Wheat as an alternative livestock feed

For those farmers faced with low quality wheat this season, incorporating that wheat into livestock diets may be an option, but Steve Boyles, Extension beef specialist at Ohio State University says there are factors to consider, such as how much wheat to substitute for grain in the ration. For those who have not had much experience feeding wheat, Boyles suggests talking with your local extension office or your feed representative on how best to incorporate wheat into the diet.

Audio: Steve Boyles, Extension beef specialist, Ohio State Univ. (3:00 MP3)

EASYZYME improves feed utilization, pig performance

The elevated prices of corn and soybean meal are driving more and more swine producers to feed alternative ingredients, such as distillers dried grains with soluble, wheat midds and corn germ meal.  Diets with alternatives ingredients often contain higher amounts of fiber and non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) compared to traditional corn and SBM diets.  According to Bruce McClain of ADM Alliance Nutrition, supplementing swine diets with enzymes—such as ADM Alliance Nutrition’s EASYZYME—can help improve digestion of higher NSP diets. That means improved feed utilization and pig performance.

AUDIO: Bruce McClain (2 min MP3)

A visit with NPPC president Doug Wolf

Pork producer Doug Wolf of Lancaster, Wisconsin is the president of the National Pork Producers Council.  On the last day of World Pork Expo, we visited with Wolf about this year’s Expo, feed availability concerns, the possibility of feeding higher percentages of distillers grains to hogs, and trade issues.

AUDIO: Doug Wolf (6 min MP3)

Dairy grazing grows as do profits

Management intensive grazing for milk production is gaining popularity among dairy producers. Tony Rickard, a University of Missouri dairy specialist in southwest Missouri, is one of the organizers of the National Dairy Grazing conference to be held in July in Springfield, Missouri and he tells Brownfield why it’s becoming so popular.

AUDIO: Tony Rickard & Joe Horner (1:30 mp3)

Four-state dairy nutrition conference in Iowa

Dairy producers are invited to the Four-State Dairy Nutrition and Management Conference held June eighth through ninth in Iowa.

Held at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, the conference will address the latest research information on Dairy industry issues. The conference is put on by Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa extension agencies.

Topics for the two-day conference include feeding strategies to reduce heat stress, forage rations, robotic milkers and precision feeding. Speakers include representatives from Cornell University, University of Wisconsin, University of Missouri and the University of Minnesota.

Register online for this conference.

Cattle feedlot issues focus of research grant

A $14 Million dollar USDA grant for genetic beef cattle research is going to the University of Missouri and Texas A&M to tackle two of the costliest problems in feedlots: feed inefficiency and Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD).

Dr. Jerry Taylor is head of animal genomics at the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR).

“These are both enormously important areas to try to tackle to get some of the costs out of the production system,” says Taylor.

Using the latest tools in genetic mapping his team will identify how genetic differences affect feed intake and efficiency studying up to 8-thousand cattle of numerous breeds.

Taylor says, “We need to make this technology work regardless of the breed origin of the animal.”

The Texas A&M team will head up the BRD research.

“We believe that both of these grants WILL result in very significant translation of technology to the industry within the next five years,” says Taylor, “And that we will see direct, tangible benefits to the industry in that time frame.”

Roger Beachy, director of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, NIFA, made the announcement at the University of Missouri beef research and teaching farm south of Columbia, Missouri, and was joined by Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, Dr. Taylor and other MU CAFNR and other university leaders.

Taking dairy cows off feed discouraged now

The high price of corn has the livestock sector considering just how to deal with feed costs. A University of Illinois animal scientist strongly suggests dairy farmers keep their cows on full rations.

AUDIO: Mike Hutjens (3:00 mp3)

Cattle feeding today not for the fainthearted

As fed cattle prices have soared to record levels in recent weeks, so has the level of volatility in the cattle feeding business.

Cattle feeder Kent Pruismann of Rock Valley, Iowa says the “fear factor” is much greater with cattle prices and input costs at current levels.

“Overnight we can have a huge move in our commodity markets because of a lot of outside influences,” says Pruismann, “and one of them being a lot of hedge fund money coming into this market.  I mean it can move—when they change their mind—our markets move considerably in a 24-hour period.

Pruismann says he’s spending more time on risk management.

“I’ve done a lot more hedging on the Chicago Board of Trade for input costs—and on the Chicago Merc as far as locking in a price on our cattle,” he says.

And that requires a banker who also understands risk management, “because sometimes our margin requirements can be substantial as we take a position in this market and it moves against us.”

While he’s optimistic about the future, Pruismann says he’s also being cautious.

“We are offered (feeder) cattle for delivery this fall that we need to make a decision on—if that’s something we want to do—and the prices are very, very high,” he says, “and so, personally, I sit making the determination if there is more upside potential—and I’m very cautious at this point because, in my opinion, there’s a lot more downside risk than upside potential.”

Pruismann owns a three-thousand head feedlot in northwest Iowa.

AUDIO: Ken Pruismann (8 min MP3)

Dairy farmers forced to tighten belts even more

Dairy farmers have been tightening their belts for so long, there’s not much belt left to tighten.  At the recent I-29 Dairy Conference in Sioux Falls, we visited with Su Sybesma of Dutch Made Dairy, Platte, South Dakota, about some of the things they are doing to increase efficiency in their dairy operation. And  University of Minnesota dairy educator Jim Paulson gave us his thoughts on using less corn in dairy feed rations.

AUDIO: Su Sybesma and Jim Paulson (3 min MP3)

CattleFax analyst offers a 2011 corn market forecast

Livestock producers are understandably edgy about the supply of corn and the price of corn in 2011.  At the recent Cattle Industry Convention in Denver, CattleFax market analyst Brett Stuart presented CattleFax’s outlook for corn prices.  Stuart says they expect to see the corn market reach its highs in late spring and early summer—and that they are expecting a four-million acre increase in corn acres in 2011.

AUDIO: Brett Stuart (3 min MP3)