MU Extension project helps 93-year-old farmer – Houston Herald

Farmers like 93-year-old Harry Keutzer don’t quit just because their body parts slow down.

His hens, cows and pets depend on him. So do customers at the Kansas City-area farmers markets where he sells produce, eggs and hand-loomed rugs.

The Missouri AgrAbility Project, through University of Missouri Extension, Lincoln University Cooperative Extension and the Brain Injury Association of Missouri, provides aging farmers with information, referrals and a variety of resources to keep working.

Lincoln University Extension farm and AgrAbility outreach worker Susan Jaster carried out an assessment of accessibility at Keutzer’s Lafayette County farm and made recommendations on how to make the home safer and more accessible.

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Harry Keutzer

HARRY KEUTZER

MU Extension state health and safety specialist Karen Funkenbusch said AgrAbility helps farmers with disabilities caused by age, injury or illness to keep farming. The program provides research-based information and appropriate referrals to other agencies as needed.

America’s farm population has been aging rapidly over the last 30 years. According to the USDA’s 2012 Census of Agriculture, released in 2014, the average age of U.S. farmers is 58.3 years. There are now more farmers over 75 than between the ages of 35 and 44, Funkenbusch said.

Keutzer and his daughter-in-law, Stacy, grew 3,000 tomato plants in a high tunnel last year. They also planted a three-acre garden and put in a large plot of potatoes on a neighbor’s garden spot. Stacy picks all of the produce and Harry sorts it. Both wash and pack it.

Mobility is a challenge. When it rains, Keutzer has to stay inside and can’t work. But Keutzer’s energy level and stamina during the three-hour farm assessment surprised Jaster.

“He has the energy and deserves to be able to carry on his active life,” she said.

AgrAbility recommended a different type of scooter to reduce fatigue and help him maneuver around the farm over muddy and rough ground. The program also recommended a hydraulic lift to move pallets from the ground to make it easier to load produce onto the enclosed truck the Keutzers take to farmers markets.

Harry’s weathered hands are rarely idle and his mind remains active with farmer ingenuity. He finds it increasingly difficult to plant, so he and his son, Virgil, built a transplanter for their small tractor. It plants and waters the plant plug and lays weed-barrier plastic.

He uses his scooter to check on 100 chickens and takes buckets of water to livestock. He milks a three-teated cow that provides milk for two calves and a gallon a day for milk, butter, homemade ice cream and tapioca for the Keutzers.

He still enjoys cutting wood. He makes wine and helps his daughter-in-law cut fabric strips to make into loomed rugs. In October, he assisted a calving cow with a difficult birth.

Keutzer grew up working with his brothers on his father’s 500-acre farm at Creighton, Mo. He was so small when he started milking cows that his father had a special milking stool made for him.

He went to a country school until eighth grade. He said boys carried .22-caliber single-shot rifles to school, shooting rabbits and squirrels along the way to feed their families. And all boys had a two-bladed pocketknife, he says, to skin wild game and play “mumblepeg” at recess.

After school each day, he listened to 15 minutes of the Tom Mix cowboy show on the radio before starting chores. The radio wasn’t turned on again until 9:30 p.m., when the family listened to “Amos ’n’ Andy” and the news.

He farmed with a team of horses before buying his first tractor, a Farmall F-20. In 1942, Harry bought his second tractor, an Allis-Chalmers WC, at auction for $870.

He and other farmers anxiously awaited electrification through REA. On Jan. 7, 1945, he and his wife, Johnnie, celebrated her birthday in nearby Clinton. They returned home to a house lit with electricity, and their new Montgomery Ward refrigerator was plugged in and running.

He, his wife and a hired hand traveled the area baling hay from spring to fall. His wife drove the tractor as he put the 8 ½-foot wires into the baler. The hired hand tied the bales. It was hard work, but Keutzer and his wife made enough money to buy a new Kaiser automobile with cash.

In 1952, the Keutzers moved to southern Minnesota, where his uncles lived. He rented 320 acres on shares and was one of the first to plant soybean. Corn was selling for $1.25 a bushel under a government price-protection system.

Times were different then, Harry recalls. Farm implement dealers and oil companies helped young farmers get started by extending credit until crops were sold. He bought a four-row cultivator, planter, disk, a new corn picker and two new tractors – a John Deere 720 diesel and an IH Farmall 400 – on credit.

He and Johnnie also opened their home to 50 foster children during their time in Minnesota. The dinner table was often set for more than 20. He taught the children the value of rural life, hard work and being self-sufficient.

