The EU-Japan Agreement and Implications for U.S. Beef

– Josh Maples, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University

It was announced two weeks ago that the European Union (EU) and Japan have agreed in principle to an Economic Partnership Agreement. The agreement will gradually lower import tariffs on EU beef and pork entering Japan with an expected start date in early 2019. This deal is significant to the U.S. beef industry because it will give EU beef and pork an advantage in one of the most prominent U.S. beef export markets. Approximately one-quarter of total Continue reading

Adding Value to Feeder Calves

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator (this article was published previously in the Ohio Farmer magazine at

As we move towards mid-summer, it is interesting to note the changing priorities of the cow-calf producer.  Back in the winter and early spring, we had the excitement of a new calving season and opportunity to evaluate the genetic choices made in 2016.  We then transitioned into the spring and early summer and the typical breeding season for most producers.  This marks the chance to make improvements in the breeding program or continue on the path of proven successful matings.

There is plenty of summer left to enjoy but it is not too early to start thinking about the fall.  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves by already thinking about cooler temperatures and the beautiful colors of fall foliage.  However, I am asking you to start thinking about management practices that can ultimately impact the value of the 2017 calf crop.

Most cattlemen will Continue reading

U.S. Animal Agriculture’s Future Role in World Food Production

Stephen Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

This information is synthesized from the National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s Annual Conference, “U.S. Animal Agriculture’s Future Role in World Food Production – Obstacles & Opportunities” conducted in 2017, Columbus, Ohio. Full presentations are available online at

The human population has risen from 2.5 billion in 1950 to 7.2 billion with a further 3 billion projected by 2050. Food consumption, particularly meat consumption per capita, has increased as living Continue reading

USDA Sued over Country of Origin Labeling Regulations

– Ellen Essman, Law Fellow, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program

On June 19, 2017, the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) and the Cattle Producers of Washington (CPoW) sued the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, over the legality of the current country of origin labeling (COOL) regulations. R-CALF USA and CPoW claim that USDA’s current COOL regulations do not require foreign beef and pork products to be labeled as such, and that in fact, the regulations allow the foreign meat to “be passed off as domestic products.” This, they argue, hurts U.S. cattle and hog producers, as well as Continue reading

Cattle Prices Hit Summer Swoon

– David P. Anderson, Professor and Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University

Fed cattle prices took another step lower to end June, finishing up in the low $120s per cwt across fed cattle country. Prices dropped about $17 per cwt over the course of the month. While the average price for the week remained just above last year’s price the ratcheting down of cattle prices looks a lot like last year’s price chart pattern. Not only have cattle prices declined, but the Choice beef cutout is down about $25 per cwt over the same time period.

Why lower prices? One reason is Continue reading

Cow Size

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

Increasing Mature Body Weight of the United States Cow Herd: There has been a 30% increase in cow mature size over the last 30 years. From 1975 to 2015, cow numbers have decreased by 35%, but beef production has been maintained at a level similar to 1975 In response to the low cow numbers carcass weights have increased. These relationships suggest that the progeny of small cows, similar to the weights observed in the 1950s and 1960s, would not have the potential to produce the carcasses necessary to maintain beef production at the current level with the number of cows currently in the national beef cow herd, unless they take part in a postweaning growing period.

This phenomenon is explained by the increased Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments for June 30, 2017

– Andrew P. Griffith, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $2 to $3 lower on a live basis compared to last week. Prices on a live basis were mainly $118 to $119 while dressed trade was mainly $188 to $190.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $118.65 live, down $2.86 from last week and $189.95 dressed, down $3.85 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $122.48 live and $195.94 dressed.

Somedays a person is the hammer and some days a person is the nail. Feedlots may be the Continue reading

Cattle Markets Slide into Summer; More Cattle on Feed

– Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Livestock Marketing Specialist

With July 4 beef purchases complete, wholesale beef prices have dropped sharply the past 10 days.

Beef and cattle markets, have defied gravity by staying stronger, longer than most expected this spring. However, with seasonal pressure prevailing, beef and cattle markets have weakened and will likely struggle seasonally for the next six plus weeks. Beef markets often weaken during the summer doldrums, that period of summer heat between Independence Day and Labor Day.

The summer slump may be mitigated somewhat if Continue reading

U.S. Ships First Beef to China: What Does this Mean for Cattle Producers?

– Brian R. Williams, Assistant Extension Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University

Negotiations with China regarding the details of an agreement to ship U.S. beef to China have been ongoing for the last few months, and were finalized early last week. It didn’t take long for the Greater Omaha Packing Company to take advantage. Last week, the beef packing company sent the first shipment of U.S. beef to China in 14 years. This presents a tremendous opportunity for U.S. beef producers. China is the world’s second largest economy, and has a rapidly growing middle class. As China’s middle class grows, so will China’s demand for Continue reading

Second Chance at Forward Pricing

– Stephen R Koontz, Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University

Commodity markets rarely give second chances but sometimes patience is rewarded. I believe that time is now. In May, I advocated that producers with anticipated fall marketings of calves purchase some price protection in the form of options. This article does the same. Let’s get right to the technicals.

The October feeder cattle contract put in a key Continue reading