from June 24

COMPROMISE BILL EXEMPTS MEAT FROM GMO LABELING

     U.S. Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas announced this week a compromise has been reached with Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan on a labeling law for genetically modified foods. Roberts urged his congressional colleagues to support the approach as an alternative to the restrictive Vermont law set to go into effect July 1.
     The proposal would prohibit states or other entities from mandating labels for food or seed that is genetically engineered. As part of the proposal, USDA is required to establish a uniform national disclosure standard for human food that is bioengineered. Language in the legislation makes disclosure mandatory, but gives options, including text on packaging, a symbol or a link to a website.
     Of particular interest to the livestock industry, foods containing meat, poultry and egg products as the main ingredient are exempt from labeling. Whole muscle cuts and ground product would be exempt as well. The bill would prohibit the U.S. secretary of agriculture from considering any food product derived from an animal as bioengineered because the animal may have eaten genetically modified feed.
     The U.S. Senate had not acted on the legislation as of early Friday (6/24). Nearly a year ago, the U.S. House passed separate legislation that would prevent states from issuing mandatory labeling laws for foods containing genetically modified organisms. The bill was introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas.

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from July 23

FEEDYARDS CAN BECOME BQA-APPROVED THROUGH ASSESSMENT

 The Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine is conducting Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) feedyard assessments this summer. Completion of the assessment and documented training of employees will make feedyards eligible for listing as BQA-approved on www.feedyardassessment.org. The approval is effective for three years.
 Many Kansas feedyards have been directly contacted by K-State about participating in the assessment. For those who haven’t, assessments can be scheduled by contacting K-State veterinarian Dan Thomson at
dthomson@vet.ksu.edu or KLA Feedlot Division Executive Director Clayton Huseman at clayton@kla.org.  

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from July 22

MARTIN, HIBDON RECEIVE SCHOLARSHIPS FROM KLF

 Cade Hibdon of Princeton has been awarded the $1,000 Cancrete Cattle Waterers scholarship offered by the Kansas Livestock Foundation (KLF). Hibdon, the son of Darren and Julie Hibdon, will be a freshman in agribusiness at Butler Community College this fall where he will compete on the livestock judging team. Funding for this scholarship was generated through sales of Cancrete Cattle Waterers to Kansas livestock producers during 2015.
 Campbell Martin, son of Eric and Holly Martin of Bucklin, will receive the $500 KLF/Lallemand scholarship. Martin will be a freshman at Hutchinson Community College this fall and plans to study agriculture and compete on the livestock judging team. This scholarship was made possible by Kansans who attended product training at the Lallemand trade show booth during the 2015 NCBA Convention in San Antonio.  

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from July 21

BELK SAYS CATTLE MICROBIOME LIKELY INFLUENCING
IMPORTANT BEEF TRAITS

     A Colorado State University meat scientist speaking at last week’s Beef Improvement Federation Symposium in Manhattan said it is time to better understand the impact of the microbiota of cattle on economically relevant traits that ultimately influence consumer demand, like tenderness, flavor and juiciness. Keith Belk said the microbiome of cattle, which consists of about 2,000 organisms and their collective genetic material living inside and outside the animal, possibly is playing a greater role in determining phenotypic expression of marbling and eating satisfaction than the bovine genome alone.
     “This changes the way we need to think about genetic selection,” he said.
     Belk based his theory on data suggesting the beef industry has not improved quality grades, despite a significant investment in research and genetic selection, since 1974. The last National Beef Quality Audit in 2011 showed 61% of fed cattle graded Choice compared to 74% in 1974. He called this trend “rather alarming.”
     Other economically important traits likely are affected by the cattle microbiome, according to Belk. Growth, beef shelf life, immune response to disease, beef’s nutrient composition and the transmission of foodborne pathogens all are potential candidates for improvement, he said, if the influence of the cattle microbiome is better understood and taken into consideration when genetic decisions are made.  

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from July 20

STEPS EXIST TO ADDRESS HEAT STRESS IN CONFINED SETTINGS

     The combination of high temperatures and humidity, low wind speeds and high solar radiation can be dangerous for livestock during the summer months. When these conditions persist, cattle or other livestock in confinement will experience heat stress and, in extreme cases, death.
     Veterinarians and animal scientists at Kansas State University are suggesting steps ranchers, feeders and dairymen can take to provide relief and ensure animal welfare. Effective management options include increasing airflow around confined areas by taking down winter windbreaks, providing shade using light-colored bedding such as chopped hay or straw and wetting the surface of pen mounds in the morning.
     The National Weather Service, in conjunction with USDA, issues daily livestock heat stress maps designed to make producers aware of weather conditions that could adversely affect livestock health. A link to these maps can be found here

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from July 17

HEIFER FED BY LITTLE AT IRSIK & DOLL FEEDYARD WINS BROOKOVER AWARD

    The second place live heifer placed eighth in the carcass contest to post the best combined finish at the Beef Empire Days fed cattle show. Owned by Brian Little and fed at Irsik & Doll Feedyard of Garden City, the 1,454 lb. black heifer finished as a Choice Yield Grade 2 and won the Earl C. Brookover Memorial Award.
    In the steer division, the overall winner was a Charolais fed and owned by Cargill Cattle Feeders of Leoti. The 1,576 lb. steer placed 10th live and third in the carcass contest as a Choice Yield Grade 2.
    Gardiner Angus Ranch of Ashland owned the 1,392 lb. black steer that won the Cargill Meat Solutions overall grand champion carcass award. Fed at Triangle H, the steer was a Prime Yield Grade 2.
    The Zoetis-MGA champion heifer carcass was produced by a smoky-colored entry that finished as a Prime Yield Grade 2. Schurrtop Angus and Charolais fed the 1,238 lb. heifer at -77 Feedyard.
    There were 78 steers and 43 heifers from feedyards across the High Plains entered in the show. Of the steers, five graded Prime, 65 were Choice and eight graded Select. In the heifer division, two made Prime, 36 were Choice and five graded Select.  