In 1959, his father quit farming and he returned to Missouri. Harry rented the farm next to his father’s and had 1,000 acres of South Grand River bottomland.

They farmed the home place until 1972, when Truman Reservoir took much of their land. They sold out and returned to Minnesota to a 45-head dairy farm.

His son met Stacy and married. She wasn’t a farm girl but quickly learned how to care for 45 bucket calves. They farmed there until Harry’s wife died, then moved to Iowa. He worked until he was 81 as a night watchman for Spee-Dee Delivery Services before moving to Napoleon.

Keutzer’s farming practices and lifestyle evolved as times and technology changed. He keeps current with technology by following farm auctions and news online.

Just as he learned to incorporate new farming methods throughout his life, he has learned to adjust as a farming nonagenarian.

AgrAbility gives him the resources to continue doing what he loves to do-provide food to feed America.

National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an agency of USDA, administers the AgrAbility Project.

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Brighten up your home – Waterbury Republican American

Gorgeous Bull Skull by Aureus Arts

CHICAGO TRIBUNENo need to break out the crayons. Beat the winter grays with bright stuff for your home. Here are some products to get you started.

1. Scottish designer Jonathan Saunders’ cheeky designs make clashing colors harmonious. His Herringbone carpet for The Rug Company is a case in point. $129 per square foot at The Rug Company, Chicago.

2. Primary colors and simple organic shapes mark the chairs from the Swedish design trio Claesson Koivisto Rune for Tacchini. The Kelly E Chair is $2,300, at Orange Skin, Chicago.

3. The Lindona Necklace from Songa Designs, an eco-friendly accessories line made by women in Rwanda as a way to establish their economic independence. Each handmade piece is made of repurposed natural materials such as banana leaf fiber, sisal plant, and cow horn. $48 at songadesigns. com.

4. Improve your mood by upholstering Vitra’s Mariposa sofa in a bold hue. Pick from dozens of colors including poppy red, grass green, magenta and lemon, pictured. $7,520 at hivemodern.com.

5. Four shades in different hues give the Tam Tam suspension lamp by Design Fabien Dumas a colorful personality. $1,093 at hivemodern.com.

6. Give time the attention it deserves with a clock that steals the proverbial show. Normann Copenhagen’s Watch Me Wall Clock is $50 at normann-copenhagen.com

7. Studio Job’s paper lamp for Moooi is inspired by classic lamps but draws on a crafty material. $1,703.00 at moooi.com.

8. Warm up any seat in the room with Maharam’s Millerstripe Pillow with fabric designed by famed 20th-century industrial designer Alexander Girard. The 17-inch pillow is 92 percent wool and 8 percent nylon and sports a cotton insert with a duck feather fill. $175 at maharam.com.

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Germany's prettiest cow, Lady Gaga, dies – DW (English)

Germany’s prettiest cow has died at the age of 13. Lady Gaga— a star of German cattle contests with a string of accolades to her name — was described by her owner as a “once-in-a-lifetime cow.”

Holstein dairy cow Lady Gaga, the winner of a string of bovine beauty contests in Germany — has died at the age of 13, her owner said on Friday.

She became something of a star of Germany’s dairy sector, having won more than 20 titles at national and international levels since her first competition back in 2013.

Read more: Bavarian court blocks noise pollution case against cow bells

The trade journal Milchrind mourned the passing of the cow after a short illness, describing her as “an icon of the showring.”

“She was successful in a way that no cow was before,” the journal effused.

Owner Henrik Wille described Lady Gaga as “a once-in-a-lifetime cow.”

Born in France, she spent her adult life on a farm in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony.

Although she started her cow-walk career relatively late, the cow more than held her own against younger rivals and only lost her title as Germany’s Grand Champion dairy cow in March this year.

Lady Gaga had eight calves in total and produced more than 120,000 liters (31,700 gallons) of milk. She died peacefully in her stall.

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

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Boosting dairy cow reproduction – All about feed

A dairy cow trial, based in France, has revealed significant reproductive and performance benefits when the animals’ daily feed rations were supplemented with a yeast probiotic, an approach which boosts both conception rates and milk yields.

Negative energy balance and systemic inflammation during the calving period both have serious long-term effects on dairy cows, often being a key factor in future reproductive failures. Both issues contribute to cows suffering extended conception intervals, long term breeding problems and decreased milk production. As such, they’re also widely recognised as two of the main factors behind rising culling rates, contributing hugely to current dairy farm losses.

