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TheBeefSite Newsletter - 22 April 2015

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Wednesday 22nd April 2015.
Michael Priestley - Editor

Michael Priestley

Novus International

MSD Animal Health

Small Farmers and Water: Necessities For Tomorrow's Beef

Efforts to drive cattle sector sustainability must not neglect small operations and should prioritise water resources, a science conference heard last week.

Carbon might be the “cool, sexy thing” at the moment, but water conservation is going to jostle for headline space in the future, according to leading livestock sustainability consultant Dr Jude Capper.

She told British Society of Animal Science delegates in Chester, UK, that a sustainable beef industry rests as much in the hands of the small producer as it does the "massive operations". 

She surprised delegates by revealing that the current average US herd size is just 40 cows. 

She admitted that, while beef production has its critics, sustainable agriculture can benefit from being hung on a "three E's framework" – Environment, Ethics and Economics.

Referring to the work of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and various regional iterations, Dr Capper said: “Its not just a case of convincing the focus guys with one thousand head of cattle or more, its about convincing everyone in the supply chain.”

All cattlemen have a responsibility to improve performance every day, she added.

Looking back at progress made in life cycle productivity, she said five cows in 1977 produced the beef of four cows today, pointing to a carcass weight increase of almost 90 kilos in less than 40 years.

She queried whether weights could continue, possibly reaching 413 kilos by 2034.

There were, however, controversial aspects, particularly in the US and role of technologies in terms of producing such heavy carcasses, she explained.

“A conflict exists between producers’ need to optimize efficiency within the confines of their operation, and the social acceptability of cattle production,” said Dr Capper.

“Public concern is mounting over the use of hormones, antibiotics and parasite control within beef production and natural or organic options are increasing their market share.”

However, she stressed the productivity drop if drugs are taken out of some systems. Without effective parasite control, calving rate drops from 90 to 80 per cent and weaning weights drop 20 kilos from 248 to 227 kilos, she stressed.

This is at a cost to daily weight gain of 0.2 kilos per day.

Dr Capper has observed growing consumer awareness of ionophores, beta-agonists and hormones as well as several “anti-campaigns” challenging beef on water, carbon and economic arguments.

She questioned the logic in consumers being happy to have drugs in pet animals but not in cattle.

Considering resource management in the future, she said: “Carbon is the cool sexy thing at the moment but water will become really important in the next five or ten years.”

Sustainability News and Insight

You can view TheBeefSite's sustainability pages by clicking here.

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This Week's Articles and Analysis

Legumes Allow 40 Per Cent Higher Stocking in Australia
Adding legumes to rangeland pastures in Australia can benefit carrying capacity for many years.

In Ranching Its Earth Day Every Day
Resourcefulness is paramount in ranching. Belts, sweepers, tyres and machinery can all get re-purposed to limit farming's impact on the planet as well as the wallet.

Pre-Breeding Season Bull Management Tips
Each herd bull should receive a breeding soundness exam, routine vaccinations, BCS evaluation, and appropriate supplemental feeding prior to the breeding season, according to advice from the University of Georgia.

Calves Are Valuable, Good Bulls Are Priceless
A veterinarian's time and buying a sound beef bull both have costs, but getting live calves on the ground in a timely manner is priceless.

Company News

More than Meets the Eye when Diagnosing Animal Health Problems
US - Every day, veterinarians and producers use diagnostic tests as a tool to maintain herd health.
Market Reports

Irish CSO Reports - Livestock Slaughterings March 2015
Australian Rural Commodities Wrap - April 2015
QMS (Quality Meat Scotland) April 2015
USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook - April 2015
UK Slaughter Statistics - 16 April 2015
USDA Feed Outlook - 15 April 2015

Global Beef Industry News

   United States

Antibiotic Stewardship Requires Data and Diagnostics
CME: Market Uncertainty Causes Cattle, Hog Futures Decline
CME: Asian Demand Influencing World Meat Markets
Beef Exports Good Signal For US Cattle
USDA Revises Safe Ingredients List for Meat, Poultry and Egg Production

   United Kingdom

Vets Call for Badger Cull Change
Political Parties Commit to Food and Farming
Welsh Markets to Display bTB History on Screens
Plan Now to Prevent Liver Fluke Later
New Replacement for 'Freedom Food' Label
New Projects Announced in Animal Disease Research
Improving Cattle Health Could Decrease Greenhouse Gas Emissions
New Processing, Packaging Guide to Support UK Export Opportunities
European Slaughter Cow Prices Lifting


China Steps up Monitoring of Farm and Aquatic Products
Rise in Price Chinese of Farm Produce


Germany Focuses on Farm Animal Welfare


Only Minor Role for Bacteria in Cattle Stomach Ulcers


Managing a Cow When it's Down


Colombia Closer to Bovine Brucellosis Eradication


Small Indian Farms Get More Disaster Payments


Microphones Could Detect BRD Earlier


Canada’s Food Production Growing but Wasting More

   New Zealand

Have Subsidies Hindered Progress on Livestock Farms?

   European Union

Residue Levels in Food Falling Across EU
EU Should Allow Insects as Sustainable Animal Feed Source
Poor Beef Markets Highlighted at EU Meeting

   Saudi Arabia

Saudi Beef Market Growing


Predicting Calving on a Lifting Tail


Lower Irish Live Cattle Exports


The Drost Project - A Visual Guide to Porcine, Pig Reproduction.
Biomin - Surveying the Global Mycotoxin Threat


Life Technologies
Biomin - The Natural Way

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