Ag Connection
Your link to the Universities for ag extension and research information

Volume 8, Number 10
October  2002


This Month in Ag Connection



Hay Market Listing

If you have hay to sell, click here to view hay market web site. 

(Author: Don Day,
Ag. Eng./Info. Tech. Spec.)




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BOA Injection Site Recommendation Changes

In the early 1990’s, the cattle industry began to move to Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) protocols that are now in wide spread use. Injection site lesions were one of the main problems addressed. The effort was very successful with beef quality audits showing a reduction of injection lesions in the top butt, round and loin. The preferred injection site introduced in the early 90’s is shown in the larger triangle in the figure below.

The food industry has introduced new cuts utilizing the chuck and switched to a modified atmosphere (MA) packaging process for case-ready meats. The MA packaging contains 80% oxygen and 20% carbon dioxide mixture, which can cause a green discoloration of meat close to the injection site. To remedy this marketing problem, the BQA program is promoting the smaller injection area triangle shown in white.

(Author: Mark Stewart, Livestock Specialist)

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Web Survey Collects Farm Opinions on Biosecurity

Do agricultural producers think a bioterrorist attack might strike water, livestock, crops or the U.S. food supply? How can they prepare for or respond to such incidents? The Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) will provide homeland security education for farm and non-farm industries and individuals to answer these types of questions.

A web-based survey will ask producers across the country for their opinions on such biosecurity and agroterrorism topics. The producer survey results will guide what types of educational programs should be offered on agricultural biosecurity. The EDEN project will help measure agricultural producers’ perceptions about biosecurity issues on the farm.

To take the survey, producers may visit the EDEN web site at and click on “Homeland Security Surveys,” then click on “Survey of Ag and Horticulture Producers". The survey is anonymous, takes less than ten minutes, and needs to be completed by the end of November. For producers without web access, stop by your local Extension office.

(Author: David Baker, Assistant Director, Ag. Extension, University of Missouri)

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Reducing Stress on Calves at Weaning

Physical, environmental, nutritional and social stresses commonly impact calves at weaning. Traditional weaning systems typically stack two or more of the stressors together and cause problems with reduced calf health and performance.

When designing weaning programs to reduce the number of stressors occurring at once, consider the following:

Physical stress factors (castration, dehorning, vaccinations) should be completed prior to weaning. 

Environmental stress can be reduced by leaving the calves on the pasture where they are and moving the cows. This can reduce respiratory ailments associated with dusty or muddy lots. 

Good quality pasture can minimize nutritional stress by providing a familiar feed source.

Social stress can be reduced by not mixing groups of calves until after weaning. Giving calves fence line contact with their dams will also reduce the levels of social stress. This management strategy may require the use of electric fence and having cattle trained to respect electric fences.

(Author: Mark Stewart, Livestock Specialist)

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Pasture Weaning to Reduce Stress on Calves

Pasture weaning offers a low-stress alternative to conventional drylot weaning programs. In a pasture weaning program, it is important to have high quality pasture available at weaning. For fall weaned calves, hay field re-growth or stockpiled fescue provide excellent choices for pasture weaning. 

The idea that weaning fences need to be five feet high and “chicken tight” applies to traditional drylot weaning programs where calves are looking for a way to escape multiple stressors.

With pasture weaning, three-strand electrified hi-tensile fences have been used very successfully. For cattle with limited exposure to electric fence, a pasture with either woven wire perimeter or at least five electrified wires will probably be required for weaning. Adding an offset hot wire to an existing 4 or 5 strand barbed-wire fence may also serve to keep calves in place. 

‘Across-fence weaning' reduces social stress by allowing the dam and calf visual and scent contact.

(Dr. Jim Gerrish, Assistant Professor, Forage Systems Research Center)

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Improving Pig Performance to Reduce Feed Costs

To optimize pig performance, monitor the following feed quality issues:

Particle size should be kept between 700 and 800 microns. When they first begin to monitor particle size, many producers find they are feeding a diet with a particle size of 1000 microns or more. A larger particle size reduces feed efficiency. Grinder management is the key to reducing particle size.
Diet formulation needs to be evaluated to ensure unnecessary ingredients are removed and specific nutrients are not being ‘over fed’. Adjust diets to account for ‘new crop’ corn problems. Watch for mycotoxins – they may be more prevalent this year.
Adjusting feeders properly reduces feed wastage by requiring pigs to work the agitators to get adequate feed flow. Feeder troughs that are ¼ to ½ full, waste feed!

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Market Weight Management

As the hog market and feed prices fluctuate producers need to determine their optimal market weight. The table below indicates at low hog prices and high feed costs, economic efficiencies may be obtained by marketing at lower weights. Remember – these tables only account for feed costs – other costs are not included.

Historically shackle space has become limited in November and December. Schedule shackle well in advance!

Advantage Of Feeding A Hog From
230 - 280 Pounds If Feed Efficiency Is 3.8

$/Ton of Feed







Mkt. Hog Value

Net Gain/Head, $





























(Authors: Marcia Carlson, Assistant Professor, Animal Science, UMC; Tom Fangman, Veterinary Swine Specialist, UMC; Mark Stewart, Livestock Specialist)

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Taxation Tidbit: Annual Gift Exclusion Increased for 2002

The annual gift exclusion has been limited to $10,000 for a number of years. Starting in 2002, each person (donor) can give up to $11,000 of assets each calendar year to as many people as they are financially able and willing - without incurring any federal gift tax liability. The annual gift exclusion provides a means of transferring a substantial amount of wealth out of an estate over a relatively short period of time.

Gifts to be eligible for the annual exclusion must be gifts of a “present interest”. In contrast, the transfer of an asset while retaining the right to the income from that property for the remainder of your life is a gift of a future interest and would not qualify for the annual gift exclusion.

See IRS Publication 950, Introduction to Estate and Gift Taxes: 

(Author:  Parman R. Green, Ag Business Specialist)

University of Missouri ExtensionAg Connection - Ag Connection Newsletter,  October 2002 -- Revised: April 20, 2004