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Posts Tagged: beef

UC ANR clarifies drought misconceptions

Alfalfa is an important part of a lactating cow's diet.
In two recent broadcast media stories, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources experts were able to provide accurate information about the water use on commodities that have been criticized for water consumption during the drought.

The director of UC ANR's Agricultural Issues Center, Daniel Sumner, was one of three guests on the one-hour talk radio program Your Call, which was broadcast on KALW, Local Public Radio in San Francisco. The topic - How would reducing our intake of meat and dairy affect the drought? - was prompted by off-the-cuff comments made by Gov. Jerry Brown in June. Answering the question, "Is part of the drought strategy to reduce meat consumption?" Brown replied, "If you ask me, I think you should be eating veggie burgers."

On the Your Call show, Sumner explained that beef consumption has little impact on the California drought.

"I do want to make clear, when it comes to water embedded in any product, it depends where the water is from," Sumner said. "We feed cattle in California with grain from the Midwest."

Dairy production is another issue. "Dairy cows are fed lots of grain, soybeans and canola coming from Canada and the Midwest, but also silage and alfalfa, much of which is from California. California dairy is a drought water issue. Beef really isn't."

UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist Dan Putnam appeared on the KTVU Evening News to discuss alfalfa water use with reporter Ken Wayne. Putnam said the drought has hurt the state's alfalfa industry.

"Statewide, it's been fairly devastating," Putnam said. "We're at the lowest acreage we've seen probably since the 1930s."

He also noted the importance of the crop, a key part of dairy cattle's diets.

"An average field of alfalfa produces approximately 2,400 gallons of milk per acre," Putnam said. 

Posted on Thursday, July 16, 2015 at 11:42 AM
Tags: alfalfa (51), beef (7), dairy (29), Daniel Putnam (2), Daniel Sumner (29), drought (162)

The hills are green, but the grass is going to seed

Beef prices averaged $5.58 per pound as of February, up from $5.18 a year earlier and $5.03 two years ago, according to the USDA..
Rainfall in February and March have left California foothills emerald green, but ranchers say the growth is too late to be of any use, reported John Holland in the Modesto Bee.

Ranchers rely on unirrigated rangeland to feed cattle through the winter. This year, a lack of rain required ranchers to bring in supplemental feed and cull their herds early.

Theresa Becchetti, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Stanislaus County, said much of the grass growth on rangeland has slowed and is going to seed, though there are some grass species still growing that “can take advantage of the rain we have had," Holland reported.

Becchetti and other experts are collecting vegetation samples in the region, which could be used in requests for federal disaster aid.

A UC research station in Yuba County offers a glimpse of what could be found around much of the state, the story said. As of March 1, dry matter in grasses averaged 400 pounds per acre, compared with a historical average of 685 pounds and a high of 1,590 in rainy 1997.


Read more here: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2014/04/06/3588265/green-hills-do-little-for-drought.html?sp=/99/215/#storylink=cpy
Posted on Monday, April 7, 2014 at 2:05 PM
Tags: beef (7), rangeland (27), Theresa Becchetti (4)

The price of chicken feed is rising

The price of chicken will likely rise.
Soaring feed costs are forcing San Joaquin Valley poultry producers to cut costs, raise prices - and, in some cases, close their doors, reported Robert Rodriguez in the Fresno Bee this weekend. Feed prices have climbed as much as 50 percent since last year, fueled by the increasing demand for corn.

Director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center Daniel Sumner told the reporter that rising costs for poultry producers will boost the retail price, unless something else acts to keep prices down.

"So, bottom line," Sumner said, "we should see higher retail prices with these high grain and oilseed prices."

Ranchers beef over obstacles to local meat
Carlos Alcalá, Sacramento Bee

Small ranchers in El Dorado County gathered at a Local Meat Summit in Placerville last week to discuss obstacles to selling their products locally. Meat must be harvested at a USDA-approved facility, and there aren't many of those.

Program representative Sean Kriletich of UC Cooperative Extension in Amador and Calaveras counties is working with ranchers to solve the problem.

"We're trying to work toward getting a USDA-inspected facility for our region," Kriletich said.

If more small ranchers can find a way to sell grass-fed beef locally, it will do more than benefit the farmers, Kriletich said. It will preserve open space for the entire community.

"If people want to keep more land in agriculture, we have to get more money to the producers," said Kriletich, who said he used to run cattle himself, where El Dorado Hills subdivisions now sit.

Beekeepers asking Humboldt cities to loosen regulations on residential hives
Grant Scott-Goforth, The Willits News

A recent change in attitudes toward urban sustainability and education about bee culture spurred the Humboldt County Beekeepers Association to ask the cities of Arcata and Eureka to loosen restrictions on residential beekeeping.

UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Deborah Giraud said the risks of keeping bees in residential areas are minimal.

”In general, it's really important to have more honeybees,” Giraud said. “We have a lot of problems with pollination here because of weather. Most calls in here are about fruit trees. And it's a pollination problem.”

Posted on Monday, October 17, 2011 at 9:28 AM
Tags: beef (7), bees (82), Daniel Sumner (29), Deborah Giraud (3), honeybees (11), poultry (6), Sean Kriletich (2)

Curing pneumonia in cattle

Bovine respiratory disease - pneumonia in cattle - is the most significant health problem for the beef industry. The disease annually results in the death of more than 1 million animals. In addition to these losses, beef producers spend a significant sum on disease-related medication and labor costs each year.

According to AgInfo.net, raising cattle for specific resistance to BRD was a hot topic at the Beef Improvement Federation Conference earlier this month in Bozeman, Mont. Attendees learned about research under way at UC Davis to find the genetic component to BRD resistance and, eventually, breed out this deadly disease.

This spring, UC Davis announced that USDA awarded the university $2.6 million to carry out research aimed at reducing the incidence of bovine respiratory disease. The goal of the newly funded research project is to integrate research, education and extension activities to improve diagnostics and develop cost-effective genomic and management approaches that reduce the incidence of the BRD in beef and dairy cattle.

The extension component of the project is headed by Alison Van Eenennaam, Cooperative Extension specialist in animal genomics and biotechnology in the UC Davis Department of Animal Science. Van Eenennaam made a presentation at the Bozeman conference about the weight cattle producers should be give to BRD resistance when making selection decisions.

Twenty-nine percent of beef cattle deaths are associated with bovine respiratory disease.
Twenty-nine percent of beef cattle deaths are associated with bovine respiratory disease.

Posted on Friday, June 24, 2011 at 9:38 AM
Tags: Alison Van Eenennaam (25), beef (7), cattle (17)

It's boon time for beef producers

Cattle ranchers are enjoying an economic boon, reported Reed Fujii of the Stockton Record. In March, beef cattle were being sold at an all-time high of $1.16 a pound, a jump of more than 40 percent in less than two years.

"Prices are good. They've never been this good before," the story quoted Galt rancher Duane Martin Jr.

Dan Sumner, director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center, told Fujii the primary driver of the price hike is short beef supply.

"One of the things that happened a few years ago: We had these incredibly high grain prices, and beef prices didn't go up, so that meant guys were selling," Sumner was quoted.

In addition, it takes time to beef up production.

"Cattle make cattle; the only way you make marketable animals is to have breeding stock," Sumner said.

To do so, however, will further reduce beef supplies in the short run.

A steak house owner told Fujii that so far he has not increased the prices of beef on the menu.

"I've absorbed everything for the last year or so on beef," he said.

High beef prices make for happy cowboys.
High beef prices make for happy cowboys.

Posted on Monday, April 25, 2011 at 9:34 AM
Tags: beef (7), Dan Sumner (30), economy (21)

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