Friona Ind. Buys Two Cattle Empire Feedyards | – AgWeb

Cattle Empire, LLC announced the sale of two of its feedyard locations with a combined one-time capacity of 139,000 head in Haskell County, Kan., to Amarillo, Texas-based Friona Industries, L.P.

The addition of the two Cattle Empire yards boosts Friona Industries to the nation’s second-largest cattle feeding entity, with a one-time capacity of 577,000 head in eight yards in Texas and Kansas. Two years ago Friona purchased two Texas feedyards from Cargill with a total one-time capacity of approximately 140,000 head.

Cattle Empire sold its Yard 1 and Yard 2 locations, retaining its Yard 3 and Yard 3 North locations with a one-time capacity of 51,500 head. The company will now focus on expanding its customer cattle feeding segment, according to a statement from Cattle Empire. Cattle Empire will continue to be 100% family-owned and -operated with the third generation of the Brown family, Trista and Rebecca, now joining the ownership group.

“By retaining Yard 3, which has long been our main facility for customer cattle, we will be able to focus our efforts on improving and expanding that business,” said Roy Brown, CEO. “We will continue to use new technologies and progressive strategies to offer our customers marketing advantages and innovations to help their cattle and businesses thrive. We will use our 40 years of cattle feeding experience as one of the largest cattle feeders in the nation to provide customers with the strategy and efficiency of a large operation combined with the specialization and individual care of a small family feeder.”

“We are very excited for the future of Cattle Empire. This is an important time to be in agriculture and in the beef industry,” said Rebecca Brown. “We look forward to continuing to do what we’ve always done best, and that is feed cattle to provide the world with a delicious and wholesome beef product. Our family has been doing this for 40 years, and I still think we’re getting better at it every day.”

“Our family and business have been part of the Haskell County community for generations,” said Trista Brown Priest. “We look forward to continued involvement and partnership in making our community a great place to live and work. We also welcome Friona Industries to this area, and we know they will be a wonderful addition to our thriving community.”

The Cattle Empire corporate office will be moved to the Yard 3 location at 2425 Road DD, Satanta, Kan., 67870.

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New Kansas Initiative Looks To Track Cattle Diseases – KUNC

Kansas is taking the lead on a project aimed at tracking cattle disease with the hopes of protecting the U.S. beef industry.

Cattle Trace is a public-private partnership that will develop infrastructure to try out a disease-tracking system. It was announced late last month in Ellinwood, Kansas, by Gov. Jeff Colyer, Agriculture Secretary Jackie McClaskey and Kansas livestock industry officials.

“Kansas is home to the finest beef producers and operations in the nation,” Colyer said June 30. “We are proud that the Kansas beef industry has taken the lead in this important project that will enhance our ability to protect cattle health here and across the nation.”

According to the Kansas Department of Agriculture, tracing cattle disease is key for biosecurity of the U.S. beef cattle industry, which has about 94 million head and tens of billions of dollars. Plus, Kansas is the site of the National Bio-and Agro-defense Facility, which is being constructed on the Kansas State University campus and is expected to open by 2022.

Quickly identifying and locating at risk-cattle will be paramount in minimizing damage to the cattle industry as a whole, said Brandon Depenbusch, who is vice president of cattle operations for Innovative Livestock Services and a member of the Cattle Trace steering committee.

“We have the opportunity to develop a cattle disease traceability system on our terms. The capabilities of Cattle Trace will enable us to do the right thing for animal health and biosecurity, and for the entire U.S. beef cattle industry,” Depenbusch said.

Another important part of the Cattle Trace program is to build infrastructure that allows the industry to communicate data easily and effectively, according to K-State’s Beef Cattle Institute Director Brad White.

He said that infrastructure will first involve tagging calves and collecting data to determine which calf is sick and where it’s located. And the third objective is to ensure that the project works for all segments of the industry, such as cow-calf operations, auction markets, feedlots and packers.

Cattle Trace will begin enrolling cattle this fall and that the goal is to tag 55,000 calves, White said. At least 10 feed yards, as well as cow-calf ranches and beef processors will participate in the pilot project.

But for the U.S. beef industry to adopt the system on a broader scale, it will need to be simple, fast and affordable.

“We are working to build a system to test today and one that will serve the U.S. beef cattle industry in the future,” he said.

