What Are We Doing For Our Customers?

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator (originally published in The Ohio Cattleman)

“Today’s consumer appears to be more willing than ever to pay for quality.”

Few enterprises are as productive as American agriculture. The American farmer is very good at their specialization: efficient food production. Farmers and ranchers are at their best when it comes to using recommended practices and modern technologies to achieve profitable yields from their available resources. However, one area that the typical producer is not as comfortable with is the subject of marketing.

For any business to achieve long-term success, they must strive to satisfy the wants and desires of their customers. The beef industry is no exception to this concept. Our competition for the consumer’s protein purchasing dollars is a fierce battle with the pork and poultry industries. This battle takes place domestically and across the globe. How is the beef industry working to meet the needs of our customers?

Today’s consumer is more demanding about Continue reading

Changes in Carcass Grade Over Time

– Andrew P. Griffith, University Of Tennessee (previously published by Drovers online)

The beef industry, similar to other industries, is constantly attempting to be more efficient and create more value in the product produced. Most cow-calf producers concern themselves with reproductive efficiencies and pounds of weaned calf per acre of land. These two things are important because a cow-calf producer cannot afford to have very many cows fail to wean a calf, and these producers are in the business of selling pounds with a limited quantity of land. Similarly, stocker producers work to reduce morbidity and mortality rates while also trying to pack on as many pounds as possible with their forage and feed resources. Producers from both of these sectors also attempt to add value by instituting management practices that reduce risk to downstream cattle buyers.

The feedlot perspective is very similar to stocker and backgrounding operations with focus on feed efficiency and cattle health, but there is also interest in carcass characteristics. Regardless of the marketing method (cash, formula, grid, etc.), cattle will be priced based on the actual or expected yield grade (YG 1-5) and quality grade (Prime, Choice, Select, etc.).

Quality grade and yield grade are two aspects of beef production that may or may not be considered at the cow-calf and stocker producer levels. There are certainly Continue reading

Hay Buying Help, and Preparation for Next Year

– Garth Ruff, ANR Extension Educator, OSU Henry County Extension

With last week’s rain showers leaving much of the area saturated, there were limited opportunities for farming or even yardwork. I took advantage of the soggy conditions here in NW Ohio and headed south on Friday to a fairly productive couple of days in Morgan County. We had a good chance to winterize and store all of the hay equipment and tractors that we typically don’t use during winter time.

Regarding hay implement storage, we make an effort blow off the chaff, seeds, and dust with a leaf blower shortly after use and then pressure wash the piece prior to pulling in to the machinery shed for the down season. Once everything is cleaned off, each machine is greased and gear boxes are checked for fluid levels. Any major repairs or maintenance such as changing mowing knives can be done during the winter months as time allows. Given the unpredictability of the weather the past few years, it is nice to be able to pull the hay equipment out of storage, hook up to a tractor and head directly to the field. This eliminates the need of Continue reading

OCA Members to Offer Nearly 115 Consignments in Replacement Female Sale

The 6th annual Replacement Female Sale will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, November 23 at Muskingum Livestock

Several members of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will sell nearly 115 consignments in the OCA Replacement Female Sale on Friday, November 23, 2018, at 6 p.m. at the Muskingum Livestock Auction Company facility in Zanesville, Ohio. Consignments include approximately 40 mature cows less than five years of age, cow/calf pairs, and approximately 75 bred heifers.

Breeds represented will include Angus, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Red Angus, Simmental, Simmental influenced and cross and commercial females. Service sire breeds represented include Angus, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Hereford, Maine-Anjou, Red Angus, Shorthorn, Simmental, and Simmental influenced. All females selling will have a safe pregnancy status verified within sixty days of the sale and all lots will be Continue reading

Posted in Events

Weekly Livestock Comments for November 9, 2018

– Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $2 lower on a live basis compared to last week. Prices on a live basis were mainly $112 to $114 while dressed prices were mainly $179 to $180.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $112.45 live, down $1.23 from last week and $179.58 dressed, down $0.42 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $123.05 live and $192.06 dressed.