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from July 16

ECONOMISTS OFFER LONG-TERM BEEF OUTLOOK AT BIF CONFERENCE IN MANHATTAN

     Trade agreements represent long-term propositions that will shape the U.S. beef industry over the next 20 years, according to Kansas State University Ag Economics Professor Ted Schroeder. He and K-State Associate Ag Economics Professor Glynn Tonsor projected the opportunities for domestic and international growth in the beef sector during the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Symposium yesterday in Manhattan.
     Schroeder said the biggest growth potential for U.S. beef is in the global market. He recommended focusing on countries where consumers can afford high-quality U.S. beef. This includes countries that are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which, for example, would reduce Japanese tariffs on U.S. beef from 38.5% to 9% over a period of 15 years. Schroeder said TPP countries represented 54% of U.S. beef export value last year.
     “TPP will impact this industry for a long time, if approved,” Schroeder told the 620 seedstock and commercial producers in attendance.
     The K-State Department of Animal Sciences & Industry is hosting the BIF Symposium. BIF represents more than 40 state and national beef cattle associations, including KLA. The national organization’s mission is “to develop cooperation among all segments of the beef industry in the compilation and utilization of performance records to improve efficiency, profitability and sustainability of beef production.”

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from June 15

SCHOTTE NAMED WINNER OF GOBOB SCHOLARSHIP

 Hadley Schotte of Marysville, son of Pat and Kelly Schotte, has been selected as the winner of the $1,000 Cattlemen’s Scholarship from GoBob Pipe & Steel and the Kansas Livestock Foundation. Schotte will be a freshman at Hutchinson Community College this fall, with plans to study animal science and compete on the livestock judging team.
 Funding for this scholarship was generated through the purchase of GoBob Pipe & Steel products by KLA members, plus proceeds from the auction of a Hay Conserver bale feeder at the 2015 KLA Convention. GoBob is a distributor of farming supplies, such as steel pipe and gates, corral and fence materials and heavy-duty equipment. 

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from June 14

APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR KLF WILDFIRE RELIEF FUNDS IS JULY 1

     Kansas livestock producers who lost fence, livestock or feed in a wildfire during 2016 are encouraged to apply for relief funds through the Kansas Livestock Foundation (KLF). Any producer affected by wildfire is eligible to apply. The application is available at www.kla.org or by calling the KLA office at (785) 273-5115. Completed applications are due July 1.
     Donations to KLF from individuals, organizations and companies currently stand at more than $407,000. Throughout the foundation’s fundraising campaign, contributors have expressed a consistent desire for the money to go directly to affected ranchers. One hundred percent of every dollar donated to KLF will be used to help ranchers recover from the wildfires.
     A special committee including representation from the ranching community in counties affected by wildfire will review applications and determine how the funds will be allocated.

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from June 13   

K-STATE ROLLS OUT FATIGUED CATTLE SYNDROME ONLINE LEARNING CENTER

     Researchers at Kansas State University are developing an educational program to help feedyard and packing plant personnel avoid fatigued cattle syndrome (FCS). Based on research into the condition, K-State College of Veterinary Medicine Jones Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology Dan Thomson and Extension Feedlot Specialist Chris Reinhardt have created online modules, training videos and handouts to facilitate the management efforts of feeders, transporters and packers dealing with finished cattle on a regular basis.
     Thomson thanked Merck Animal Health for funding the education initiative, which can be found
here.
     “This support allows the research to be translated into education for FCS prevention,” he said.
     FCS causes mobility issues in feedlot cattle stressed during the end of the finishing period. Problems can occur at the feedyard, during transportation or in holding pens prior to processing at a packing plant. More complete information on FCS and how to manage it will appear in the July Cattle Feeders Issue of the Kansas Stockman.

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from June 10

CATTLE FED AT DANNER, SUPREME WIN BEEF EMPIRE DAYS LIVE SHOW

     A 1,524 lb. black entry fed at Danner Feeders of Burwell, NE, and fed by Mark Rock was chosen as the champion steer at the Beef Empire Days Live Show. In the heifer division, Supreme Cattle Feeders of Kismet owned and fed the 1,384 lb. red entry named live show champion.
     The reserve champion live steer, fed by Bauer at Triangle H of Garden City, was red-hided and weighed 1,468 lbs. Brian Little fed the reserve champion live heifer, a black entry weighing 1,454 lbs., at Irsik & Doll Feedyard of Garden City.
     Feedyards from several states entered 78 fed steers and 48 finished heifers in the show. Cattle were taken to Tyson Fresh Meats of Holcomb for processing and the carcass contest. 

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