Immediate Use May 12, 2009
Contact: Jessica Prosper, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, 518-483-7403

Improving Beef Production in NNY Ultrasound Workshops Set for May 27-29

Northern New York -- Ultrasound technology helps beef producers cost-effectively and efficiently evaluate cattle for market readiness and breeding potential. Due to the popularity of fall 2008 beef ultrasound workshops, the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is funding more workshops this spring and summer. A first round of workshops is scheduled for:
• Wednesday, May 27, 4pm, Sunset Farm, Essex, NY
• Thursday, May 28, 4pm, Windy Point Angus Farm, Potsdam, NY
-- program includes a light dinner
• Friday, May 29, 4pm, Herrdale Farm, Lowville, NY.

The workshops offer North Country farmers the opportunity to have their beef animals scanned at reduced cost. The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is funding half of the cost of the ultrasound; cost to participating farmers is $7 per animal.

“These workshops demonstrate how ultrasound can be used to determine when animals are ready for market as well as for selecting replacement heifers and breeding bulls,” says series organizer Jessica Prosper, a farm business management specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County.

Purebred Polled Hereford manager Gregory Bigelow of Sunset Farm has 30 years’ experience as a meat cutter. He will be testing his “eye” for grading beef against the ultrasound results during the May 27 workshop at his Essex, NY, farm.

Bigelow says, “I am interested to see how ultrasound can be used as another management tool for deciding which animals to select for breeding and replacement stock.”

Andy Weaber, general manager of Windy Point Angus in Potsdam, NY, raises 250 head of Registered Angus cattle plus 50 head for his freezer beef trade. He is interested in ultrasounding as a necessity for marketing high-end Angus genetics and tracking and selecting genetics for his purebred herd and feeder cattle.

"We utilize the ultrasound science to help eliminate some of the guesswork in breeding cattle. The more information we can provide our customers, the more desirable our cattle are. We are hosting this important workshop as one way we can encourage producers in the North Country to accept technology and utilize the tools available to us."

Farmers interested in having cattle ultrasounded may call Prosper for guidelines that differ by breed, age, and gender.

The ultrasound scan results will be sent to a processing lab in Iowa for interpretation. At a second set of workshops later this year Cornell Cooperative Extension Beef Cattle Specialist Mike Baker and Certified Ultrasound Technician Heather Birdsall will explain how farmers can use results to make better production and marketing decisions.

To register for the first round of workshops and/or to schedule animals for ultrasound evaluation, contact Jessica Prosper at 518-483-7403, jlr15@cornell.edu.

More information on beef and livestock production is on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org. # # #