Cattle Trace is a collaborative partnership between Kansas State University, the Kansas Livestock Association, the Kansas Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture and individual producer stakeholders.  

Angie Haflich is the director of regional content at High Plains Public Radio, based in Garden City, Kansas. 


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Study finds new genomic regions associated with weight gain in Nelore cattle – Phys.Org

Brazilian research aims at enhancing quality of beef and raising Nelore’s food efficiency. Because they are rooted in tropical lands, Nelore cattle do not gain weight as easily as the breeds forged in regions with harsh winters.

A pioneering research project has identified genes potentially associated with functions such as growth and weight gain in the Nelore breed. These functions are key to beef production. The researchers pinpointed genomic regions that had changed owing to selection, referring to these as genomic signatures of selection.

“We found six genomic regions containing genes associated with weight gain in the Nelore breed. Some of these hadn’t been reported in the scientific literature, even for other breeds of beef cattle,” said Diercles Cardoso, a postdoctoral fellow of São Paulo State University’s Agrarian & Veterinary Science School.

“Four of these regions are classified as signatures of selection and are in chromosome 14, which was already known to contain genes for growth in the bovine genome,” Cardoso explained. “However, we identified two other signatures in chromosome 16. This was somewhat unexpected. It may be that genes in these two regions are associated specifically with growth traits in Nelore cattle and therefore offer immense potential for improvement of the breed in terms of weight gain.”

Cardoso is lead author of an article published in the journal Genetics Selection Evolution presenting the results of his Ph.D. research, which was supervised by Professor Humberto Tonhati. The identification of the genes began with the collection of blood samples from animals belonging to three Nelore selection lines maintained under an experimental program run by APTA’s Beef Cattle Center at Sertãozinho, São Paulo State. The program was set up in 1980 to show producers the benefits of selection for growth traits and evaluate the economic benefits of selection for growth on the overall productivity of beef cattle herds. One of the three lines is a control and is not subjected to selection for weight gain. In the other two, known as Nelore Selection and Nelore Traditional, sires that perform best in weight gain tests are selected annually for reproduction. Every year, between three and eight of the best bulls are used for reproduction in the lines selected for weight gain (Selection and Traditional).

The FAPESP scholarship holder used blood samples from 782 animals born between 2004 and 2012—92 from the control line, 192 from the Selection line, and 498 from the Traditional line. The samples were processed in the laboratory to extract DNA and then submitted to genotyping, a process that examines the individual’s DNA sequence to identify markers of genetic variation through single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).

Using SNP chips, Cardoso analyzed DNA from all sampled animals and compared the genotypes of animals in the control line with those of animals in the other two lines using three independent methods. The first identified 48 genomic regions that displayed signs of being linked to weight gain functions. The second and third methods identified only seven and 17 regions, respectively.

Cardoso compared the three sets of results and arrived at six regions that were identified by at least two of the methods. These were the six signatures of selection found to be associated with the animals’ weight. He now plans to study the functions of the genes in these regions in search of evidence that they are indeed associated with growth in Nelore cattle.

Taurine and indicine

All types of cattle breed belong to same species, Bos primigenius, which is divided into two subspecies, B. primigenius taurus (taurine) and B. primigenius indicus (indicine, zebu or humped). Animals of the former subspecies are better adapted to climates with harsh winters, as they gain weight in warm months, accumulating reserves to survive until winter is over and green pasture returns.

The Nelore cattle, which makes for 80 percent of all cattle reared in Brazil, belongs to the indicine subspecies. B. primigenius indicus originated in India, located in the tropics—that explains Nelore cattle’s well-succeded adaptation to Brazilian climate.

The other side of the coin is that being a tropical breed and not needing to gain weight in order to survive the mild winters in the tropics, Nelore is naturally lean and gains less weight than taurine breeds. Hence the need to find specific genes responsible for weight gain in Nelore.

The study was conducted under the aegis of the Thematic Project “Genomic tools for genetic improvement of economically important traits in Nelore cattle”. As its coordinator, Albuquerque said that the project allowed for the deployment of a database for genotyped animals, including data on traits associated with beef quality. “Enhanced quality of beef cattle means meat that’s more tender and has more marbling, which is intramuscular fat, the intermingling or dispersion of fat within the lean, making the meat tastier. Brazilian beef is very lean because most beef cattle are free-range, allowed to graze in open pasture rather than being fattened in feedlots, and also because until now the Nelore breed hasn’t been selected for meat quality. These traits need to be improved.”

