Lets talk organic...

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by JeffNY, May 20, 2005.

  1. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    You know what makes for a good laugh, shake your head and groan at the same time? Organic rules and regs, and what is allowed. Now for those that are not sure, organic regs were determined by the consumer, which is fine and dandy, but what was requested is backwards, but I will detail my explaination.



    Recently my mother has been reading this book written by a vet, he writes about organic, etc etc. Well he makes a good point, and this point is a goody. Ask yourself this. Lets say Bovine A gets sick, it needs a shot of antibiotics and has to be shipped. Well think about this, what is the difference between treating the animal/suffering from being shipped from its herd, perhaps go to slaughter. Or an animal not treated and dying? The animal suffers either way, and the animal is gone either way. Basically in the end, it is -1 animal. That point, or similar point was a good one. So the consumer who wanted this regulation (animal treated to save its life has to be shipped), is backwards. Here my understand of organic was to put the old approach back in. Hormone free, don't spray etc etc, and save the cow. However the organic approach makes the traditional approach look more sane. The while organic thing is backwards. I have more.


    When you worm an animal, you can't use eprinex, but you can us ivromectin (sp). The vet was telling us that the difference is very little, one molecule different. I also learned that you have to withhold milk if you use it (stuff allowed by organic standard), yet eprinex you don't have to. Ask yourself this, what sounds more dangerous? Sounds like the stuff allowed is dangerous, yet its allowed? So does this not throw out the whole "give an animal a shot, its gotta go" rule? You can't put milk in the tank from a treated cow, if you do you pay for the entire truck with traditional. The antibiotics do not last forever, if that was the case id never get sick when I took antibiotics when I was sick x years ago. I know some say "it does stick with the animal", sorry but hogwash.


    What else can I pick at, how about transitioning? Thats even better, ask yourself this. Why couldn't one buy a calf 3 months old from a regular ol' farm, yet when you transition those cows, they have had antibiotics for perhaps 30 years prior? Yet that herd is allowed, but you can't buy a calf 3 months old that will be on your farm for 18+ months before calving and in milk. That calf will grow on your organic feed, and in turn will have developed off of that feed, so it is more organic than a 5 yr old cow that was in a transitioned herd.

    Another funny rule is seed, how the hell does innoculated seed affect the plant in a way it doesn't make it organic? That innoculant keeps the seed from rotting before growing, protects it. It would be LONG gone by the time the plant is ready to cut.


    I hope the raw milk thing works, and as long as the person brings their own container you can get around the license here. The demand is amazing, my mother was talking to a farmer, and she said she is asked "do you sell any?". She also has heard of those who travel several hours to buy that precious raw milk. I know of 8 or so people that want to buy from us already, and this is only word of mouth, no big word out there. I know one thing, if I can sell a good 30+ gallons of milk a day (id bet it would be a lot more), id make more than the hay buisness I have, and get the tax exemption. If in fact that works, CYA organic cert. I know one thing, if in fact this works, and it seems it will, I am going to send off a letter to the certifyer and ask all those questions, and state things should be changed as most of the rules contradict another. I wonder if the consumer is aware of what organic farms must go through to make sure they get their organic milk. Do they know an organic cow if sick is sent off the farm? Do they know you can use a chemical to deworm an animal, that requires a holding time for milkd and beef, over stuff that isn't allowed that does not have the holding time? The one lady who I am going to rent some land from is a nut, well a bit tooo liberal (I know, a bit political, but it's true). She is organic all around, she thinks its the best thing. The organic market is booming, growing steadily. What we would call the raw milk is "All Natural Raw Milk". I could then buy regular grain, have more selection, buy my corn meal from where I have been buying it. More or less make more, because the grain cost would be less, regular grain costs less.


    Also, I would be working for myself, and not working around the milk company, and could have my own program here with the bovine. Won't need them to come in all around the same time, I could also go off and get some other stock at any one time, not restricted. The grass is green, I just hope I can touch it.


    Jeff
     
  2. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    Something to add with the raw milk.



