic makeup.” He also cites the breed’s gentle disposition, fertility and reproductive performance. “Hereford cattle have probably as good of a disposition as any beef breed. They are easy to get along with, and easy to work,” Phil explained. “If an animal does act a little crazy, it doesn’t stay in our herd for long, but those cattle are really an exception. Disposition is a hallmark of the breed.” Both Phil and Jim Bob’s kids

showed Herefords growing up. “I can remember my youngest daughter leading a two-year-old bull at a show, she was probably about five years old. That bull followed right behind her, stopped when she stopped, and the lead rope stayed slack the whole time. That’s what it is all about,” Phil remembered. Hereford genetics are a good tool for producers looking to boost their crossbreeding program, he explained. “A black baldy — Hereford/Angus cross — calf is almost unsurpassed, what they produce is hard to beat. Something in the Hereford genetics creates stronger heterosis than other breeds.” “There is not a better cow in the world than a black baldy,” Jim Bob agreed. “The steer calves can go any direction after weaning and garner premiums in all levels of the market. You can sell your black baldy females as replacement heifers, and get as much for them as you do your steer calves.” Phil also considers Hereford to be a very efficient breed. “They have optimum size and growth for this part of the country, and their feed efficiency is unparalleled. You see a lot of cattle on feed, but a lot of times it takes 40-60 days longer to get those calves where they need to be for slaughter than it does a Hereford.” Known for fertility and adaptability, Herefords are easy fleshing cattle that function in any environment and breed back with less feed and input, Jim Bob noted. “We place a lot of emphasis on fertility and fleshing ability, and work to raise cows that will give you longevity in your herd.” Phil served on the American Hereford Association Board of Directors from 1989 to 1995, and served as President in 1994. During that time, the AHA put the Certified Hereford Beef (CHB) program into place, and Phil is proud of the program’s ongoing success. Although the AHA was twenty years behind other breeds, he said, we came out with a program and product that really

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February 15, 2013 works. A number of supermarkets in New Mexico and Texas carry CHB products, and the market is growing. “It’s been very successful, which is gratifying to see both as a producer and as someone who helped develop the program.” As with Hereford cattle, he said, the CHB product is easy to recognize. “It’s a superb product. From the high end cuts of meat to hamburger, it’s almost shocking how good the meat tastes,” he said. “Hereford beef has great palatability, and it takes less time and inputs to produce.” One reason for the program’s success, he said, are the strict controls on the types of cattle that are accepted — only straight Hereford cattle and cattle that are 50 percent Hereford 50 percent British breeds — no exotics or dairy cattle. “The controls on quality and breed make up are just not there in other programs. CHB is a superior product with unparalleled consistency, flavor and tenderness. It is hard for a similar product in the same price range to make that claim.” The Harvey family has a long history in the Hereford business. C.M. Harvey moved to El Paso from Oklahoma in 1911 and bought the family’s first ranch, the Ancho Sheep Company north of Carrizozo, in 1915. In 1924, he bought a herd of Hereford cattle and the TR brand from Thomas Fortune Ryan at Three Rivers. The Harveys registered their first Hereford in 1938, and over the years, the family operation grew to include both registered and commercial herds, ranches near Carrizozo, Alamogordo and Cloudcroft, and a farm near Las Cruces. C.M.’s grandson, Phil Harvey, Jr., got more involved with the operation in 1973 after graduating from college, and focused on improving the registered herd. Phil started using artificial insemination (AI), and started really promoting and showing the cattle. “My dad had focused on infrastructure for many years, but my interest was in the cattle,” Phil said. “We made some good progress, and developed a very good herd of cattle.” In 1996, the Harvey family decided to sell the ranching and cattle operations. At the Harvey Hereford Ranches dispersal sale, Phil and Jim Bob, who had been herdsman at the Harveys’ Las Cruces farm, bought 24 head of females, and B&H Herefords was born. “We didn’t have any advantage, we were bidding against everyone else and tried to acquire the best cows out of the sale that we could afford.” They moved their cattle to land near Lovington, then Hope, and in 2010, moved the herd to Piñon. Phil and his wife, Carlitta, live in Las Cruces; Jim Bob and his wife, Melissa, live in Artesia; and Denny Kyle and his wife, Sherida live on the ranch. Jim Bob and Denny Kyle handle the day to day operations, while Phil takes care of maintaining registrations, advertising and promotion. “Amongst us all, it gets done,” Phil said.

Page 9

Beef Industry Resurgence: Hereford Registrations, Cow Herd Inventories, Sale Averages Increase During FY 2012 espite back-to-back years of drought and escalating costs in the beef industry, the Hereford breed is making a mighty resurgence. Hereford registrations were up more than 8 percent during the 2012 American Hereford Association (AHA) fiscal year that ended Aug. 31. Registered cow herd inventories are up 3 percent compared to the previous year — with more than 101,000 females reported this fiscal year. Hereford breeders continue to experience a dramatic increase in production sale prices while reports of private-treaty sales continue to out-pace the previous year reports. A total of 182 Hereford production sales were reported by AHA field representatives this fiscal year. Bull sales averaged $4,671, up nearly $700 and females $3,329, up almost $300 per head. The second largest cattle breed in the U.S., Hereford reports


70,260 registrations and 37,091 transfers with 101,021 cows on inventory. The Association has 3,455 active adult members and 2,263 active junior members. Hereford semen demand in the commercial industry is also increasing. According to the National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB), Hereford semen sales increased 23 percent over last year. Since 2006 Hereford domestic semen sales has increased 86 percent a testament to the increasing demand for Hereford genetics in the commercial industry. Helping with this progress in the commercial industry has been the AHA’s Whole Herd Total Performance Records (TPR™) program. Now 11 years old, the program has helped the AHA and Hereford breeders build a database that documents the breed’s strengths. More and more Hereford breeders continue to go above status quo and submit ultrasound data, body

