New Website Helps Cattlemen Grow More Grass

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 10.06.31 AMDow AgroSciences has launched a new website to boost rangeland and pasture production. stems from the growth and expansion of cattle operations across the country.

“When grain prices skyrocketed, it reminded producers about the value of forages,” explains Whitney Murphy, Dow AgroSciences Range & Pasture product manager. “High grain prices also converted thousands of acres away from grazing. We’re working to help livestock producers make existing grazing acres more productive.” features resources and tools cattlemen and land managers can use to improve their rangeland and pastures:
– Weed and brush species identification
– How-to videos
– Product information, including recommendations, rates and specimen labels
– Mixing guides and other downloadable literature
– Success stories from cattlemen
– Information on restoring habitat and managing sensitive sites

The site functions across multiple platforms, including mobile. Users can access the site features from anywhere with a cell signal or wireless connection. That comes in handy when identifying weeds or confirming application methods in the pasture.

“Forages continue to be the cattlemen’s lowest-cost feed source,” Murphy says. “Low-value undesirable plants crowd out desirable forage species and decrease the carrying capacity of grazing land. Through sound grazing management and a good, integrated weed control program, we can help producers capitalize on market opportunities while keeping a sharp eye on costs.”

Agribusiness, Cattle, Grazing, Land

IDFA Praises Call for Canadian Dairy Expansion

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

idfaThe International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) is praising the call of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) for Canada to finally engage on dairy market-access negotiations.  The request comes during high-level talks on TTP.

The letter urges Canadian Ambassador to the United States Gary Albert Doer to engage and commit to ‘significant and commercially meaningful market access for all remaining agricultural products,’ including dairy.

“We thank the Senators for their support on gaining the best deals for the U.S. dairy industry in this agreement,” said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO. “Now is the time for Canada to come to the table with a commercially meaningful offer on dairy.”

Earlier this month, a group of 21 congressmen sent a letter to Doer citing Canada’s lack of engagement on dairy market-access negotiations in the TPP talks.

IDFA is encouraging market access for diary products across all tariff lines.


Ag Group, Dairy, Government

Vilsack Addresses Avian Flu Conference

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

avian-flu-vilsackAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack discussed future avian influenza preparations for the fall season at the Avian Influenza Outbreak…Lessons Learned Conference in Des Moines this week. The secretary’s speech focused on the incident command structure, vaccination and indemnification process, and better communications in collaboration with the poultry industry.

“I suspect and anticipate that we will learn from this particular conference a number of ways in which we can work more collaboratively together to ensure that we are doing everything we possibly can to prevent this from occurring and to mitigate its expansion,” said Vilsack. “One of the unfortunate circumstances of a tragedy like this is that it does spur creativity and innovation, so we are open to suggestions and we will be working with the industry to try to figure out what is indeed the quickest, most efficient and most humane way of dealing with this, should it reemerge.”

Vilsack also said during his address to the stakeholders meeting that discussions on the next farm bill should include a disaster assistance program for poultry producers.

“I would hope that one of the long term lessons from all of this is that we can convince our friends in Congress to understand that it isn’t just about dollars and cents as was the case in this last Farm Bill,” he said. “The reason why a disaster program wasn’t included was because it didn’t pan out in terms of budget. We really do need to take a look at a disaster program. Because at the end of the day, it’s going to be ultimately less expensive.”

The two-day conference this week included stakeholders such as th National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, United Egg Producers, and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, as well as elected officials in impacted states such as Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.

avian flu, Eggs, Poultry, Turkey, usda

Biodiesel Helps Livestock Producers Profitability

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

IBBBiodiesel is known for powering vehicles across the country, but it also helps power profitability for poultry and livestock farmers.

The United Soybean Board, Iowa Biodiesel Board and Iowa Soybean Association shared that message this week during an event at the Western Dubuque Biodiesel plant.

According to the groups, increased demand for biodiesel also increases the demand for domestic soybeans to crush, growing the supply of soybean meal. This greater supply lowers the meal’s price, which decreases the relative cost of it to poultry and livestock farmers.

“Animal agriculture is the soybean farmer’s No. 1 customer with 97 percent of soybean meal going to feed poultry and livestock,” said Delbert Christensen, a soybean farmer from Audubon, Iowa and director on USB. “Biodiesel helps animal agriculture by creating demand for soybean oil, which helps lower the cost of animal feed and creates an additional market for animal fats.”