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

Benefits of focusing on rumen health

Improving rumen health during the transition period, therefore, should have a beneficial effect on cow health in general, while also boosting milk yields and quality. In this context, supplementing dairy cow diets is a crucial part of combatting the dangers attached to negative energy balance in cows, leading to improved conception rates, benefits which have been proven by trial data.

It has been shown, for example, that the yeast probiotic, Actisaf, can help to improve reproductive performance (Julien et al. 2018), by reinforcing a dairy cow’s general status. This is the headline conclusion of a long-term study carried out on a French dairy farm in which the impact of using Actisaf as a dietary supplement was assessed across 123 Holstein dairy cows. The supplement was given as part of the daily diet for the 123 milking cows, covering many different stages of lactation.

Effects monitored on each cow

Breeding and milk production data was collected for all 123 animals, with assessments being made for each individual cow, throughout the study period. The supplementation period covered one complete year, during which all lactating cows in the herd received Actisaf at a recommended dose of 5g/cow/day, mixed into their daily ration.

Study data, covering 2 successive milking cycles, was then compared to a ‘control’ reference period. This was based on the herd’s results for a previous year, when no probiotic supplementation was given.

Improved reproductive performance

Trial results showed that Actisaf had a strong, beneficial effect on reproductive performance, with the herd requiring a significantly lower number of inseminations to achieve pregnancy, 3.46, for the trial period versus 4.02 (p<0,01) for the control, see Figure 1.

In addition, the Acisaf supplemented cows showed a reduction of both calving to conception intervals – 134 vs 146 – and calving interval – 425 vs 444. Actisaf supplemented cows also achieved an overall increase in milk production of an average of 3.3 litres per cow per day (+ 27.6 vs 24.3), see Figure 2.

Economic and performance benefits

The conclusion was that optimising the diet with Actisaf not only improved milk production per lactation but also boosted reproduction success rates, as expressed by both increased conception rates to 1st service and fewer days lost prior to conception. These results confirm the benefits recorded by using Actisaf in dairy cows as previously published by Julien et al., 2018.

In summary, it was shown that Actisaf may contribute to a reduction in the number of replacements required, due to the extended longevity of the existing cows.

The return on investment (ROI) from using Actisaf, as recorded during the study, was 1:6. This was calculated by taking consideration of the cost of the supplementation against the added value of the extra milk produced and the reduced cost of needing fewer artificial inseminations. The improved ROI demonstrated that by boosting both milk and reproductive performances, Actisaf led to in turn to enhanced economic benefits and herd profitability.

Author: Mohamed Mammeri, Global Product Manager, Phileo by Lesaffre

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Lensegrav Ranch to Disperse Cow Herd – Tri-State Livestock News

Dave and Rhonda Lensegrav have built their cowherd, working toward the ideal female, for over 40 years. Photo by Ruth Weichmann

Dave Lensegrav has been selecting replacement heifers since he was eight years old. For over sixty-five years he has kept back the best of the best, building a widely known herd of Balancer cattle and selling bulls to the public for forty years.

Dave and his wife Rhonda, of Meadow, South Dakota, started AIing their cattle to Gelbvieh bulls when semen first became available in the 1970s. They bred their herd up to purebred Gelbvieh but returned to crossing Angus blood on the Gelbvieh cattle due to the highly desirable traits that crossing the two breeds produced.

“We were one of the first spring calving programs in the U.S. to use Gelbvieh semen,” Dave recalled.

Over the years, Lensegravs have selected for easy fleshing, deep bodied, growthy cattle with strong maternal ability and good marbling. In the 1970s, Dave consigned five bulls to a bull test at the Matt Sutton ranch started by South Dakota Gelbvieh breeders. When the bulls were sold, Dave’s five sold in the top seven bulls out of approximately seventy head. Something was obviously working.

“When you put two breeds together the heterosis brings out the best of both,” Dave said. “You get something better than what either breed offers by itself. It seems like you can take straight bred cattle and breed on traits forever before they are consistent, but with combining the two breeds it happens much faster.”

“The Gelbvieh are gentle cattle,” Rhonda said. “Gelbvieh also reach sexual maturity very early.”

“The Angus add marbling,” Dave said. “The Gelbvieh are long and thick, but when you stick the Angus back on it adds depth of body. The synergy between the two breeds puts it all together. It’s easy to maintain and it has worked very well for us.”