condition scores, udder scores and cow weights, which all add to the integrity and accuracy of the AHA database. “Because the AHA Board of Directors placed a resource emphasis on breed improvement and industry research, the Hereford breed now has the single largest database for cow fertility and productivity in the world, and we have documented the inherent economic traits in the breed that can deliver efficiency to the industry at a time when the industry needs it most,” says Craig Huffhines, AHA executive vice president. “More importantly, congratulations to our AHA membership for adopting technology and making the strides in genetic improvement that have positioned Hereford has a breed of choice for commercial producers looking to add heterosis to their Angus-based cow herds. “Today, the Hereford breed is poised to provide as much value to the commercial industry as any other breed with its combination advantages of fertility, feed efficiency, good disposition and an end product that will comple-

ment a vast array of quality beef programs across the country.” This fiscal year AHA also released genomic-enhanced expected progeny differences (GE-EPDs). The AHA genomic approach is the first of its kind to work with the scientific community and the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium (NBCEC) to build its own training and validation population. This approach is important because AHA now has access to all of the genotypes, phenotypes and pedigrees, which will allow the Association and its members to continue to train and build the Hereford-specific panel. Also noted at the fiscal year’s end are top registrations by state and by breeder. Texas topped the list of registrations per state at 7,156 with Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas and Oklahoma rounding out the top five. The top five breeders by registration numbers were Rausch Herefords, Hoven, S.D., 840; Upstream Ranch, Taylor, Neb., 646; Alexander Mih, M-M Ranch Polled Herefords, Chanute, Kan., 543; Topp Herefords, Grace City, N.D., 492; and Mrnak Herefords, Bowman, N.D., 431.


Enough said.

There’s no doubt about it, a registered Hereford bull pays in so many ways — a user-friendly package of docility, stronger fertility and calving ease that sires calves with hybrid vigor and feed efficiency that demand a premium. To learn more about the Hereford-sired advantage or to find a Hereford breeder near you, visit

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Livestock Market Digest

Page 10

February 15, 2013

A Solar Choice for Pumping Water by THOMAS JENKINS, NMSU

ivestock, crops, and people often depend upon surface sources of water (streams, ponds, dugouts, etc.) or wells accessing underground aquifers. For a variety of benefits, and in some states increased regulations, it is often desirable to move the water from a surface source or a remotely located well to a different location. For surface sources, a wellvegetated riparian zone establishes a buffer which filters and purifies water as it moves across the zone, reduces sediment loads, supports soil stability, improves water quality, while enhancing wildlife habitat. Livestock pressure on buffer areas often result in nutrient loading, streamside vegetation damage, erosion, pollution, and decreased animal growth and health. Since they may be the only viable water source for producers, limiting access may be difficult. Fortunately, research shows that pumping water to different locations combined with a managed rotational grazing plan, optimizes animal performance, pasture use, water quality, and wildlife in these zones. While cows may wade out to obtain better water, calves tend to only drink water from the


shore. Wading into surface sources, cattle pollute the water with their urine and feces while their wading action may disturb the water to a level that they refuse to further drink. Calves require higher quality water and they won’t fight cows or mud to obtain it. Increases of 50 pounds/head in weaning weight have been reported when water in sufficient quantity and quality is provided. Studies show, when given a choice, cattle drink from a water trough 92 percent of the time rather than from a nearby stream. Research also indicates that yearling steer performance increased 23 percent when supplied with an alternate water source rather than dugouts. In addition to increased livestock and resource performance, by routing the livestock away from the riparian zones, very large reductions (50-90 percent) in streptococci and coliform fecal organisms (waterborne diseases like foot rot, red nose, TB and mastitis), nitrogen, phosphorous, suspended solids, and surrounding erosion are realized. By pumping to drinkers, ranchers can better utilize pastures; get superior animal growth and health, while providing higher quality water. Costs, reliability, and environmental concerns often influence

News With A View & A Whole Lot More . . .

the surface water pumping system employed by producers. When producers do not have an economical access to grid electric power (it can cost $10,000 — $30,000 per mile of newly installed electrical power line through rugged terrain) they generally look to options such as ram, sling, diesel, windmills, hauling, and solar powered pumps. When these choices are compared, solar pump systems are often the best choice due to the operational conditions inherent to New Mexico which permits them to function effectively and economically. Solar pumping systems from surface sources or wells can be portable which is appealing as more and more producers want systems that can move among varying locations. Some users are even powering windmill’s pump jacks by PV. A trailer with PV modules, the electric motor, and pump jack can be backed into place by the well and the sucker rod from the cylinder pump is attached to the jack with a wire cable coupling. For use in different locations, the angle(s) of portable PV modules should be adjustable and often a portable stock fence is set up around the unit. For pumping water from wells, access to existing AC electric connections (closer than one-half kilometer) is again the best option. However, PV water pumping systems represents a very attractive long-term cost effective alternative in remote

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Far from utility lines, a portable PV pumping system supplies water from a fenced pond to a clean watering trough. COURTESY NREL/BR-412-21732

locations to hauling water, diesel pumps, and even traditional windmills for drinking water and selected irrigation applications (drip/trickle, hose/basin, and some channel irrigation — although typically not for very high flow rates such as might be used in flood irrigation). A solar pumping system involves calculations and concepts that may make it difficult to determine a design if one is unfamiliar with the technology and terminologies. With this in mind, NMSU and the Cooperative Extension Services (CES)

developed the following tools to aid and educate a potential user. 1. Two portable demonstration devices which illustrate the concepts and major system components for a solar pumping system. Each module is portable and therefore available for displays and presentations. 2. Literature and multimedia educational materials related to PV water pumping systems including comparisons between pumping technologies, contrasting two different ways to mount PV modcontinued on page eleven

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“America’s Favorite Livestock Newspaper”

February 15, 2013

Solar Choice for Pumping

continued from page ten

Figure 1: Direct-coupled solar pumping system.

ules (fixed angle mounting vs. single axis tracking systems), as well as a simple cost analysis for each of the technologies. 3. The formulation of a Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet to provide an easy and visual educational tool to show concepts behind PV technology and system design methodology. This tool permits a user to follow the basic step-by-step design process and offers sample components and simple economic analysis for a producer-defined scenario.

