“Market Advisor” columnist, Harlan Hughes, finishes up his three-part series on “Increasing your profits” on page 8. With calving season upon us, he says now's the time to record calf birth dates and dam numbers in generating your Herd Calving Distribution Table. The tool can provide a manager a roadmap to improved efficiency.

Many in the industry are celebrating the delay to USDA's plan to open the U.S. border to Canadian cattle less than 30 months of age. But in “Border decision increases risk,” Wes Ishmael writes the move isn't without risk (page 14). It could cement infrastructure change that will make it tougher for the U.S. beef industry to compete down the road.

Improvement is accomplished by doing 100 things 1% better, says Mark Hilton, DVM. In “Three tweaks for better health,” on page 16, he details three small practices in calf vaccination, vaccination timing and parasite control that can add up to large herd health improvements.

“Ranching After 50” is a new monthly column on page 20. Rancher, educator and consultant, Noel McNaughton, aims to illuminate, for those of us more than 50 years of age, the physiologic and mental changes we're experiencing, and perhaps not even aware of. His insights also should prove helpful to the loved ones trying to deal with us.

As it has every year for the past eight, BEEF magazine exclusively presents Rod Preston's annual updated “Feed Composition Tables For Cattle And Sheep.” The 2005 tables (page 48) provide energy, protein, fiber and mineral values on almost 300 different feedstuffs commonly fed to cattle and sheep.

“Cattlemen in South Dakota have figured it out,” says Walt Barnhart in his page 86 commentary, “A new look at labeling.” South Dakota enacted the nation's first, state-certified beef program last month. Barnhart says the label — with its strict standards and a certification to back it up — should serve South Dakota producers well in the market.