OCTOBER | NOVEMBER 2023 • VOL. 62 | ISSUE 6
INFORMING COW-CALF, STOCKER AND FEEDYARD PRODUCERS THE VITALITY OF RURAL AMERICA
GET TO THE BOTTOM OF BRD FAST When only speed wins the race against BRD, reach for Norfenicol ® (florfenicol) Injection. Its active ingredient, florfenicol, reaches minimum inhibitory concentration in the lungs within 30 minutes 1 , targeting all three major bacteria that cause BRD * . Make fast Norfenicol ® your first choice against BRD.
orfenicol (florfenicol) ®
For more information, talk to your veterinarian or visit norbrook.com
Observe label directions and withdrawal times. Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. For use in beef and non-lactating dairy cattle only. Not approved for use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older, including dry dairy cows. Animals intended for human consumption must not be slaughtered within 28 days of the last intramuscular treatment or within 33 days of subcutaneous treatment. Do not use in calves to be processed for veal. Intramuscular injection may result in local tissue reaction which may result in trim loss at slaughter. See product labeling for full product information, including adverse reactions.
1 Varma, KJ, Lockwood PW, Cosgrove MS, Rogers ER, Pharmacology, Safety and Clinical Efficacy of Nuflor (florfenicol) Following Subcutaneous Administration to Cattle. Preceedings of a Symposium Held in Conjunction with the XX World Buiatrics Congress. Sydney, Australia. July 1998: 3-19. * Mannheimia haemolytica, Histophilus somni, and Pasteurella multocida. © 2023 Norbrook Laboratories Limited. The Norbrook logos and Norfenicol are registered trademarks of Norbrook Laboratories Limited. Nuflor is a registered trademark of Merck Animal Health.
ANADA 200-591, Approved by FDA
INFORMING COW-CALF, STOCKER AND FEEDYARD PRODUCERS
WHAT’S INSIDE THE VITALITY OF RURAL AMERICA OCTOBER | NOVEMBER 2023
For intramuscular and subcutaneous use in beef and non-lactating dairy cattle only. BRIEF SUMMARY (For full Prescribing Information, see package insert.) INDICATIONS: Norfenicol is indicated for treatment of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) associated with Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida, and Histophilus somni, and for the treatment of foot rot . Also, it is indicated for control of respiratory disease in cattle at high risk of developing BRD associated with M.haemolytica, P. multocida, and H. somni. CONTRAINDICATIONS: Do not use in animals that have shown hypersensitivity to florfenicol. NOT FOR HUMAN USE. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN. Can be irritating to skin and eyes. Avoid direct contact with skin, eyes, and clothing. In case of accidental eye exposure, flush with water for 15 minutes. In case of accidental skin exposure, wash with soap and water. Remove contaminated clothing. Consult physician if irritation persists. Accidental injection of this product may cause local irritation. Consult physician immediately. The risk information provided here is not comprehensive. To learn more, talk about Norfenicol with your veterinarian. For customer service, adverse effects reporting, or to obtain a copy of the MSDS or FDA-approved package insert, call 1-866-591-5777. PRECAUTIONS: Not for use in animals intended for breeding. Effects on bovine reproductive performance, pregnancy, and lactation have not been determined. Intramuscular injection may result in local tissue reaction which persists beyond 28 days. This may result in trim loss at slaughter. Tissue reaction at injection sites other than the neck is likely to be more severe. RESIDUE WARNINGS: Animals intended for human consumption must not be slaughtered within 28 days of the last intramuscular treatment. Animals intended for human consumption must not be slaughtered within 33 days of subcutaneous treatment. Not approved for use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older, including dry dairy cows as such use may cause drug residues in milk and/or in calves born to these cows. A withdrawal period has not been established ADVERSE REACTIONS: Inappetence, decreased water consumption, or diarrhea may occur transiently. Manufactured by: Norbrook Laboratories Limited, Newry, BT35 6PU, Co. Down, Northern Ireland. The Norbrook logos and Norfenicol ® are registered trademarks of Norbrook Laboratories Limited. in pre-ruminating calves. Do not use in calves to be processed for veal.
22 Prime Points 25 All In 26 Rumblings From the Great White North 27 Beyond the Ranch Gate 28 Whitt & Wisdom CALF VOICES
14 UNL BARTA BROTHERS RANCH OPEN HOUSE 16 CBB CHAIR JIMMY TAYLOR 6 U.S. BEEF PRODUCTION FROM A U.K. PERSPECTIVE PART 1 8 WILL CATTLE PRICES SURGE EVEN HIGHER IN 2024?
SPECIAL FEATURES 10 Nebraskans Well Represented in Hall of Fame 18 Spicer Gripp Memorial Roping Boosts West Texas A&M Agriculture 15 Zoetis Introduces Valcor Endectocide 20 2023 IFCA Finals
IN EVERY ISSUE
5 Gypsy Wagon 31 Chuteside Manner 34 Hot Off the Grill 35 Where’s the Really Exceptional Beef? 36 On the Human Side 37 CALF's Featured Lady 37 Gatherings 38 Events Calendar 38 Flatland Philosopher 38 Index of Advertisers
On The Cover: Looking out over the rural landscape of America, rodeos and county fairs and ranchers like Jimmy Taylor and the Barta Brothers remind us of the resiliency of our roots.