Solar Water Pumping Systems Explained The design decision and a successful implementation of solar water pumping systems requires information specific to each application and an understanding of several concepts. Example information needed for project feasibility consideration is: ■ Daily water requirements and usage: drinking, irrigation, etc. ■ Solar resource, i.e. the amount of sunlight available ■ Pumping/well characteristics such as water depth, draw-down levels and recharge rates, seasonal variations, discharge elevation from earth’s surface to water discharge point, total feet of pipe, nominal diameter of the pipe, and valves, elbows, etc. ■ Storage systems: catch tanks, storage tanks, et al. to ensure the daily water requirement is available during low-light conditions. ■ Economics: capital, operation and maintenance, labor, lifecycle . . . costs In addition, these factors should be considered: ■ Who will install and maintain the system. ■ Choosing/Matching PV modules and pump equipment to meet the design constraints ■ Security: although ideal for remote locations, this makes the system vulnerable to theft and vandalism. ■ Environmental benefits (including low noise).

Basic Operation With no moving parts, the PV panels take energy from the sun and generate DC electricity where it is directed through a controller to the pump — what is termed a direct-coupled system. The pump/motor combination moves water taken from the source through a pipe to a discharge point — commonly a stor-

age tank which may feed a trough-drinker. This direct-coupled system is intended for operation only during the day and eliminates using batteries. Batteries are complex and expensive, must be replaced every few years, and require periodic maintenance while the useful life of storage tanks may be decades. By providing water storage, a producer can still provide his daily water requirement from the tank storage at night or on cloudy days. The amount of water pumped is predominantly dependent on the amount of sunlight hitting the PV modules, the type of pump, and a few other factors of lesser importance. The available sunlight is predictable by location, but there are always variations in weather. PV panels may still produce up to 80 percent of their maximum output power on partly cloudy days, and even on extremely overcast days can still produce about 25 percent of their maximum. With the use of this simple approach, the operation and maintenance, costs, and complexity of the system are greatly reduced.

Components Solar water pumping systems are composed of two primary components other than the well itself — the PV panels (or modules) and the pump/motor. Modules are installed with some type of mounting hardware that permit orientating the modules, adjusting the tilt of the modules to an optimum angle, elevating the modules for security, and eliminating shading and damage from animals. As a rule of thumb, PV panels are faced due south and at a tilted angle. It is critical to minimize shading by structures and vegetation during all watering seasons as significant loss of power can result from even partial shading of modules. Locating modules close to the water source helps to minimize power losses and costs. PV modules are sized as to DC power (Watts) and come in all sizes from a few Watts to over 250W. Modules can be wired in series to increase output voltages and in parallel to increase current while also increasing total power. PV modules are sized and configured (series/parallel combinations) to power the second major component of the system — the pump/motor.

Pumps provide a mechanism to move water from wells or surface sources. It is important to analyze the system properly in order to make it as efficient and economical as possible yet meet the watering requirements. In designing a system, one should minimize the amount of work required of the pump which minimizes the amount of energy needed to operate the pump and thus the size and cost of components. In understanding these basic concepts beforehand, the designer will be able to determine the appropriate components for a system. In selecting a pump for the system, the following parameters should be considered: ■ Water: how many gallons per minute (or total per day) are needed ■ The conditions on the suction side of the pump (lots of grit, sand, dissolved minerals in the water, algae growth, etc.) ■ Whether the pump will be submersible in a well, or pump from a surface source such as a lake or pond and the operating voltage of the pump ■ The total head capability (how high can the pump move water ) at a flow-rate ■ Space, weight, position limitations, cost of equipment and installation ■ Standards including the National Electrical Code Once each parameter is clearly addressed, the decision to select a pump can be made. The type of available pumps (and manufacturers) is very extensive and many will be capable of meeting the given application. It has been determined that DC pumps use one-third to one-half the energy of AC pumps and are specifically designed to use PV efficiently even during low-light conditions at reduced voltages without stalling or overheating. Solar pumps are low volume, pumping less than one to over five gallons of water per minute. A good match between the pump, PV array, and system parameters is necessary to achieve efficient operation. Other components that should be considered within the system are: ■ PV mounting system: poles, fixed racks or some type of tracking system that follows the sun. ■ A controller which allows the pump to start and operate under weak-sunlight periods (cloudy conditions, early morning, late afternoon) ■ Storage-tank water level sensor for on/off operation ■ Direct-burial wire (UF), grounding, and lightning protection ■ Pipe, fittings, and other balance-of-system components. A common mistake is to oversize the piping. Most PV applications will be pumping at low flow rates 1-5 gpm and these low flow rates will not have sufficient water velocity through a large pipe to keep suspended solids from settling out into the bottom of the piping. Therefore ½-inch to 2inch piping is typically sufficient for PV without much friction

Page 11

losses — smaller is better, cheaper, and more efficient.

Conclusion Photovoltaic powered water pumping systems are attractive for livestock and agriculture producers with remote water sources and limited access to AC power. The low maintenance and simple operation, no fuel (transportation or storage) costs, environmentally benign, as well as competitive life-cycle economics of solar systems place them at the forefront of choices in sup-

plying water to livestock or agriculture. The technology for solar water pumping is exceeding all expectations, and will continue to be a viable choice for more and more users as its capabilities, reliability, and versatility increases while costs decrease. The spreadsheet, documentation, and demonstration modules provide NMSU constituencies with terminologies, knowledge, and skill sets which can be the foundation for informed choices relating to alternative water pumping systems.

For more information on this or other topics, contact your local state agricultural extension agent or visit the web sites below:

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Livestock Market Digest

Page 12

BLM Sets Meeting of National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board for March 4-5, 2013 in Oklahoma City he Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will meet in March in Oklahoma City to discuss issues relating to the management, protection, and control of wild horses and burros on western public rangelands. The dayand-a-half meeting will take place on Monday, March 4, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday, March 5, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., local time. The meeting will be held at the Sheraton Oklahoma City Hotel, 1 North Broadway Ave., Oklahoma City, Okla. 73102. The hotel phone number for reservations is 405/235-2780. The agenda of the meeting can be found in the Feb. 5, 2013, Federal Register (at www.gpo. gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-0205/pdf/2013-02381.pdf).