    It's funny, it would take 19 cows, or so to gross the same as 5 cows selling raw milk @ $6.00 gallon. I am going to target the organic price, I would like to charge $4.50 gallon, it would target more people, because there are people who would rather buy from a farm than store.


    Lets do some math, and this math is realistic based on figures, lets work with 30 gallons, of course id be producing more than that but 30 gallons is a small round number, its about the equiv $ wise as mentioned above. So here goes.


    30 gallons x $6.00 gallon = $180.00 gross a day, 30 gallons divided across 5 animals equals 51lbs/day per animal. Now with holstiens you will get more, but this is 30 gallons only..

    Same as above, except @ 4.50 gallon = $135 gross a day.

    This over a month, assuming consistent buyers..

    Month total $6.00 gallon = $5499 gross.
    Month total $4.50 gallon = $4050 gross.


    Typically 10 month lactation, variance in milk production etc, gross overall would be around $50k. Notice I said gross, but consider this, with the net.

    Your grain costs would be different if sold as "all natural", the difference is the cost between organic grain vs regular grain.


    Now grain quantity fed for the cows would vary, but say your feeding 12lbs per animal, the cost per ton I am not sure of, but lets go for $300.00 ton. A ton would last about 30 days, so 300.00 a month approx. Electricity should not be much, because with 30 gallons if sold each day would not require the use of a bulk tank, only a refrigerator. Sure that sucks juice, but not a ridiculous load, you could always use gas fired! So lets say the fuel used a month was the equiv of 200.00, this is high, you won't use that much. So between grain and fuel is $500.00 month. Now any other expenses etc, Lets just call it $1000 month. Would they be that much? Who knows, but 5 animals? Im aiming high with cost a month, covers perhaps some vet visits, or anything else. So over 10 months it is $10k.

    If sold @ 4.50 gallon, your net income would be about $30k. If $6.00, it would be about $40k. Some of you might go, naaa. But how hard is it to sell 30 gallons of raw milk, especially if 10 people were buying? Wouldn't be difficult, some may buy 5 gallons to make some cheese. See with selling direct to a company, the gross income is a little lower, but it requires 3 times as many cows (selling organic), then you have higher grain costs, high grain intake to keep the production up, etc etc etc etc. The only other cost would be for liability insurance, and you bet your boots id get some hefty liability to cover you. But with someone using their own jugs, they are taking it, and if paid by cash there is no proof at all. It's how most farms that sell it do it.. In this day and age, you gotta do things to cover yourself, or a lawyer will rape you backwards.


    So aside from any lawyers doing as said, if you do it right, you can make some money without organic companies breathing down your neck. You can also choose your milking time. Perhaps 8pm and 8am, or 7pm and 7am, vs doing it when the milk company says (their pickup time).



    Jeff
     

  3. petefarms

    petefarms Well-Known Member

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    Jeff there is a farm up in st. lawrence co. that is now licsensed to sell raw milk, it was in the watertown daily times, I think it was this tuesday 5/17. They are selling their milk at $4.00 a gallon and shipping whatevers left to the milk plant. Interesting article. Sounds like $4.50 is about right, good luck.
     
  4. Momof8kiddoes

    Momof8kiddoes Well-Known Member

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    Jeff, interesting observations on the organic regs...
    Seems like it may not be worth the hassle of being certified, dont know.
    Here in Co, they just passed last month a bill for selling cow shares, finally legalizing it. A gallon is running $7 everywhere Ive checked, and none are organic. I would think if organic, the price would go up to $8-10 a gal.
    The things you noted dont make sense...I wonder what people were thinking when they passed those regs. Let us know if you find out anything after talking to someone on it.
    Mary F.
     
  5. mysticokra

    mysticokra Well-Known Member

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    Because we have to "Boot-leg" our raw milk in, it costs $8.00 per gallon.
    There is a waiting list because the farmers are reticent to build too big an operation. Jealous neighbors will rat them out to the Nazis guarding the big-dairy interests.
     
  6. spring77

    spring77 Well-Known Member

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    Jeff I don't think you understand what organic certification is intended to do.

