In a survey, when asked about concerns on life and current events, rising health costs ranked highest, being cited by 71% of consumers. Another eight concerns ranked at 60% or above. Of those eight, six involved food. These included

  • keeping healthy food affordable
  • safety of food
  • affordability of food
  • safety of imported food
  • being assured that food is actually what is listed on the label
  • having enough food for people in the U. S.

When asked who are the “most trusted sources about food-related issues

  • 69% said family doctor
  • 65% said family
  • 57% said university scientists
  • 56% said dietitians
  • 56% said friends
  • 54% said nutrition advocacy groups
  • 53% said farmers.

Less than 50% of consumers thought the most trusted source was state regulatory agencies, grocery stores, restaurants, or food companies. 55% think the food system is “moving in the right direction” but 22% think it’s “on the wrong track”.




Artificial insemination offers the possibility of using superior genetics with less cost than buying comparable bulls. Estrus synchronization can facilitate the use of AI and shorten the calving season and produce more uniform calf crops. Fixed-time AI using synchronization eliminates the need to detect estrus and reduces the number of times cattle must be handled. But some research has shown lower conception rates from fixed-time than estrus detection. A study was designed to compare fixed-time with a modified system for detecting estrus

The study included 971 Angus-crossbred heifers averaging 761 lb managed in three groups. All heifers were synchronized by feeding MGA for 14 days followed by injection of prostaglandin (PG) 19 days later. At that time, estrus-detection patches were applied and heifers were scored at AI as follows; 1= no rub-off of patch coating, 2= <50% of coating rubbed off, 3= ≥50% rubbed off, and 4=missing patch. Heifers with scores of 3 or 4 were considered to have expressed estrus. At 72 hours after PG injection, one-half of the heifers were inseminated (FT group). In the other one-half, heifers were detected for estrus at 58 and 70 hours after PG injection and inseminated at 72 hours (HT group). Clean-up bulls (1 per 50 heifers) were turned in 13 days after AI and left for 42 days.

There were no statistically significant differences in AI pregnancy rate (62% for both groups) or total pregnancy rate (96% for FT and 97% for HT). Conception rates to AI were significantly higher for patch score 3 but total pregnancy rates did not significantly differ. The authors concluded from their study that fixed-time AI “limits cattle handling and eliminates estrus detection without compromising conception rates”. The full report is available at .

(Univ. of Nebraska 2017 Beef Report)



The USDA has a provision for approved beef programs claiming Angus influence. (In addition to first meeting requirements for Angus influence, most of these programs include carcass requirements, which vary according to the program.) The most prevalent of these programs is Certified Angus Beef®. Claim of Angus influence can be done based on either genotype or phenotype. For the first, cattle must have positive individual identification and trace back through registration papers to verifiable Angus parentage. Programs claiming a specific percentage of Angus must use this method. However, most cattle qualify based on appearance. Changes have been proposed for this method.

Until now, cattle qualified as being of Angus influence if the hair coat was predominantly (51% or higher) solid black. According to the USDA, “in response to a request from beef industry stakeholders” the agency proposes that requirement be changed to “a main body that must be solid black with no other color behind the shoulder, above the flanks, or breaking the midline behind the shoulders, excluding the tail”. As before, Angus influence cattle may be either horned or polled.

For the majority of producers, who do not maintain ownership to the carcass, monetary benefit from these Angus-influence programs comes from any price bonus when calves are sold. Therefore, such bonuses will apparently no longer exist for calves not meeting the changed requirements for hair color. For more complete information see .



Over the last 45 years, the USDA Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) at Clay Center, Nebraska, has evaluated over 30 breeds of cattle used for beef production. In recent years, the Center compared their results with those from breed association genetic evaluation programs, which include all animals within a breed. MARC updates comparisons each year. The three summaries below include breeds with genetic evaluation programs.

1 – Most recent EPD breed averages, which can be used to compare how an individual ranks within its breed. These can not be used to compare breeds.

2 – Comparisons of breeds.

3 – Adjustment factors to directly compare EPD of individual animals of different breeds.



