DO CONSUMERS TRUST THE FOOD INDUSTRY AND WHAT DO THEY WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THEIR FOOD?
A survey conducted this year addressed these questions. Similar surveys were conducted in 2012 and 2014. Some key findings were:
- 65% of consumers now say it’s somewhat or very important to know how food is produced;
- from 2012 to 2016 consumer trust in the agriculture community and in food companies increased by 15 percentage points;
- even with these increases, currently only about one-third of consumers trust the ag community and food companies;
- trust is highest among millennials and parents and lowest among boomers and self-identified bad cooks;
- by far the food attribute rated as most important was freshness (69%);
- 42% rated no antibiotics, no hormones, and natural as being important;
- Only 20-30% rated low-fat, low calorie, organic, or gluten-free as being important;
- 48% of organic shoppers and good cooks considered their knowledge of food production to be excellent or good, compared to only 11% for bad cooks;
- the most trustworthy sources of information on food production were family or friends (69%) followed by farmers and ranchers, the medical community, USDA, FDA, and academic community (50-60%);
- less trusted were grocers/retailers, food companies, bloggers/social media, and mass media/news organizations (21-32%)
- least trusted were animal pharmaceutical companies and political leaders/government (8-10%).
(“Evolving Trust in the Food Industry”, Sullivan Higdon & Sink Food Think, 2016; shsfoodthink.com .)
EFFECT OF TIMED AI ON PRODUCTION AND CALF VALUE
A study was conducted from 2006 through 2013 on effects of timed artificial insemination (TAI) in a herd of 300 Angus, Brangus, or Braford cows. For the first two years, breeding was by natural service in a 120-day period. From 2008 through 2013, TAI (either 5-day or 7-day CO-Synch+CIDR protocol) was employed. Throughout those years, heifers were inseminated on day 1of the breeding season followed on day 8 by cows. After first insemination, the procedure by years was:
- 2008 – late calving cows inseminated on day 49, very late cows on day 70, cleanup bulls turned in from day 70 to day 110;
- 2009 – late calving cows inseminated on day 49, very late cows on day 70, cleanup bulls turned in from day 70 to day 88;
- 2010 – late calving cows inseminated on day 49, cleanup bulls turned in from day 49 to day 80;
- 2011 – late calving cows inseminated on day 49, cleanup bulls turned in from day 49 to day 75;
- 2012 – cleanup bulls turned in on day 8 (after one TAI) and removed on day 70;
- 2013 – same as 2012 except bulls left in until day 72.
When TAI was initiated (starting in 2008) the following management procedures were implemented:
- replacement heifers must become pregnant in first 25 days of the breeding season;
- every cow exposed to TAI;
- every cow calve without assistance every year and produce a live calf;
- every cow provide resources for genetic potential of calf;
- every calf be genetically capable of performing;
- no supplemental feeding to maintain body condition;
- all cows with undesirable temperament culled.
It was assumed that all calves were weaned on the same day, that all calves gained 2 lb/day to weaning, and weaned calves were all valued at $2.00/lb. Results were:
- breeding season shortened from 120 days the first two years to 70 and 72 days the last two years;
- pregnancy increased from an average of 83.5% the first two years to 92.5% the last two years ;
- average calving day decreased from 80 days the first two years to 39 days the last two years;
- during the first two years, 50% of calves were born during the first 90 days of calving compared to 50% being born in only 30 days over the last two years;
- due to a more compact calving season and higher average age at weaning, calf value increased by $167.20 averaged over the last two years.
NOTE: Since weaning weight was assumed to be constant over the years, no effort was made to include any benefit that might be realized from higher-weaning-weight AI sires. However, the study also did not include relative cost of all-natural service versus TAI programs.
(2015 University of Florida Beef Research Report)
HAY OR BALEAGE FOR BACKGROUNDING CALVES
Baleage is forage harvested like hay but with 40-60% Dry Matter instead of <20% DM. After cutting, baleage is prepared in a tight roll and then wrapped in plastic within 4-6 hours of baling. A group of 30 Angus and Brangus steers averaging 538 lb was fed for 64 days on annual ryegrass as either hay (90% DM) or baleage (51% DM), cut at the same time. Crude protein, fiber, and TDN were within 1 percentage point in the two forages. Individual animal feed consumption was measured daily and cattle were weighed weekly.
Calves on baleage consumed significantly more DM per day than those on hay (11.8 lb versus 9.7 lb). This resulted in those fed baleage having significantly higher ADG and final weight. NOTE: No economic values were reported. The relative cost of harvesting, storing, and feeding hay and baleage should be considered.
(2016 So. Sec. Am. Soc. of Anim. Sci. Annual Meeting, Abst. 78; Louisiana St. Univ.)
DOES LOWERING CHOLESTEROL REDUCE HEART PROBLEMS ?