    Antibiotics were originally banned because organic consumers didn't want antibiotic residue in their meat and milk. You want to use antibiotics to save the cow. I say to hell with the cow or any other animal. Antibiotics should never have been allowed for use in livestock. Why? Because the more you use an antibiotic the more bacteria you expose to it. This means you are selecting for antibiotic resistant bacteria. Agribusiness has destroyed the usefullness of a whole array of antibiotics through overuse, especially by using it continually in the feed ration of confinement livestock operations. Constant low doses of antibiotics is about the perfect proving ground for selecting the most resistant bacteria. At this point bacteria become resistant to drugs almost as fast as they are put on the market. Antibiotics are our most powerful weapons against disease and they are being taken away by our own stupidity. You may want to save that cow, but she's better off dead.

    Some people think it is a triumph of agricultural science that dairy cows are milking more than ever before, but when I see drug resistant Tuberculosis on the rise, people dying in hospitals of drug resistant Staph infections, etc, I think we made a mistake and are now paying for it.

    As far as the organic regs as they now exist, you are wrong, the consumers did not create those regs, the USDA did when it took over organic certification a few years ago. And a lot of chemical and non-organic practices got let in when they did because the USDA is in the pocket of whoever has the most money to pay the lobbyists.

    Good luck selling raw milk.
     
  7. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Jeff, some of the foolishness you stated is the exact reason we will not go organic certified. It seems to me that anyone who feels that an animal should die of a massive infection rather than treat it has no right to call themselves a cattleman or anything else. We treat what we HAVE to treat to ensure the wellbeing of our cattle, avoid crap like growth hormones and sell our meat as 'farm raised, the healthy choice' rather than organic with no shortage of customers and I can literally produce any med records on an animal. If we do happen to have to adminster a dose of penicillin, we wait at least 3 times the recomended wait time.
     
  8. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    The overuse of antibiotics I can agree with, however if that animal can be cured, and will survive for 4-5 more years for example. That animals value is that much more. However, to let the animal suffer from infection, and c-ya! That isn't cool, lets put it this way. If you had an infection, cured only by antibiotics, I am sure you would use them too. Perhaps someone has a kid, that kid will die if not treated, lets apply that to a cow. If a cow does not mean almost the same as a kid to you, as wr said they don't have the right to call themselves a cattleman. I know of two small farms, one of them is a Jersey farm. This one dam to one of the heifer calves we bought from them was down, she banged her leg. Now she didn't need treatment. Because that animal meant that much to her, she did not give up, took the dam several months to come back to full condition, and she lived. While this is not an antibiotic example, it is a "care" example. Another farm has holsteins, her animals mean almost too much to her, she babies them. They milk depending on the time of year, 45-60 animals. Every single one of her calves are friendly, because she babies them so much. Now in her case those animals from what I can see, mean just as much to her as her family, and IMO those animals are family. If one of her animals gets sick, and is cured by antibiotics, she isn't going to let it die in fear of antibiotic resistant bacteria. While I will agree, bacteria is becoming more resisitant, etc etc. The meaning that one animal has, overshadows that concern. But there are other things you could point out that are affecting cows more so than resistant bacteria (herd life is one).


    Some do say "you can only get soo close to those animals". Funny thing, an animal that is cared for well, will give you more in return. None of those animals at that holstein farm kick, maybe the occasional once in a while straggler, thats because how she handles them. It does impress me, and is a perfect example that traditional farms are these BAD farms. The generalization of traditional farms is just that, too broad. There are good and there are bad, but the neighbor down the road here has cows 10+ years old, he keeps them till they die. What the organic standards should be is the old days, not the radical days. I'll explain.


    The old days was hormoneless, but even the "old" days had antibiotics present. Penicillan was not discovered in the 1990's, it was LONG before that, so it's been around. You can find farms to this day still practicing the same things, no hormones, no ET's (im not against ET's), some have bulls on their farms but most use A.I. naturally. They buy their grain, make sure they have feed and IMO that is what the old days were like. But the organic rules USDA or not, according to this vet who did tons of research (one who wrote this book, book has a green cover with a Jersey pictured, can't think of the name), the regs were instituted due to the consumer. The USDA got involved only a few short years ago, and the biggest stink was that you can't label anything organic unless it was certified organic.