DISTRIBUTED TO MORE THAN 12,000 CATTLE PRODUCERS NATIONWIDE. From cow-calf producers to cattle feeders, CALF NEWS has something for everyone.
Editor & Publisher Betty Jo Gigot | (620) 272-6862 National Account Manager Jessica Ebert | (785) 477-1941 Designer & Production Manager Tayler Durst | (402) 910-9012 Ad Accountant/Subscription Manager Micky Burch Copy Editor Larisa Willrett | Lariat Services Contributing Editor Blaine Davis Contributing Editor Josh Geiger Contributing Editor David MacKenzie Contributing Editor Chris McClure Contributing Editor Burt Rutherford Contributing Editor Larry Stalcup Contributing Editor LaRayne Topp Contributing Editor Will Verboven Contributing Editor Megan Webb, Ph.D. CALF NEWS The Face of the Cattle Industry October | November 2023 Vol. 62 Issue 6 Published bimonthly by B.J. Publishing
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GYPSY WAGON FROM OUR PUBLISHER
T alk about a voice from the past. What a great surprise when Bill Stevens called the other day. For you newbies, Stevens was an integral part of CALF News for 18 years with his monthly cartoons about the industry and his annual calendars. From the cartoon here, you will see that he has done something totally different … he has added color to the mix. A true cowboy, Stevens was always able to show us the amusing side of the sometimes puzzling way our business works, from the people to the machinery to the animals we care for. Stevens’ versatility as an artist is fascinating. He sculpts, paints and does his cartooning out of his Walkin’ S Gallery in Bandera, Texas. His art has been exhibited across the country and he has taught classes in the Texas area. Art has been his life, but he also had another love, rodeo. Raised in the north, he attended rodeos at Madison Square Garden and soon decided he wanted to be part of “the circus.” Eventually, he was a PRCA Gold Card rodeo cowboy. “[I] rodeoed in 13 states and 68 cities,” he said. His sport was roping and he also rode bulls until a very bad, woke-up- in-the-hospital deal. Then, along with team roping, tie-down roping and bronc riding, would you believe he became a feed salesman … and a well-known artist. I particularly love one of his quotes from his rodeo days – “Nothing happens ‘til you nod.” It fits a lot of situations. If you happen to be going through Bandera, look for the gallery and say hello. Be sure to see the three western murals in the city. And if you like, buy one of his colored cartoon books. I will treasure mine. As all of you can imagine, with a couple of sons, brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew and other associated friends and relatives as University of
SORRY MATE, BUT THE ROAD'S WASHED OUT, SO YOU'LL HAVE TO BACK OUT OF HERE!
Vicki Wilson, this was the 50th and final year of the finals. The plan is to get together for a two-day roping in different places, just to stay in touch with the IFCA family and friends they have made through the years. They had some four generations and several three generations attending this year. We will miss covering them. As you all know, we are also proud sponsors of the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame, and LaRayne Topp’s story this issue looks into the Nebraska winners through the years. This year’s inductees will be announced soon, and our staff is looking forward to seeing you all in Orlando at the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame dinner in February. It’s a weary Sunday afternoon here with the feeling of fall. Between watching 500 laps of NASCAR to see if my racer, Martin Truex, made the next run of playoffs and a 1 a.m. second overtime finish to the CU game, it’s time for a lemonade and a nap. Stay safe. Betty Jo Gigot
Colorado grads, there is a lot of hype around here. As the Deion Sanders era has arrived, all of us involved in marketing (and we are all selling beef, calves or pen space, or advertising to keep the magazine going) have to pay attention. Sanders knows how to turn a 1/11 football season into the “top of the news” in a few months. No matter who you yell for on Saturday, the man has a list of traits we all need to remember. Be yourself (and his self is over the top, I know), be consistent in whatever you do and know your people well, very well. Sanders reminds me of some of the more flamboyant county gentlemen I have had the pleasure of interviewing through the years, including the white hat and the sunglasses. Talk about the old days, CALF News has always been a supporter of the International Feedlot Cowboys Association (IFCA) Finals Roping, sponsoring a belt buckle for many years in memory of Tom Hovenden. They had an adventure this year, taking cover from tornadoes two different evenings, but it all worked out. According to
U.S. BEEF PRODUCTION FROM A U.K. PERSPECTIVE, PART 1 By David MacKenzie Contributing Editor Editor’s Note: David MacKenzie, beef and sheep director at HARBRO Limited, leads a team charged with changing and improving the nutritional and financial performance of beef and sheep operations in the United Kingdom. He recently toured U.S. cow-calf operations and feedyards. Part 1 covers his observations of the differences between U.S. and U.K. cow-calf production.
I was in the fortunate position of recently visiting the United States, looking at both beef feedyards and cow-calf operations across Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado. The purpose of the trip was to look at the most progressive nutritional and management advances that are being put into practice in the United States. My goal was to understand the latest academic findings, how they fit into the cowboy’s day-to-day challenges, and how this compares to the United Kingdom’s beef industry. Most important, I was interested in their relevance and transferable learnings. In the United Kingdom, suckler (cow- calf) production is very regional and mainly concentrated in the west side of the country, which can receive an annual rainfall of 60 to 100 inches. What struck me early on in my U.S. visit was the importance of rainfall and the ongoing drought’s impact on cow-calf producers, particularly rancher Dan Kelly of the Kelly Ranch in Sutherland, Neb. Kelly, a fourth-generation rancher, explained his situation. “We just didn’t get the rainfall last year, which meant we couldn’t carry the stock numbers throughout the fall and winter,” he said.“We culled all cows over 9 years old and sold our replacement heifers to manage the situation.
