Forward Contracting Calves

– Matthew A. Diersen, Professor, Department of Economics, South Dakota State University

Seasonally, this is a time of year when the cash price for calves finishes its increasing pattern. The summer sales volume tends to be low and prices tend to be more volatile. In recent weeks the price level has risen back to near $300 per cwt, just shy of last fall’s record price level. What will the fall bring in terms of prices? For that, one can look at the forward contract market or at the futures market. With an idea about the expected value, cow-calf producers and feedlots can evaluate the current market offerings and decide among Continue reading

Forage Harvest Guidelines

Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator Wayne County

Our mechanical forage harvest season has begun. Forages are mechanically harvested for use as stored feed. We have 3 basic forage harvest systems that are used: dry hay, silage, and wet hay or baleage. Within each of these harvest systems there are some principles or guidelines that should be considered and followed to minimize losses and keep forage quality as high as possible. I’ll summarize these harvest guidelines from a forage harvest presentation given by Bill Weiss, OSU Animal Sciences Department at a meeting this past winter.

The first principle that needs to be understood is forage maturity determines forage quality. Forage quality declines Continue reading

Forage-Temperature & Solar Interaction on Feed Intake

Steve Boyles, OSU Beef Extension Specialist

During the summer months grazing ruminants may show signs of distress with only short periods of grazing from mid-morning to late afternoon and spending other times in the shade. The restricted grazing is usually attributed to the direct effects of temperature and solar radiation on the animal, but this is not necessarily the case as climate-forage interaction also contributes to animal response. In another words, the ruminant animal may have to work harder (metabolically) to digest the forage.

Temperature Effects: High ambient temperatures bring about Continue reading

Fly Control Around Cattle Feeding Facilities

– Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension, Wayne County

Flies are one of the major nuisances around livestock facilities. They are a particular problem during the summer and fall when temperatures work in favor of their reproductive cyle. Flies can negatively affect animal performance, causing reduced feeding and resting time which can result in reduced weight gains and reduced milk production. Flies can also vector some diseases. For all of these reasons, livestock owners and managers need to make an effort to control flies. A few weeks ago Continue reading

Meat Substitution Effects . . .

– Glynn T. Tonsor, Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University (originally published by the Livestock Marketing Information Center on 6/2/2015)

Among the many issues generating anxiety for some industry stakeholders is the possible impact on retail beef prices (and hence derived prices at wholesale and live animal levels) of changes in available supplies of competing meats. While this is a long-standing topic, the combination of increased domestic pork and poultry production, reduced meat exports reflecting exchange rate adjustments, and extended impacts on exports from Avian Influenza outbreaks have further elevated interest. Accordingly it is useful to step back and consider retail-level substitution of competing meat products in more detail.

At the heart of this discussion is an expectation that an environment of “expensive” beef products coupled with growing domestic availability of “less expensive” pork and poultry products will lead to Continue reading