Forage Value Based on Nutrients

Clif Little, OSU Extension Guernsey County

A forage nutrient analysis is an underutilized tool. Nutrient content determines forage value. In addition, forage dry matter content influences livestock feed amounts required per day and ability to properly preserve forages for winter feeding. Consider the calculations values below for a second cutting grass hay (harvested in late June), a first cutting grass baleage (harvested in late May), and a first cutting perennial warm season grass hay (harvested in mid-July).

  As Fed
  DM% CP% ADF% Ca% P% $/cwt $/ton
Grass 2nd cut hay 83.0 15.1 35.3 0.56 0.33 $11.33 $188.14
Baleage 1st cut 33.1 12.2 40.1 0.42 0.31 $10.82 $71.62
Per.warm season hay 84.0 11.6 46.1 0.35 0.14 $8.96 $150.50

The value of the forage above was calculated by totaling the sum value of energy, protein, calcium, and phosphorus contained in each forage.  The price per unit for each of these nutrients was obtained from the commodities below and calculated utilizing the Continue reading

Huge Beef Quality Price Spreads

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

Beef production has dipped below a year ago over the last couple of weeks, leading to some higher fed cattle prices and a widening Choice-Select price spread.

Over the last four weeks total beef production is more than half a percent below the same period a year ago. As we all know, not all beef is the same. Over this period, fed steer and heifer slaughter is down 1.7 percent, while cow slaughter is up 4.2 percent. Digging in a little deeper, fed steer slaughter is down 6.5 percent while fed heifer slaughter is up 6.7 percent. Dressed weights continue to be down about 2 pounds per head over the last month for steers, heifers, and cows. Combining weekly slaughter and dressed weights leaves fed beef production about Continue reading

Ethanol Movements Impact Distiller Grains as an Input to Cattle Feeding

– Elliott Dennis, Assistant Professor & Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Much of this past crop year has focused on the larger than normal uncertainty of supply in the grain markets due to delayed planting, slow crop progress, and prevent planting acres. As the supply of corn decreases basis increases. Increasing basis is favorable for grain producers but less favorable for ethanol plants. Due to lack of supply and increasing basis coupled with small-refinery waivers issued by the EPA, many ethanol plants have chosen to temporarily stop operating. For example, the Sioux Center ethanol plant halted production in the middle of September.

Lets take the Sioux Center ethanol plant as example to illustrate the lack of supply and corresponding response in corn basis. First, Farm Bureau compiled the USDA FSA’s corn prevent planting report ( Examining this chart shows that Continue reading

USDA Cattle on Feed Report for September

– Stephen R. Koontz, Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, Colorado State University

The USDA NASS Cattle on Feed report for September was released last Friday. My take on the report is that it is reasonably bullish. The fear and panic that impact cattle markets after the news of the fire at, and temporary closure of, the Tyson Finney County Plant has not much abated over the past 6 weeks. The Cattle on Feed report communicates that the market is adapting to the situation and it appears to me that there is no overwhelming bad news in the report – or other supporting USDA reports.

Cattle on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or more head totaled 10.982 million head on September 1, 2019. The inventory was 1.3% below September 1, 2018. This is modestly fewer Continue reading

Valuing Standing Oat or Spring Triticale Cover Crops for Feed

Mark Sulc, Extension Forage Agronomist, Dianne Shoemaker, Extension Field Specialist, Dairy, Bill Weiss, Extension Dairy Nutritionist, Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Ben Brown, Agriculture Risk Management

Oats planted in late summer and originally intended as a cover crop are also high quality and valuable feed.

Considering the current shortage of quality forages, and the abundance of cover crops that were planted in Ohio this summer, the question has been asked, “How do I set a price to buy a oat/spring triticale forage crop still growing in the field?”

In response we’ve assembled a spreadsheet based tool to help determine an appropriate value for standing oat and spring triticale cover crops that could be harvested as feed.

At best, how to value a standing oat/triticale summer seeded forage crop is challenging. Assigning an appropriate value includes the buyer and seller agreeing on the market value for the forage and then adjusting for Continue reading

Feed Situation

– Matthew Diersen, Risk & Business Management Specialist, Ness School of Management & Economics, South Dakota State University

Large rainfall events have made it a challenging growing season in South Dakota and neighboring states. The quantity and quality of feed from pastures and crops have been affected. The resulting feed situation is influenced by both local and national factors. Cattle inventories are expected to be constant to slightly lower locally and nationally, meaning steady demand for feed. The supply side is more variable. At the national level, pasture conditions are better than last year at this time. Conditions in California and other western states are relatively worse, while conditions in South Dakota, Maine, and Florida are relatively better than the national level. Ample pasture supplies limit demand for other feeds.

The national hay situation began the 2019/20 marketing year with very low May 1 stocks and prices high enough to discourage cattle expansion. Higher yields, so far, suggest a larger supply of hay compared to a year earlier. The result has been some downward pressure on hay prices. In South Dakota higher yields boosted production in 2019. Fall use locally is highly variable. However, when coupled with solid pasture conditions, use is likely Continue reading

The Impact of Basis in Fed Cattle

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

A relationship sometimes overlooked but important to the flow of cattle is the difference between the cash and futures price or the basis. For example, at the end of last week, the 5-area weekly weighted average cash price for all grades of live steers was $101.73. The nearby fed cattle futures price averaged $97.76 last week which was for the October contract. Thus, the average basis was +$3.97.

Changes in basis influence returns from hedging using the futures market. Hedgers swap price risk for basis risk and for those selling cattle, a Continue reading

The Cull Cow Market is Looking Up

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

Cull cow prices continued their slow increase into September. Prices in the Southern Plains reached their high of the year, so far, at $54.36 at the end of August. That was 12.5 percent higher than a year ago. There is some good reason to think that prices may continue to be above a year ago.

Cow slaughter hit some multi-decade highs in the first few months of the year, largely driven by dairy cow slaughter. After the surge early in the year, dairy cow slaughter has fallen back to year ago levels. Over the last month, dairy cow slaughter has been almost 1 percent below a year ago. For the last two months, only 900 head more have gone to market compared to last year. Normally, dairy cow marketings tend to move higher seasonally after July and that is happening this year as well.

Beef cow culling has lagged behind a year ago over the last two months. Beef cow slaughter over this time period is almost Continue reading

Pricing Standing Forage in the Field

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

Valuing a standing forage crop can be a challenge, especially when a variety of ‘cover crop’ species could be on the market this fall.

How to value a standing hay crop is challenging. Assigning an appropriate value includes the buyer and seller agreeing on the market value for the hay and then adjusting for harvest costs and other factors that contribute to the price of hay sold in the open market, some of which are challenging to quantify.

A new factsheet and Excel worksheet are available to help you arrive at a fair price. These resources consider just a single crop of forage that is ready to harvest as hay or haylage. The grower’s base price equals the price they could receive for the crop from the hay market less harvesting/storage/marketing costs. Hopefully, this covers production costs and generates a profit. During price negotiations, it must be recognized that Continue reading

Cattle On Feed, August 1 Report

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

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA, NASS) released their monthly Cattle on Feed report on Friday August 23, 2019. The latest numbers released by the USDA showed aggressive marketings and were neutral in total numbers on feed and placements. Total cattle on feed on August 1, 2019 numbered 11.1 million head, slightly above August 2018. Pre-report estimates expected cattle on feed numbers to be up 0.6%.

Placements in feedlots during July totaled 1.71 million head, down 2.2 percent from 2018. Pre-report estimates anticipated placements down only 0.5%. Poor pasture and range conditions helped contribute to Continue reading