“This year, we are in a far better position, and livestock are undoubtedly carrying more weight.” Kelly is running 1,200 head of mainly Angus and Sim-Angus and, like many producers, runs bulls with cows for 50 days. When comparing this to the United Kingdom, we would be typically running bulls for 63 to 84 days. All of Kelly’s heifers are synchronized and AI’d to Angus bulls to calve at 2 years of age. There is much debate in the United Kingdom about at what age heifers should calve. The number of producers successfully calving at 2 years of age is low; generally, the average is 35 months at first calving. Kelly has been working closely with the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, looking at heifer weights at conception and what the nutritional impacts are having on reaching full mature cow weights. Obviously, trying to winter that cow as efficiently as possible is paramount to cow-calf ranchers everywhere. I guess that every rancher believes that they have their own cow and breed type that best fits their location, demographics and ultimately the market for that calf. In the United Kingdom, we have some people who can winter cows outside on more sandy-type soils, but the majority are housed for five to seven months on straw-bedded courts or slatted buildings
where cows are located in non-arable growing areas. I also visited Leachman Cattle of Colorado (LCC). They have successfully exported the Stabilizer composite to the United Kingdom. As one of the biggest producers of seedstock bulls, selling Angus, Red Angus, Stabilizer and Charolais, I had a particular interest in the different type of Charolais they breed, as the horned genetics are dominant within our gene pool for the breed. Our frame size would be a bit taller and would have a little bit more daylight underneath but wouldn’t be as easy fleshed. Whether it was in the feedyards or cow- calf units, nutritional and animal health products coming onto the U.S. market requires a high level of product integrity before entering the market. I discovered that any product had to have academic and scientific research published first, then needed to be put through the very impressive and vigorous R&D systems managed on the yards to enable creditability and large-scale practice that would give a major yard confidence to introduce the product. No simple product comparison with a heavy dose of marketing can get off the ground, which I found very impressive and refreshing. Obviously, this commands a far greater budget to bring a product to market than in the United Kingdom or Europe, but with the greater livestock numbers in the United States, the payback makes sense.
First-calf heifers with their calves at the Kelly Ranch, Sutherland, Neb. First-calf heifers in the United States are, on average, 11 months younger at calving than their counterparts in the United Kingdom.
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WILL CATTLE PRICES SURGE EVEN HIGHER IN 2024? By Larry Stalcup Contributing Editor
I f you liked 2023 cattle prices, being sold and risk management coverage, there is even stronger profit potential for calves, feeders and fed cattle marketed next year. With high demand for beef that’s in short supply, producers and feeders should be rewarded with higher prices in 2024, says David Anderson, Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension economist. He is among most livestock marketing economists who see continued high prices next year. “With what we’re seeing, prices are 2024’s should please you even more. Depending on the quality of cattle expected to be higher for the next couple of years,” Anderson projects, taking into account low cattle numbers and an ever- growing domestic and export demand for high-quality beef. Anderson notes that in late August, USDA’s Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) showed medium- to large-frame No. 1 500- to 600-pound steers averaged more than
$280 per cwt. That compared to more than $200 the same period in 2022. For medium- and large-frame No. 1 700- to 800-pound feeder steers, the late August market showed prices at about $250 per cwt., having backed off from nearly $260 a few weeks earlier. That’s compared to about $180 the same period in 2022. Fed steers finished at prices that averaged just under $180 per cwt. By mid-September, they were pushing $185. The combination of continued demand and tight cattle supplies were the main reasons prices were about $40 per cwt. higher than the same period in 2022. If Anderson’s projections are any indication, look for the uptrend to continue. Here are his 2024 quarterly projections for 500- to 600-pound calves: • 1st quarter: $265-$272 per cwt.
Anderson’s quarterly projections for 700- to 800-pound feeders take a similar path upward: • 1st quarter: $253-$258 per cwt.
• 2nd quarter: $263-$268 • 3rd quarter: $275-$285 • 4th quarter: $282-$292
Anderson’s fed cattle projections have 1,100- to 1,300-pound fats surging to more than $200 in late 2024: • 1st quarter: $185-$189 per cwt. • 2nd quarter: $193-$198 • 3rd quarter: $191-$195 • 4th quarter: $203-$208 Tight Supplies to Continue Tight supplies are helping keep prices higher, and Anderson sees no quick relief for herd rebuilding. “Higher supplies and higher demand ought to suggest higher prices. And higher prices are a market signal to start rebuilding the herd,” he says.“The speed of rebuilding is the key. Continued drought in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska will dictate our ability to expand the cow herd.” Replacement heifers are expected to decrease by 2.4 percent in 2024 to just more than 4 million head, according to LMIC projections.“We need to increase replacements to grow the herd,” Anderson says.“Fewer heifers were held back for replacements this year than in 2022, and that number is going even lower. “But there are still mixed signals on rebuilding. Along with reduced placements, fewer beef cows are being culled. Maybe that will help rebuild the herd.” He adds that beef production is down from a record year in 2022.“This is a trend that will continue the next couple of years,” he predicts.“For 2023, we’re down 5.5 percent from 2022, then it’s projected to be down another 6 percent for 2024. We have fewer cows, fewer calves and fewer cattle in feedlots.”
