Researchers to observe cattle behavior during solar eclipse

Located close to the center of totality in Clarksville, Tennessee, researchers from Austin Peay State University’s agriculture department will record observations conducted on university cattle, bees and crickets during the 2017 solar eclipse. An entomologist will observe crickets and bees, while an animal science researcher will look at behaviors of beef cattle on the campus farm. Will they lie down in the brief darkness or continue grazing? Since total eclipses are rare, there is very little data on animal reactions.

USHSLA praises improvement in cattle branding

The U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association (USHSLA) has welcomed an American cattle industry report, which highlights the continued improvements in cattle hide quality in recent years. In 2016, some three-quarters of all harvested steer and heifer beef animals did not contain any hot iron branding marks. The 2016 report indicates that most of the cattle branding was located on the butt of the animal, the hide and leather industry’s preferred location for branding. This was an improvement from the 55.2 percent in 2011 and 55 percent of non-branded cattle in 1991.

Hy-Plains Feedyard opens research facility

The Hy-Plains Education and Research Center in Montezuma, Kansas, will provide a modern facility for ongoing research to benefit food animal producers and consumers around the world. This new facility plans to provide common sense information for stakeholders in all areas of the cattle industry. The facility offers a controlled environment and support staff to conduct science-based research and offer education for consumer research. The facility opens August 23. For more information about the Hy-Plains Feedyard and the Education and Research Center, contact TomJones231@gmail.com.

Hay Lottery expands to the Dakotas and Montana

Hay Lottery applications for North and South Dakota and Montana producers are due August 31. This hay lottery will bring some relief to cattle producers in these states as they struggle to locate feed supplies during a summer-long drought and wildfire recovery. Producers must be located in a D2, D3, or D4 designated county, own at least 25 animal unit equivalents of beef cattle, and have a third-party verification contact person, such as a veterinarian or lending institution partner. Call 844-642-4752 for more information.

Web tools help prepare for livestock disease outbreaks

Protecting millions of cattle from potential disease outbreaks is a vital part of the U.S. economic security. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has developed two new web-based tools to make it easier for public officials and livestock producers to predict cattle shipments and prepare for potential disease outbreaks: The U.S. Animal Movement Model (USAMM)-Shiny App and the CADENCE What-If Tool. The USAMM-Shiny App creates heat maps to visualize the movement of cattle across the U.S. The CADENCE What-If Tool, produces livestock disease outbreak simulations using eight scenarios.

Kansas Livestock Foundation distributes $2.7 million in wildfire relief funds

The Kansas Livestock Foundation (KLF) has distributed $2,751,233 in wildfire relief funds to 165 Kansas ranchers. A special committee reviewed applications and determined how the funds were to be allocated. Kansas producers lost about 4,500 head of livestock and nearly 2,000 miles of fence to wildfires in March. Livestock and fence losses totaled more than $20 million. The applicants had 365,000 acres burned by fires, the worst fires in the state’s history. Nearly 3,900 donors from 48 states, District of Columbia, Virgin Islands, and Canada donated funds.

China Export Verification

The Chinese market, now open to U.S. beef, requires that producers follow strict rules of the China Export Verification (EV). The EV states that harvested meat must be from cows 30 months of age or younger. Cattle can be born in the U.S., Canada or Mexico, but must be traced back to the source of origin, such as a U.S. birth farm or first U.S. port of entry and have a program compliant ear tag. Shipping documents must follow the animal. China does not allow synthetic hormones or elevated levels of naturally occurring hormones.

USDA, FFA partner to support next generation of ag leaders

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Perdue recently announced that the USDA will partner with the National FFA Organization to support youth and prepare the workforce of tomorrow for unique careers in agriculture. Secretary Perdue and CEO of the National FFA Organization, Mark Poeschl, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between USDA and National FFA. USDA and National FFA will collaborate on both short and long-term initiatives to motivate and prepare students, connect them with opportunities in agriculture, food and natural resources systems and build appreciation for the importance of agriculture.

East Texas Regional Forage Conference

The East Texas Forage Conference has been set for August 25 in Carthage. Topics include pasture herbicide updates, adding value to beef cattle, and clover and ryegrass utilization in a winter pasture program. There will also be a panel discussion about forage management followed by speakers from the Northeast Texas Beef Improvement Organization and various ranch representatives. For more information or to register, go to http://counties.agrilife.org/gregg/files/2017/06/forage.pdf.

Essential oils may assist with livestock digestion

Kansas State University researchers have discovered that essential oils can play a role in livestock health. Essential oils are removed from plants and distilled into concentrated forms that support immunity. For instance, substances that are in lemon oil, and thyme oil, help combat a harmful bacteria in cattle stomachs. Researchers found that limonene, which is found in lemon oil, was more effective than a commonly used antibiotic and feed additive used to slow bacteria growth and the incidence of liver abscesses in cattle.