Posts Tagged With: environment

Goodbye U S of A!

What a wonderful 11 weeks I have been able to spend here in the United States. I have learnt so much and made a wealth of contacts within the beef industry. What an amazing opportunity to be able to learn about, and from, one the worlds largest cattle and beef producing nations.
From National Junior Breed Shows, purebred breeding operations, artificial breeding centres, feedlots, abattoirs and universities, I certainly was able to cover a lot of the beef industry in the US. This of course would not have been possible without the generous help of so many people! I will get to thanking these people at the conclusion of my study tour. It is not all over yet though! Now back to Canada to look at some more breeding operations.

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Cargill Feedlot

I was able to tour extensively a feedlot in Lockney, TX, operated by Cargill. It was originally an independent feed yard until purchased by Cargill a number of years ago. It is permitted to hold 70 000 head, however is currently feeding around 52 – 53000 head. The cattle purchased for the feedlot are from all around the US, with the big majority being Angus cattle. It is a unique feed yard in that it does not do a days feeding program, 80 or 120 days for example. Instead, after the cattle have been started on feed for a certain amount of time, they are weighed and scanned for fat, marbling and REA (EMA). They are then put into new mobs accordingly, so cattle are placed together that are similar in terms of fat depth, marbling and rib eye area. They are then feed accordingly to their scans, which in turn maximizes efficiency of the whole system. All the cattle in a group therefore should have similar quality & yield grades.

They have 6 different rations which they feed the cattle, depending on which stage they are – from entry into the feedlot to a finishing ration. Like the majority of cattle feed in the US, it is a corn based ration with the ethanol by-product, Dried Distillers Grain also used. There is also a number of other components that make up the diet, which includes a number of micronutrients, like zinc and copper.
The cattle are fed 3 times daily and about 650,000 gallons or water is used per day. The pens that house the cattle are cleaned once every week to remove manure and try ensure the animals are always in good health. It is then stockpiled and taken by an independent company for different purposes.

Unfortunately due to regulations put in place by Cargill, I was unable to take any photos at the feed lot, so I cannot share any with you!

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Purdue University Beef Unit

The beef research unit at Purdue University was very interesting to get to look around and find out some more about the research they do with beef cattle. Purdue have purebred Simmental and Angus cattle, but the majority of them are now SimAngus (half blood). They have a sale each spring in which they sell cow/calf pairs, and the cows are left open so that the new owners can join them to the bull of their choosing. They do a lot of their research on heifers, but only until the heifers are 2 years old. Some of the research currently going on at the beef unit included measuring performance and conception rates of heifers on limited feed rations, research on the use of dried distillers grain (DDG’s) in diets, and also the use of the liquid component, CDS (condensed distillers’ solubles), that is remaining after the production of ethanol, in the diets of cattle. I was able to see their bred heifers and cows and calves, and look at where they undertake their research on different projects and talk about them.

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Ohlde Cattle Company

While still staying with the Jensen family, I visited Ohlde Cattle Company near Clifton, Kansas. They run a total of 800 cows, with half of that number being registered Black Angus. Those involved in the Angus breed may recognise them as O C C. They are breeding a more moderate sized cow, with the aims of increasing efficiency and doing ability. As well as their purebred Black Angus operation, they have a herd of a number of different breeds which includes Simmental, Hereford, Charolais, Red Angus, Shorthorn & Senepol. They were instrumental in the development of the Senepol breed, and also exclusively developed high percentage Angus cattle, known as Angus II. They are normally about 7/8 Angus, with the other 1/8 being beef fresian. They A.I. 500 every year, which includes all their heifers being done at least once. They sell around 250 bulls annually that are mainly registered Black Angus, but also sell some crossbred bulls, like the Simmental/Hereford cross calf shown. I was able to look at their mature cow herd, as well as some of their herd sires, and talk with them about their unique approach to breeding.

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