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Volume 12, Number 3 - March 2006

This Month in Ag Connection

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Distillers Grain: A Feedstuff

As most producers are aware, ethanol production has been growing in Missouri. As a result, producers have an opportunity to use distillers grain as a feed source. Distillers grain (a by-product of ethanol production) has been researched since the 1970's and through the years has proven to be a good feed source.

Many producers are familiar with the dried or wet co-product that is produced after the fermentation process corn goes through to attain the ethanol. However, what most producers might not know is that research has shown distillers grain is a better source of by-pass protein (the protein that escapes breakdown in the rumen and becomes available in the small intestine) than soybean meal. University of Nebraska researchers have shown that both the wet and dry product have by-pass protein of 60 to 70% compared to only 30% bypass protein for soybean meal. This means that distiller's grains (wet or dry) could be a better value than soybean meal as a protein source. In addition, distillers grain provide approximately 9% more energy than corn according to feed composition tables. Therefore distillers grain is a good source of both protein and energy.

Coming Next Month: Information on storage requirements for distillers grains fed on Missouri farms

(Author: Wendy Flatt, Livestock Specialist)

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Estrus Synchronization Planning Assistance Available

Estrus synchronization protocols can significantly reduce the time and labor required to use artificial insemination (AI) with a beef cattle herd. One problem producers have encountered with estrus synchronization programs has been the accuracy of information available to producers. Veterinarians, AI technicians and semen supply companies have been good sources of information on estrus synchronization protocols. However, there have been some mis-guided efforts by some in the industry to fine-tune or adapt protocols with disastrous results.

The North Central Region Bovine Reproductive Taskforce, with representatives from Iowa State University, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska, University of Minnesota, South Dakota State University, Kansas State University and the University of Illinois reviewed 27 different protocols and came up with recommendations for the use of 22 of the protocols in beef cattle herds.

The Iowa Beef Center then put together a planning spreadsheet which helps producers select the protocols most likely to be successful in their circumstances. Click here to view the final product, a calendar like document, with detailed instructions. Extension livestock specialists have a copy of the software and can assist you with planning an estrus synchronization program.

(Author: Mark Stewart, Livestock Specialist)

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Missouri Quality Systems Assessment

The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) is now fully implementing a Quality Systems Assessment (QSA) program approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on October 11, 2005. Missouri is the first state in the U.S. to implement a QSA program allowing producers to sell source and age verified cattle with third party verification. The QSA program was developed by MDA and IMI Global in cooperation with MFA, Joplin Regional Stockyards, Missouri Veterinary Medical Association, Missouri Cattlemen's Association and the Missouri Livestock Marketing Association.

Producers can enroll their cattle in one of the Approved Programs or as an independent producer under the Missouri Department of Agriculture's umbrella QSA program. Producers must agree to an on-site evaluation by a trained Supplier Evaluator who will review the producer's records to verify that they have the appropriate documentation to prove the age and source of their cattle. Once approved, the producer will be placed on the program's supplier list.

Producers can continue to sell cattle as they have in the past. No restrictions to selling cattle through certain locations or certain times exist. Once the cattle are tagged and remain tagged, they are source and age verified.

In short, the requirements to participate are:

Information your program verifier will require includes:

For more information, you can contact an Approved Program (, the Missouri Department of Agriculture at (573) 751-3377 or your extension livestock specialist.

(Authors: Greg Onstott, Missouri Department of Agriculture, Mark Stewart, Livestock Specialist)

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Women as Landowners Conference

March 30, 2006
8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

California High School will be the location for the second annual Women as Landowners Conference, targeting women landowners as well as their partners. Registration begins at 8:30, with opening remarks and introductions at 9:00. A full agenda of concurrent workshops is scheduled for the day including:

In addition to workshops, a number of vendors and agencies will have informational booths to visit and door prizes will be awarded throughout the day. The $5.00 registration fee will cover the cost of the workshops and material, sodas, coffee & snacks, and also include a hot buffet lunch prepared by Rita Twenter.

If you enjoy events that inform, educate, interact with your peers, and put a little fun in your life, don't miss this event! To register, click here to view registration form that you may complete and mail to the Moniteau County SWCD.

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Taxation Tidbit: Update on Gifting

Frequently in business and estate planning it is desirable to transfer ownership of assets between the husband and wife during life. The transfer of assets between spouses may be done to balance the two estates, or in special situations to create unbalanced estates. Additionally, a high-priority objective for many couples is for the surviving spouse to receive all or a significant portion of the assets of the first-to-die spouse. A tax provision known as the marital deduction allows for the unlimited transfer of assets to a spouse during life or at death without any income, gift or estate tax liabilities.

The unlimited transfer of assets between spouses can also be beneficial when making gifts to other individuals. The annual gift exclusion for 2006 has been increased to $12,000 per donee. Thus you can gift $12,000 annually to as many individuals as you are financially able and willing. If your spouse agrees to join you in making the gift, the annual gift exclusion is $24,000 per donee and the property can be transferred from the husband's assets, the wife's assets, or their joint assets. The marital deduction along with gift sharing are the provisions that basically allow the gifted property to be taken from either the husband's or wife's estate.

As a side note, given that Missouri does not recognize "common-law" marriages, the marital deduction is limited to transfers between a husband and his wife.

(Author: Parman R. Green, MU Extension Ag Business Mgmt. Specialist)

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Publishing Information

Ag Connection is published monthly for Central Missouri Region producers and is supported by University of Missouri Extension, the Commercial Agriculture program, the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station and the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Managing Editor: Kent Shannon.