Between 2011 and early 2017, the Thematic Project invested in studies designed to help improve meat quality and enhance Nelore food efficiency—the capacity to convert food into weight gain.

“The idea is to obtain an animal that eats less, gains weight faster and produces high-quality meat. At the end of the project, we’d genotyped over 8,000 animals and measured a range of economically important traits such as food and reproductive efficiency, as well as meat quality,” said the coordinator for the FAPESP-funded project.

Explore further:
Genetic study investigates ways to increase productivity and tenderness of meat

More information:
Diercles F. Cardoso et al, Genome-wide scan reveals population stratification and footprints of recent selection in Nelore cattle, Genetics Selection Evolution (2018). DOI: 10.1186/s12711-018-0381-2

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Live Cattle and Feeder Cattle Basis – Drovers Magazine

Most agricultural commodities are traded on the cash market in some form or fashion whether that is taking feeder cattle to the local auction market or hauling corn to the local grain elevator. Similarly, most of these same commodities are traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) in the form of futures contracts. Thus, there is a cash market and a futures market trading simultaneously throughout the year for the same commodity. However, the price of the futures contract is rarely exactly the same as the local cash price being offered, and the difference between the cash and futures contract price is different depending on one’s location. The difference between the cash price and the futures price is known as basis (cash minus futures equal basis).

Why does basis matter, and what does it mean for me? Please continue reading.

The futures market is supposed to provide a broader view of the underlying fundamentals in a market. In other words, the futures market is evaluating the current supply and demand situation as well as evaluating the future supply and demand situation of a commodity. When expectations are brought into the equation, market prices change based on those expectations. However, local cash markets may have a slightly different supply and demand situation than the broader market which subsequently influences the cash price received resulting in the basis value.

Basis has been at the forefront of many cattle industry participants minds the past couple of months due to the extremely wide basis in live/finished cattle. Live cattle futures has contracts for February, April, June, August, October and December. As the market moves closer to the end of a contract, the cash price and the futures price should converge. However, that is not always the case, and what about a situation when it is the first of May and the closest contract is the June contract? The figure included with this article illustrates monthly live cattle basis for 2018 and the monthly five year average basis (2013-2017). As can be seen in the figure, the basis in March and April of 2018 has been extremely strong relative to previous years which mean futures contracts are selling at a heavier discount in 2018 than in the previous five years. 

Basis for live cattle tends to be strongest in May. The strong basis in May occurs for a couple of reasons. The first reason is strong beef demand as grilling season starts. The second reason is because the June futures contract is pricing in the increased supply of finished cattle that will be coming to market in June. This increase in supply is largely due to calf-fed animals placed on feed in the fourth quarter of the previous year. Thus, June futures typically sell at a large discount relative to cash live cattle trade in May.

The accompanying graph depicts the strong May basis the past five years. However, May basis the first couple of weeks in 2018 was closer to $20 per hundredweight which is more than double the five year average. This record setting basis was spurred by strong beef demand and futures traders with a fear that a mountain of beef is on the horizon. By the time this article is published, cattle market participants may know if the mountain of beef has arrived or if the mountain is more of a mole hill.

The strong basis promotes cattle feeders to market inventory in the near term as opposed to in the future because the expectation is for cash prices to decline. Thus, moving from the month of May to June, the futures market is insinuating finished cattle prices will decline about $20. However, convergence of the cash price and the futures price is more likely to come from a decline in cash prices and an increase in futures prices. Which one moves the most is yet to be determined.


This price action is important to feeder cattle producers because cattle feeders have to purchase feeder cattle based on the price expectation of live cattle five to seven months down the road. If the previous six months are any indication of the next six months then live cattle futures will continue to be severely discounted until close to the expiration of the futures contract which will soften feeder cattle prices.

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Short-covering Boosts CME Live Cattle Futures; Hogs Higher – Drovers Magazine

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures closed higher on Thursday after short-covering and fund buying reversed the previous session’s losses, said traders.

In a trading strategy known as bull spreads, traders bought June and simultaneously sold deferred months, stirred by firmer wholesale beef values and future’s discount to expected cash prices this week.

