Persistent infection (PI) of calves with bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) has received a great deal of attention in recent years, and more and more feedyards, stocker operators and cow-calf producers are testing for PI. But what should be done with cattle that test positive? Kansas feedlot veterinarian Dave Sjeklocha examines the issue and the ethics in “Dealing with PI calves” on page 16.

“At some point, there won't be any reason to buy or mate cattle without knowing the DNA in an animal and the interaction between that DNA and the specific environment and management that will impact it,” says one expert. That future may finally be here, writes Wes Ishmael in his article, “Mating With A Guarantee,” on page 18.

It's an untantalizing prospect, but researchers say factory-grown meat could be the fare in supermarkets and restaurants of the future. Lorne McClinton writes in “Test-Tube Meat” on page 48, that while cattle-free quarter-pounders or chicken-free nuggets may sound like science fiction, researchers are busily working on a scaleable process to make it a reality.

Optimal reproductive performance of two- and three-year-old cows is a challenge for most U.S. cow-calf producers. Clint Peck reports on some supplementation strategies under study at New Mexico State University to increase pregnancy rates of such females while decreasing days to first estrus and maintaining or decreasing costs. See “Strategic Supplementation” on page 54.

When BEEF magazine hosted its 2006 BEEF Quality Summit in Oklahoma City last November, the meeting kicked off with a panel discussion and Q&A session by a trio of men who represented the largest buyers — in volume and value — of U.S. beef. Joe Roybal provides a recap — “Big Beef Buyers,” the second in a series of coverage that appears on page 66.

Swath grazing is growing in popularity as a way to winter-feed cattle and cut costs on the Northern Plains and in the Canadian Prairie Provinces. It involves taking the last growth of the summer hay crop, or a small grain seeded for the purpose, cutting it into swaths, then allowing cattle to graze in the field. Jim Gerrish provides the particulars in “Swath grazing” on page 70.