    But one thing is certain, if we had applied the organic method to our Jerseys who came down with pneumonia in early April. All 4 would have died, and it would have been slow. Transition begins for us June 1st, but if that raw milk demand crops up (seems to be there), I can only hope next year there won't be any worry of certification. Sounds like I am against yet, im trying it. Perhaps things will go well, but there is a guarentee someone will need something sometime in the first year, and then that innevitable decision has to be made. I think I know what it would be, cya organic.. Cow would not go, cow has more value than the organic prices, because those animals mean a hell of a lot more to me than organic standards.


    Jeff
     
  9. spring77

    spring77 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not saying you are a bad cattleman for using antibiotics. I'm saying that antibiotics should never have been allowed for use for livestock. Obviously back when they started using them for veterinary purposes no one had any real concept of how they would be overused and abused in the future. You say that you have to use antibiotics or the cow will suffer, or that you will lose production and income. These things are true and the way things work now you HAVE to use antibiotics to compete. I'm saying that the whole system is screwed up and any new antibiotics that are developed should be banned for veterinary use, especially agricultural use.

    Not because I hate cows, I love them, but COWS ARE NOT PEOPLE. I'd rather see your favorite Jersey who you love like your own child die a lingering painful death that could have been prevented with antibiotics than see kids start getting TB again. I'd rather see average milk production figures start going backwards than seeing all kinds of "old" diseases that antibiotics "cured" come back again even worse than before.

    Organic was supposed to mean farming that was responsible to the earth, responsible to society, and respectful of natural systems. Not just "farming without chemicals". There was a philosophy behind it larger than getting more money per pound of milk or whatever. I don't think you really understand that at all. And the current organic regs have no relationship to that philosophy whatsoever. Talking about how the regs don't make sense is silly because all government regulations are silly, they are put together by giant committees, by people with vastly different agendas. Its a wonder that they make even enough sense to be legible. The old regs may have seemed counterintuitive at times also but this was because the old certifiers were trying to figure out what was "organic" and what wasn't. So sometimes things that weren't intuitively "organic" to the casual observer or critic were allowed because the certifier decided that it was benign enough to allow, not just that "this is a chemical and that isn't so thats OK", it was a lot more complex. And a different certifier might come to the opposite conclusion. So you could certify with one or the other based on your own opinion on that particular process or substance or practice or whatever. Some people hated that kind of chaos so they brought in the government to "fix" things.

    I don't think you should certify, if you can't agree not to use antibiotics, even if it means shipping a cow you like, then you are going to run up against the regs almost immediately. Why go through all that hassle to do something you don't agree with and don't think you can follow?
     
  10. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I think Jeff's point is being missed, my cattle are not my children, nor do I treat them like my children BUT I am responsible for any animal under my care. Nobody else will step in and care for them for me nor can they walk across the road for care they lack on my ranch, they are totally dependant on me. Loss of production? I couldn't care less? Preventable mortality? You bet I care, as a steward of those animals, I am going to give them the best care they can and I stand behind my statement, any human that will allow an animal to die for no valid reason other than blind neglect is not a cattleman. We had a recent example of a young range bull slicing the back of his knee open and within 24 hours he had a bad infection. I can see no reason that he should have been left to die, other than an injury, he was young and healthy. I often wonder how many 'organic' people breach the rules and just keep quiet. More than a person would think, from those I've spoken with. I place the welfare of my entire operation above goofy rules and wouldn't have enough steers to sell if I had double what I do now. I acually laugh at some of the organic operations up here, one buffalo rancher was howling about environmental impact on his operation while feeding with a payloader that was leaking fuel through the pasture and dripping hydraulic fluid on the feed. I bet that would make his clients shudder.
     
