Sep 23, 2014
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Grazing the Net

RSS By: Greg Henderson and Friends, Beef Today

Our editors spend some time roaming the web looking for stuff cattle people and others in agriculture might find useful or entertaining. 

Slaughter-Free Dairy

Jul 23, 2014

It's too early to call this enterprise a trend, but a new dairy option is a concession of sort by some animal activists that they'll never convince the masses to give up meat and dairy. A Pennsylvania dairy now offers milk at $10 a gallon, which includes a $2.50 "cow retirement fee" and a $1.50 fee for "boy calf care." In other words, Gita Nagari Creamery is a slaughter-free dairy – less than half of their 60-cow herd is milked while the rest are "retired" freeloaders.

Such a business model might sound warm and fuzzy to vegans, but it's far from sustainable. If all U.S. dairies became slaughter-free, about four times as many dairy cows – 27 million – would be needed to produce the same amount of milk.

Queen's Horse Fails Drug Test

Estimate, a five-year-old filly owned by Queen Elizabeth II that won the Ascot Gold Cup race last year, has tested positive for a banned drug. Estimate narrowly missed winning the prestigious Ascot Gold Cup race last month, placing second. Buckingham Palace said Estimate tested positive for the painkiller morphine, and initial reports suggest the positive test is the result of consumption of contaminated feed. If officials determine Estimate tested positive after this year's Gold Cup, the horse could be stripped of her second place finish and the Queen would forfeit the approximate $137,000 in prize money.


Fuel For The GMO Debate

Should food containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) be labeled as such? The editorial board of the Des Moines Register thinks so.

At the center of the debate is the fact that consumers want transparency, as Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group, recently told Gannett Company, owners of the Des Moines Register. "We're in the midst of an area of food democracy the likes of which we've never seen," he says. "People want to know everything about their food, what's in it, who made it, where it's from, how it's made. The politicians who are trying to deny people the right to know about their food are running headlong into this sort of brick wall of opposition."

Some commodity groups, including the National Corn Growers Association, have stated they support voluntary labeling if it is consistent, informative and "eliminates confusion and advances food safety."

Is There A Place For Cows In The Future?

Like it or not, for beef production to expand, the economics of the beef cow needs to have a threefold increase in net returns to compete with crop production. To leave land in hay production, the net return for hay needs to double. These are very unlikable thoughts, says North Dakota State University beef specialist Kris Ringwall, but certainly thoughts that will drive the next wave of young agriculturists.

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