On the scene at the 2012 Cattle Convention, Nashville

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More than cattle

Not everything that happens at the Cattle Industry Convention is about cattle. A case in point occurred Thursday at one of the general assemblies. 

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Feed and flies are buzz at Cattle Trade Show

Nothing creates buzz on the National Cattle Industry Convention Trade Show floor like fly control products, and feed additives that reduce the cost of feeding cattle. Here are some hot products from Nashville in both categories.

Natural fly control

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New DNA technology for your beef herd

Up to now, genetic DNA markers to pinpoint cattle that are good in high yearling weights and other valuable traits have been mostly for purebred producers. The $100 per head or higher cost to get a DNA analysis meant that this emerging technology was reserved for elite breeders.

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Selecting cattle for disease resistance

Pop quiz: If you could buy a new herd bull that would “fix” your cow herd in one of these areas, which would you most desire?

A. Marbling score

B. Feedlot average daily gain

C. Feed intake

D. Weaning weight

E. Respiratory disease incidence

F. Carcass yield grade

  My guess is that if you’re a feedlot operator, you’re going to say average daily gain. And if you’re a cow-calf producer, you’re going to say weaning weight.

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Why is beef losing ground to chicken?

Attend enough beef cattle meetings, and you know these numbers by heart: 

1:1

2:1

3.5:1

7:1

Those are the average feed efficiencies, in order, of fish, chickens, pigs, and beef cattle. Yes, fish will gain a pound for every pound of feed they eat. Chickens will convert half of the feed they eat into body weight gain. 

So why does it take 7 pounds of feed to gain a pound on a beef animal?

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Q&A on better grazing

Four grazing specialists fielded questions from a packed room of farmers and ranchers at a Cattle Convention luncheon this week. The four experts were Tom Troxel, John Jennings, and Shane Gadberry from the University of Arkansas, and Bill Hopkin from the Utah grazing improvement association. Here are the highlights:

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