June live cattle closed 1.850 cents per pound higher at 107.525 cents, and above the 10-day moving average of 106.125 cents. August ended 0.925 cent higher at 104.300 cents.

Packer bids for slaughter-ready, or cash, cattle in the U.S. Plains were $119 to $122 per cwt against up to $128 asking prices. On Wednesday, a small number of cash cattle in Nebraska brought $119 to $121.

Last week’s overall cash cattle trade in the Plains was $118 to $128 per cwt.

Bullish futures investors were encouraged by the resumption of higher wholesale beef prices amid spring grilling and ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Lighter weekly cattle weights suggest feedlots are actively moving animals to market on schedule, or current, to avoid them backing up amid forecasts for increased supplies ahead, they said.

“Our cattle are extremely current. So we’re holding out for steady-or-better prices than last week,” a Plains feedlot source said.

Technical buying and higher live cattle futures rallied CME’s feeder cattle contracts.

May closed 1.450 cents per pound higher at 138.600 cents. 

Hogs Close Mostly Higher

Firmer cash and wholesale pork prices and short-covering landed most CME lean hogs months in bullish trading territory, traders said.

Some investors bought deferred months and sold May ahead of its expiration on Monday, they added. CME May closed 0.450 cent per pound lower at 65.475 cents. Most actively traded June ended up 0.750 cent at 77.325 cents. July closed 0.475 cent higher at 78.075 cents, and above the 20-day moving average of 77.825. A few packers have enough hogs for the rest of the week, but others need hogs for next week while taking advantage of their profitable margins and improved pork demand, a trader said.

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Georgia cattle auction summary – High Plains Journal

The summary of livestock auctions in Georgia for the week ending April 13 totaled 8,514 head selling, compared to 8,395 head a week ago and 9,950 head last year, according to the USDA-Georgia Department of Agriculture Market News, Thomasville, Georgia.

Compared to a week ago, slaughter cows were selling steady to $1 higher, slaughter bulls were selling mostly steady. Feeder steers and feeder heifers were selling steady to $3 higher. Feeder bulls were selling steady to $2 higher, steer calves, bull calves and heifer calves were trading steady to $3 higher, replacement cows were selling steady to $2 higher. The offering included 16% steers slaughter cows, 3% slaughter bulls, 12% feeders over 600 pounds, 60% feeders under 600 pounds, 9% feeder cows, 11% feeder steers, 30% feeder heifers and 31% feeder bulls.

Slaughter cows: Breakers 75 to 80% lean, 1160 to 1395 lbs., 54.00 to 60.00 (57.03); 1100 to 1375 lbs., 61.00 to 65.00 (62.63) high dressing; 1205 to 1390 lbs., 52.00 to 54.00 (53.33) low dressing; 1400 to 1860 lbs., 54.00 to 60.00 (56.32); 1400 to 1750 lbs., 62.00 to 66.00 (64.12) high dressing; 1450 to 1750 lbs., 52.00 to 54.00 (52.48) low dressing. Boners 80 to 85% lean, 905 to 1385 lbs., 58.00 to 65.00 (61.41); 915 to 1360 lbs., 67.00 to 71.00 (68.58) high dressing; 995 to 1370 lbs., 50.00 to 57.00 (54.17) low dressing; 1400 to 1880 lbs., 58.00 to 65.00 (60.62); 1415 to 1730 lbs., 50.00 to 57.00 (54.77) low dressing. Lean 85 to 90% lean, 800 to 1395 lbs., 51.00 to 58.00 (54.34); 890 to 1185 lbs., 59.00 to 63.00 (60.36) high dressing; 800 to 1280 lbs., 42.00 to 49.00 (46.07) low dressing.

Slaughter bulls: Yield grade 1, 1050 to 1490 lbs., 82.00 to 89.00 (84.99); 1000 to 1425 lbs., 89.00 to 94.00 (91.09) high dressing; 1000 to 1480 lbs., 73.00 to 80.00 (76.69) low dressing; 1510 to 2205 lbs., 82.00 to 89.00 (85.53); 1515 to 1970 lbs., 91.00 to 95.00 (92.95) high dressing; 1500 to 2200 lbs., 73.00 to 80.00 (76.70) low dressing.

