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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Fort Worth Stock Show Results

84 head of Limousin and Lim-Flex cattle competed for top honors at the inaugural Level I National Medal of Excellence (MOE) Limousin and Lim-Flex show at the 2012 Fort Worth Stock Show in Fort Worth, Texas. Jonathan Perry of Deer Valley Farms in Fayetteville, Tenn. sorted the Limousin and Lim-Flex cattle in the MOE show.

Travis Payne of Levelland, Texas exhibited the grand champion Limousin female, PCC Xotic 016X. She is a July 22, 2010 daughter of DHVO Trey 133R. She was followed by the reserve grand champion Limousin female, ELCX Twilight 114X, a Nov. 7, 2010 daughter of DHVO Deuce 132R, was exhibited by Wies Limousin and Edwards Land and Cattle.

Abby Hendrickson of Adair, Okla exhibited the grand champion Lim-Flex female, MAGS Xeromas. She is a Feb 17, 2010 daughter of DHVO Deuce 132R. The reserve grand champion Lim-Flex female was awarded Wies Limousin, of Wellsville, Mo. with MAGS Xcellent Singer. She is an April 11, 2010 daughter of DHVO Deuce 132R.

The grand champion Limousin bull, MAGS Yip, was exhibited by Magness Land and Cattle, Platteville, Colo. He is an April 10, 2011 son of MAGS The General. The reserve grand champion Limousin bull went to MAGS Xiphisternum, an Oct. 9, 2010 son of DHVO Deuce 132R, was also exhibited by Magness Land and Cattle.

Magness Land and Cattle exhibited the grand champion Lim-Flex bull, MAGS Xyloid. He is a March 7, 2010 son of DHVO Deuce 132R. MAGS Xrays, owned by Magness Land and Cattle, claimed the reserve grand champion Lim-Flex bull honors. He is an Oct. 4, 2010 son of DHVO Deuce 132R.

For a complete list of division winners visit www.nalf.org. Please contact mary@limousinworld.com to request photos.

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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Importance of the Castration Knife

At the January board meeting at NWSS, NALF’s genetic consultant Dr. Bob Weaber made the profound statement that the US beef industry is driven by seedstock producers’ selection of bulls at weaning. These bulls make up the basis for the commercial industry’s bull selection options and have an effect on the entire industry for generations. I’ve castrated a lot of calves and never really put into perspective the ripple effect of that decision. The decisions I made could determine how much beef is available to feed the world.

I always tried to live by the old adage, “to make the great ones, the knife must be sharp.” Or in other words, to make the best cattle possible we have to be ultra-selective when deciding who enters the breeding population. Or if you’re a steer jock, we have to cut a really good bull to win the majors.

As someone who grew up selling commercial cattle, I always realized that those who were highly selective in the bulls they used had the upper hand when it came time to sell because of the quality of their product. But I’ve also been in the situation of a seedstock producer, selecting the bulls at weaning to feed out to make commercial bulls. It is hard to cut bulls you know you can sell. I also get to see a lot of bulls in my travels that go on to produce lots of feedlot calves. My point, though it might be unpopular, is that many seedstock producers leave too many calves as bulls.

Because they are our product and we can sell them doesn’t mean they are the right kind. I understand that it is easy for me to say that since my current position doesn’t depend on selling bulls to make a living. But truly I believe that makes me an impartial party. I have little to gain from saying that there are many bulls out there that should be in a feedlot.

Breed associations and the extension services share a part of the blame. We have spent decades talking about EPDs and their usefulness as a selection tool. But they are just that, a tool. They are not the only tool available and they cannot quantify everything in cattle selection. To make the best cattle we have to use all the tools available and part of that is our eyes. If cattle aren’t sound, easy fleshing, or the right size for their environment then they shouldn’t have an influence on subsequent generations.

Case in point, last week I wrote highly of the NWSS and the quality of cattle on the top end and their uniformity. But I also saw a disturbingly large number of cattle that were just plain unsound. I’m not picking on individual breeds or breeders. We have moved forward by incredible leaps and bounds in the last 20 years, just look at pictures from the early 1990s.

But as we move forward with a growing world population in need of protein we must use all the tools available to maximize our efficiency. The hardest one to teach, learn and use is phenotypic evaluation. I hope that our agricultural youth will take their judging coaches to heart, and listen to the reasons of good judges to help hone their skills and continue to move the industry forward. That way America remains the breadbasket of the world and we can feed the generations of tomorrow.

Now, can someone please come help me carry my soapbox?

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Hormones and the Transportation Security Administration

This fall as I was making one of my frequent trips through the security check point at the Denver International Airport, I was waiting in line to have my boarding pass inspected behind a young man who was about 6’ 9” tall. The officer doing the inspecting commented that he would probably be the tallest man to pass through security that day, so being the person that I am I made a comment to the effect of “from the tallest guy to the shortest.” (Side note: I’m dressed in what is normal attire for me, cowboy hat, boots and starched jeans.) To which the officer replied that I would be what is considered normal height before they started putting all those hormones in beef.