The Advisory Board provides input and advice to the BLM as it carries out its responsibilities under the 1971 Wild FreeRoaming Horses and Burros Act. The law mandates the protection, management, and control of these free-roaming animals in a manner that ensures healthy herds at levels consistent with the land’s capacity to support them. According to the BLM’s latest official estimate, approximately 37,300 wild horses and burros roam on BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states. The public may address the Advisory Board on Monday, March 4, at 3:30 p.m., local time. Individuals who want to make a statement at the Monday meeting should register in person with the BLM by 2 p.m., local time, on that same day at the meeting site. Depending on

the number of speakers, the Board may limit the length of presentations, set at three minutes for previous meetings. Speakers should submit a written copy of their statement to the BLM at the addresses below or bring a copy to the meeting. There may be a Webcam present during the entire meeting and individual comments may be recorded. Those who would like to comment but are unable to attend may submit a written statement to: Bureau of Land Management, National Wild Horse and Burro Program, WO-260, Attention: Ramona DeLorme, 1340 Financial Boulevard, Reno, Nevada, 895027147. Comments may also be emailed to the BLM at . For additional information regarding the meeting, please

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February 15, 2013 contact Ramona DeLorme, Wild Horse and Burro Administrative Assistant, at 775/861-6583. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may reach Ms. DeLorme during normal business hours by calling the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800/877-8339.

The Advisory Board meets at least once a year and the BLM Director may call additional meetings when necessary. Members serve without salary, but are reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses according to government travel regulations.



Spousal Training ne of the most important things in the success of a marriage is spousal training. Many stories exist when a “cowboy type” (male or female) marries someone with an urban upbringing. Usually it is the male heir to the ranch who goes to A&M, falls in love with a city girl and brings her home. Mother and Dad get a feelin’ pretty quick whether the “tryout” is going to fit in the family. Maybe she’s funny or loves kids, rolls up her sleeves and does the dishes and really appears to care for their lovesick son. Or immediately realize they better get a prenuptial agreement to keep from losing the ranch! But most brides are willing to learn something new to please the potential groom. However there are some limits! Cary came home with a young horse. He was pretty shiny but not too “civilized.” Cary put a bale of hay in each corner of a square corral to give the illusion of a round pen, haltered the nervous three-year old and began its training. By the fourth day Bad News (the horse’s new name) was still not coming along as quickly as Cary had hoped. The horse had been introduced to the saddle, but you could say they weren’t best friends. Day five Cary asked his new bride of 3 weeks if she would come and help him with one of the horses. He was keenly aware that she was unschooled in animal husbandry, BUT it would be a good chance for her to get a lesson in spousal training. He handed her a 12’ training whip and climbed into the saddle on Bad News. “Now,” he instructed, “I’m gonna ride this horse in a circle. You stand here in the cen-


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ter of the corral. If he balks or stops you just show him the whip and cluck.” “Okay”, she said, but she was wondering what was a cluck? Her training had begun. Then Bad News stopped. “Now,” said Cary quietly. She laid that whip across Bad News’ butt like it was a Cat-oNine Tails and crowed like a rooster! Bad News went to buckin’! When he got tired of buckin’ in a circle, he bucked over the slip rail, into the boneyard, over the hayrake and through the irrigation pipes! Suddenly he pitched forward releasing the saddle horn from the waist button on his jean jacket and fired our spousal trainer into a pile of net wire fencing and cedar posts, where he hung up and flipped over a corrugated culvert, banged his head on a rusty disc blade and sank in a pile. He could hear his wife screaming! “Oh,” he thought, “She’s concerned about me.” Then he realized she was racing for the house, cursing him colorfully, vowing at the top of her lungs she would never help him in the barn again! Today, ten years later, he loves her still. They have three kids, she has a job in town, and the spousal training continues; he fixes breakfast, picks up his socks, he’s learned to run the washer/dryer and dishwasher, and they take turns with the three-year old (child, not horse). They’ve learned to compromise; she deigns to feed the stock when he is gone, but draws the line at holding horses under any condition, or doctoring Cary if he’s wounded so badly he needs stitches. A nice compromise.

MARKET If you’re moving or changing your mailing address, please send your name, old address, AND new address to: LIVESTOCK MARKET DIGEST, P.O. Box 7458, Albuquerque, NM 87194, or fax to: 505/998-6236

“America’s Favorite Livestock Newspaper”

February 15, 2013

Riding Herd


they are definitely not cowboy material. Real cowboys don’t vacation in The Hampton’s, LA, Paris, Manhattan (unless it’s the one in Kansas), Palm Beach, North Beach, or the nude beach. (Cowboys are generally shy creatures). If they’ve ever watched on television Project Runway, lacrosse, soap operas (unless the star is a horse), Dance Moms, or anything on HGTV . . . they aren’t a cowboy. If you hear them call their dog Eudora, Darnell, Moonbeam, Sky, Tabitha, Tamsey, Tiffany or World Peace . . . they aren’t a cowboy.

They are for sure NOT a cowboy if they say . . . “I just can’t wait for the next Woody Allen Movie to come out.” “I sure wish they’d move the NFR to San Francisco.” “The arugula is crisp but the radicchio is a bit limp.” “Hey honey, did you remember to renew our PETA membership?” “I find it simply awesome that the boss man has redecorated the bunkhouse with bunk bed futons, French wallpaper, brand new duvets and matching dust ruffles.” “Darling, you simply must read Joan Didion’s new book.”

“Who is Luke Branquinho?” “Do these riding pants make my thighs look fat?” “Does that come with a matching Ascot?” “Oh, I’d die to have the recipe for your fabulous gazpacho!” “My next truck is going to be a Prius.” “I wonder what Martha Stewart would do?” “I’m so excited. When we go out with the wagon for our Spring work our new cookie will be a New York sushi chef who has promised there’ll be no biscuits and gravy or chicken fried steak. And on Mondays we’ll all go meatless. Isn’t that simply divine?” “I sure do miss Oprah.”