• 2nd quarter: $270-$275 • 3rd quarter: $282-$292 • 4th quarter: $292-$308
Much-needed high cow-calf profits are in the forecast.
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“With what we’re seeing, prices are expected to be higher for the next couple of years.” – David Anderson
Thankfully, he points out that beef production per animal has increased substantially due to better genetics and production capabilities, or numbers would be lower. Anderson says high feed costs have come down and could ease a little more heading into next year. Southern corn cash prices have been more than $6.50 per bushel nearly all year, and topped $7 and even $7.50 through much of April and in a spike in June. However, Corn Belt rains helped drop corn prices to below $6, $1.50 a bushel or lower than a year ago.“We can expect corn prices to go even lower in 2024,” Anderson says, due to increased corn stocks following this year’s harvest.“Even with a dry Midwest, a large corn crop is projected.” Near $450 per Head Profit for Cow-Calf Operators Anderson sees a third straight year of profits for cow-calf producers after four out of five years of losses. And profits could be huge.“Estimates by the USDA and LMIC project an average return for 2024 of more than $450 per head,” he
says, compared to $175-plus per head profit this year and just under $50 in 2022.” High profits should carry over to stocker operators, but cattle feeders could see margins pressured due to higher feeder cattle costs. Anderson adds that packers, which capitalized on their supply and demand advantages and massive profits during the pandemic, will likely continue to see tighter margins due to tighter cattle supplies. What Is the Price Limit for Consumers? “We’re going to test high prices paid by consumers,” Anderson says.“Even if they have money in their pocket, there’s a point to where consumers will look at the cost of that ribeye and say ‘I refuse to pay that.’” He points out that Bureau of Labor statistics indicate from 2017 through 2021, the average retail price for Choice
beef ranged from just less than $6 per pound to about $6.50. In 2022, it stayed in the neighborhood of $7.50 to $7.70. For 2023, it surged to more than $8.30 by mid-summer. “Even though we’re going to test demand, there are indications that U.S. high-quality beef will continue to be in demand,” Anderson says. Of course, other than contracts already in place, nothing can be chiseled in stone when it comes to future cattle prices. Too many things can happen that can impact markets. Anderson emphasizes the need for producers to consider using price risk management. He suggests that Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) programs provide tools that are similar to cattle futures and futures options to help manage markets. “LRP offers a real opportunity to lock in these profitable prices and take away downside risks,” he says.
Are fats staring at even higher prices?
NEBRASKANS WELL REPRESENTED IN HALL OF FAME
By LaRayne Topp Contributing Editor
I n 2023, the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame (CFHOF) carried out a decades-old tradition, sorting out from the rest of the herd a cattle feeder well-known for his innovation and love for agriculture. The Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame inducted award winner Jerry Adams from Adams Land and Cattle near the small town of Broken Bow, Neb. He was one of 28 to be recognized since the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame was established in 2009. Honoring the exceptional, visionary men and women who’ve made lasting contributions to the cattle feeding industry, the Hall of Fame recognizes those who have devoted their careers to improving production practices and championing the mission of the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame.
Recognized during the annual Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show, the honorees are selected by a five-member nomination committee. These five compile the ballot, which is then voted on by industry members searching out the nominee who brings the most value and integrity to the industry. Currently, the nomination committee includes Betty Jo Gigot, CALF News publisher, Dr. Del Miles, veterinarian and consultant, and industry consultants Bill Dicke and Shawn Walter. “I am so proud of the growth and acceptance of the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame by the industry,” Gigot says.“It has become an integral part of reflecting on the history of cattle feeding from an individual view, one person at a time.” The Cattle Feeders Hall of Famers were spotlighted this year at the annual Cattlemen’s Ball of Nebraska. Held at the Weborg family’s feedlot at Pender, volunteer Mary Smith set up a display illustrating the history of cattle feeding in Nebraska and spotlighting people instrumental in the cattle feeding industry. While researching the biographies of the 28 CFHOF recipients, Smith noted that nine have ties to Nebraska. That’s not surprising, given that Nebraska boasts a cattle to person ratio of 3.29. In rural areas of Nebraska, excluding Omaha and Lincoln, the ratio adds up even higher – to 6.5 head per person. It’s little wonder so many Nebraskans made it into the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame.
PAST CFHOF INDUCTEES FROM NEBRASKA
2023 – Jerry Adams of Adams Land and Cattle, Broken Bow From its beginnings in 1972, the Adams operation expanded from an initial 5,000 calves on feed and 3,000 acres of farmland. Adams and his brother, Bill, grew the operation to a finishing capacity of 125,000 head, with a backgrounding network up to 100,000 head in more than 85 locations. Today, Adams Land and Cattle is known for its technology, innovation and data-driven model of cattle production.
2022 – Norman Timmerman, NA Timmerman, Inc., Indianola Norm and three brothers expanded their family business over a 50-year span into eight states, including a network of feedyards with a capacity of 90,000 head, along with ranches and a beef packing plant. In 2023, NA Timmerman, Inc. was formed. Today, the operation includes a third generation, building on the Timmerman family legacy. Feedlot locations in Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas have a one-time feeding capacity of about 100,000 head.