The first long-term Framingham Study, which started in 1947, involved over 5,000 adults living in the town of Framingham, Massachusetts. Its initial findings identified major risks of developing cardiovascular disease as being elevated blood pressure, smoking tobacco, obesity, lack of exercise, and elevated blood cholesterol. Based largely on the latter result, for over 50 years most dietary guidelines have recommended reducing animal-derived saturated fat and increasing amount of plant sources. This recommendation is based on the cholesterol-lowering effect of linoleic acid in plant-based diets.
A recent paper re-examined unpublished data from a study in Minnesota from 1968 to 1973; it involved 9,570 people living in mental hospitals and nursing homes, where diet could be strictly controlled. In this study, a diet containing vegetable oil decreased saturated fat from 18.5 % to 9.2 % of calories and increased linoleic acid from 3.4% to 13.2% of calories. The paper also examined results of all other available randomized controlled trials comparing effects of saturated fat with linoleic-rich oils.
The authors noted that the elevated linoleic acid diet had some polyunsaturated margarine likely containing some trans fat. But, based on the data from Minnesota and other relevant studies, the current paper found:
- elevating linoleic acid levels did lower serum cholesterol;
- but elevating linoleic acid levels did not lower death rates, from coronary heart disease or any other cause;
- so, merely lowering cholesterol did not reduce death.
They concluded that “the Minnesota Coronary Experiment findings add to growing evidence that incomplete publication has contributed to overestimation of benefits, and underestimation of potential risks, of replacing saturated fat with vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid”.
(British Medical Journal 2016, 353:i1246. http://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i1246 ; Nat. Inst. of Health, Univ. of North Carolina, Medtronic, Inc., Mayo Clinic, Univ. of Illinois.)
STOCKPILED TIFTON 85 BERMUDAGRASS FOR STOCKER CALVES
Research and field experience have shown that stockpiled Tifton85 bermudagrass can effectively maintain cow-calf pairs. To evaluate stockpiling for stocker calves, in this study T85 was cut on August 24 and fertilized with 50 lb N/ac. Beginning on November 11, purchased steers averaging 622 lb were grazed for 60 days on the stockpiled forage in three groups as follows: 1) no supplement, 2) 2 lb/day of 75% soybean hulls 25% cottonseed meal; 3) 2 lb/day of 50% soybean hulls, 50% cottonseed meal.
During the study, forage TDN decreased from 61% to 55% and CP from 8.7% to 6.5%. Non-supplemented steers lost significantly more (1.14 lb/day) than the non-significantly different 75:25 supplemented group (0.31 lb/day) and 50:50 group (0.33 lb/day). The authors concluded that, based on this one-year study, “stockpiled T85 requires more specific supplementation strategies for stocker cattle to overcome declining nutritional value during early winter”. NOTE: These cattle were not evaluated beyond the 60-day backgrounding period. So it is not known how the higher-weight-loss non-supplemented cattle might have subsequently performed compared to supplemented groups.
(2016 So. Sec. Am. Soc. Am. Sci. Annual Meeting Abst. 56; Auburn Univ.)
NUMBERS, PRICES, AND RETURNS, PROJECTED TO 2025
The Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri is one of the most respected sources of projections involving agriculture. From their March, 2016 report the following are projected for 2016, 2019 (when numbers, prices, and returns are projected to be least desirable over the 10 years), and 2025.
|No. beef cows, million||30.6||31.6||30.4|
|600-650 lb steers/cwt(1)||$194||$155||$190|
- Oklahoma City
- 5 major feeding states
- Sioux City
(Food and Agr. Policy Res. Inst., Univ. of Missouri, www.fapri.missouri.edu )
TEXAS A&M AGRILIFE EXTENSION GRASSFED BEEF CONFERENCE
The fifth Grassfed Beef Conference will be held on the campus of Texas A&M University on May 26-27, 2016. Topics to be addressed include:
- overview of the beef industry
- defining natural, grassfed, and organic
- fundamentals of growing forage
- cattle types suited for grassfed beef
- forage-based nutrition for cattle
- preventative herd health
- handling cattle for wholesome beef
- demonstration of carcass fabrication
- consumer expectations
- Taste of Texas Beef
- marketing a unique product
BQA (BEEF QUALITY ASSURANCE) TIP-OF-THE-MONTH: RESIDUES
Always refer to the product label for specific guidelines for proper use of each product. To avoid residues from anthelmintics (de-wormers), make sure cattle are not marketed until slaughter withdrawal times have passed. Slaughter withdrawal times vary by both chemical ingredient and method of application; the table below illustrates this concept for a few of the available injectable and pour-on macrocyclic lactone products.
|Cydectin®||0 days||21 days|
|Dectomax®||45 days||35 days|
|Ivomec® Eprinex||0 days||—–|
|Ivomec®||48 days||35 days|