Real Estate GUIDE To place your Real Estate Guide listings, contact RANDY SUMMERS at 505/243-9515 or at MR.COWMAN! Come to Our Country! WORKING COW and HORSE RANCHES CUT OVER TIMBER LAND, LAKES and STREAMS



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541/473-3100 JACK HORTON

Page 13

Mike and Judy Stahly Named Hereford Innovators ike and Judy Stahly of Stahly Ranch, Cavour, South Dakota, were presented with an American Hereford Association Innovator Award during the National Western Stock Show Hereford Carload and Pen Show Jan. 18 in Denver. Mike and Judy were chosen because of their contribution to the Hereford industry by using young Hereford sires in the National Reference Sire Program (NRSP) on their commercial cow herd. Mike and Judy manage a Hereford-Angus cross commercial cow operation with their son and daughter-in-law, Doug and Chris, and their sons, Spencer, Mason and Nolan. The Stahlys started with the NRSP in 1999 as part of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s tenderness program. Through the NRSP, the family has tested two to three new sires each year resulting in about 80 to 100 calves. Over the years they’ve reported data on 1,187 calves representing 45 sires. Stahlys background the steer calves together and then they are all sent to one feedlot, which allows for excellent data collection throughout all phases of production.


TEXAS & OKLA. FARMS & RANCHES • 735 acres Paris, Texas, excellent pasture, paved road frontage, huge lake, mansion home. $2,750,000. • 274 acres in the shadow of Dallas. Secluded lakes, trees, excellent grass. Hunting & fishing, dream home sites. $3,550/ac. Can add 300 more acres, only 30 miles out of Dallas. • 98.2 acres Dallas Co., $375,000. SOLD • 256 Acre Texas Jewel – Deep sandy soil, highrolling hills, scattered good quality trees, & excellent improved grasses. Water line on 2 sides rd., frontage on 2 sides, fenced into 5 pastures, 5 spring fed tanks and lakes, deer, hogs & ducks. Near Tyler & Athens. Price $1,920,000. Make us an offer! • 146 horse, hunting cattle ranch N. of Clarksville, TX. Red River Co. nice brick home, 2 barns, pipe fences, good deer, hogs, ducks, hunting. PRICE REDUCED to $375,000. • 535 ac. Limestone, Fallas, & Robertson counties, fronts on Hwy. 14 and has rail frontage water line, to ranch, fenced into 5 pastures, 2 sets, cattle pens, loamy soil, good quality trees, hogs, and deer hunting. Priced reduced to $1,750 per ac. • 10 Wooded Acres with a 6-bedroom, 3.5 bath and a 2-car garage and shop for $185,000, owner financed with 10% cash down. • 134 acres Wortham, Texas, $1,750/ac. Hunting and cattle. Fronts FM Hwy.


JU-RANCH 30,148 Acres 20 Miles South of Elida, NM

• 6,520 Deeded Acres • 14,988 State Lease Acres • 8,640 BLM Acres • 650 Animal Units Year Long • 1/ 2 sand country, 1/ 2 hard country • Good water; windmills and submergible tanks • Extensive pipeline system • Modest improvements for living quarters CHARLES BENNETT


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Check our websites for info. on this property and many others.

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LOW ROLLING PLAINS OF TEXAS: 10,500± ac. ranch, large lake with permits for dam and right-toimpound in place to add tremendous esthetic quality to the ranch together with commercial and residential development potential. Please call for details! NEW MEXICO – CAPITAN FOOTHILLS RANCH for 600+ cows on 40 sections of choice ranch land w/excellent homes, barns, pens, livestock water and fences. This is a working ranch with improvements in top-notch condition on an all-weather road nestled in the foothills of the Capitan Mountains with rolling hills, canyons and large valleys. UNION CO., N.M.: Amistad area, 960 ac. with 612 ac. formerly under pivot irr., presently enrolled in new CRP contract at $45.60 per acre, per year, for 10 yrs., irr. wells and pivot points all connected with UG pipe. PRICE REDUCED! Ben G. Scott – Broker Krystal M. Nelson – N.M. Qualifying Broker 800-933-9698 day/eve • 1301 Front Street, Dimmitt, TX 79027

New Mexico/ West Texas Ranches Campo Bonito, LLC RANCH SALES P.O. Box 1077 • Ft. Davis, Texas 79734

NEED RANCH LEASES and PASTURE FOR 2013! DAVID P. DEAN Ranch: 432/426-3779 • Mob.: 432/634-0441

Missouri Land Sales ■ 675 Ac. Excellent Cattle Ranch, Grass Runway, Land Your Own Plane: Major Price Reduction. 3-br, 2ba home down 1 mile private lane. New 40x42 shop, 40x60 livestock barn, over 450 ac. in grass. (Owner runs over 150 cow/calves, 2 springs, 20 ponds, 2 lakes, consisting of 3.5 and 2 ac. Both stocked with fish. Excellent fencing. A must farm to see. MSL #1112191

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■ 113 acres SOLD / 214 acres REMAINING: “Snooze Ya Loose.” Cattle/horse ranch. Over 150 acres in grass. 3/4 mile State Hwy. frontage. Live water, 60x80 multi-function barn. 2-bedroom, 1-bath rock home. Priced to sell at $1,620 per acre. MLS #1204641 ■ 483 Ac., Hunter Mania: Nature at her best. Don’t miss out on this one. Live water (two creeks). 70+ acres open in bottom hayfields and upland grazing. Lots of timber (marketable and young) for the best hunting and fishing (Table Rock, Taney Como and Bull Shoals Lake) Really cute 3-bd., 1-ba stone home. Secluded yes, but easy access to Forsyth-Branson, Ozark and Springfield. Property joins National Forest. MLS#1108090

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BOTTARI REALTY • WELLS, NEVADA INDIAN CREEK RANCH: A beautiful spot at the foot of the mountains with a big spring permitted for 60 acres. Elevation of spring provides for gravity flow opportunities. Bordered by public lands of which Mountain side is Goshute Wilderness area. 206 acres. Price: $325,000 For more information and other properties, check out our website at

Bottari Realty and Associates PAUL D. BOTTARI, BROKER • 775/752-3040 • Cell: 775/752-0952 • Fax: 775/752-3021 Bottari Realty & Associates • 1222 6th St., Wells, NV 89835

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6221 QR AL Tucumcari, NM. 3 bedroom brick home with 80± acres is located 5-1/2 miles East of Tucumcari. Of the 80± acres, 50± acres has Arch Hurley Conservancy District surface water rights. Barn and guest house. Price $275,000. Pajarito Farm. There is a total of 73.90± acres. Of the 73.90± acres, there is 40.45± of Arch Hurley surface water rights. Live water on this property, the Pajarito creek. Wildlife, whitetail and mule deer, wild turkey. Tucumcari, NM. Price $120,000. Western Drive Stables. 24 years established Horse Motel, very nice and well maintained property. There is a home, 3,000 square foot barn with stalls and 4.20± acres. The stalls are very nice. There are stalls with run/semi-covered and boxed stalls and turnouts. Tucumcari, NM. Price $350,000.