Packers need cattle and feedlot managers need to move cattle, but these needs do not guarantee cattle trade at desired prices for either party. Many cattle feeders were asking as high as $118 through most of the week but settled for lower money as packer bids were lower due to the failure of whole-sale beef prices escalating. The price decline also coincides with live cattle futures losing value. The December live cattle contract traded near $117 most of last week, but it lost big on Continue reading

Livestock Building Rental Considerations

– Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

Recently I have received some questions about rental of livestock buildings, specifically dairy facilities. Typically, callers want to know a charge per square foot or a rental rate based on a per head basis or, for a dairy facility, based on number of free stalls. The reality is that there is no one right or correct answer. There are some basic methods or approaches that generate a dollar figure. However, view that number as a starting point in a rental negotiation. There are additional factors that affect the final rental rate. Those factors include the age and condition of the building, location of the building, the functionality or obsolescence of the building, the demand for rental of this type of building and the character and personality of the parties involved in the rental agreement.

The simplest and most direct way of calculating a building rental rate is to use a commercial rate, a known market. While these types of figures are available for grain storage and some equipment storage markets, they are not available for livestock building rentals. We don’t have a commercial livestock building rental market. A second method is to use survey data. Custom farm rates and cropland rental rates are based on surveys. The issue with livestock building rental surveys is that there are Continue reading

Quality in the Cow Herd

– Justin Sexten, Ph.D., Director, CAB Supply Development

Market cows often represent 15% to 25% of the herd’s gross income.

When you think of a “quality” cow herd, I suspect you see easy-fleshing cows with 500- to 600-pound (lb.) calves, each born unassisted in a 60-day window. A dream to handle, docile in every case, never a stray missing the gate. Calves top the market and feeders fight over who will own them every year.

That’s a pretty good picture, but let’s widen the view to a quality survey reported by McKensie Harris and others in the 2106 Market Cow Report of the National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA). It does not conjure picturesque or pastoral scenes, but there are some interesting quality trends to take in.

Market cows, the culls you sell, are a key source of lean trimmings to the beef supply chain and often represent 15% to 25% of gross income. However, the decision to sell a cow is not an active management choice in most operations. Commercial cattlemen “market” cows as a byproduct of the cow’s inability to remain productive, not because they want to increase income from cull cows.

That’s certainly different from the feeder and fed cattle scene. For one thing, those Continue reading

Should We Keep a Cow That Fails to Do Her Job?

– Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee

This week I’ve had several discussions about reproductive efficiency in cattle and the profitability implications of cows that do not breed and rolling those cows from a spring calving season to a fall calving season. It is understood that many producers that have multiple breeding seasons or that leave the bull with the cows 12 months of the year commonly give cows an extra opportunity to breed. Though it is common, it does not mean it is a best management practice.

First, most cattle producers understand a short controlled calving season (60 to 90 days) is easier to manage and less expensive than Continue reading

Make Plans for How to Adapt for Changes in Weather

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Quality looking fall forage waiting to go dormant. Once dormant it can be grazed with less harm to energy reserves.

I mentioned last month that there are still plenty of good growing days left this fall and they need to be taken advantage of. One of the first things to do to make sure you obtain as much plant growth as possible, especially with perennial forages, is to stop grazing forages that will continue to grow for a while, especially forages that will stockpile like tall fescue. Now, I don’t think anyone would’ve predicted it would be almost 70 degrees the day before Halloween. I remember quite well going Trick-or-Treating as a kid with snow on the ground a few times. It’s not the same weather pattern these days, that’s for sure.

Whether you believe in global warming or not is a deeper subject than I really want to get into in one of these articles, but it’s not hard to see though that we are in a warmer trend than four or five decades ago. I read an article recently that showed photos of cycling races over several decades. Clips from the 1980’s showed trees with bare to pretty much leaf-less limbs. Most recent photos showed trees covered with leaves and spring flowers. Pictures don’t lie.

You want to plan for how Continue reading

Posted in Pasture

African Swine Fever

– Brenda Boetel, Professor and Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Why would In the Cattle Markets write an entire article on African Swine Fever? The answer lies in trade and competitive meat prices. African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious disease with no known vaccine. Incidences of the fever have been reported in China, Belgium, Poland, Japan and other countries. Backyard operations are not the only enterprises vulnerable to this disease as a couple weeks ago it was found in a commercial operation of 20,000 pigs. Although wild hogs have facilitated some of the disease spread, the most likely cause of the transcontinental jump to Belgium is attributed to human actions and the transportation of meat products between countries.

The very real concern is what will happen if/when it comes to the US. Until recently Poland was able to export pork from certain regions. Belgium is still able to export pork from certain regions. This concept of regionalization is important as it would allow trade from non-infected regions of a country to continue. Given that the US will produce over 26 billion pounds of pork in 2018 and over 22% will be exported, an incident of ASF in the US would be Continue reading