  11. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    I remember in ag class (hydraulics related), when the teacher told us there is arsenic or something similar in hydraulic fluid. It is why cows will seek it out on a tractor (if left in with them), and lick it clean. It tastes sweet to them, but it is no good. Tractors leak, new tractors aren't 100% leak proof, new cars can even leak. Just because it's new or you try to fix every little problem, doesn't mean it is leak proof. The inspector for organic checks the tractors, and asks if there are any leaks. Question is silly, because any tractor i've seen (as I said, new or old), has some sort of leak somewhere. O-rings work, but even new parts i've seen sweat something. When you disconnect a hyrdaulic hose from a tractor, you get some leakage. Is it bad? No, but it can't be helped. Sure you can wipe it off, but how many people care a rag in their pocket to wipe off that excess. I try to keep mine clean, more or less for looks and for spotting a leak that could be fixed, it also keeps things in better condition. IMO, hyrdaulics or grease perhaps being winged off some PTO (if you grease as thick as I do, it happens) landing on feed. That IMO could be worse than saving an animals life with antibiotics.

    Because hyrdaulic fluid, or perhaps something else can be poision. Drips won't kill anything, but it isn't good. When I get done with our forage wagons, I pour oil on the floor, turn on the machine so it soaks into the wood. It preserves the wood, keeps it from rotting (because I want the machine's floor to last). Now imagine if I went all out and was super concerned about that little drip or two of used engine oil. Well, the bed would rot out, machine wouldn't last, then its junk for the junkyard or for the burn pile. Sounds like that oil drip is less toxic than fire. What else is on the farm that has oil? Gear boxes, chains (good luck oiling a chain and not getting a drip), and whatever else there is. Oh how about twine? Do people know twine is treated? That comes in contact with hay. This sounds extreme, but it isn't.

    As far as cheating, it is everywhere. I think there was some misunderstanding with what I was saying. If I have to "cheat", I won't. Instead I will give the organic cert the boot out the door. Especially if the animal was extremely valuable, perhaps a high producer (usually who can get sick), and there is some attachment there. Cows aren't humans, if they were they could talk to us. With that said, what I meant by treatment of them is as follows. A cow deserves as good if not better treatment as a human, because it is our responsibility to give that animal the best possible treatment, we bred them to become what they are. We domesticated them, and neglecting an animal so it dies because you don't want to give it a lifesaving shot, is selfish. Funny, any organic article hounds on the traditional farmer, some even generalize traditional farms. They clump them together into one category "terrible". Funny thing is, the small traditional 60 head +/- herd. names every single animal, and can even pick out every single animal when they are out in the pasture and say "thats bessy out there, and bossy over there, etc etc". Even this big 1500 cow dairy farm (milk 760) gives it their best effort to cure a cow. I noticed that when we were picking up the 10 we bought there, here is this cow the lady was talking about, chronic mastitis, but they kept giving it their all to bring her around. She was likely shipped because she kept on getting mastitis (she was one of those that druel, look mental, and lay in the manure when they have clean stalls to choose from). Organic farms will give it their best effort to cure an animal as well, but with what they have to work with, the animal would likely die, or become useless. Some can be cured, but if the animal gets sick enough, goodluck! But their is that generalized view "Organic = Good, Traditional = Bad" without any consideration that some traditional farms are clean, well run, well maintained operations that care for their animals. Maybe it's because traditional farms use antibiotics to save an animals life, can't see how that could be bad.


    My beef cattle are going to stay as is, not going to certify them. They are raised organically. No hormones, good feed and good care. But the only thing lacking is certification.


    As far as the philosophy behind it, it is backwards. My impression of it was no synthetic fertilizer, no herbicides, pesticides, or hormones. Little did I know, the rules written contradict themselves all over the place. Can't use eprinex, but you can use ivomectin, can't use antibiotics to save an animal. But you can use a chemical to help let the milk down (forget the name). If the cow doesn't let it's milk down it would get sick, yet you can help it out. But can't cure it, well you can but it has to go, so why bother? I know of this one organic person, our vet went to the speech. This person averages 6000lbs of milk per lactation, 100% grazed, no grain. His animals are not being pushed obviously, but there is some stress there. Regardless what some may think, what you take out needs to be replenished. Grain will quickly replenish what was taken out, help the animal maintain weight etc. A heavy grain diet I do not favor or would practice, that is pushing things. However 10lbs or so of grain, with 50-60lbs of feed will keep the animal in good condition. Either way, everyone has a different view of organic or traditional. I know one thing, traditional is not the anti-christ, or some devilish thing. Some do make it out to be that way (read some anti-traditional articles, super pro organic).