Livestock Market Digest

Page 14

February 15, 2013

Feeding beef cows a balancing act after drought

Jim Robb Says Plainview Packing Plant Closure Indicative of Industrywide Realignment

hen Cargill announced it was closing its beef processing plant in Plainview, Texas, cattle markets across the board, predictably, took big hits. Jim Robb, director of the Livestock Marketing Information Center, says the reaction may have been a bit too severe. “It could be a bit of an overreaction although the futures market was at a strong premium to the cash market. This plant represented about four percent of capacity in the United States. That’s a very significant portion of the U.S. slaughter capacity. Clearly, they were not running at those levels, but nor are any of our other beef slaughtering plants. We’ve had fully 24 months of very difficult packer returns and this has really come to bare. Four percent may not sound like a lot of adjustment in slaughter capacity, but that’s very significant. We’re probably


talking next year about a four to five percent year-to-year decline in total slaughter. Some of that will be a decline in cow slaughter. So this is a major adjustment.” “The packing business is very much one of being able to operate at a high level of throughput in terms of numbers of animals being processed drives the economics of the industry. And, after 24 months or so of very dismal returns, these are the types of adjustments that had been anticipated, but they did come as a bit of a shock. I think that me lead to a little bit of an over adjustment in the marketplace.” “I’m a little bit concerned by the softening in the wholesale beef market which really shouldn’t have happened because of the plant closure. That underlying wholesale beef market is, maybe, a bit of a longer term concern.” Some industry analysts are wondering if the shuttering of the Plainview plant presages a

geographical shift in the cattle business. Robb says he thinks it does. “I think this really is indicative, this plant closing. This is a major, large plant in the Southern Plains. In the deep Southern Plains is where we’re going to have the tightest feeder cattle supplies, especially as we see fewer and fewer Mexican feeder cattle and a smaller U.S. calf crop. So, I think, in the deep Southern Plains this is very indicative of also the excess capacity in the cattle feeding business, which we also have clear across the United States. There are some cattle feeding operations which have certainly slowed down their feedlot placements and some that have downsized their actual feeding capacity in the last couple of years. But there may need to be more of that also as we just have smaller and smaller cattle numbers and we really have excess infrastructure on both the cattle feeding side and the packing side.”


owa beef producers have to balance dietary and nutritional considerations with getting the most value for their dollar after feed prices skyrocketed this winter as a result of last year’s drought, said an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef cattle expert. Joe Sellers, an ISU field specialist who focuses on cattle, said the drought drove up the price of corn and withered pasture land, forcing producers to lean more heavily on options such as corn silage to feed their herds. The drought forced many cattle producers to turn to hay early in the year because much of the suitable grazing land dried out quickly. Now, hay is in short supply, Sellers said. “Beef producers are in a situation where you have to stretch your resources,” he said. “A lot of


Has global warming ground to a halt? by FRED PEARCE,

he UK’s Met Office has downgraded its forecast for warming at the Earth’s surface over the next five years. Headlines this week announced that global warming is “at a standstill.” Climate sceptics crowed. But the Met Office said the outlook for later in the century remains unchanged. New Scientist looks at the facts. Has global warming stopped, or hasn’t it? Atmospheric warming has certainly slowed greatly in the past decade. The Met Office says this appears to be due to natural cycles that are counteracting the warming effect of greenhouse gases. After incorporating new analysis of natural cycles into its latest model of atmospheric and ocean circulation, it has concluded that we are in for a few more years of little change. Having calculated annual global temperatures for the next five years, its best guess is that they will be, on average, 0.43 °C higher than the average for 1970 to 2000. That’s down from its previous prediction of a 0.54 °C rise. If the new prediction proves right, then 2017 will barely be warmer than most years in the past decade. The forecast comes with a big error bar, however. The average warming for the next five years could be as much as 0.59 °C, or as little as 0.28 °C. What has changed in their thinking? There is a growing awareness among climate scientists of the importance of natural variability in predicting climate change, especially in the short term, where it can completely obscure the global warming signal. This realization has been bubbling up for a while. Four years ago, New Scientist reported evidence — including research by the Met Office’s Doug Smith — that natural


cycles were pushing the atmosphere into a cold phase. Back then, we said the research “suggests that surface air temperatures will remain steady for the next six years or so, as cooler sea surface temperatures keep the lower atmosphere cool despite ever higher greenhouse gas levels.” So what are these natural cycles? Mostly they involve the movement of heat between the atmosphere and the oceans. The oceans are the sleeping giant of climate change. They act as a huge heat sink: 90 per cent of the heat generated by accumulating greenhouse gases is absorbed by the oceans. How fast this happens is variable, depending on ocean currents and other fluctuations. Scientists have known for a long time that in El Niño years, when warm water spreads out across the equatorial Pacific, heat leaves the ocean for the atmosphere. But there are also longer-term cycles. The biggest cycles are known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. Recently, both have been causing the oceans to absorb more heat, shutting off atmospheric warming. There are other possible confounding influences. The 11-year solar cycle has a small effect. So do volcanic eruptions and smog that shades the earth. Longer term, changes in Earth’s orbit are thought to trigger ice ages. But all the evidence is that in recent times and over the coming decades, ocean-atmosphere interactions are the only influence comparable in scale to greenhouse gases. Are these cycles just something scientists have invented to explain away the lack of recent warming? No. The Met Office admits that we still know far too little about how these natural cycles work, and how big they are. And climate scientists are open to the charge that they ignored the potential impact of nat-

