2014-09-15 00:00:00.0 09/15/2014 In This Week's Journal
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ISSUE: 09/15/2014

Operation Ostrich: Raising one heck of a drumstick

By Lacey Newlin

Native to Africa, the ostrich is the world’s largest bird. Full grown, ostriches weigh 350 to 500 pounds. Known as extremely fast runners, they can sprint to speeds up to 43 miles per hour, according to National Geographic. If Olympians seem amazing, consider this: An ostrich can cover up to 16 feet in a single stride.

Incredible athletes they may be, but are they profitable as livestock? Stan Barenberg of Tescott, Kansas, says his operation is proof that ostriches can thrive on the Plains and provide a lucrative enterprise.

Barenberg bought a 5-acre property near Salina, Kansas, in 1992. Having grown up on a farm, he wanted to do something with the land besides mow the grass. He looked into cattle, hogs and goats, but with such a small acreage he didn’t feel he could produce enough livestock to make a profit.

Eventually he settled on the long-necked birds that cannot fly. The reasons were simple. Ostriches are opposite of cattle and hogs when it comes to manure. They do not produce a foul odor and the pens do not have to be cleaned or sterilized. Plus ostriches do not need to graze and they prefer an environment similar to a desert. For these reasons they are perfect for a small farm with just a few acres like Barenberg owns. Barenberg says he has never cleaned the pens in 20 years because the birds recycle the manure. He considers his operation an eco-friendly farm.

Hereford breeders gather for genetic summit

By Doug Rich

Hereford breeders gathered in Springfield, Missouri, Sept. 4 and 5, to discuss the future of their breed and its place in the evolving beef industry. Craig Huffhines, American Hereford Association (AHA) executive vice president said when times are good producers can afford to sit down and be critical. Times are good for the Hereford breed—registrations are up 5 percent and bull prices have been setting records across the country.

In the past this meeting would have been called a “type” conference but the name was changed to reflect what is happening in the beef industry today.

“I think everyone that is involved in this business understands what a good animal should look like from a functional standpoint, structural standpoint and conformation standpoint,” Huffhines said. “Those are things we have looked at as benchmarks for quality for over five decades. Today we are entering into a new era of genomics and so to complement the type of animal, the live animal evaluation part, we are going to pull in these genomic factors that truly define what the genetic potential of the animal is from a performance standpoint, such as rate of gain, feed efficiency, beef quality and potentially down the road animal health issues. All of those will be incapsulated in genetic tests due to the science that has been evolving over the last few years. So it is really genetic direction not just what type of animal we should be producing.”

Lorna Marshall, Genex Cooperative U.S. beef marketing manager, attended the last type conference held by the Hereford breed 10 years ago. Marshall told producers attending the genetic summit that she was somewhat critical of the breed 10 years ago but has become one of the its biggest cheerleaders because of the improvements the breed has made in the past decade.

Pasture-to-Plate tour offers A-to-Z look at beef production

The Kansas Beef Council recently hosted 22 chefs, culinary instructors and foodservice professionals from six states for the annual Pasture-to-Plate Tour. Funded

American Gelbvieh Junior Association names 2014-2015 ambassadors

Two junior members were selected at the American Gelbvieh Junior Association (AGJA) 2014 Barnyard Classic to represent the AGJA as ambassadors. Jessie L

Operation Ostrich: Raising one heck of a drumstick

By Lacey Newlin Native to Africa, the ostrich is the world’s largest bird. Full grown, ostriches weigh 350 to 500 pounds. Known as extremely fast runners, they can sprint to spe

Hereford scholarships awarded in honor of Ed Bible

Brooke Jensen, Amanda Bacon, Cody Jensen and Seely Sayre were awarded Ed Bible Memorial Scholarships July 11 at the 15th Annual VitaFerm Junior National Hereford Expo (JNHE) in Har


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