Beef Cattle Browsing – October 2004

Beef Cattle Browsing

Editor: Dr. Stephen Hammack, Professor & Extension Beef Cattle Specialist Emeritus

October 2004

This newsletter is published by Texas AgriLife Extension – Animal Science. Media, feel free to use this information as needed and cite Texas A&M University Beef Cattle Browsing Newsletter, Dr. Steve Hammack.

A recent collaborative report by Colorado State University and Pfizer Animal Health of Superior Livestock video auctions sheds some light on this question. Data were summarized from 1995 through 2003, involving 78 sales with almost 20,000 lots and almost 2.4 million head. Highest premiums were paid for VAC-45 lots. (VAC-45 protocol includes vaccination at branding, pre-weaning, or weaning followed by re-vaccination, and a post-weaning period of at least 45 days before sale.) In 1995, VAC-45 lots brought a premium of $2.47/cwt over unvaccinated, non-backgrounded lots. This premium increased steadily every year, and was $6.69/cwt in 2003. For VAC-34 lots(same protocol as VAC-45 but no backgrounding period), premiums were $1.35/cwt in 1995 and $3.39/cwt in 2003. Also, in 1995, 45% of lots were unvaccinated, but this declined to only 6% in 2003. In 1995, only 3% of lots were VAC-45 and 12% were VAC-34. By 2003, 22% were VAC-45 and 51% were VAC-34. (Pfizer Animal Health Tech. Bul. SV-2004-02, June 2004)

California and Hawaii researchers collaborated on studies comparing three pour-on materials, moxidectin (M), ivermectin (I), and doramectin (D), with untreated (U) controls. In one year, stocker heifers and steers from one source, averaging 329 lb, were treated initially, retreated 70 days later, and pulled off grass after 105 days. Gains from M (210 lb) and D (208 lb) were not significantly different from each other, but I (202 lb) was significantly lower than M and D. All treatments significantly exceeded U (174 lb). In the second year, cattle averaging 378 lb were treated initially, not retreated, and grazed for 126 days. M (250 lb ) gained significantly more than I (240 lb) and D (244 lb), which did not differ significantly from each other. U again gained significantly less, only 225 lb. There were no consistent differences in fecal egg counts between treated groups, but U always had significantly higher egg counts. (J. Animal Sci. 82 Supple. 1:352)

Between 1988 and 1993, the value of beef loins and ribs increased 3% and 4%, respectively, while the value of chucks and rounds decreased 24% and 25%. Compounding this decline, the chuck and round average making up 69% of total carcass weight. The Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board sought to change this with the creation of the Beef Value Cuts program in 1995. Part of that program involved identifying specific muscles in lower valued cuts that could be marketed at higher prices. This led to such new cuts as the flat iron steak from the chuck. Since 1998, the value of the chuck has increased 60%, and of the round by 32%. That accounts for almost half of the increased demand growth for beef. (BEEF magazine Stocker Trends, Sept. 20, 2004)


All purebred cattle are inbred, in varying degrees. Researchers with the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation at Colorado State University studied inbreeding in Herefords since 1900. Over 20 million pedigrees were analyzed. Inbreeding increased steadily, though rates of increase varied from time to time. Highest average inbreeding was reached in 1966, at 11.5%. (For comparison, inbreeding of sire-daughter matings and full-sub matings is 25%, while that of half-sib matings is 12.5%.) Since then, average levels have decreased slightly, especially from 1967 to 1986. The authors speculate that this decline may be due to changes in popularity of different lines, which could lower the genetic relationship of influential sires and selected dams. (J. Animal Sci 82 Supple. 1:451)

Pfizer is marketing a new product for treatment of Bovine Respiratory Disease complex, ExcedeTM , which is a ceftiofur formulation. Excede differs from other ceftiofur products in that therapeutic blood levels are maintained for 7 days. Also, administration is subcutaneous in the middle third of the ear, similar to the location for growth implants. (The product can be administered along with implants.) Because of this location, there is no slaughter withdrawal time. A special needle with a 45 degree bevel is recommended for proper administration, instead of standard needles with 21 to 28 degree bevels, to reduce potential hazards of penetrating arteries in the ear. (Pfizer Animal Health website)

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