More demand for biodiesel helps keep soybean meal prices competitive as demand for soybeans continues to rise globally, while biodiesel has also created demand for animal fats and tallow to be made into biodiesel. IBB says for Iowa farmers, these meal savings and increased fat and tallow values really add up. In 2013 alone, pork farmers saved $60,802,700 and dairy and beef farmers saved $25,511,700 respectively, strengthening animal agriculture in the state. Biodiesel by-product glycerin also can be an additional energy source in feed troughs.

biodiesel, Feed, Livestock, Poultry

Research Shows Stay Strong Helps Dairy Production

John Davis Leave a Comment

staystrong1Researchers at South Dakota State University have found Stay Strong for Dairy Cows from Strong Animals makes some great progress for dairy production. Ralco Animal Nutrition, which produces the product, says the scientists found Stay Strong improved fiber digestibility in dairy cows and increased milk fat content. Also, feed containing Stay Strong for Dairy Cows took longer than 7.7 hours before there was a 2° C rise in temperature at the feed bunk.

The university research showed that dry matter digestibility increased 2.3 percentage units and digestibility of neutral detergent fiber (NDF) was 3.8 percentage units greater for cows fed Stay Strong™ for Dairy Cows. Also, milk fat content improved 0.11 percentage units in cows fed Stay Strong™ for Dairy Cows.

Olivia Kuester, SDSU graduate research assistant conducted the research study with SDSU Assistant Professor Dr. David Casper. Kuester said the increase in milk fat content is likely the result of improved fiber digestibility.

“If we have greater fiber digestibility, which we observed with a higher NDF coefficient, it is possible that we produce greater acetate in the rumen, which is a precursor to milk fat production,” Kuester said. “Another factor we were looking at was improved nitrogen utilization, which we saw in the group fed Stay Strong™ which demonstrated a reduction in milk urea nitrogen and that would indicate an improve microbial protein synthesis in the rumen. What likely happened was that we improved nitrogen utilization, which increased microbial protein synthesis causing greater acetate production that improved fiber digestibility for greater milk fat.”

The findings of the research were presented at the ADSA-ASAS Joint Annual Meeting held July 12-16 in Orlando, Florida.

Agribusiness, Dairy

Biosecurity Key to Fighting Bird Flu

John Davis Leave a Comment

uspoultryThere are three general principles for a successful biosecurity program: go onto a farm clean, leave the farm clean, and if in doubt…clean and disinfect. That was the message from Shawn Carlton, technical service manager with Cobb-Vantress, at USPOULTRY’s 2015 Hatchery-Breeder Clinic held in Nashville, Tennessee.

In his presentation, Carlton provided best practices for “Sanitation at the Breeder Farm.” He emphasized the need for a biosecurity program that includes monitoring and control methods such as water sanitation, reduction of stressors that may cause bacterial infection in flocks, equipment disinfection and contamination monitoring. Carlton discussed how the highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak has highlighted the need for biosecurity procedures in and around the farm, remarking, “Biosecurity is a good investment to prevent viruses, bacteria and microbes from affecting the flocks.”

“I believe our single best hope is biosecurity, both for prevention and control of spreading. There is no way we can begin to plan for a worst-case scenario for the fall season unless we know site specific biosecurity, depopulation and disposal plans to combat this highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza,” warned Dr. Charles Hatcher, state veterinarian for Tennessee.

In his presentation, “Avian Influenza . . . What to Do Now to Prepare for the Fall Season,” Dr. Hatcher provided a brief overview of the key factors facing both domestic and international turkey and egg layers as related to biosecurity concerns and the economic impact of this far-reaching pandemic. He also outlined steps hatchery and breeder managers can take to reduce the risk of disease introduction to the flock.

Other presentations at the gathering included practical employee safety and hazard prevention programs, as well as animal welfare considerations, salmonella concerns, and effective hatching egg sanitation, among others.

avian flu, Poultry, US Poultry

Zoetis Grant to Help Enhance Milk Production Research

John Davis Leave a Comment

zoetisResearchers working on enhancing milk production are getting a boost. Zoetis has given a pair of scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz a $150,000 grant to continue research related to mammary gland development. The award is part of the competitive Zoetis Cattle Call research grant program, which supports efforts by North American researchers and veterinarians to improve dairy and beef cattle performance.

This year’s grant recipients, Lindsay Hinck, Ph.D., professor of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, along with Sharmila Chatterjee, Ph.D., a postdoctoral scholar, are working on basic research that could identify potential pathways to higher milk production in dairy cattle.

Dr. Hinck’s research lab studies mammary gland development and stem cell biology, focusing primarily on human breast cancer.

