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Global trade, forage and weed management strategies highlight Cow Country Congress

published: November 3rd 2017
by: Blair Fannin
CROCKETT – Global trade impacts on the beef industry as well as herbicide and forage management strategies were discussed recently at Cow Country Congress at Santa Rosa Ranch near Crockett.
The event drew nearly 250 beef cattle producers from East Texas counties who also participated in a bull selection demonstration. The event was sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Ser-vice, Santa Rosa Ranch, and the Texas and South-western Cattle Raisers Association, which hosted a ranch gathering following the day’s activities.
Dr. Vanessa Corriher-Olson, AgriLife Extension forage specialist in Over-ton, said beef producers can use the U.S. Drought Monitor to incorporate into long-term stocking plans.
“You can use this to plan for additional hay supply needs if there are extended dry periods or just simply to be prepared for the next drought,” she said.
Soil testing on hay meadows can also be a good management practice.
“How many of you collect soil samples each year?” she said. “One of the cheapest, inexpensive management methods you can do on the ranch is getting a soil sample for as little as $10. In a hay meadow, you want to collect samples annually because as you cut hay, you are changing the nutrient values in that meadow. For pastures, it’s a good idea to get soil samples every two to three years. Collect 15 to 20 core samples per 50 acres.”
Corriher-Olson said a dry cow requires about nine percent crude protein daily.
“That’s why nitrogen is so important,” she said.
During the noon hour, attendees heard legislative updates from state Rep. Trent Ashby, R-Lufkin, and state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville.
The afternoon was devoted to discussions on global trade and a bull selection demonstration. Dr. Jeff Savell, Texas A&M University Distinguished Professor and E.M. “Man-ny” Rosenthal chairholder in the department of animal science, College Station, gave a comprehensive overview of global beef trade from the 1980s to the present. Savell said demand for U.S. beef continues to increase. In the U.S., some 60 percent of beef consumed is hamburger.
“We just love hamburgers here in the U.S. High demand continues for lean meat as well. It’s a big source of our imports and its increased in value because we don’t have enough cows,” he said.
Savell said Mexico has high demand for lean beef, wanting round, thin, lean cuts for a variety of dishes.
Overall, Savell said the export markets have created enhanced opportunities for U.S. beef cattle producers to market their beef.
“Even if you are selling calves to a local market, they will at some point wind up in the international market,” he said.
Kelley Sullivan, co-owner of Santa Rosa Ranch, recently testified on Capitol Hill about the importance of expanding export opportunities for beef produced in the U.S. She told attendees at Cow Country Congress that $290 to $300 of the total value of a calf is represented in the international market.
“If that trade is lost, that $300 in value is gone,” she said. “It affects everyone, whether you have 20 head and you sell to a local sale barn or have 200 head.”

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