So, I was faced with a choice. Do I inform him that the use of hormone implants started in the 1970s which would be more his generation? Do I tell him that 4 ounces of beef from an implanted steer contains 1.6 nanograms (ng.) of estrogen while his soy latte has 30,000 ng. of estrogen? Or do I hand him a fact sheet from Feedstuffs Foodlink on antibiotics and hormones? No, I just controlled my temper and walked on through security because of my distaste for body cavity searches.

This is a problem I run into often in my travels. “Civilians” have little understanding of agriculture and most have little understanding of biology, but they have strong opinons about their food. The simple fact that hormones like estrogen and testosterone are naturally occurring in all mammals, in both sexes and in many other food stuffs seems to escape them.

For my part, I blame professional athletes for their use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) and the media for misinformation about the industry. I can understand their banning in sports and the public’s disgust that they might be eating a steer that would look like Barry Bonds or Jose Canseco. But the fact is that the use of growth promotants in the beef industry is much different than PEDs in sports. In the industry, implants and protocols are subjected to a set of rigorous tests and standards by the FDA and beef is inspected by the USDA at every juncture to assure safety. A steer might be implanted for 100-200 days. In sports, performance enhancing drugs are not FDA approved, used at high levels and used over a period of years.

I hope that you clicked the link above and got to read the facts about hormones and antibiotics. Feedstuffs Foodlink provides a wealth of information that can be used in these conversations. Also as you explain that the hormones and antibiotics in beef production are FDA approved, tested and most importantly metabolized before slaughter or give them the information about the amount of estrogen in raw peas (2700 ng/4 ounces) or soy oil (168,000 ng/3 ounces). Please remember that they have probably been convinced that these things are healthier than beef and have consumed them in large quantities, making them slightly hormonally imbalanced. So have patience, it’s not their fault. It’s just their time of the month all the time.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Stock Shows and the Beef Industry

There are some in the beef industry that are solidly against the show ring. They believe that it has had the tendency to corrupt the point of the point of the whole industry which is to produce a quality beef product for consumers. I humbly beg to differ. The show ring allows many youth the opportunity to learn the industry and livestock shows provide a basis for selection that makes for better cattle breeders in the long term. EPDs and other selection tools cannot be ignored but the task of visual selection for structural soundness, growth, fleshing ability and muscling is essential to making the right kind of cattle for the commercial industry.

The Limousin breed just wrapped up a successful NWSS which includes its annual meeting and banquet. Both the Yard and Hill shows were up in numbers and were very solid in quality. We had a very successful National Sale that averaged around $9,100, which should make it the highest averaging sale on the Stock Show grounds. My congratulations to all the winners from this past NWSS and thank you to all the Limousin exhibitors for bringing an outstanding group of cattle.

As I attend the major stock shows, it is hard not to realize that the top end of the major cattle breeds are becoming more uniform in type and kind to the point that it would be fair to say that the only difference is hide color. This is a great step for the beef industry, which has long been held back by people (judges and breeders) who select with breed character as a major factor. It is nice to see that folks have moved from the days of the right head shape or color pattern towards making the right kind of cattle for the industry. The beef industry has always had a problem competing with other proteins, chicken and pork, on a uniformity basis. The advent of seedstock producers moving toward the type of cattle that work in the commercial industry is refreshing to see and a first step toward moving the industry forward as a whole.

If more cattlemen can focus on making the easy fleshing, sound made, heavily muscled cattle that we are seeing in the winners’ circle at stock shows like the National Western, then it will be all the better for the entire beef sector.

During the NWSS, a leading geneticist made a comment that was very profound to the seedstock sector, to paraphrase, “the beef industry is driven by seedstock producer’s selection of bulls at weaning.” From what I’ve seen of the bulls brought the NWSS (the granddaddy of bull displays) this industry is headed in the right direction.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Introduction to Me and the Blog

I’m a modern day gypsy, traveling the roads and skies of America promoting and marketing Limousin cattle through all aspects of the production process. These journeys take me all across the country into every facet of the industry, from the researchers developing new technologies to the seedstock and commercial cattlemen to family and commercial feedlots all the way through packing plants and the retailers. Along the way, I get to interact with all different kinds of people in different situations and from different backgrounds while spreading the story of beef and Limousin cattle.

The idea behind having a blog stems from the fact that in my position I am constantly asked, “What is going on out in the country?” Typically I have some type of glib answer and tend to forget things that are highly important. In this way, breeders can keep up with the events and advances in the Limousin business in one place as they happen. Also in working for a breed association, I find that there is a lag between the policies and programs that are going on and what the membership is aware of. This leads to some confusion which hopefully can be alleviated by explanations of the policies, programs, and the plans behind them.

One of the gifts of the job and getting to travel are the interactions with the public. I find that most people are curious about ranching and ranchers even though they are disconnected from the farm and have a hard time understanding the technology. Luckily they still trust ranchers and cattlemen. They just need to meet them or be exposed to them more often and be helped to understand modern beef production. Through some of my travels and interaction, I hope to expose people to the truths about agriculture and the great people that make a living producing this country’s food.

Finally, this allows an outlet for the thoughts and ruminations that I have during the hours spent traveling the back roads of the country. So hopefully you can join me as I catalog the events in the industry, the science behind beef production, and the people, questions, and ideas that pop up along the way.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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