    Jeff
     
  12. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    Interesting comments about the organic rules.

    I think Oxytocin is what you are thinking of, as far as milk letting down. A hormone.

    DH and I have batted around the idea of organic but he basically thinks there are too many hoops to jump through, for not that much gain.

    We tell buyers that our beef cattle are "all natural" but not organic. Raised on home-grown feed, no hormones, no anti biotics (unless they are sick!) and no animal by products in the feed.

    People here are comforatble and satisfied with that explanation. But here in the Midwest people do not seem as excited about organic foods as in other areas, in my opinion.

    Ann
     
  13. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    Yes it is Oxytocin :). Funny isn't it? You can use Oxytocin in an emergency and the animal stays, but couldn't use lutalyce (sp) to bring a heifer into heat that is tough to catch. I wonder if the consumer knows that bessy gets shipped if it is dying and needs a shot? I bet they don't!


    I can only hope my one plan is to sell raw milk (If I get a license(I much rather go through the testing)) call that All Natural (explain as you do to the customers why). Then have a regular ol' milk company pick up the excess. If I sold 30 gallons, id have plenty of excess. One idea, and at this point I hope it happens. We have a truck that goes by here every other day, would be handy..




    Jeff
     
  14. djuhnke

    djuhnke Well-Known Member

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    Interesting thread. I'm with Jeff as we are supposed to be stewards of the animals & farms given to us. If an animal is suffering, we are supposed to give it medicine to bring it back. I think where some people have issues with antibotic's is in huge corporate operations where there are thousands of animals (pigs, cows, whatever) and that wasn't in the original design for raising animals. I don't use antibotics nor do I vacaccinate my kids nor animals.

    But if they got sick, I would use medicine and antibotics to bring them back to health. To overuse antibotics as a matter of course in food is insane and causes lots of problems. To use it to heal a sick animal/child and bring it back to health is why its there. Just my .02 worth.

    Dan
     
  15. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Dan, I think you pretty well summed it up. There is a huge difference between medicating a cow to save her life or the life of her and her calf that pounding chemicals into them day after day but folks seem to see it as a black & white issue, let the bag die in the name of mankind or slam her full of drugs and poison the entire food chain.
     
  16. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    Dan does make a good point. It's the difference of picking one nice turkey out of the flock to harvest, or simply putting them into one category and firing away. The traditional farms that use an antibiotic to save an animal is totally different than the farm that uses it as if it's going out of style. That is what most people who wanted organic think of the traditional farms. It is a sure bet as well that the die hards also think "traditional farms are the antibiotic using, hormone needing operations, while organic farms do not need that stuff". Funny thing is, a lot of dairy's out there once used it and that very animal in that herd that is now "organic" is not truely organic in the essence of the word "organic". Funny thing, a lot of things that are not "organic", are organic. I was taught plants are organic life.




    Jeff
     
  17. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    I thought I read somewhere -- correct me if I'm wrong, and I'm sure someone will :D -- the idea behind adding routin antibiotics to feed was that the meds controlled the bugs and freed up a little more of the animal's energy to grow.

    We have not used them that way. Just for illness or injury. For one thing ... DH is too cheap! We think if they are not crowded, have clean and dry housing and good feed, they do all right without stuff like that. If they are crowded into a muddy lot then of course their health suffers.

    There's a book out by Joe (?) Salatin called "pastured Poultry Profits" which has a good explanation why they do not seek organic labeling. They prefer to describe their products as home grown or all-natural.

    Ann
     
  18. leaping leon

    leaping leon Well-Known Member

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    IMHO...While we're weighing the cost of antibiotics vs. no antibiotics...What would be the cost of beef/milk/eggs/pork etc. if there were no antibiotics? Who might go hungry; or suffer from malnutrition?