Lensegrav’s Balancer cows have stood the test of time on the ranch. Spring, 2020, will mark their 40th and final annual bull sale. Their yearling bulls have averaged four to five thousand dollars per head for many years; their top sale averaged over $7,400 on 100 head.

Health reasons are prompting Dave and Rhonda to change their pace. Approximately 120 head of three to six year old cows are being offered for sale private treaty. Anyone looking for some fantastic proven cows should give Dave a call.

Dave and Rhonda would like to thank all of their loyal and faithful customers for their support over the years. Don’t overlook the opportunity these genetics could afford you.

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New quality heifer sales help improve beef cow-calf herds – Gasconade County Republican

Duane Dailey

Being in the beef business is not a get-rich-quick career. Building a quality cow herd takes time; requiring breeding cows, waiting nine months for a calf and then the calf is raised to be sold. All takes time.

Adding quality beef takes longer.

Missouri herd owners using Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program learn timing. But, they earn big bucks using MU Extension Show-Me-Select protocols.

Fall sales of spring-calving SMS heifers are half over. Three remaining sales offer lessons for those thinking of making more money. The sales benefit sellers and buyers. Nearest is Farmington, Dec 13.

Top heifer producers add $500 per calf to their herds. Long-time sale consignors gain repeat buyers who know the value they gain.

With popularity growing, six sales are not enough. Two MU Extension area livestock specialists will change that. Northwest Missouri and Central Ozarks have been under served.

Now Anita Ellis in Callaway County is well on the way for a spring sale a Vienna, Mo., auction.

Jenna Monnig in Mercer County is getting started for Northwest. Beef herd owners can step forward to help make a sale happen in the region.

The recent SMS sale at Kirksville shows the time frame. It’s been going five years there. “We’re gaining traction,” said Zac Erwin, their local MU livestock specialist. Repeat buyers add to a sale. That was learned going back over two decades of SMS sales. It takes time for buyers to learn the huge value from calving ease, fewer deaths and better DNA. Genetics is only part of heifer improvement.

At SMS sales, buyers gain more than a strong heifer that can push out a calf. They buy data. Sale catalogs tell EPDs, the Expected Progeny Difference, or genetic potential.

Raising quality beef heifers takes new learning. Only heifers from herd owners enrolled in the year-long program sell in the trademarked sales. The black-and-gold ear tags add value. It can be big bucks. Some producers have been in the program from the beginning over two decades ago. They build their herds.

At the Joplin sale, John Wheeler continues to gain from his black-baldies, or crossbred heifers. He uses an old-fashioned but proven approach. Crossing Angus and Herefords gives heterosis, the gains from crossbreeding. That method kinda slipped away. Expect to see more people copy Wheeler’s style.

Missouri has a huge cow herd that would benefit from heifer protocols taught by MU Extension. Those continue to build from research at MU Thompson Farm, Spickard.

At some Thompson Farm Field Days, I’ve seen times we had more herd owners from south of the Missouri River attend than from nearby counties.

Local owners should have an edge in learning, I’d think.

The sale at Vienna will be next spring for fall-calving heifers. That fits the Ozarks which has longer grazing seasons and shorter winters.

Up north, winters are harsher and longer, not as good for raising baby calves. With warming winters in the past decade, fall calving moved north.

The new north sale talk starts with a meeting to be in Trenton, Dec. 16, at 6 p.m. at Barton Farm. Watch for details. Attend, to get in on the ground floor.

I’ve seen some early participants expect to gain top dollar in their first year. Added dollars come from growing reputations. Buyers learn the value of Show-Me-Select. But, some drop out after one year. Don’t give up quickly. Quality builds over time. Prices go up in time.

At a recent sale, SMS heifers averaged over $200 more than bred heifers selling at local sales. That’s a first step up.

Many learn the steermates gain value also. They don’t create quality cows. They make superior Prime beef carcasses at the packing plant. Those steers gain bonus prices.

If left free of politics, Missouri beef producers sell that Prime beef abroad. The world loves our beef.

To join, contact Extension field livestock specialists. Or start at the local office. Ask me at duanedailey7@gmail.com.

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Why VR Headsets on Russian Cows Are Nothing to Moo About – Observer

Experts (in cow anxiety) noted a reduced anxiety and improved emotional mood in the herd that was adorned in VR goggles.

Experts (in cow anxiety) noted a reduced anxiety and improved emotional mood in the herd that was adorned in VR goggles. Moscow Region of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food

Is this another Russia hoax?

Photos have been circulating around the internet of cows wearing VR headsets. And no, these cows aren’t playing the dance/movement game, Beat Saber.

