Welcome to Episode 37 of BCI Cattle Chat! Please click on the links below to be taken to any sources mentioned in the podcast. Keep an eye out for news about our exciting upcoming guests on both Twitter and Facebook.
For more on BCI Cattle Chat, follow us on Twitter @The_BCI, and check out our new website, ksubci.org. If you have any comments/questions/topic ideas, please send them to email@example.com. Don’t forget if you enjoy the show, please go give us a rating in iTunes or Google Play.
Recently, the Beef Cattle Institute (BCI) at Kansas State University (K-State) hosted 22 members from the Department of Housing and Dining Services’ food service management team to learn about beef sustainability.
The tour, “Sustainable Beef 101: Food service professionals,” was intended to teach non-biased beef sustainability information to non-commercial foodservice providers.
“With this information, the Beef Cattle Institute aims to develop long-lasting relationships within the foodservice industry so that there will be ongoing dialogue about beef sustainability which will occur both up and down the supply chain using current scientific information,” said Patti Dollarhide, BCI project director of beef value chain alliances.
Food service professionals are vital to the future of the beef industry. As a land-grant university, K-State has a unique opportunity to help educate its food service professionals on where the beef they serve comes from.
Tour participants first visited K-State’s Stanley Stout Center where they learned the differences in methods of raising and taste of grass-and-grain finished beef. Debbie Lyons-Blythe, owner of Blythe Angus Ranch and Blythe Family Farms in White City, Kansas, and Lee Borck, chairman of Innovative Livestock Services and Beef Marketing Group in Manhattan, Kansas, both members of the BCI’s advisory board, answered the group’s questions. The visitors interacted during a live demonstration of low-stress animal handling at the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry’s Purebred Unit. The tour wrapped up at the Intake Unit where Dr. Bob Weaber, professor of animal science and industry and extension specialist, discussed confined feeding operations. Tour participants were given the opportunity to make their own “cattle casserole,” using ingredients common in cattle feed rations.
Tour participants agreed K-State’s beef production specialists are passionate about both their cattle and their work. The participating food service professionals enjoyed taking photos throughout the day and sharing what they learned about beef sustainability.
The BCI hopes this experience will help K-State’s food service professionals be more knowledgeable when purchasing meat, and help their team be a source of information for campus consumers.
“Our professional management team was excited for the opportunity to learn more about the science and production practices surrounding the beef industry,” said Mary Molt, associate director of K-State Housing and Dining Services. “The continuous quest of ranchers, feeders, and researchers to produce the best quality of beef using the most sustainable practices was especially educational. The program has prepared us to answer questions about the beef we serve. The real-life experience of seeing beef production operations and hearing from so many professionals has given us the accurate information to respond with some authority to the misconceptions we sometimes hear.”
New year, new herd.
Well, maybe not entirely. But here are 10 resolutions to help keep your cattle and your operation in top condition all through 2019. 1: Increase oversight of bulls.
Conduct breeding soundness exams (BSEs) regularly and make sure your bulls are out there doing their job. 2: Keep better records.
Preferably on each individual animal. Not just production and reproduction, but economics and finances, too. 3: Implement a body condition score (BCS) collection system.
Set a target to evaluate and collect scores two to four times per year. 4: Shoot for fewer days of harvested-forage feeding.
Maximize your grazing days. 5: Troubleshoot handling facilities.
Headgate that hangs up? Fences that need mended? Identify your problem areas and get them fixed. 6: Give your facilities a walk through when you’re not working cattle.
Less stress for everyone. 7: Participate in CattleTrace.
Get involved. 8: Have a plan for calving season.
Include dystocia troubleshooting and have your facilities ready for 2019 calves. 9: Implement strategies.
Think grazing management, herd health and calving management. 10: Increase your expert network.
Establish and maintain relationships with industry experts. These might include veterinarians, economists, bankers, geneticists and many others. This list was originally broadcast on the BCI CattleChat podcast. Listen to the episode here.