Regarding the May issue story, “Clubbing Clubmoss,” on page 34: So what's not to like about chiseling club moss range? You stand to get up to twice, maybe more, the amount of forage originally available.

To chisel range, first loosen the springs on the cultivator shanks so they can skitter around buried and half buried rocks. This saves time and money on the repair bill. Once over, and no more than 2 in. deep, will get you below the club moss roots and give the most return for your money.

I had most of my range chiseled years ago. I had two 20-ft. swipes made around the entire acreage. I skipped 20 ft., and then another two rounds. Initially, I planned to chisel the unbroken strips another year but after seeing the cows' reluctance to travel distances on the rough land, I didn't touch them.

My cows disliked walking on the newly chiseled stuff because of uneven footing. I didn't like riding a horse over it for the same reason, and I hated to drive across it with a pickup.

In addition, the forage grew taller and ranker and my cows soon preferred the shorter grass on the unchiselled strips. But, I increased the carrying capacity of my pastures, the cows came in in good flesh in the fall and weaning weights were heavier, as well.

Possibly, the released nitrogen from the ripped-out decaying sod strips was responsible for the less tasty forage. I've read where that could be a possibility.

Where I had fall and spring chiseling side by side, the responses that initial year always favored the fall chiseling. It may have had to do with the loosened sod and torn roots of the newly greening-up grasses.

Utilizing the strips not chiseled for walking, my cows spread to far corners of the pasture. Maybe they would have had it all been chiseled, but I had three or four, 50-acre worked-up pieces that appeared undergrazed in the middles.

One thing more. The chisel furrows will hold a lot of runoff water.
John Barton
Saco, MT

Packers Shouldn't Feed

In response to the June issue letter, “The Proof Is In The Price,” on page 10: Yes, supply and demand work. But when supply is not as tight or is near capacity on the kill floor and packers have cattle in the feedlots to meet their needs, they then can drive down the price.

Last year, packers pulled ahead their inventory to keep up with demand, then ran short in the fall. The drought caused some of the short supply of cattle and the Atkins Diet helped increase demand.

Also, the packer was bringing in massive amounts of cattle from Canada. When the border shut down, they lost that avenue, and the market exploded.

We need packers out of the feeding business so we can maintain the real price we should be paid.
Randy Burnison
Alpena, SD

A Top-Notch Resource

I have used Rodney Preston's “Typical Composition Of Feeds For Cattle and Sheep” (see the 2004 version in May BEEF, page 20) for years in my teaching and professional efforts. I have found them to be the one of the best resources available. I would like to include these tables in my lecture syllabus for my students in my “Animal Nutrition and Feeding” course.
Clinton H. Parsons, Ph.D., PAS
TCU Ranch Management Program
Texas Christian University
Fort Worth, TX

Editor's Note: The table and preamble can be downloaded by going to www.beef-mag.com and clicking on the “Producer's Library” button located in the black bar near the top of the opening page. Then, click on “2004 Feed Composition Guide.”

Great Job, Producers

Thank you for pointing out the effectiveness of the “Beef. It's What's For Dinner®” ad (“For the second consecutive year, the ‘Beef. It's What's For Dinner’ checkoff campaign has won an EFFIE”) in the June issue of BEEF (page 42).

We raise beef and had I not spent some time in large metropolitan areas (Los Angeles, Houston, Austin, Denver, Salt Lake City), I would not have had much of a perspective on how important and effective drilling the beef message to the urban public continues to be. Urbanites are constantly bombarded with messages. A good, concise message repeated on a regular basis is something consumers will remember, believe and reflect in purchases at the store.

I also do the grocery shopping for my household. The repetition of the “Beef. It's What's For Dinner” line on recipe cards and packaging is pure gold in enticing consumers to pick up the package and put it in the cart.

Hooray for every producer that is willing to make the industry commitment to build demand through good, long-term advertising paid by our check-off program.
Allison Florance
Great Falls, MT

Stewards Honored

Seven regional winners in the 14th annual National Environmental Stewardship Award Program have been announced. An overall honoree will be announced at the Cattle Industry Annual Convention in February 2005 in San Antonio, TX.

The regional honorees include:

  • Region 1: McElhaney Stock Farm, Hookstown, PA.

  • Region 2: Williamson Cattle Co., Okeechobee, FL.

  • Region 3: White Family Farms, Estherville, IA.

  • Region 4: Chain Land and Cattle Co., Canton, OK.

  • Region 5: Barthelmess Ranch, Malta, MT.

  • Region 6: DC Cattle Co., Globe, AZ.

  • Region 7: Gerald Roise Ranch, Powers Lake, ND.

The program is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and administered by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.