Beef AGRI NEWS Today, the April Podcast

In this month’s podcast of Beef AGRI NEWS Today, show host Duane Rigsby visits with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes and about trade wars that include agriculture, transitioning from winter to spring, and preparations for spring planting.

Remember the Economic Basics in the Midst of Trade Turbulence

– Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist

U.S. agricultural trade is being threatened by a storm of policy challenges and political rhetoric. As the political discussions continue, it’s important to not lose sight of the basic economic principles that are the foundation for all trade. Trade between two economic agents adds value to both and is the basis for nearly all economic growth. These gains from trade are the result of specialization where market participants capitalize on their comparative advantage in some activity.

Comparative advantage allows all parties in a market to produce at their lowest opportunity cost thereby using scarce resources most efficiently. For example, it might be possible for Continue reading

Cow-Calf Profitability Expectations for Spring 2018 (Fall Calving Herd)

– Dr. Kenny Burdine and Dr. Greg Halich, University of Kentucky Agricultural Economists

Spring is the time of year when fall calving cow-calf operations wean their fall-born calves and summer stocker operators place calves into summer grazing programs. The purpose of this article will be to examine the profitability of cow-calf operations that have recently sold, or will soon sell, their fall born calves. A very similar article was written last year that took this same basic approach and overall profitability is very similar to where it was at that time.

Table 1 summarizes estimated spring 2018 costs and returns to a traditional fall-calving cow-calf operation. Every operation is different, so producers should Continue reading

A Need for Some Spring Optimism

– Stephen R. Koontz, Colorado State University

For the past three weeks the cattle markets have shown that they are not immune from concerns over trade disputes and the general volatility that has taken over in the equity markets. Cattle markets moved down sharply but possibly have turned a short-term corner higher.

It is unlikely that trade issues are responsible for the dramatic market softening in March. Rather, many of the underlying fundamentals are different between this year and this time in 2017. And different such that lower prices are to be expected. Most notable are the substantial Continue reading

Crop Planting Report and Feeder Price Decline

– Levi A. Russell, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Georgia

The recent crop planting report provided a lot of surprises with regard to feed grains and soybean production for this year. Though quarterly stocks for both commodities were higher than expected, corn and soybean planted acres were both significantly below expectations. The average estimate for corn acres coming into the report was 89.3 million acres and the USDA Outlook Forum February estimate was 90 million acres. However, corn acres were reported at just 88 million acres. This is the lowest corn acreage since 2015 and the first time corn acres will be lower than soybean acres in the U.S. in 35 years. Expect volatility in Continue reading

Carefully Approach Spring Manure Applications

– Robert Meinen, Senior Extension Associate, Penn State University

Appropriate timing is an important part of efficient manure application

At this time of year you may be looking at a full manure storage and desire to get an early jump on application for the coming growing season. Patience can pay off in the form of manure nutrient conservation. After all, the goal of manure application is to place valuable nutrients on the soil where they are needed and to keep them there. A large part of this equation is timing. The closer the nutrient is applied to actual crop need the better.

The goal of manure application is to place valuable nutrients on the soil where they are needed and to keep them there.

Application of nutrients during times of Continue reading

Mixed Macroeconomic Signals Shake Cattle Markets

– Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension

So far in 2018, beef production is higher year over year as expected, with increased cattle slaughter and carcass weights. Beef demand has continued strong carrying forward momentum from 2017. Cattle prices, both feeder and fed, along with wholesale and retail beef prices have generally been higher year over year so far this year. Despite the challenges of growing cattle and beef supplies and seasonal pressure ahead in many markets, cattle market fundamentals are quite supportive and stable at this time. However, cash cattle prices recently dropped sharply, led by weaker feeder and live futures. This reflects the biggest threat to cattle markets: an increasingly turbulent and murky macroeconomic environment.

By some measures, the U.S. economy is quite strong after many months of steady, if plodding, recovery and growth. U.S. unemployment has continued to decline and is projected to average under four percent in 2018. The Federal Reserve, eyeing potential Continue reading

Will Dean Foods’ Dairy Announcement Affect the Beef Cattle Industry?

– Andrew P. Griffith, University of Tennessee

A few weeks ago, Dean Foods announced they were discontinuing milk contracts with 100 or so dairies which included a dozen or so operations in Tennessee. Essentially, the dairies impacted have until the end of May to find a new outlet for their milk or they will be forced to exit the industry due to having no method to market milk. This has brought several questions across my email and through personal communication.

From the beef sector side, this could Continue reading

Low Steer Slaughter Fuels Spring Cattle Prices

– David P. Anderson, Professor and Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

A nice Spring (or we might say late winter) rally has had fed cattle in the upper $120s for most of the last 8 weeks. While a first reaction might be “well, its Spring and we usually get a grilling season demand bump” there is a supply contribution to this story. Steer slaughter has been below a year ago while heifer and cow slaughter have been boosting beef production.

After January steer slaughter was up 5.5 percent, February steer slaughter was 2.1 percent below that of February 2017. March is even with a year ago, through mid-month including an estimate of steer slaughter using the preliminary data.

Heifer slaughter is up about 5.5 percent for the year to date. In contrast Continue reading

Beef AGRI NEWS Today, the March Podcast

In this month’s podcast of Beef AGRI NEWS Today, show host Duane Rigsby visits with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes and about trade tariff’s, ELDs, alternatives for managing mud, and restoring the cattle feeding areas that have been destroyed this winter!