ural variability when it was accelerating global warming. According to Brian Hoskins of Imperial College London, it now looks like natural cycles played a big role in the unexpectedly fast warming of the 1990s. Even so, the fundamental physics about how greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere hasn’t changed. And we know that, even as atmospheric warming stalls, the oceans are continuing to warm. That may could explain why Arctic sea ice melted so dramatically last summer, even though air temperatures were not exceptional. So press reports that global warming is at a standstill are not true, even in the short term. Right now the oceans are taking up almost all the extra heat. That is most unlikely to persist. Now we’re getting headlines about the warming stopping as well as headlines about record-breaking temperatures. What do we make of it all? There is lots of natural variability at local scales. Last year the US had its hottest year on record, but for the planet as a whole, it was only the ninth warmest. Australia is feeling the brunt of a record-breaking heatwave at the minute, but in northern India they are dying from unusually cold temperatures. What’s the outlook? Scary. If oceanic cycles do what the Met Office and others expect, then global average air temperatures will stay fairly stable — though still hotter than they have been in the past — until later this decade. The cycles will then flip into a new phase and the oceans will probably start releasing heat instead of soaking it up. Combined with continued accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, that could mean that sometime round 2020, warming will start to race away again as the atmosphere makes up for lost time.

people are really short on forage, so they want to use concentrated feeds that go farther. A lot of people are using a combination of hay, silage, corn stalks and corn co-products as food sources, and everybody’s situation is a little different.”

A lot of people are using a combination of hay, silage, corn stalks and corn co-products as food sources . . . Sellers said corn silage is high in energy but lacks the kind of protein that cattle require while corn stalks and CRP hay are low in both energy and protein. Normal Iowa-grown hay from legume grass is usually high in protein but may not contain enough energy. Because of the varying content of each type of feed, Sellers said many producers have to supplement their rations with co-products that strike the right nutritional balance for their herds. Common supplements to make up for low protein content include dry gluten and dry distiller’s grains, he said. “Hay and pasture land were in short supply last year, but there are still plenty of options,” he said. “It’s a matter of finding the right combination that fits each individual situation.” He emphasized that producers can consult ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialists to make sure their rations will meet the dietary needs of their herds. The ISU Iowa Beef Center recently posted an online video clip of Sellers explaining what kind of feed options are available to Iowa producers. Sellers said producers can take samples of the silage they intend to use and have the samples tested in commercial labs. Sellers said Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is working with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation to provide Iowa livestock farmers with an update on the market and strategies for running their operations in the face of current challenges. The “Managing Through Stress: A Livestock Information Event” will be held on Monday, Feb. 4, and broadcast online to 14 sites throughout the state. “The big thing is to make sure you’re adjusting to the needs of your herd,” Sellers said. “Make sure you’re having your feed tested and be responsive to changes in the weather.” Producers will be paying particularly close attention to rainfall this year as well, he said. Another year of drought would drive feed costs even higher, which would likely encourage producers to consider culling their herds.

“America’s Favorite Livestock Newspaper”

February 15, 2013

Baby Boomers continued from page six

ing their patients with the same level of care they are currently accustomed to. Patients of concierge services get more facetime with doctors, receive annual physicals that can last hours and focus more on preventive medicine. Companies like MDVIP, a unit of Proctor and Gamble, and One Medical Group are expanding rapidly. MDVIP is the nation's largest network. It has managed to keep its fees flat despite general rises in overall health care costs. One Medical Group has expanded to five metropolitan cities and offers increased access and more face-time for only $200 a year. Despite the claims that boutique care is elitist and widens the care gap between the rich and poor, patients who pay to be under personalized doctor's care emphatically attest to the benefits of such services. Given the future influx of medical patients in the health care system, it is unlikely these services will disappear. Source: Elizabeth O’Brien, “Why Concierge Medicine Will Get Bigger,” MarketWatch, January 17, 2013.

National Western: U.S. & Canadian Livestock Industry Leaders of the Year he National Western Stock Show continues a 69-year tradition at this year’s 107th annual event by naming U.S. and Canadian Livestock Industry Leaders of the Year. The awards are jointly presented by the National Western and the Green Family Foundation. The U.S. award will be presented at the Friday evening, January 18 rodeo to Scott and Kim Ford of the Cross Diamond Cattle Company, Bertrand, Nebraska. Kim’s mother, Linda Anderson, was named to the award in 2003. Cross Diamond Cattle Company, located in south central Nebraska near the town of Bertrand, is owned and operated by Scott and Kim Ford. Their two daughters Johanna, age nine and Marie, age six, are also involved in the operation. The Fords raise registered and commercial Red Angus cattle — about 450 mother cows of each. The focus of the Cross Diamond Cattle Company breeding program is to raise sound, fertile, functional cattle with great longevity and dispositions. Fleshing and foraging ability are important traits in the Cross Diamond herd. Herd health and range health, low stress cattle handling, and an eye toward wiseuse and conservation practices guide the management of the cat-


Head Start Has High Costs and Very Few Benefits our years after data was collected and two years after the report was finished, the Department of Health and Human Services has released its Impact Evaluation Report for Head Start, which reveals dismal results for the early education program, say Lindsey Burke and David Muhlhausen of the Heritage Foundation. Head Start was established in 1965 and taxpayers have spent more than $180 billion on the program aimed at improving the academic outcomes of disadvantaged children. The study finds that by the third grade, effects of the $8 billion-a-year Head Start program all but completely disappear. For the 4-year-old group, Head Start participation failed to raise the cognitive abilities on 41 measures, including language and math skills, when compared with students who did not have access to the program. Head Start participation for 3 year olds actually lowered math abilities when compared with non-participating children who were more prepared for math in the classroom. Teachers reported the Head Start children are shyer or more socially reticent. The only measurable progress was slight


