Tariffs and Beef Trade

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

Wherever you get your news, you likely couldn’t avoid hearing a particular T word last week: tariffs. On the heels of the announcement that the U.S. will impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports, many prognosticators were taking sides on the impact the tariffs would have on businesses and consumers. Don’t worry, this article is not about metals and I’m no forecaster of those industries. However, tariffs are something that those in the beef industry have been talking about for a long time. Also released last week were the latest monthly U.S. beef trade data that show continued impressive growth of U.S. beef exports. So while we have a tariff example fresh in the news and a report of strong beef exports, perhaps it’s a good time to touch on Continue reading

USDA’s Outlook Forum Gives a Preview of What Lies Ahead for the Cattle Industry

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

The United States Department of Agriculture held its annual Agricultural Outlook Forum a couple of weeks ago in which many topics relevant to the agricultural industry were discussed at length. Topics of discussion ranged from trade to regulation and from policy to rural development. But the one topic that is always a mainstay at the annual forum are the market outlooks for most of our major commodities. The outlooks at the forum include information regarding the current supply and demand situation as well as projections for the current production year and a discussion of the factors that are the driving forces behind those projections.

The most important aspect on the supply side of the cattle industry comes back to the Continue reading

Understanding Customer Relations in a Changing Beef Industry

Garth Ruff, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator, OSU Henry County Extension (originally published in the Ohio Farmer on-line)

The customer is always right.” If they want to purchase cattle only from feeders with a BQA certification, then to access their market that’s what we’ll need to do.

Things are at a high pace in Ohio’s Extension offices as we move towards spring with not only agriculture programming but 4-H as well. One of the programs that combines both the agriculture and youth is Quality Assurance, a program required for youth in order to exhibit livestock projects at the various fair and expositions across the state. The youth QA program began twenty some years ago in Ohio as the result of some food safety concerns regarding exhibition livestock.

Introduced in 1989, Continue reading

Do Some Selection Tools Result in Unintended Consequences?

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

You hear more about mature cow size and growth potential of calves, now that profit ebbs and flows with the cycle. We’ve written about mature size, but not much about how to use the relevant tools to change it. So now, let’s examine the strategies and tools available, and the unintended consequences of ignoring them.

Commercial breeders can draw on more selection tools than ever before to improve the next generation of cows to match the market and ranch environments. Genomic testing can identify sires in multi-bull pastures while indexing heifer genetic potential and sorting outliers for adaptability and docility. You could start with Continue reading

Finding the Right Cow Size is Not Simple

– Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

The beef industry has tremendous potential for growth within individual cattle.

But just because we can, does that mean we should?

Sound cattle management focuses on maintaining growth and efficiency and, in many operations, pushing for improvement. The fear of paths that may take an alternative route is real. Like life, management of alternatives with only a partial knowledge of the outcome amplifies concerns.

Without question, the incorporation of alternative management programs is Continue reading

A Cheap Bull May Be Just That

– Andrew P. Griffith, University of Tennessee

There have been several discussions recently concerning bull sales and expected progeny differences (EPDs) which is probably a factor of the impending breeding season. The discussions have ranged in topic and have included the timing of a bull sale, saturation of the bull market, bulls that should be steers, and matching EPDs to a herd of cattle or individual cattle to get the best end product from the dam. This is a wide range of topics, but they are all related to understanding the herd sire market and the intended market of the sire’s offspring.

Producers must first know and understand the Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments for March 2, 2018

– Andrew P. Griffith, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $1 to $2 lower than last week on a live basis. Prices on a live basis were mainly $126 to $127 while dressed prices were mainly $203 to $205. The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $126.80 live, down $1.35 from last week and $204.30 dressed, down $0.15 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $124.83 live and $199.99 dressed. Cash cattle trade did not wait until the clock struck midnight to trade this week. Cattle feeders and packers were able to come to terms and trade cattle well before the end of business on Friday. Both parties had reason for urgency as it relates to trading cattle. Cattle feeders had urgency due to live cattle futures declining much of the week while packers have recently seen Continue reading

Forage, Frostbite, and Fescue Foot

Christine Gelley – OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County, Ohio

In January, I had the opportunity to attend the American Forage and Grassland Council Annual Conference with some of our other Ohio Extension Educators. It was a wonderful experience to learn from others and share what we have learned with forage producers and professionals across the country.

An example of fescue foot in the winter, which could be the result of fescue toxicosis last summer. Photo: Dr. David Bohnert, Oregon State University

Two sessions that specifically caught my interest were “Managing Clovers in the 21st Century” and “Understanding and Mitigating Fescue Toxicosis.” Both are struggles for many producers in my region of Ohio.

The clover session included a presentation by Dow Agrosciences about a new product they are developing for treating broadleaf weeds in clover stands. It was definitely intriguing and Continue reading

Tall Fescue and its endophyte – Implications for your farm

– Dr. Jimmy Henning, Livestock Forage Specialist, University of Kentucky (From Jan 18 Farmers Pride)

The story of Kentucky 31 tall fescue reads like a soap opera. Found on a Menifee County Kentucky hill side in 1931, it quickly became a rival to Kentucky bluegrass as the most important grass in Kentucky. Its yield and persistence made it look unbeatable, but its animal performance numbers were sometimes poor or worse. The decision by the University of Kentucky to go forward with the release of Kentucky 31 was filled with about as much drama as you will ever find in an academic setting.

Figure 1: Tall fescue is the dominant grass of Kentucky, and most is infected with a toxic endophyte. Much is known about this unusual combination of pasture plant and internal fungus. Management, clover interseeding and replacement will improve livestock performance.

We now know the poor animal performance AND the persistence of that early fescue was due to Continue reading

A Little Background May Help

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

Let’s say you weaned calves last fall but didn’t sell. Instead, you helped them cross the bridge to independent life in your dry lot pen and maybe on to a grazing program. Chances are, those “backgrounded” calves have moved on to a finishing yard or the next phase of heifer development.

You’ve got calving on your mind now, but that means weaning will surely follow this fall and some of your decisions then will be framed by decisions made this spring. So back to those pens and fields, perhaps empty now, but ready for planning.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska recently compared three backgrounding systems, and at least one of them might be Continue reading