    Also, an organism that evolves in response to antibiotics is going to evolve without antibiotics...it is going to keep up with it's host's attempts to evolve immunity from it, hence a "worse" infectious organism without antibiotics.

    When an animal dies from a massive infection, or lives on for a matter of days, weeks and months carrying an infection, it's potentially passing these infectious organisms everyday...to whom or what? How many people would die from this? How many cows, pigs, chickens, etc? Or become "silent" carriers?

    I believe most of the antibiotic resistent infections have evolved due to excess human use of antibiotics. I believe that the environment common to most hospitals is responsible for most of this...how many people have you known who contracted pneumonia or other infections AFTER being hospitalized for something not involving infection or increased susceptibility to infection? Perhaps we should be looking at improving the hospital environment? I'm not picking on hospital doctors/nurses/employees; just suggesting that a new approach might need to be looked at since using massive amounts of antiseptics and antibiotics isn't working too well...
     
  19. DJ in WA

    DJ in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jan 27, 2005
    While I agree we should save cows in trouble, I also think we could do more to prevent the crisis in the first place. For example, cleaner environments for cows - less crowding, etc. Then less breeding for high production which makes them more prone to problems.

    Of course, this would make production less efficient and milk would cost more. Which is the bottom line. We increase the susceptibility to disease, sacrificing the well-being of cows so we can make or save money, or so the consumer can have cheaper milk so they can have more money for whatever else. Americans as a whole, considering the obesity epidemic, and general affluence (despite the cry for money to save the starving), could certainly afford to pay more for milk. And they probably would if they knew more about how most cows are bred and raised. Or maybe they'd just buy beer instead.

    One question from above. I'm just a hobby cowman. I read alot here about different production statistics on cows, and how to choose which to breed. Do the breeders keep statistics on the incidence their high producers have of mastitis, milk fever, and other problems?

    If there was a hypothetical situation of no antibiotics available, I imagine we'd have to change our ways, and would be forced to breed and manage differently. And the consumer would pay more. Maybe that's the general idea of organic, even though it may not be planned right - trying to push farmers to not be dependent on antibiotics.

    Having said that, I visited an organic farmer and saw his cows standin in manure slop a foot deep at the feed bunk and wondered why people would pay $6 a gallon. Maybe he needs that to cover the death loss from creating disease, then being unable to treat it. But you'd think for that kind of money the consumer would have clean cows.
     
  20. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    This reminded me of an article I read in Hoards Dairymen. They had a comparison between Organic and Traditional. Well on the Traditional there was more cases of mastitis (found that an interesting statistic). But on the organic farm, they found there were more dirty farms, than traditional. I know of dirty operating farms, where the barnyard is one gigantic s---hole. This can and can't be helped, if your in a region where it was cold all winter, the manure built up, it froze as it built. By spring it thaws, well all of a sudden it's 2' deep (depending on the herd size). Well removing that much manure is not easy if it built up over the winter, takes time depending on what size loader you have to remove it. I personally try to keep their enviornment clean, but when you have to seperate them, no other spaces to put them when the pastures are just starting to green up, it bugs the hell out of me. But I can't do anything, especially since we rent a machine to clean up the barnyard. So my way to combat, I will turn the field behind the house into a "barnyard", and use their manure to fertilize and build it back up. But this is my situation, not all farms have the room, so $h1t happens! :).


    But from what I am learning what to look for, to choose who you want to breed to. There are bulls available that have -1.5 or -2.0 for herd life. I see that, after looking at the F&L, Udder etc etc details, and go ahh.. Not that bull! One of the bulls I recently bred a heifer to is Nunesdale Durham Rudy, he has +2 or something like that for herd life, SCC is below 3.0, and has all around good numbers. This heifer needs more dairyness to her, and nunesdale Rudy will add that (hopefully its a heifer, and the objective is acheived), and he is all type. -280lbs PTAM for production. But as DJ said, production is saught out, and it is why cows now can average 25,000+ per lactation, even as 1st lactation cows. While the ones who are not bred for production can do similar numbers. It comes down to pushing them to extreme. But my own personal goals for breeding, is herd life, solid udders and somatic Cell.


    Jeff