Page 15

improvement in a couple of measures of socio-emotional, health and parenting outcomes. For policymakers, the results of this study should guide future actions. Burke and Muhlhausen believe that the program should be discontinued based on the dismal results. Cognitive development, including reading, language and math ability, did not improve for third graders assessed by the study. Access to Head Start did yield slightly positive results in improving children’s social skills and their approaches to learning. Head Start had no measureable effect on parenting outcomes for nine of the 10 measures reported by parents. One measure, improved authoritative parenting style, did improve. After 48 years of funding Head Start, this most recent Health and Human Services report demonstrates why the program must be discontinued. With no measurable positive benefit, funding should cease or states should be able to turn their Head Start funds into vouchers that could follow a preschooler to any private provider. Source: Lindsey Burke and David Muhlhausen, “Head Start Impact Evaluation Report Finally Released,” Heritage Foundation, January 25, 2013.

tle and land. Strong faith prompts this focus as the Fords strive to be good stewards of the land and animals that are in their care. An annual bull sale is held in December. The Fords, along with their cooperators market 200 coming-two-year-old Red Angus bulls and around 250 commercial Red Angus females. The backbone of the marketing program is to sell a great product, stand behind it and treat people well. The Canadian honoree, to be presented at the Sunday evening Canada Night performance of the rodeo on January 20, is the Mark Merrill Family and their Bar Double M Angus Ranch, Hill Springs, Alberta. Representing the family at the presentation will be second generation managing partner of the ranch, Mitch Merrill. The Bar Double M is a 54year registered Angus operation, with three generations of family management actively involved, and a fourth generation in train-

ing. They are a devout Mormon family that is highly respected and recognized throughout the Canadian livestock industry. The ranch slogan says it all: “We might not have it all together, but together we have it all.” The firm’s herd is focused on growth, soundness and great cows. There are many generations of cows on the ranch that are branded with the Double M prefix. Livestock industry consultant Shane Castle of Swift Current, Saskatchewan says “The Bar Double M operation is a true testament of a family operation where the whole family pitches in to get the work done. For 54 years this work ethic has continually produced positive results for this industry and their customers.”

The awards will be presented by National Western board member Dan Green, a livestock newspaper editor and industry historian. The award was originated in 1944 by Green’s grandfather, H.E. Green, with the first plaque going to Greeley, Colorado cattle feeder Warren Monfort. Green’s father Harry presented the award from 1955 until the younger Green took over in 1979, with an award to retiring National Western general manager Willard Simms.

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Page 16

February 15, 2013

Buy Bulls Based on Data . . . Pictures Can Be Deceiving by KRIS RINGWALL, Beef Specialist NDSU Extension Service

he process of buying bulls actually is, or at least should be, fairly methodical. Although data terms may baffle a bull buyer, always check out what the trait abbreviations and the many expected progeny differences (EPDs) values mean. The breed association websites have good glossaries or just ask other breeders. There certainly is no shortage of bull pictures. Have you ever wondered just how many bull pictures can be printed in one magazine? A lot, and despite the added color and enhanced


graphics, bulls still look like bulls. Yes, there are some subtle differences. To the trained eye, those differences may be notable, but still, there seems to be more similarity than differences in many of the bulls. We enjoy pictures, but we also should enjoy data. Bulls may be very similar in phenotype, in other words the picture, but their genotype may have no similarity at all. Even the color, although fairly indicative of the DNA on one chromosome, may have no indication of what DNA is on the other chromosome. Because all chromosomes are paired, the calves that the bull produces each will be products

of only one of the chromosomes. Therefore, black cattle certainly can sire red calves. In terms of the many other traits, the variation within the particular lot of bulls can be extreme, even though all the bulls look alike. Some bulls have high-growth DNA, others lowgrowth DNA. Some bulls will have DNA more likely to produce prime to choice grade calves, while a very similar looking bull may only produce select or low choice grade calves. Although muscle quantity and expression may be observed in the phenotype or picture of the bull, the ultrasound data indicating rib-eye area, often expressed

as rib-eye area per hundred pounds of live weight, certainly will tell the same story. The point is that true bull selection rests with understanding the data. The action of buying bulls should be a process of sorting through the data first and then looking at the bull. Every single piece of data is directly connected to a strand of DNA somewhere on the chromosome. Positive selection pressure on the correct traits will increase positive DNA within our bull stud. In turn, this DNA will combine with the DNA available in the cow herd to produce the calf crop. Therefore, the process of buy-

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ing bulls actually is, or at least should be, fairly methodical. Although data terms may baffle a bull buyer, always check out what the trait abbreviations and the many expected progeny differences (EPDs) values mean. The breed association websites have good glossaries or just ask other breeders. A personal pet peeve: If there is room for the picture, there should be room for labeling conveniently the various numbers to make the reading of the information more doable. All of these notations lead up to some very important notes. Right up front, a herd should present in the catalog the average EPD values for the various traits the breed evaluates followed by the average EPD values for the bulls and heifers being sold. Additional information could be provided for the breed, such as the trait values for the top 25 percent of the breed or maybe even the top 1 percent of the breed, depending on the strengths of the bulls or heifers. For the new bull buyer who is not aware of the breeders within a breed, those producers who are willing to print the average EPD values for the calves they are selling make the initial screening so much easier. Of course, one does need to look at the individual numbers. However, there is something to keep in mind. Why not start with those herds that are selling bulls or heifers that are above average for the desired traits? There is no quicker or easier way to evaluate the expected future performance authenticity of potential bull candidates. Once the overall performance of the herd has been determined in relationship to the breed as a whole, one can select the desired bulls within the sale offering. Now that one knows the average value for all the traits analyzed within the breed, the process of finding and sorting bulls based on their ranking within the breed is relatively easy. The job is to find the sale prospects by scanning all the sons of the reference sires that meet our criteria and then scanning all the bulls for their own performance because the cow and bull ultimately determine the genetic value of the bull. Through the years, one vote of confidence is that it is obvious more people are picking the top bulls because the bidding dollars seem to jump quickly on bulls that lead the data. That is a good thing for the industry but a little frustrating when the wallet doesn’t have an equivalent roll of money. Keep in mind that no picture is going to relay the information that is needed. Only breed association EPD data will, which is critical in making long-lasting bull decisions. Great bulls have great numbers. Learn to read them and just don’t bid on poor bulls. May you find all your ear tags.

LMD Feb 2013  

The Newspaper for Southwestern Agriculture

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