Conversations That Matter; The What, How & Where of Connecting With Consumers

Cambell Parrish, Ohio Beef Council Director of Public Relations and Consumer Marketing (Originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of The Ohio Cattleman)

Visit the Ohio Beef Council on Facebook

Communicating with strangers can be a daunting task. The further away our consumer base gets from production agriculture the more like strangers we seem to become. Bringing them back to the table with the people that bring food to it is a challenge that the Ohio Beef Council embraces every day through the use of your beef checkoff dollars. Reflecting on this challenge reminded me of what a mentor of mine once told me.  Communicating and public speaking have very little to do with what you actually say. It’s a ratio; 70 percent how you look, 20 percent how you say it and 10 percent of what you actually say. While communicating with consumers is a little bit more balance of a Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments, May 19, 2017

– Andrew P. Griffith, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $4 lower on a live basis compared to last week. Prices on a live basis were mainly $133 to $135 while dressed prices were mainly $210 to $213. The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $134.27 live, down $3.59 from last week and $212.74 dressed, down $7.79 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $131.14 live and $204.03 dressed. Finished cattle prices experienced two consecutive weeks of large price declines which likely solidifies that the spring price peak occurred two weeks ago. Elevated prices have resulted in strong profit margins for cattle feeders for several weeks and this week’s prices continue to result in solid profits at the cattle feeding level despite Continue reading

Cow-Calf Profitability Expectations for a Fall Calving Herd

Kenny Burdine and Greg Halich, University of Kentucky Agricultural Economists

While calf prices have rebounded somewhat from the lows they made in fall of 2016, they remain down drastically from where they were two years ago, which continues to create challenges for cow-calf operators. Last fall, we provided an estimate of cow-calf returns to a spring calving cowherd given calf prices and expected costs. In this article, we will attempt to do the same thing, but will do so for a fall calving cowherd. Calf prices reflect this spring’s market and expected costs for a fall calving cowherd at Continue reading

Choice-Select Spread

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

The Choice-Select spread has widened in the last few weeks. Although it is occurring slightly early, this widening of the spread is a seasonally expected occurrence. This widening of the Choice-Select spread provides incentives for increased production of Choice beef as compared to Select beef. Over a 12 month period of time, the Choice-Select spread is typically narrowest in the January to March time-frame as the demand for Choice graded middle meats is at its lowest and the supply of Choice graded cattle is typically at its highest. In contrast, as we go into summer, the demand Continue reading

Feeder Cattle Price Volatility on the Increase

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

The cattle markets have been on rampage over the last few weeks, with October Feeder Cattle futures nearly hitting $160 during intraday trading at one point. That is way up from late March when prices were hovering around the $130 mark. But with the run-up in prices, we have also seen volatility increase substantially. There have been several days where trading was limit up or limit down over the last couple of weeks, which can put cattle producers at the edge of their seats. Demand has been Continue reading

Implanting the Suckling Calf

While castrating and tagging young calves, consider using calfhood implants as a management strategy to maximize returns. Photo courtesy of Mitzi Goodman.

– Erin Laborie, Nebraska Extension Educator

The use of growth implants has shown to be an effective tool in increasing production from the ranch to the feedlot. Implants cause a delay in fat deposition and an increase in lean tissue accretion while ultimately changing frame size. These growth promotants have been reported to increase gains of suckling calves by four to six percent (Griffin and Mader, 1997). This can result in an additional 15 to 30 pounds of weaning weight, which equates to approximately $20 to $40 in returns per head. With the cost of a calfhood implant (Ralgro®, Synovex® C, Component® E-C) being Continue reading

Time to Act

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

The fed cattle and feeder cattle markets have continued their impressive rallies that took off last week. Live cattle futures increased $15/cwt and better than $30/cwt since the beginning of April. Feeder cattle futures $20/cwt and $30/cwt since April 1. Do these rallies have legs or, in other words, are there underlying fundamentals that support these prices?

The fundamentals are there but are short term and will not Continue reading

Cattle on Feed: Placements Record Large in March

– Katelyn McCullock, Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation

Cattle on feed came out last Friday providing an update of cattle supplies moving in and out of feedlots. Placements into feedlots were record large since this series began in 1996, coming in 11% above 2016, adding 210,000 head. Fed cattle marketed continued its aggressive pace of 10% above a year ago; while supplies of cattle on feed were Continue reading

The Goal is $1,000 Per Cow Exposed, Including Market Beef

– Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Pondering and goals are good.

At the Dickinson Research Extension Center, a goal of $1,000 of income from every cow exposed was set. This income goal includes the calf and the market beef that a cow herd generates. If a cow does not sell a calf valued at more than $1,000, the cow or heifer is sold with the same expectation of $1,000 or more generated as market beef.

But in reality, earned dollars pay the bills and bring into question if the center’s goal is realistic. The center budgets are prepared, reviewed, implemented, reviewed, modified and implemented again because income and expenses drive the cattle discussions.

The center has driven down expenses by changing long-standing management options and replacing them with Continue reading

Export Protocol Negotiation Will Decide the Timeline for U.S. Beef in China

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

It was reported last week that China has agreed to allow beef imports from the U.S. for the first time since 2003. This announcement follows a very similar announcement made in September of 2016, though no actual trade has occurred yet. Gaining access to the most populated country in the world would be a very positive development for the U.S. beef industry. China represents a multibillion-dollar market and has the greatest growth potential for beef consumption of Continue reading