August WASDE Feeds the Bears on Crop Markets, Could it also Feed the Bulls (and Steers) this Fall?

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

The United States Department of Agriculture’s World Supply and Demand Estimates were released on Friday morning (August 12, 2016) and provided a bit of a surprise to many analysts on the crop side of things. Corn yield for the 2016/17 crop year is projected at 175.1 bu/acre a 7.1 bu/acre increase over the July estimate and much higher than pre-report trade expectation of 170.8 bu/acre. The increase in yield, if it holds, will give us a Continue reading

Ohio’s BEEF Cattle letter; 1000 Issues Later, Some’s Changed, Other Stuff Not So Much

Stan Smith, PA, Fairfield County OSU Extension

When I began this newsletter I was asked if there was really enough going on within the business of raising beef cattle that warranted a local weekly Extension publication. Perhaps the best way I can answer today is simply, twenty years and 1000 issues later we’re still doing it. While many things about this industry have actually changed little over the years, it seems that there’s always something new impacting what some of us might think to be the ‘same old, same old.’

Today, we certainly understand things like forage digestibility, ruminant nutrition, reproduction, predicting genetic outcomes, carcass fabrication and effectively utilizing new technologies within the industry better than ever. As we move forward, advances in these an other areas of production will continue at an even greater pace than observed the past 20 years. Despite those advances, perhaps the greatest change during the past two decades comes from the consumer side of the business.

If you think about it, it’s easy to see why this might be true. Do you remember when nearly everyone had a Continue reading

Introduction to Feeding Holstein Beef

Francis Fluharty, Professor, Department of Animal Sciences

In January, 2016 according to the USDA, there were 30.3 million beef cows and 9.3 million dairy cows. This has resulted in dairy animals being an increasing proportion of the beef supply compared with past decades, with fed dairy steers accounting for approximately 14% of beef and cull dairy cows accounting for 6%. In the Midwest, an increasing number of operations are feeding dairy steers due to their consistent supply and performance compared with beef breeds, due to the more homogeneous genetic base.


Photo by Nick Erf, Huron County

One of the biggest differences between feeding Holstein and beef breeds is the Continue reading

Cull Cow Market Update, Start Planning Now

– Jessica Sampson, Agricultural Economist, Livestock Marketing Information Center

As the summer season winds down, cattle producers must start making “keep or cull” decisions in their cow herds. Cull cows come to market throughout the year, but prices are seasonally lowest in the fall. This is when supply of cull cows to the market is the largest, as many U.S. cow-calf producers sell animals they do not wish to retain in the herd, before having to feed them over winter. When cull cows are sold into the beef supply, the main product produced by them will be 90 percent lean ground beef. This is blended with 50 percent lean trimmings from fed steers and heifers to produce varying degrees of lean to fat hamburger and ground beef mixes. The dairy industry does play a role in the cull cow market, however Continue reading

Cow-Calf Profitability Expectations for a Spring Calving Herd

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

The drastic decline in calf prices from summer 2015 is having a major impact on cow-calf profits.  In evaluating cow-calf profitability this year, it may prove useful to provide a long-run perspective on calf prices.  The chart below shows historical April and October prices for a 550# steer in Kentucky from 2007 to 2015 (USDA-AMS).  Part of our message to cow-calf operators as we traveled the state this winter / spring was that Continue reading

Grazing dry pastures? Some tips to help you get the most until it rains

Chris Zoller, OSU Extension Educator, Tuscarawas County (This article first appeared in the July 28, 2016 issue of Farm and Dairy)

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, many areas are experiencing abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions – and the impact on crops is obvious.

One farmer last week told me he had to drive around a lot in his fields to make round bales. All crops are showing signs of stress, including pasture grasses and forages, but the weeds seem to be growing well through these dry conditions.

What can a manager do Continue reading

Posted in Pasture

Managing Beef Cow Margins: Grazing Cost

– Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension

Cow-calf revenues have decreased dramatically in the past few months and are expected to remain lower for the next couple of years. Producers must focus more attention on cost management to help maintain net returns in this environment.  A reasonable question to ask is: don’t producers always attempt to minimize costs in order to maximize profits? The answer is generally yes but Continue reading

New Dung Beetle Fact Sheet Available

– Bill Halfman, University of Wisconsin Extension

Dung beetles may sound like disgusting insects, but their value to the beef grazing and cattle production industry should not be overlooked. Pasture managers are interested in dung beetles because these insects serve beneficial roles in the microenvironment of a dung pat that positively impact the larger pasture ecosystem.

Read more Continue reading

Which is Bigger: Brazil-US Beef Trade Announcement or US Jobs Report?

– Glynn T. Tonsor, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University

This past week included several reports, announcements, and market updates of central interest to US cattle producers.  The CME announcement of changes to their Live Cattle contracts warrants a separate discussion and will not be covered here.  Similarly, ongoing declines in expected upcoming corn prices are supportive to cattle markets but will not be outlined in this article.  Rather this week’s article is a synthesis comparison of changes in US-Brazil beef trade and employment in the US.

Last Monday an updated agreement to bilateral beef trade between Brazil and the US was Continue reading

Some Like It Hot, Some Not!

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

As we move into August, we continue to experience a fairly typical seasonal weather pattern for most of Ohio.  Yes, it’s hot and humid!  We have been experiencing these conditions for the past couple of weeks and it appears that the trend will continue at least for the remainder of this week.  Maybe Mother Nature will improve her sense of humor and provide us some relief in the coming weeks.

Every cow-calf producer makes management decisions about their operations based on a wide variety of factors.  Some of these factors include access to land, feed resources, marketing goals, labor availability, etc.  In this article, I want to discuss another factor that significantly impacts management decisions for the cow-calf producer.  That factor is Continue reading