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2019 – Bill Foxley, Foxley Cattle Company, Omaha Bill Foxley’s Foxley Cattle Company originated in 1962 with a 15,000-head feedlot south of Omaha. By 1980, the company-owned inventory was a quarter of a million head in five feedlots in Nebraska, Colorado, Texas and Washington. In an inventive and resourceful measure, Foxley built the 65,000-head Bartlett feedlot with half-mile-long sheds over waste pits emptied to fertilize 10,000 acres of irrigated Sandhills corn.
2017 – Jeff Biegert, Midwest PMS, Shickley Jeff Biegert established a liquid feed manufacturing and cattle feeding company, Biegert Feeds, now known as Midwest PMS. The business has expanded into 10 manufacturing sites across Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, Iowa and South Dakota. Biegert, owning extensive ranching properties throughout the Midwest, maintains ownership in Fort Kearney Feeders, a 58,000-head operation, and North Platte Feeders, an 82,000-head operation.
2016 – Bob Gottsch, Gottsch Cattle Co., Hastings and Elkhorn Bob Gottsch and his brother began feeding cattle on a leased lot, with Gottsch feeding other people’s cattle until he could afford to feed his own. He expanded his Elkhorn feedlot through the years and added a location in Red Cloud, where he eventually had 42,000 head. He partnered with Ken Morrison in a 40,000-head feedyard at Juniata, followed with a Kansas feedyard exceeding 50,000 head.
2014 – Roy Dinsdale, Dinsdale Brothers, Inc., Palmer Roy Dinsdale joined the family’s cattle operation at Palmer in 1948. Since that time, Roy has nurtured Dinsdale Brothers into a diverse company involved in cattle feeding, ranching, farming, banking and other ag-related businesses. Third- and fourth-generation Dinsdales now oversee the 75,000-head cattle operations in Colorado and Nebraska, while Roy continues a watchful eye on the Palmer feedyard.
2013 – Leo Timmerman, Timmerman & Sons Feeding Co., Inc., Springfield Leo Timmerman started farming with three milk cows and two dozen chickens, as Timmerman and his wife lived off the money from eggs and cream. During this time, he bought two or three head of cattle, then six more, then 25, eventually expanding into a successful career in the cattle feeding business. In 1945, he quit raising milk cows and chickens to purchase a feedyard in Omaha, serving as the foundation for his business. CONTINUED ON PAGE 12
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11
2012 – Louis Dinklage, Louis Dinklage, Inc., Cuming County Louis Dinklage’s vision for the cattle feeding industry led him to become one of the most well-respected cattle feeders in America. Born in 1902, Dinklage never could have imagined that by the late 1960s, he would be considered the country’s largest cattle feeder. He influenced both the cattle feeding industry and the community as he mentored many young cattle feeders, setting them on the road to success.
2011 – Dave Wood, Harris Feeding Company, Coalinga, Calif.; feedlot in North Platte Dave Wood began as a pen rider at Harris Feeding Company in California, moving up to feedyard manager in 1978, then the company’s chief operating officer and chairman of beef operations. In 1982, Harris Ranch established one of the first branded beef programs in the United States. Wood owned extensive cow-calf and stocker operations in six western states, as well as serving as a partner in a 70,000-head feedlot in North Platte.
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C F H O F
15 th A N N U A L THE RUBY ANNIVERSARY
C F H O F
By Patti Wilson Contributing Editor UNL BARTA BROTHERS RANCH OPEN HOUSE
W hen you think of the word laboratory , what do you envi- sion? Probably a climate- controlled room with counters full of test tubes and ventilation hoods, and scurry- ing, white-coated technicians. Perhaps a few bubbling beakers suspended over Bunsen burners. Throw out that thought and enter the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Barta Brothers Ranch near Bassett, Neb. It is a 6,000-acre property that was donated to the university by Clifford and James Barta in 1996. Used to study livestock grazing systems, plants and water in grasslands, it is also important to students and those pursuing continu- ing education. Staff at the Barta Ranch hosted an open house on July 25, focusing on the control of woody encroachment (the spread of Eastern red cedar), which academia has dubbed “The Green Glacier.” Forestation is moving north toward Canada and has become a growing problem in mid- America grasslands in recent decades. Mechanical control such as cutting the trees is effective. Prescribed burns, however, are highly recommended by Barta staff, having been researched for years at the sprawling facility. It is found to be a more effective and efficient means of eliminating the persistent pests. After classroom presentations in the morning, a pasture tour was on the after- noon agenda as two trailer loads of eager guests loaded up for an open-air ride to paddocks of light sand that had been burned the previous spring. Although ce- dars are kept under control by burns, the jury is still out on the effect these burns have on leafy spurge, another growing grassland problem. Currently, herbicide is employed in the control of spurge on the ranch. Other studies being conducted on the Sandhills spread include avian research on a dozen bird species, particularly prai-
seed. Circumstances have added up. The Barta Ranch is in the Collabora- tive Adaptive Management Program, which entails a dozen entities with ties to conservation. Examples are the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Nebraska Forest Service, Natural Resources Con- servation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nature Conservancy, among others. Currently, there have been 26 master’s degree students in training at the ranch, four doctoral students and 30 undergraduates busy with research.
rie chickens. Mob grazing and rotational grazing systems on upland pastures and lowland meadows are also monitored. One of the most interesting take-home thoughts from the conference included the use of a smart phone app that measures biomass (plant growth) in a given area. Another is the explanation of the “Green Glacier” effect. In the early 1900s, trees were used to build facilities on farms and ranches. Not so anymore.