Feeder steers: Medium and large frame 1, 350 to 390 lbs., 172.00 to 178.00 (173.74); 400 to 445 lbs., 162.00 to 170.00 (164.64); 450 to 490 lbs., 156.00 to 165.00 (160.68); 500 to 548 lbs., 147.00 to 156.00 (152.60); 550 to 595 lbs., 142.00 to 150.00 (144.85); 600 to 645 lbs., 137.00 to 143.00 (139.93); 650 to 690 lbs., 129.00 to 135.00 (130.61); 710 to 740 lbs., 122.00 to 129.00 (125.76); 755 to 799 lbs., 120.00 to 124.00 (121.98). Medium and large frame 2, 300 to 349 lbs., 170.00 to 175.00 (172.52); 355 to 385 lbs., 163.00 to 170.00 (167.64); 400 to 445 lbs., 156.00 to 163.00 (160.44); 455 to 495 lbs., 149.00 to 155.00 (152.72); 500 to 545 lbs., 140.00 to 150.00 (145.90); 550 to 596 lbs., 133.00 to 140.00 (135.13); 605 to 645 lbs., 130.00 to 135.00 (133.02); 652 to 680 lbs., 120.00 to 126.00 (123.80). Medium and large frame 3, 305 to 340 lbs., 160.00 to 168.00 (166.54); 355 to 396 lbs., 157.00 to 162.00 (159.09); 450 to 495 lbs., 140.00 to 148.00 (143.70); 510 to 540 lbs., 130.00 to 137.00 (134.30); 600 to 640 lbs., 120.00 to 129.00 (124.30).

Feeder heifers: Medium and large frame 1, 210 to 245 lbs., 155.00 to 160.00 (157.69); 255 to 290 lbs., 150.00 to 156.00 (153.80); 300 to 345 lbs., 147.00 to 152.00 (150.02); 355 to 398 lbs., 142.00 to 150.00 (146.06); 400 to 449 lbs., 138.00 to 145.00 (141.62); 450 to 495 lbs., 132.00 to 140.00 (134.66); 500 to 548 lbs., 128.00 to 135.00 (131.20); 550 to 595 lbs., 124.00 to 130.00 (126.73); 600 to 645 lbs., 120.00 to 126.00 (122.60); 650 to 699 lbs., 115.00 to 120.00 (117.56); 700 to 745 lbs., 114.00 to 118.00 (116.88). Medium and large frame 2, 255 to 295 lbs., 144.00 to 150.00 (146.91); 301 to 345 lbs., 139.00 to 147.00 (142.89); 350 to 395 lbs., 136.00 to 142.00 (138.83); 400 to 445 lbs., 130.00 to 139.00 (133.35); 450 to 495 lbs., 125.00 to 131.00 (128.10); 500 to 545 lbs., 122.00 to 128.00 (125.39); 550 to 595 lbs., 120.00 to 125.00 (121.67); 600 to 645 lbs., 112.00 to 120.00 (116.81); 660 to 680 lbs., 111.00 to 115.00 (113.47); 755 to 790 lbs., 100.00 to 106.00 (103.86). Medium and large frame 3, 255 to 295 lbs., 137.00 to 145.00 (141.10); 350 to 398 lbs., 125.00 to 135.00 (130.62); 400 to 445 lbs., 122.00 to 127.00 (124.72); 455 to 495 lbs., 116.00 to 125.00 (120.46); 500 to 545 lbs., 112.00 to 119.00 (116.86); 555 to 590 lbs., 110.00 to 115.00 (112.79); 600 to 645 lbs., 104.00 to 110.00 (107.72); 650 to 695 lbs., 100.00 to 105.00 (102.56).