“I had never thought about the practical role our research could play in the dairy industry,” Dr. Hinck said. “It turns out that our investigation into regulatory mechanisms governing mammary stem cells can directly translate to milk production. This is a new and exciting direction for our research program.”

“Basic biological research is the foundation for solutions that could help improve cattle health and productivity in the future,” explained Roger Saltman, DVM, MBA, group director of Cattle and Equine Technical Services at Zoetis. Dr. Saltman is part of the Zoetis research committee that evaluates Cattle Call grant applications.

“We see many innovative ideas through our Cattle Call research grant program,” Dr. Saltman said. “What’s interesting about this proposal is that mammary development is a fundamental process that is not fully understood. Research such as this holds great promise for the dairy industry as we strive to get more milk from the same number of cows.”

Agribusiness, Dairy, Research, University, Zoetis

Culver’s Offers ‘Scoops of Thanks’ to Agriculture

John Davis Leave a Comment

culversthankfarmers1National restaurant chain Culver’s is showing its appreciation for American farmers with “Scoops of Thanks” Day. The company is offering for a $1 donation a single scoop of Fresh Frozen Custard, with the proceeds raised to benefit local or state FFA chapters or other agricultural organizations selected by each restaurant.

“Our guests share our tremendous gratitude for the abundant food American farm families provide,” says Phil Keiser, president & CEO of Culver’s. “We’re excited to set aside a day when the entire Culver’s community can make a contribution that supports the next generation of farmers.”

Scoops of Thanks Day is part of the Culver’s Thank You Farmers program, an initiative that recognizes all farmers for their hard work and dedication in growing and producing the wholesome food that feeds our nation. To date, the program has raised over a half-million dollars in support of the National FFA Organization and Foundation, local FFA chapters and a variety of local agricultural organizations. To learn more about the Thank You Farmers program and how to get involved, visit


Research on Calves Could Find Cure for Respiratory Disease

John Davis Leave a Comment

one-health ucdavisResearch on calves could lead to a cure for a respiratory disease. This news release from the University of California-Davis says scientists at the school are finding a treatment for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a serious threat that leads to pneumonia and bronchiolitis, especially in infants and premature children.

Results from the study, published in the August issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, showed that an experimental antiviral compound was effective in blocking the virus from binding with the animal’s cell membranes, thus decreasing the level of infection in the treated calves. The air spaces in the lungs of those treated animals also were less likely to fill with inflammatory cells produced by the infection than were the lungs of untreated animals, the study found.

“This study demonstrated that since bovine RSV in calves is almost identical to the human form of the disease in terms of symptoms, lung pathology and progression of the disease, treatment with an effective antiviral drug can benefit both bovine and human patients,” said Professor Laurel Gershwin, the study’s lead author and a veterinary microbiologist, who has studied bovine RSV for many years.

“It confirms that the cow is a particularly useful research model for studying RSV and demonstrates the importance of approaching medicine with the ‘one health’ perspective, which spans human and veterinary medicine,” she said.

Gilead Sciences funded the study.

Calves, Research

Video Educates on Early Detection of Subclinical Mastitis

John Davis Leave a Comment

A new educational video shows how early detection of subclinical mastitis can help producers’ bottom lines. The video from Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD) reveals how by changing the way they detect, treat and manage subclinical mastitis, dairy farmers are preventing losses before they occur.

“Subclinical mastitis is tricky because you can’t see it with the naked eye,” says Mitch Hockett, Ph.D., vice president of external research and technical marketing at AAD. “At a microscopic level, we can see leukocytes invading the individual mammary gland, meaning inflammation is present and the cow is fighting infection. Today, we can bring this highly-sensitive level of detection to the farm.”

AAD’s QScout® MLD (milk leukocyte differential) test is the only on-farm test that provides a differential cell count of infection-fighting leukocytes, or white blood cells, to accurately detect subclinical mastitis by quarter, in minutes per cow.

Commonly used mastitis tests do not reliably detect subclinical infections, Hockett explains, and therefore disease goes undiagnosed, compromising production, quality and animal health.

“This is a turning point for the dairy industry,” he continues. “With high prevalence in a herd, 15 percent on average, and new information and tools to take action, we can no longer relegate subclinical mastitis to a ‘cost of doing business.’”

AAD says its research shows:
– Increased milk production: 1,325 lb. more milk, on average
– Increased milk quality: 115,000 fewer somatic cells/mL
– Improved reproduction: 14 fewer days open and 18 percent fewer services per conception

Agribusiness, Dairy, Mastitis, Video