SEE ALSO: How This Viral Video App Uses Blockchain to Counter Deepfakes

There’s a very easy explanation for all this: Russian farmers, outside of Moscow, have been fitting their cows with VR headsets in an attempt to increase milk production.

Duh.

Yes, supposedly an elaborate experiment is being conducted in Russia—in which cows are equipped with VR headsets to reduce anxiety and increase milk production. (Dutch and Scottish researchers found that calm cows produce more milk.) The Russians are said to have worked with designers to create a VR environment to simulate greener pastures and a summer field.

How is all of this known?

Well, the Moscow Region of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food issued a press release, in Russian, stating all of this. The title of the press release, according to Google translate, reads: “On a Farm Near Moscow Tested VR Glasses for Cows.”

It goes on to say (via Google translate): 

The global trend towards universal computerization greatly simplifies work processes in many areas, and allows achieving unprecedented results. Russian milk producers are not far behind world standards and are even ready to offer the market new and unexpected solutions.

A prototype of virtual reality glasses was tested on a farm in the Moscow Region to improve cow conditions.

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Hmm? I’m a little skeptical. But if it’s true—cows wearing VR headsets—how flippin’ awesome is that!? And to think, at one time I was impressed by Keyboard Cat.

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The VR goggles weren’t just grabbed off the shelf of the local Moscow Best Buy but specifically designed to fit the cow’s head shape (or cow-shaped head). Meanwhile, the VR-scape simulates a “unique summer field simulation program.”

Experts (in cow anxiety) noted a reduced anxiety and improved emotional mood in the herd that was adorned in VR goggles. And I am one who feels for cow anxiety; every day they must experience the loss of a friend or loved one who has been turned into steak and hamburgers.

A little skepticism here: According to Agricultural Safety and Health, cows have poor depth perception. Certain fence and gate configurations may challenge a cow’s depth perception, making it difficult to move the animal efficiently. And also making it difficult to design an efficient cow-orientated VR landscape. Moscow Times stated that cows perceive shades of red better than shades of green and blue, which helped researchers design an ideal cow simulated environment.

In the spirit of fair play, the VR world can take back their power from its moo-making friends by playing the virtual reality Cow Milking Simulator game.

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Still, VR on animals is nothing new. Here’s what happened when someone fitted their dog with a VR headset, which garnered no less than seven million views, though the dog looks very, very anxious. 

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Russian farmers have also been noted to play classical music on loudspeakers around the farm to sooth cows’ anxiety.

Though, there only seems to be one photo out there of a particular cow on a farm wearing a VR headset, if it’s true that this is a method to relieve cow anxiety and gain a better quality of milk, then (get ready to laugh) that’s something to moo about.

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Virtual reality won't make cows happier… – Cosmos

By Sarah Webber from the University of Melbourne and Marcus Carter from the University of Sydney, Australia

Earlier this week, Russian farmers announced they are testing virtual reality (VR) for dairy cows.

Conducted at the RusMoloko farm near Moscow, the trials supposedly use specially adapted goggles to show the animals a view of a pleasant field in summer. The idea is to make the cows happier, which in turn could make them produce more milk.

Some have doubts over whether the tests are real, and it wouldn’t be the first time pictures of animals in VR headsets have been used to capture public attention. Similar images of CatVR and “virtual free range” chickens have appeared in the past.

But to take the idea seriously, at least for a moment: can animals perceive virtual reality the same way we do? And would it do them any good?

The grass may be greener in virtual reality, but you can’t eat it.
Moscow Ministry of Agriculture and Food

Virtual entertainment for animals

Unfortunately for the emerging VR industry, there is little to suggest that gazing on a virtual landscape will make cattle happier.

Visual stimulation may be beneficial to some species of animals, but the research relates mostly to primates. Horses in a stable do seem to benefit from a view of other horses and an open window. But the sounds, smells, breeze and associated temperature changes in the real world make for a far richer sensory experience than VR can offer.

Could virtual reality for animals ever be a good idea? Cognition researchers working with chimpanzees have given the animals access to a virtual maze environment to study their spatial cognition abilities.

In this research the chimps were given food rewards when they successfully located objects in the maze. There’s no evidence they enjoyed the VR experience for its own sake. And the chimps didn’t wear VR headsets; the virtual world was displayed on a computer screen and the animals navigated using a joystick.

A visual VR experience might be appealing to humans, but would likely have less inherent value for animals. Humans can understand symbolic imagery, complex language-based events, and the written word. So visual technologies such as television, smartphones and VR can provide us with long-lasting entertainment, intellectual stimulation, and social connection.