Feeder bulls: Medium and large frame 1, 255 to 295 lbs., 179.00 to 185.00 (181.09); 300 to 345 lbs., 172.00 to 180.00 (175.10); 350 to 395 lbs., 165.00 to 175.00 (169.05); 400 to 445 lbs., 157.00 to 165.00 (160.47); 450 to 495 lbs., 150.00 to 160.00 (154.56); 500 to 545 lbs., 140.00 to 150.00 (145.35); 550 to 599 lbs., 134.00 to 142.00 (137.89); 600 to 645 lbs., 132.00 to 135.00 (133.13). Medium and large frame 2, 250 to 295 lbs., 167.00 to 177.00 (173.08); 300 to 345 lbs., 162.00 to 170.00 (166.11); 355 to 395 lbs., 155.00 to 165.00 (159.46); 400 to 445 lbs., 147.00 to 157.00 (152.00); 455 to 497 lbs., 140.00 to 150.00 (144.36); 500 to 546 lbs., 132.00 to 140.00 (135.93); 550 to 595 lbs., 126.00 to 135.00 (130.11); 600 to 648 lbs., 120.00 to 128.00 (123.56); 650 to 695 lbs., 112.00 to 120.00 (116.43); 700 to 745 lbs., 110.00 to 115.00 (112.98); 755 to 795 lbs., 107.00 to 112.00 (109.19). Medium and large frame 3, 255 to 295 lbs., 155.00 to 165.00 (159.90); 300 to 345 lbs., 148.00 to 157.00 (152.83); 355 to 395 lbs., 142.00 to 150.00 (147.29); 400 to 445 lbs., 137.00 to 145.00 (141.04); 450 to 498 lbs., 130.00 to 140.00 (134.54); 500 to 545 lbs., 124.00 to 132.00 (128.50); 555 to 598 lbs., 120.00 to 126.00 (123.04); 600 to 645 lbs., 110.00 to 120.00 (114.93); 705 to 745 lbs., 103.00 to 110.00 (107.07).

Bred cows: Medium and large frame 1 to 2, per head, 905 to 1055 lbs., 7 to 9 months bred 1025.00 to 1125.00 (1071.17); 1140 to 1190 lbs., 4 to 6 months bred 1000.00 to 1225.00 (1113.28); 1430 to 1465 lbs., 7 to 9 months bred 1050.00 to 1300.00 (1149.70). Medium and large frame 2 to 3, per head, 915 to 1010 lbs., 1 to 3 months bred 600.00 to 800.00 (684.41); 960 to 1090 lbs., 4 to 6 months bred 700.00 to 975.00 (829.76); 900 to 1050 lbs., 7 to 9 months bred 800.00 to 1050.00 (909.42); 1130 to 1190 lbs., 1 to 3 months bred 750.00 to 825.00 (788.47); 1100 to 1180 lbs., 4 to 6 months bred 675.00 to 925.00 (813.58); 1100 to 1195 lbs., 7 to 9 months bred 775.00 to 1075.00 (914.42); 1225 to 1285 lbs., 4 to 6 months bred 825.00 to 1100.00 (939.08); 1210 to 1295 lbs., 7 to 9 months bred 775.00 to 900.00 (839.62); 1315 to 1320 lbs., 4 to 6 months bred 700.00 to 840.00 (770.13); 1330 to 1395 lbs., 7 to 9 months bred 800.00 to 975.00 (885.41).

Pairs: Medium and large frame 1 to 2, 1150 to 1180 lbs., 1375.00 to 1450.00 (1412.02); 1250 to 1290 lbs., 1250.00 to 1325.00 (1274.87); 1300 to 1495 lbs., 1250.00 to 1500.00 (1358.35); 1500 to 1685 lbs., 1250.00 to 1550.00 (1376.37). Medium and large frame 2 to 3, 1000 to 1020 lbs., 880.00 to 1000.00 (919.90); 1100 to 1150 lbs., 610.00 to 825.00 (715.11); 1205 to 1295 lbs., 1000.00 to 1200.00 (1086.48); 1310 to 1495 lbs., 1000.00 to 1200.00 (1101.81).

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Cattle rescued from barn fire – KCRG

DELHI, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) — A Delhi man had to evacuate his cattle barn during a fire Tuesday night. Multiple fire departments were called to 2403 Omega Road around 10 p.m.

Larry Shover, the homeowner, says he believes the fire started in his shop building and then quickly spread. He says the buildings are likely a total loss.

Shover said thinks he was able to safely get all of his cattle out of the barn in time.

Authorities have not determined how the fire started.

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Y. Hata, Kunoa Cattle Company team up to launch local beef line –

PUHI — The locally grown and produced beef is finally here.

During a recent invitation-only launch event at the Grove Farm Company, it was announced that Y. Hata, a locally owned and Hawaii-
based broadline food service wholesale distributor, was selected to support the recently honored Mana Up awardee Kunoa Cattle Company in launching its local beef production line on Kauai.