Tree-killing prairie fires are now less severe due to large areas that are farmed and no longer grazed. Fire departments are more abundant, and windbreaks con- tinue to provide a never-ending supply of Forestation is moving north toward Canada and has become a growing problem in mid-America grasslands in recent decades. There’s a whole lot of work going on in a very secluded place. It’s a benefit to all cattlemen.
Mitch Stephenson of UNL’s Barta Brothers Ranch, right, heads up a pasture tour explaining the beneficial effects of prescribed burns on upland grasses
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By Burt Rutherford Contributing Editor ZOETIS INTRODUCES VALCOR ENDECTOCIDE Valcor Is the First Combination Endectocide for Cattle in the United States B ottom line, parasites cause problems. Even when you don’t see clinical signs of internal or external parasites, they still cause problems.
use against both internal and external parasites. Valcor is a prescription injectable product with the strength of two active ingredients to treat and control adult stage and L4 stage of Haemonchus placei , Cooperia and Ostertagia ostertagi (including inhibited L4), as well as the adult stage of Nematodirus helvetianus . It is also indicated for the treatment and control of lungworms, eyeworms, grubs, mange mites and sucking lice. Valcor combines doramectin from the macrocyclic lactone class of dewormers with levamisole from the imidazothiazole class.“The two active ingredients in one product offers convenience to veterinarians and producers who may have had the need to use two products concurrently in the past,” Alley says. “Valcor provides two active ingredients in a single product and can help save labor and improve efficiency at the chute.” According to Alley, research with more than 1,500 heifers showed Valcor reduced fecal egg count numbers by 99.9 percent, and heifers treated with Valcor gained 9.3 pounds more than heifers treated with another parasiticide over 56 days. Parasite resistance to wormers is a growing concern, he says. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some of the factors leading to parasite resistance are treating too often, treating the entire herd and inadequate quarantine procedures, especially for newly-arrived animals.“And probably the largest one is underdosing,” Alley says.“Things that are becoming very important for decreasing the chance of dewormer resistance is making sure we select the right dewormer and making sure that there are some susceptible worms on the pasture.” That’s where the combination of a macrocyclic lactone like doramectin and an imidazothiazole like levamisole comes into play. Macrocyclic lactones provide good efficacy against both internal and external parasites and are popular
“Some of the clinical signs that we typically associate with parasitism, probably the most common one would be diarrhea, but they do have the ability to cause a rough hair code as well,” according to Dr. Mark Alley, managing veterinarian with Zoetis.“And with their unique ability to damage some of the glands in the abomasum or even in the intestine, some calves will actually lose appetite and have a resulting weight loss and poor productivity.” What’s more, some internal parasites such as Haemonchus are blood suckers and they will actually remove enough blood from those animals that they will get some pretty severe anemia and maybe even a bottle jaw, which is indication of loss of protein in the diet, he adds. “If we look at the cow side, we may have seen some issues with poor fertility, and we cannot forget that immunosuppression or suppression of the ability to respond either to a virus or vaccines may occur. We do have in some extreme situations with heavy parasitism where cattle actually will die,” Alley says.“The impact that we often see from a weight loss and maybe potentially changing of our immune response, that's that subclinical effect and that occurs much earlier in the process.” Products to control internal and external parasites have been around for a long time, and there are a lot of different factors that impact parasite management. “So taking all those into account when we start looking at parasiticides, the selection of the right product and making sure we maximize efficacy of it is very important,” he says. Enter Valcor, a combination of doramectin and levamisole, which is the first combination endectocide for
products. However, when looking at the number of injectable imidazothiazoles that potentially were used in the U.S. in 2022, there were none, he says. “That gives us greater opportunity to incorporate this particular class of dewormer into our program and hopefully get much better control than we historically have gotten,” he adds. “This product is going to be the broadest spectrum of injectable parasiticides on the market, including control and treatment of up to 35 different parasites and their various stages.” Alley says Valcor is different than other injectable macrocyclic lactones when it comes to dosing.“The dose is 1 ml per 55 pounds of body weight, and it is to be administered as a subcutaneous injection in the neck.” Due to that difference, Zoetis offers a dial-a-dose injector that ensures 2 ml (or cc) of product per 110 pounds, he says. Valcor can be used in cattle two months of age and older and in replacement dairy heifers younger than 20 months of age. It's not intended for use in beef bulls for breeding or intended for breeding dairy calves or milk calves. Do not treat cattle with Valcor within 15 days of slaughter. Use with caution in cattle treated with cholinesterase inhibitors. This product is likely to cause injection site swelling; tissue damage (including granulomas and necrosis) may occur. These reactions have resolved without treatment. See full prescribing information at ValcorTough. com/pi .
