News Filed Under Beef
By Laura Whelan
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Despite economic uncertainties and a wet grazing season, supply and demand levels indicate a stable year for cattle markets.
"The cattle market is in a much better supply situation than it experienced three to four months ago, and so far this year demand for beef has been better than last year," said John Anderson, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Top quality beef cattle will move through the auction ring Nov. 21 as Mississippi State University releases more than 100 surplus cattle and 26 horses to the highest bidders.
MSU and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will host the 20th annual Production Sale at the Mississippi Horse Park, AgriCenter and Fairgrounds, which is located on Poorhouse Road south of Starkville. Lunch will be served at noon, and the sale will begin at 1 p.m. Cattle can be viewed beginning Wednesday afternoon and continuing until the time of the sale.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Record-low hog prices in August added downward pressure on cattle prices as both industries struggle into the last quarter of 2002.
"As long as we see hog prices at historically low levels or even with a slight recovery, cattle prices will not be able to improve much either," said John Anderson, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
HATTIESBURG -- South Mississippi cattle producers are counting on (market) strength in numbers as well as the quality of their heifers to bring a more satisfying experience for buyers and sellers alike at an upcoming sale.
With the aid of Mississippi State University's Extension Service, a group of about 20 cattle producers are planning a bred and open heifer sale in the Jones County multipurpose arena, known as the Magnolia Center, at noon on Aug. 31.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Last fall, Mississippi cattle producers had every reason to be optimistic about 2002 prices, but skittish markets have taken every opportunity to go the wrong direction in recent months.
"In spite of Sept. 11, beef demand held up well in the fall," said John Anderson, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "We saw declining cattle numbers in the feedlots and a small calf crop last fall. We certainly expected a very good spring, since April is usually the month when the market peaks."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A recent Mississippi State University study suggests that Americans don't mind eating beef treated with growth hormones or fed genetically engineered corn nearly as much as do European consumers.
Jayson Lusk, assistant professor in MSU's Department of Agricultural Economics, helped conduct a survey of consumers in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. He worked with Jutta Rossen from the Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium and John Fox of Kansas State University.
FOXWORTH, Miss. -- Donald Pounds of Marion County depends on the Gelbvieh breed's reputation for heavy weaning weights and maternal characteristics, and his cattle depend on his reputation as a smart and honest producer.
Pounds has owned cattle since he was 12, but he officially entered the commercial (crossbred) cattle business with his uncle in 1969. He purchased his first Gelbvieh bull in 1987 and was so impressed with the results that he began purchasing registered (purebred) cows in 1990. He is slowly phasing out his commercial cattle in favor of a totally registered herd.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's cattle producers are making their annual fall pilgrimages to markets earlier than normal as the drought leaves them little choice.
Charlie Forrest, marketing specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said market activity is running about a month ahead of schedule. Producers traditionally cull cattle between late September and October to reduce the number of mouths to feed in the winter.
By Rebekah Ray
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Seaweed may be an anomaly in North Mississippi, but animal researchers at the Prairie Research Unit in Monroe County are using this marine algae to improve production of the state's beef cattle.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi dairy and beef producers will benefit from efforts of Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researchers attempting to synchronize ovulation in heifers to improve reproductive performance and increase profitability.
Methods are in place to synchronize estrous, or heat, but not to control ovulation, or release of the egg. Ovulation typically occurs 24 to 48 hours after a cow comes into heat.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi cattle producers are joining a nationwide effort to improve the quality and safety of beef.
In 1987, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association launched the Beef Quality Assurance program, designed to ensure a safe food supply and a good eating experience for every beef consumer.
Dr. Fred Lehman, veterinarian with Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said the program goes beyond the efforts at the feedlots.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- News of government payments for some hog farmers and improved cattle prices will bring some relief to Mississippi livestock producers after years of depressed markets.
The second phase of Small Hog Operation Payment program moneys will soon be available to hog producers who have struggled to break even for the last couple years. The program will pay up to $10 per slaughter-weight hog marketed during the last six months of 1998. With a limit of 500 market hogs, or an equal number of feeder pigs, the maximum payment for any one operation is $5,000.
By Chuck Dunlap
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Ultrasound technologies are changing the way people look at cattle. Technological advances over the last decade have revolutionized how cattle producers and feedlot managers make decisions.
Ultrasound techniques are used to measure the fat/lean meat ratio in cattle before they are sold and sent to the meat processing plant. The ultrasound process measures four variables: ribeye area; backfat thickness; percent of intramuscular fat (also known as marbling); and rump fat.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cattle prices are rebounding after numbers of animals dumped on the market peaked in drought-stricken areas and with the anticipation of another year of fewer calves.
"Early in the year, we had an optimistic outlook for the fed cattle market, which led to feedlots keeping cattle longer than normal waiting for better prices," said Dr. Charlie Forrest, marketing specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Longer-than-normal days on feed led to record-high slaughter weights."
By Amy Woolfolk
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Most cities in Mississippi do not have a cattle auction barn, but that doesn't mean cows can't be bought and sold in every town.
CyberStockyard, a joint venture of Scott Sanders, his father, David, and Scott Calhoun, all of Starkville, is the first interactive livestock auction available on the Internet. Although some services offer online purchasing for livestock producers, this site allows buyers to view cattle and bid in the auction without traveling to the actual sale location.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Heavy acorn crops may delight wildlife enthusiasts, but cattle producers recognize the deadly threat to their animals pastured with large numbers of oak trees.
Dr. Richard Hopper, extension veterinarian at Mississippi State University, said it is common for cattle to eat acorns, but few are poisoned by them in the state. Most happen when acorns are abundant and pastures offer little forage.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rains provided some relief to Mississippi's dry conditions, but cattle producers were the main benefactors. Row crops will reap minimal profit or damage from the water.
Rankin County agricultural agent Houston Therrell said cattlemen and wildlife enthusiasts were the big winners.
"Pastures were extremely short. Most had stopped growing a month before the rains arrived," Therrell said. "These rains will help the winter grasses come along as well as help pastures gain some grass before the first frost."
By Amy Woolfolk
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cattle producers struggle to interpret confusing market signals and maintain an efficient farms. Better communication between industry segments could reduce some of the confusion.
Dr. Charlie Forrest, extension marketing specialist at Mississippi State University, said market efficiency in the beef industry has fallen behind other industries.
By Allison Powe
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's fight against brucellosis has been a long, hard struggle, yet despite many setbacks, the state's cattle industry continues to strive for a brucellosis-free status.
A bacterial disease that causes cows to miscarry their calves or become infertile, brucellosis can be contracted by horses, dogs, sheep, goats and swine. Humans also are susceptible to a form of brucellosis, commonly referred to as undulant fever, which causes persistent flu-like symptoms.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cattle and pregnant horses could suffer serious health problems this spring from a grass intended for cool-season nourishment.
Dr. Michael Brashier, an assistant professor at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, encouraged veterinarians to be on the lookout for fescue toxicity. Brashier addressed the concern during the recent meeting of the Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association.