“We are pleased to announce the launch of a trilateral partnership to support the local community and create food sustainability on Kauai,” said Kurt Osaki, a Y. Hata brand and marketing consultant.

Kunoa Cattle Company is a Kauai-based ranch with the state’s largest USDA-inspected harvesting facility located on Oahu. The term “kunoa” translates to “stand free.” The company was also named “Best New Business” in 2017 by the Pacific Edge magazine, and was a selection in Mana Up’s inaugural cohort of 10 businesses.

Bob Farias, a Kunoa co-founder, said Kunoa currently ranches about 2,000 head of cattle on about 4,000 acres of land on Kauai and Oahu. He is a third generation rancher who combines progressive grazing practices with Hawaii’s paniolo traditions as a steward of the land.

“We have great ranchers,” Farias said. “Nearly all of the beef consumed in Hawaii is imported. But there was no way to finance the processing plant we needed to get our beef to the next level of delivery. No one wanted to own a processing plant. All that existed were slaughter houses which was limited in what we could do. That’s when we met Jack Beuttell who brought a business sense to the industry.”

The goal of the arrangement is to elevate food sustainability, not just on Kauai, but potentially for the state by being the leader in best practices for ranching, harvesting, processing and distribution in Hawaii, and beyond, said Jim Cremins, the Y. Hata chief of operations.

“We deal with Y. Hata a lot,” Farias said. “They really first heard about Kunoa through our Beef Bars. In the first four months, they couldn’t keep enough of it. The Kunoa Beef Bar with original seasonings is made with 100 percent Hawaii-
raised beef, spending their entire life in Hawaii with no added hormones, or antibiotics, ever.”

Kunoa Cattle Company incorporates a sustainable systems approach to its business that incorporates holistic planned grazing, animal welfare technology, renewable energy, and nose-to-tail whole animal utilization. Kunoa models produce a high quality, healthier, and consistent product for the consumer.

“This is fantastic,” said Michael Young, executive chef for the Sheraton Kauai Resort. “We currently have a locally produced beef supplier, but this is a great option to have. It’s exciting to see another outfit filling the need for locally produced beef.”

Russell Hata, president and CEO of Y. Hata, said for the past 105 years, Y. Hata has dedicated its business to serve the people of Hawaii, and to be the distributor of choice by offering the best food service solutions and value to its customers.

“We are excited about the partnership with Kunoa because we share similar values and common goals,” Hata said. “Kunoa Cattle Company has made an impressive commitment. We are selling his mission, and this is exciting to see the island take another step in food sustainability.”

Beuttell, a co-founder and CEO of Kunoa Cattle Company, also was pleased.

“Partnerships and collaborations are what will move us from net food importers to net food exporters,” Beuttell said. “Hawaii has amazing natural resources and talent to produce world-class food products. We’re excited to team up with Y. Hata to show the globe that Hawaii can produce beef worth writing home about.”


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or

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Commonsense Cattle Handling –

A decade ago, Ron Gill learned firsthand how cattle handling could affect the well-being of livestock.

At the time, the Gill family – Ron, wife Debbie, and brother Richard – had as one of the ranch enterprises a business of preconditioning calves. The calves were acquired at sale barns and delivered to receiving lots at one of the ranches that was then a part of Gill Cattle Company in north-central Texas.

Because of respiratory disease, the Gills were treating 20% of the cattle. Illness turned chronic in 1.6% of the calves, and the death loss was 2.7%.The 60-day average daily gain was 2.6 pounds per head.

“I knew we could do better,” says Gill, a livestock specialist for Texas AgriLife Extension.

Simple Changes Make Big Impact

They decided to change the way they handled the cattle, to see whether or not it would make a difference in health.

It had been their practice to vaccinate calves upon arrival. “Instead, we put newly arrived calves in a receiving pen,” says Gill. “Of course, they’d be excited and run around. Our goal was to calm them down.”

Standing or moving quietly in the pen with the calves, a handler would let the calves pass by. At first, the calves would rush. After 30 to 45 minutes of the handler’s quiet presence and slow movement, the calves stopped rushing and began walking calmly past the handler.

“We could just see them relax,” says Gill.

The calves then went to a pen with feed and water. Processing occurred the next day. Afterward, handlers quieted the calves, again by letting them pass by a person in the pen.