By Larry Stalcup Contributing Editor CBB CHAIR JIMMY TAYLOR
J immy Taylor knew his commercial Angus herd needed a spark to generate more revenue from his family’s century-old operation. That was in 2005. Nearly two decades later, hi-tech expected progeny differences (EPDs) selected from DNA data and other performance numbers are helping him produce calves that grade Prime more often than not. His overall premiums can top $300 per head. Taylor and his wife, Tracy, ranch in western Oklahoma near Cheyenne. His great-grandfather started ranching there in 1914. His grandfather and father expanded and improved the operation. Now, the Taylors run 600 females bred to Angus and Angus-cross bulls on rolling hills that span several thousand acres. That’s Jimmy’s day (and night) job. He also volunteers to serve as chairman of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB), which oversees the use of funds collected from the $1-per-head National Beef Checkoff. He’s one of 101 men and women producers who volunteer to serve on the board. Of course, the checkoff spearheaded the iconic motto,“Beef - It’s What’s for Dinner.” Made famous by Sam Elliott and others, the saying helped increase consumer demand for higher-quality cattle. And checkoff-funded research, among other things, led to new beef cuts to help increase beef sales. Despite economic downturns, the pandemic and higher retail and food service prices, consumers’ desire for and willingness to pay for higher quality beef has steadily increased. Taylor has served on the CBB since 2018. That was several years after he got involved in the Certified Angus Beef program for improved production and marketing. He was among producers who, early on, started depending more on EPDs to select sires. “In 2005, Tracy and I looked for a production program that would create more bonuses when we sold our calves,”
he tells CALF News .“Over the years, we realized it was important to use more EPD technology available through DNA testing, which has regularly advanced in making more data available to producers. We decided to retain ownership through the feeding cycle to take advantage of the genetics we invested in.” After weaning calves in 2007, Taylor placed them in Cattleman’s Choice Feedyard in nearby Gage, Okla. The feedyard’s owner, Dale Moore, was also dedicated to quality. He worked with feeders to market their cattle through various grids. “We found out it was vital to produce more Prime calves,” Taylor says.“We obtained data from the feedyard and the processing plant. The initial data showed the calves were 12.5 percent Prime, compared to a national average of about 2 percent Prime.” 82 Percent Prime The Taylors trusted advanced DNA testing and genomically enhanced EPDs to yield even higher quality ratings. As DNA testing programs improved, they tried several in hopes of improving their genetics. They currently rely on GeneMax Advantage DNA testing.
“With genomically enhanced EPDs, timed AI and DNA testing on all females, we’ve attained 82 percent Prime on a couple of groups of cattle,” Taylor says. “We’ve been able to capture additional bonuses from producing either all-natural or NHTC (non hormone-treated cattle) cattle. “We don't implant anything. Before, buyers typically wouldn't pay enough of a bonus for non-implanted cattle. But that has changed. With those combined bonuses, the last time I tracked a group of cattle through the feeding and processing phases, they averaged about $360 per head in premiums.” The result is beef cuts from the Taylor cattle and like animals are typically served at white-tablecloth restaurants in the United States or exported to Europe, where non-hormone-treated cattle are preferred. The Taylors’ production program helps enhance their genetics. The ranch runs spring and fall breeding seasons.“There’s a 25-day breeding period for heifers and 52 days for cows,” Taylor says.“These periods help identify fertility qualities.” Calves going to the feedlot are EID tagged as part of an independent, third- party verification system. Cows and calves
Jimmy Taylor sees the need for more funds to keep the Beef Checkoff strong enough "to function at the level we are accustomed to."
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being grazed by cows that were near ready to calve. So he placed lower-quality hay in a bale feeder within the pasture. “The hay helps lure cattle into a pasture,” he says.“And I figured that if the cows preferred the hay over the grass, the grass may not be as good as I thought.” Jimmy, Tracy, and their associate, Jesus M. Esparza, manage and run the entire operation. Whether it’s reading DNA and EPDs to produce the best calves, or assuring calves receive preconditioning programs to meet the specs for all-natural or NHTC markets, the operation enables them to take advantage of demand-based markets spawned by the Beef Checkoff years ago.
are on a vaccine protocol to develop a strong immune system. Calves are weaned at 4 to 5 months of age. Taylor prefers to fence-line wean when possible to reduce stress on calves and their mamas. Calves then graze native grasses and gradually move to more hay and feed during backgrounding. Supplements include feed from Livestock Nutrition Center. After backgrounding, calves are usually placed in the feedyard at about 700 pounds, then marketed through quality and production-based grids. Taylor gauges grass quality to help assure cows maintain good body condition scores (BCS) at breeding, usually at BCS 5 to 6. In August, he was concerned about the quality of a pasture
“Our ranch is being paid a high premium for our calves partly because of checkoff-funded research that has helped improve quality,” he says.“That and beef promotion help bring more domestic and international consumers to the beef dinner table. “I believe it would have been difficult to attain our overall success without the demand developed through checkoff funding.”
EVERY CHECKOFF DOLLAR HELPS – BUT MORE ARE NEEDED
T he Beef Checkoff has paid for itself many times over.“In 2022, every $1 collected from producers generated an $11.91 return on investment,” says CBB Chairman Jimmy Taylor, a producer from Cheyenne, Okla. Checkoff-supported programs aimed at beef research, promotion and education have created exploding demand for U.S. beef here and abroad. The checkoff and the development of better genetics have led to more than 70 percent of U.S. beef carcasses grading Choice or better. Consumers love it. They pay high dollar for high-quality beef, even during a pandemic and weak economic times. Foreign buyers want the same quality, even in beef cuts and variety meats that may not appeal to American families. “Exports account for 15 percent of U.S. beef sold,” Taylor says, adding that export values increase annually for U.S. carcasses.“Exports account for about $450 in value for every fed animal marketed.” As CBB chairman, Taylor is one of 20 producers on the Beef Promotion Operating Committee that selects checkoff-funded projects dealing with beef promotion, research and education.