This is not so for other species. While some dogs might watch TV, their interest is usually short-lived unless it has a meaningful outcome, such as the opportunity to chase and bark at animals on the screen. Similarly, some cats play with iPads and digital toys for short periods, but usually only keep up the behaviour if they are intermittently given a reward when they catch the “prey”.

Real entertainment for cows

Despite evidence that cattle have the capacity for complex thoughts and feelings, an increasing number of cows are housed year-round in relatively boring and restrictive indoor environments.

At the same time, there is interest in providing cattle with “environmental enrichment”. This takes the form of objects and activities to provide physical and mental stimulation, in the same vein as toys and puzzles for pets and zoo animals. As well as improving the animals’ well-being, it seems to improve dairy production outcomes.

Good animal enrichment addresses the physical and behavioural needs of different species that are not already met in their existing environment. Good enrichment can also give animals more agency – more control over their lives and their environment. For cows, enrichment might look more like a sophisticated brush than a VR headset.

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Cows can choose how and when to use the brushing machine.

In our research, we have investigated approaches to designing technology-based enrichment that responds to animals’ real needs. In 2016 we trialled digital enrichment for orangutans at Melbourne Zoo, offering the animals a range of games and apps that could be made more complex as animals learn.

How tech for animals can change humans

There seems to be something inherently fascinating in seeing animals using technology that is “meant for humans”.

When we provided digital games for orangutans at Melbourne Zoo, we investigated the effect on visitors’ perceptions of the primates. We found that seeing the animals using technology influenced people’s empathy for the orangutans. Others have also proposed that digital games for pigs might encourage people to reflect on the needs of farm animals.

So while VR for cows may not directly improve their well-being, it just might encourage people to think more about what animals need.The Conversation

Sarah Webber, Research Fellow in Human-Computer Interaction and Animal-Computer Interaction, University of Melbourne and Marcus Carter, Lecturer in Digital Cultures, SOAR Fellow., University of Sydney

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Winter storms to impact cattle and meat industries for near term – talkbusiness.net

Winter storm weather that disrupted Thanksgiving travel is likely to have a variety of impacts on the meat industry for several more weeks, according to Derrell Peel, livestock marketing analyst with Oklahoma State University Extension.

Peel said heavy snow and frigid temps hinder an already difficult crop harvest. He said deep snow in some areas will add delays to corn harvest and also likely reduce crop quality. On Nov. 25, 84% of corn harvest was completed, well behind the average of 96% for the date. He said corn harvest was 68% complete in South Dakota, 57% in Wisconsin, 56% in Michigan and just 30% in North Dakota. He said many of those areas were hit by significant snow and blizzard conditions in the recent storm.


Peel said extreme winter weather can reduce cattle production and increase costs for ranches and feedlots.

“Severe weather inevitably means management challenges and higher costs for producers but may also have market impacts if poor conditions are widespread enough,” Peel wrote in a new report. “The current blast of winter weather impacts a wide swath of cattle feedlots from Colorado, across parts of Nebraska and the Dakotas, part of Iowa and across Minnesota.”

Luckily, he wrote, it appears the major cattle feeding areas in Kansas and Texas missed the bulk of the storm.

“While this storm may not be widespread enough to cause noticeable fed cattle market reactions, the storm may delay cattle finishing and disrupt slaughter flows in some regions and may help ensure that the seasonal peak is in for carcass weights,” Peel wrote.

Steer and heifer carcass weights have pushed above year-ago levels the past few weeks, Peel reported. The latest steer carcass weights are at 912 pounds, compared to 900 pounds last year, and heifer carcasses are at 841 pounds, up from 836 pounds one year ago on the same date. However, for the year to date, steer carcass weights are down 3.3 pounds and heifer carcasses are down 4.4 pounds. An early storm like this may set the stage for a long period of feedlot production challenges with impacts persisting and accumulating through the winter, Peel added.

On the demand side of the market, Peel said winter storms may disrupt transportation and the flow of perishable products to markets. While people continue to eat during storms, travel and business disruptions often reduce restaurant traffic and power disruptions may also reduce meat demand from consumers.

For cattle and beef markets, Peel said winter weather may have negative impacts on both supply and demand depending on the location, severity and size of storm events. The net impact is uncertain and is often difficult to isolate in aggregate market prices. However, higher costs, lost production and reduced revenues impact the entire industry from cattle producers to beef retailers.

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