Volume 14, Number 3
||This Month in Ag Connection|
Beef Industry Will Change, Will You?
Nobody needs to tell producers about the high cost of inputs; fertilizer, feed, corn, byproducts, hay and fuel. What are producers in the livestock industry to do? Producers have some options: change business as usual and adapt to the environment, don’t change and complain persistently, or have a herd dispersal. The latter may not be an option for those wanting to stay in business or younger producers wanting a future and that is exactly what producers need to think about—lifestyle farming is probably not very viable with feed, fertilizer and hay prices where they are, so what are you going to do?
Recently, Dr. Vern Pierce, a State Ag Economist with the Commercial Ag Beef Focus team, challenged producers to stop working and thinking in the mode of “business as usual” because the nature of the beast has changed and producers have to be willing to change as well. Pierce dared producers to stop thinking and doing everything so independently. “In order to thrive in this new economy it is more important than ever for producers to work with neighbors and friends in their communities to stay economically viable.” A great example of this is the Premier Beef groups throughout Missouri, including Mid-Missouri Premier Beef Members. These beef producers work together to bid mineral and animal health supplies at a discounted rate because they can buy in larger quantities than they would otherwise be able to do individually.
With the influx of distiller’s grains in the central Missouri area becoming readily available, working with fellow producers can become an economic necessity as feed prices continue to climb. A great example of this is buying wet distiller’s grain in the summer (when prices are low), mixing it with low quality forage, ensiling the mix and feeding it in the winter to beef cows. This can be done with low-cost facilities.
Chris Zumbrunnen, MU Livestock Specialist, Milan, worked with a producer who feeds several thousand stockers and beef cows in northern Missouri. In this scenario, they used wet distiller’s grains with solubles from an ethanol plant and mixed it with CRP grass which did not have much feed value (including cedar seedlings, warm season grass seed-heads, etc., in other words very poor quality). They mixed the two together, ensiled the mix and tested it through a nutrition livestock laboratory. The results yielded a palatable feed that was 16% crude protein and cost less than $50 per ton. One producer who owns several head of beef cattle tried this method; however several producers working together could do this in a coordinated effort. Nebraska has also done research on ensiling wet distiller’s grains and mixing it with low quality forage such as straw or fescue. Additional information can be found at: http://beef.unl.edu/byprodfeeds/manual_03_01.shtml
Midwestern producers are poised to stay viable and even thrive if they are willing to think “outside the traditional box” and use technologies and feeding strategies not used 5 or 10 years ago. Today’s livestock climate has changed, meaning producers will continue to have to change if they want to remain in the business. This might mean doing something differently than just going down to the local feed store and getting a few bags of feed to stay in the livestock business. For more information on ensiling wet distillers grains, contact your local extension livestock specialist.
(Author: Wendy Flatt, Livestock Specialist)
Make sure animals are full when first turned out on legume pastures in the
spring. Do not start animals grazing when forage is wet from dew or rain. In
general, if a pasture contains at least 50 percent grass, there should be
little or no danger of bloat.
Fencing in Missouri
If one party does not have livestock against the
division fence, then that party is not required to construct or repair the
fence. If a landowner builds the entire division fence (i.e. neighbor did
not need the fence), he/she must report the total cost to the associate
circuit judge, who will authorize the cost to be recorded on each neighbor’s
deed. If the neighbor later places livestock against the division fence,
then the landowner who built the fence can get reimbursed for one-half the
Managing Fruit Plants After the Historic
April 2007 Freeze
Unlike blueberry, blackberry and peach, apple trees go into a cycle of alternate bearing (excessive fruit set the year after a season of low fruit production). In 2008, apple trees will likely have a heavy crop load (barring any erratic weather). It will be important to apply adequate fertilizer to produce quality fruit. However, splitting the total amount of recommended fertilizer into two applications (before bloom and after fruit set) or more will help provide better sustained growth and help avoid leaching of the nitrogen if applied as ammonium nitrate. Using multiple fertilizer applications also gives the grower the opportunity to stop fertilizing if another catastrophic frost or freeze occurs. Multiple fertilizer applications are recommended for all fruit crops, starting pre-bud burst and ending by July 1. Fertilizer applications after this date promote late season growth, delay hardening and increase fruit bud susceptibility to winter injury.
Fruit removal (i.e., thinning) will be very important on peach and apple trees to balance the amount of fruit and vegetative growth. For apple, only one fruit per cluster should be retained. This should be done as early as possible, when the fruit is the size of a dime. For peach, strip off all small fruitlets, leaving 10 inches between each fruit. Peach branches often break when they are bearing too many fruit.
The incidence of pests
may also be greater this growing season, depending on the
pesticide applications used after the 2007 freeze. Many growers reduced
their chemical applications or quit spraying completely after the freeze.
Thus, uncontrolled pests from last year may increase pest populations this
year. Fire blight on apple and pear trees may be worse this year on trees
that were fertilized either before or after the 2007 freeze because of the
excessive vegetative growth. Also, canker development may be worse than
usual on peach trees after the April freeze and the low winter temperatures
experienced recently. There may also be outbreaks of pests not normally seen
in Missouri due to the erratic weather. Even though the true consequences of
the freeze may not be known for a few years, woody fruit plants are often
productive with optimum culture following unseasonable weather events.
New Enology Emphasis in Food Science at MU
The University of Missouri will offer a food science degree with an emphasis in enology, providing students with in-depth education in the science and business of wine production. “Undergraduate students in this program, the first of its kind in the Midwest, will receive degrees in food science with at least 19 credit hours in enology and viticulture”, said Ingolf Gruen, food science associate professor.
Courses are being phased in so that freshmen entering in the Fall 2008 semester can take the complete sequence. “Missouri’s wine industry has grown from 50 to more than 70 wineries over the past five years”, said Keith Striegler, director of the Institute for Continental Climate Viticulture and Enology, located on the MU campus and underwritten by the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Grape and Wine Board. A study commissioned by the Grape and Wine Board reports that the local wine industry employs almost 6,200 people and in 2007 generated an estimated $70 million in federal, state and local tax revenue.
“Wineries create a job cluster of related businesses, providing jobs, particularly in small, rural communities”, said Striegler. “There is a shortage of trained people, and we are trying to fill a gap. The idea is we want to grow our own talent for Missouri and then the region,” he said.
will be one of the few such degree programs in the country and
the only one offering a fully integrated “grape to glass” emphasis that
ranges from viticulture operation to business management”, said Gruen.
Ag Connection - Ag Connection Newsletter, March 2008
http://extension.missouri.edu/agconnection/newsletters/is-08-03.htm -- Revised: February 27, 2008