Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Marko Manoukian
PC Extension Agent 

Producers hear concerns for future of livestock industry at Jim Schumacher Memorial Livestock Day

 

A total of 40 producers listened to four presenters at the annual Jim Schumacher Memorial Livestock Day. Corbitt Wall discussed how the cattle market has evolved from driving herd to market and selling them as only finish cattle pen-side in the stockyards in the 1930s. Currently, we have a feedlot industry in warmer parts of the country. He highlighted that 80% of the cattle are controlled by four major packers and they have control over the price from feedlot to packing plant. This leaves very few finished cattle sold under negotiated sales. This negatively impacts price discovery for yearling and feeder calves as well. Wall pointed to the packers driving pig prices to $0.08 a pound in the 1990s by controlling all segments of the industry. Packers then offered contracts to the cash strapped swine growers because packers didn't want to own the pig farms. This could happen to the cattle industry if things don't change. He did point to opportunities with fewer cattle in the US as heifer and cow harvest is up, increase in beef exports, and new trade deals for US producers. Brett Crosby discusses beef basis. He outlined how predicting prices with some accuracy is as important as pregnancy rate or weaning weight. He has developed a tool called beefbasis.com where a producer can predict futures price of a calf or yearling with just a few inputs into the free website. It will predict the value by computing the feeder cattle futures and future corn price. Data is available for market in Montana at Miles City, Billings Livestock Commission, and Public Auction Yards. This is a good forecasting and planning tool. The free website also has cost of gain and ration calculators available. Montana State University Extension Beef Specialist, Dr. Carla Sanford discussed preparation of cows for calving and fetus programming. Fetal programming is the simple recognition that events in utero alter the offspring. By providing adequate energy and protein and minerals to the developing fetal, the resulting calf will be healthier. This includes the first, second and third trimester. To highlight this Dr. Sanford pointed to the developing of the rumen, testicular/ovarian development, and first detection of adipose cells (fat cells). In total, fetal development is limited by genetics, nutrients available to the placenta, and nutrients available by the fetus. For heifer development she suggested to target heifer percent of mature body weight (50-55% of expected mature weight), body condition score, provide pre-breeding exams, eliminate heifers with small pelvis, use Artificial Insemination or calving ease bulls, and keep accurate records. Young cows and heifers need supplemental energy and protein. About 11% protein in the forage and 30-42 Mcal NEg energy. Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, UC Davis Extension Animal Geneticist wrote in 2018 why cows are getting a bad wrap from fake meat production. Her investigation identified Imposable burger or Beyond Meat burger are plant based made of plant protein extracts, contain fats, binders, and added nutrients to at least meet the amounts of nutrients in meat. Some of these fake products have genetically engineered "heme" to make the burger bleed like meat. This production is separate from invitro or cultured meat. This is the process of taking animals cells, fat and muscle and at the microscopic level separating these cells to make cultured meat from 1 cell to 1 trillion cells. These cells are placed in a nutrient ring to grow and multiply and then are all placed back together to make meat. It is grown in a bioreactor. The nutrients needed to grow include synthetic amino acids, antibiotics, fetal bovine serum, horse serum, chicken embryo extract, and energy such as glucose. They also need to add essential amino acids, Vitamin B12, iron, and micronutrients to be exactly like meat, according to Dr. Van Eenennaam. She does try to grow cultures in her lab, and it is very difficult and not trivial. This contrasts with a self-propelled, self-cleaning, solar driven bioreactor which is a cow or sheep which have a rumen. They harvest non edibles cellulose and turn it into a high-quality food product. These alternative meat proponents estimate that by 2040 will replace 40% of global meat consumption. Currently protein substitutes only make up 0.1% of all animal proteins and 0.5% of beef protein. She discussed the boldness and funding of the cultured meat industry. The Israeli company is supplied by venture capitalist and were quoted as stating "With this investment, we're thrilled to bring cultured meat from the lab to the factory floor and begin working with our industrial partners to bring the product to market". Dr. Van Eenennaam thought this was the definition of "factory farming". Currently there is not even one cultured meat hamburger produced in the world.

A total of 40 producers listened to four presenters at the annual Jim Schumacher Memorial Livestock Day. Corbitt Wall discussed how the cattle market has evolved from driving herd to market and selling them as only finish cattle pen-side in the stockyards in the 1930s. Currently, we have a feedlot industry in warmer parts of the country. He highlighted that 80% of the cattle are controlled by four major packers and they have control over the price from feedlot to packing plant. This leaves very few finished cattle sold under negotiated sales. This negatively impacts price discovery for...



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