“Just doing those simple things made all the difference in the world,” says Gill.

Rate of gain increased to 2.9 pounds per head per day. Treatment rate for respiratory disease was reduced to 5%, and the death loss dropped to 0.7%. No cattle became chronically sick.

Calming the calves upon arrival seemed to give the animals the confidence needed to begin eating, rather than staying off feed.

“When stressed, cattle don’t eat and they get sick, because they’re not getting the energy needed to fuel their immune systems,” says Gill.

The improved health of the calves as a result of better handling shows, of course, how significantly human behavior can impact the well-being of livestock. The experience affirmed for the Gills that they were on the right track with the changes they were also making in their handling of cows.

“I was fortunate to grow up around some great stockmen, but I have also studied handling clinician Bud Williams. As a result, we began to make subtle changes in the way we worked cattle in the corrals,” says Gill. “For starters, we made sure there was no yelling, no whips, and very little noise while we were working cattle.”

They also began paying more attention to each person’s physical position relative to that of the cattle.

“You have to be in the right position to set cattle up to go where you want them to go before you apply pressure,” says Gill, now a cattle-handling clinician himself. “Creating and managing movement is the key to the low-stress handling of cattle.” Direction of desired travel determines the right position for the handler, who gets the cattle to go in the right direction by moving in and out of an animal’s flight zone and past their point of balance.

The flight zone is the animal’s radius of perceived safety, and the range of the radius varies by individual animal. When a handler steps near or into this zone, the animal begins to move or turn, depending upon the handler’s position relative to the animal’s point of balance.

The point of balance varies, too, by individual animal. In general, the animal expresses the balance point when the handler passes its shoulder. A handler’s stance to the side and slightly behind this point will cause the animal to move.

If the handler stands at a sharp angle toward the rear of the animal, this position could potentially stop forward movement. If the handler steps into the blind spot directly behind an animal, it may turn toward the rear in order to see more clearly what is behind.

“Cattle can be easily controlled from the front if they are not afraid of a human,” says Gill. “Working from the front helps keep cattle from wanting to turn back in an effort to keep you in their line of sight. By moving in and out of the flight zone and point of balance, cattle can be easily drawn forward and past you to get them to go where you need them to go.”

Ways To Change

As Gill works with cattle producers to help improve their handling skills, he suggests making the following five changes.

Adopt an open attitude. “Assess what happens when you handle cattle and embrace the idea that there could be a better way to do things,” he notes. “People often become so steeped in tradition that they resist change.”

Spend time with cattle. Spending time out in the pasture acclimating cattle to your presence pays off. “You have to teach, condition, and prepare cattle for working,” says Gill.

Observe behavior. A study of livestock reveals flight zone and point of balance. “It is the responsibility of each handler to be able to read and to determine where these points are on each animal,” he says.

Apply pressure at the right time. If cattle are set up to go where you want them to go and you’re in the right position, the time is right for applying pressure. 

“Low-stress livestock handling is not about handling cattle with no pressure,” says Gill. “In fact, you might have to apply a lot of pressure, as long as it’s at the right time.”

This could be especially true in the case of handling unusually quiet cattle with a small flight zone.

Fix problem areas. “Think about where you have trouble getting cattle to do something,” he says. “Figure out why they don’t want to go in a certain direction. It could be, for instance, because of poor lighting or something in the design of the facilities that needs changing. Figure out what’s causing the problem. More often than not, it comes back to the improper location of people.”

Rating Cattle

Classifying how your cattle behave can help you determine whether their bad attitude was a one-time occurrence or if the animal needs to be monitored further for possible culling.

1 = Docile. Gentle; handles quietly; slightly elevated respiration.

2 = More Active. Elevated respirations but settles down after joining the group once again.

3 = Constant Movement. Occasionally bumps fences and gates; only settles down after several minutes of returning to the group.

4 = Flighty. Agitated by handling and avoids handlers; bumps into gates and fences; always seems to watch handlers when approaching the group.

5 = Aggressive. Bumps gates and fences and might be willing to challenge handlers; attempts to jump fences and gates.

6 = Very Aggressive. Very aggressive toward handlers; jumps and bellows while in the chute. Exits chute frantically and may still exhibit aggressive behavior.

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Ron Gill

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