There are nine checkoff “contractors” and three subcontractors that make proposals for projects to meet promotion, research and education goals. The goals are developed from input from six key Checkoff Program Committees: Consumer Trust, Domestic Marketing, International Marketing, Nutrition and Health, Safety and Product Innovation, and Stakeholder Engagement. “Our 2024 budget is approximately $36 million,” Taylor explains.“But we have requests for about $49 million in projects. We’re typically $8 million to $10 million short. This year we’re $13 million short of what is being asked for program funding.” All Producers Benefit There are occasional complaints about the checkoff. Taylor stresses as an individual producer, he couldn't come close to matching what the checkoff provides to his family’s operation.“Last year I paid about $400 into the checkoff,” he says.“With that amount, I’m limited to what I could do by myself to promote beef. “But checkoff dollars from me and thousands of other small and large producers pooled together help fund
tremendous programs that help increase beef demand. However, more money is needed,” he asserts. “In 1988, when the first checkoff dollars were collected, the value of each dollar was much higher than it is now. Today, the same $1 per head amounts to only about 35 cents per head compared to the late 1980s.” Even with calf, stocker and fed-cattle prices elevated to record high levels the past couple of years, beef demand has remained high.“Last year domestically, beef demand was at a 33-year high and, internationally, we set an all-time record in value at $11.68 billion in exports,” Taylor says. “The checkoff is doing its job in creating beef demand. The problem is with the dollar shrinking more each year due to inflation, good checkoff programs go unfunded. As the dollar continues to shrink, it will eventually impact our program’s ability to function at the level we are accustomed to. “We need more funding for the checkoff.” For more on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Beef Checkoff, visit DrivingDemandForBeef.com.
By Larry Stalcup Contributing Editor SPICER GRIPP MEMORIAL ROPING BOOSTS WEST TEXAS A&M AGRICULTURE
W ith many of the world’s best ropers tethering more than $760,000 in total payout, the 2023 Spicer Gripp Memorial Roping saw tie-down, steer and team roping that rivaled the biggest roping events from coast to coast. The result was wide-open competition among cowboys and their mounts, and huge support from dozens of spectacular sponsors. They helped The Gripp, as it’s known in its hometown of Hereford, Texas, continue to boost scholarships for students seeking to study agriculture at West Texas (WT) A&M University in Canyon. Sponsorships and entry fees enabled the memorial event to provide WT with a check for $100,000 for use in its college of agriculture.“The event is important to our agriculture program,” said Kevin Pond, Ph.D., dean of WT Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences.“The roping event is put on for people to come and enjoy themselves, and for our students to participate by helping put it on.” The roping is named after Spicer Gripp, who died in the early 1990s. He was a Hereford resident who loved helping kids. Whether it was for 4-H, FFA or getting a college education, he wanted kids to succeed. Friends of Spicer got together to start the memorial roping in 1994, and the Spicer Gripp Memorial Event Center made its debut in 2001. The Spicer Gripp Memorial Youth Foundation administers proceeds from the roping event, as well as gifts from family and friends of Spicer Gripp. WT’s Spicer Gripp Memorial Scholarship Fund makes scholarships available for students pursuing a degree in agriculture sciences or participating on the WT Rodeo Team.
Many Hereford and Panhandle area people are WT alumni and are involved as sponsors and volunteers to the annual event. Prior to accepting the $100,000 check, Pond told CALF News how important The Gripp was to the university. “The 2022 event also provided $100,000 for the WT Spicer Gripp Endowment Fund for Scholarships. The Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation matches these funds,” he said. “Essentially that means $200,000 [per year] going into the Spicer Gripp foundation. That generates essentially two $5,000 scholarships or four $2,500 scholarships that will go on forever.” Since 2016, WT has made a dramatic investment in its college of agriculture. The result has been the attraction of more ag students from across the country.“We will have record enrollment again this year. We will have over 1,100 students in agriculture. They include students from all over the Panhandle, Texas, the states around us and all over the nation. WT is a destination spot for many.” WT’s research into livestock
Cody Chandler of Chandler Insurance, left, and Zane Tisdale of Micro Technologies, right, present Kevin Pond, dean of WT Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, second from left, and Lance Keith, associ- ate dean, with a hefty check for $100,000 for the WT’s Spicer Gripp Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Ed Montona, popular Texas troubadour and member of the Amarillo Coors Cowboy Club, entertain before the Spicer Gripp awards reception.
we have been able to hire new faculty. With new funding this year, we’ve been able to hire even more faculty to meet the demand we have.” The WT Research Feedlot has been instrumental in providing valuable information for the massive regional cattle feeding area – which finishes more than 28 percent of the nation’s fed cattle, with plans to grow. “We are going to be expanding and building a new research feedyard that will have large pens to conduct
production, processing and marketing is admired across the nation. Its meat lab is second to none. Plant science studies and research also benefit farmers across the High Plains and elsewhere. A wealth of prominent professors help WT provide the knowledge needed by students. “We have always been known for a tremendous base of professors,” Pond said. “With federal and state funding,
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