Part of grading by USDA for carcass quality involves estimation of carcass maturity, which involves physiological maturity rather than chronological age. Physiological maturity was thought to be a better indicator of eating quality than actual age and actual age of slaughter animals is usually unknown. Also, animals of the same age can differ in physiological maturity. Since the inception of carcass grading in the 1920s, maturity is estimated by visual observation of bone characteristics, cartilage ossification, and color and texture of the ribeye muscle (bone and cartilage receive more emphasis). Now, based on recent research, the USDA is proposing maturity be evaluated by dentition and actual age, as an alternative to the traditional procedure.

Most readers will probably remember when bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, “mad cow disease”) was identified in the US in 2003. Beef exports from the US were immediately shut off by many countries. BSE is extremely rare and is found almost exclusively in older animals. Eventually, some countries again opened imports of beef from the US, but only from young animals. Japan initially prohibited beef from animals older than 20 months of age, later increased to 30 months. For this purpose, age may be determined by documented evidence of parentage or by dentition. Cattle are considered by the Food Safety Inspection Service to be 30 months of age or older when at least one of the second set of permanent incisors has erupted. So, dentition and actual age, and official means of determination, are already used for other purposes in the US beef industry.



A survey was made of feedlots in the High Plains with at least 5000 head one-time capacity. Responders included 60% exclusively finishing operations and 40% combination growing/backgrounding/finishing. Most of the lots were over 20 years old. Some findings from the survey were

  • 54% were within 50 miles of a packing plant and 41% within 50-150 miles;
  • 84% had emergency power sources;
  • almost all had dedicated pens for receiving cattle;
  • receiving pens ranged from <50 sq ft/animal to >200 sq ft;
  • 68% allowed >150 sq ft/animal for receiving high-health-risk loads;
  • in high-risk pens, 56% allowed 9-12 inches/hd bunk space, 35% allowed 13-17 in.;
  • almost all used automatic-filling water troughs in receiving pens;
  • capacity in receiving pens ranged from <50 cattle/pen to >200;
  • cattle stayed in receiving pens from <7days to >21 days;
  • only 5% had shade in receiving pens;
  • 58% used long-stem hay in receiving pens;
  • 72% had concrete floors in receiving pens;
  • 72% had curved snakes in processing facilities;
  • 67% of snakes had v-slant sides, 19% adjustable, and 14% straight;
  • 74% had a tub and 19% a bud box;
  • Number of cattle brought to the tub/bud box ranged from less than 10 to 21-25;
  • only 2% had unsurfaced floors in processing facilities;
  • 95% had sorting pens in processing facilities, 43% of those used hydraulic controls;
  • number of sorting pens ranged from <3 to >10;
  • most had scales for weighing individual animals;

(Cattlemen’s Day 2017 Report; Kansas State University)



The 63rd Annual TAM Beef Cattle Short Course will be held on the campus of Texas A&M University on August 7-9, 2017. Topics to be addressed include animal health, nutrition, reproduction, breeding programs and genetics, selection, research, and marketing and handling. Management sessions will cover business, forage, range, and purebred cattle. Topics such as landowner issues and fence building will be featured at this BCSC. Sessions are designed for everyone, from the newest member of the industry to the most experienced producer. A number of pesticide CEUs, veterinarian CECs and BQA credits are available to attendees. Additionally, over 125 agriculture related businesses and trade show exhibitors attend annually.

For more information, including schedule and registration, go to .



Withdrawal times are established for antibiotics and other animal health products to allow time for elimination of the drug from the animal or for drug residues to drop below FDA tolerance levels. Withdrawal times for commonly used antibiotics range from 4 days for Excenel® to 42 days for Micotil® 300. Oxytetracycline products like Liquamycin® LA-200®, Bio-Mycin® 200, Noromycin® 300, and others have a withdrawal time of 28 days. When using antibiotics, record information on each animal treated and make sure the withdrawal time has completely passed before marketing that animal.

(Jason Banta, Ph. D., , Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Beef Quality Assurance Coordinator)


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