Kentucky Beef Cattle Market Update

– Dr. Kenny Burdine, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Kentucky

Summer is here and feeder cattle markets keep rolling. At the time of this writing (June 13, 2017), CME© August Feeder Cattle Futures were right around $150 with fall contracts in the mid-upper $140’s. While CME© Feeder cattle futures have pulled back a little in early June, the local cash markets have hardly missed a beat. The market improvement that has been seen since last fall has been quite impressive and probably has not gotten the attention it deserved because of how sharply prices dropped from spring to fall of 2016.

As always, there is a pretty long list of factors impacting our feeder cattle markets. While fed cattle prices have been volatile, they have Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments for June 16, 2017

– Andrew P. Griffith, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $5 lower on a live basis compared to last week. Prices on a live basis were mainly $128 to $132 with some at $134 while dressed trade ranged from $205 to $217 with most near $210. The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $130.23 live, down $4.91 from last week and $210.15 dressed, down $9.19 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $121.03 live and $195.03 dressed. It appears the finished cattle market has begun its price descent from its spring high just as the market moves into summer. Finished cattle prices were strong throughout the spring months and it appears cattle prices will carry significant momentum into the summer market. Prices have started to Continue reading

Extending the Grazing Season – Preparing for the Summer Slump

– Jessica A. Williamson, Ph.D., Penn State University Extension Forage Specialist

The late spring rains and unseasonable cool temperatures have afforded our pastures exceptional growth into June in Pennsylvania, when it is common to see pasture growth begin to slow about this time of year when temperatures escalate and rainfall diminishes. However, with summer quickly approaching, it is important to remember that it is very likely that soon pasture growth will decline and the “summer slump” will be here.

Most often in the mid-Atlantic region, pastures are comprised of cool season perennial forages – including, but not limited to, orchardgrass, bromegrass, fescues, timothy, ryegrass, birdsfoot trefoil, red and white clover. Commonly, these forages thrive in the cooler temperatures and shorter days, causing grazing livestock producers to be faced with slow-growing, unproductive pastures during the hot summer months.

One of the best and easiest ways to reduce the negative effects of the summer slump is to Continue reading

Sorghum x Sudangrass, a Real “Slump Buster”

Mike Estadt, OSU Extension Educator, Pickaway County

Major League Baseball players are infamous for trying strange practices to get out of hitting slumps. Not shaving, not showering, and trying to keep the routine they used when the bat was finding the ball. Grazers in part of Ohio typically have a period of time called the “summer slump”, usually in late July and early August when hot and dry weather force cool season grasses into partial dormancy. Quite often we become like baseball players trying the same routine.


Initial grazing at 45 day after emergence

Sometimes we as grass managers need to Continue reading

Oats, an Annual Forage to Consider

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

In order to optimize utilization, oats have been strip grazed throughout the winter.

With the wheat crop coming off early this year across Ohio, those who may need additional forage will soon have an excellent opportunity for acres to be available where annual forages can be planted and grazed or harvested yet this year. For those wanting acres available for multiple grazings or cuttings later this summer, a summer annual such as sorghum sudangrass may be the logical choice. However, if the forage need is not for mid summer, but rather a single grazing or cutting in late summer or fall, based on our experience in Fairfield County with oats planted after wheat harvest over the past 15 years, oats are a low cost yet high quality feed alternative. In fact, if planted most any time in July or August, there’s an opportunity to ‘create’ anywhere from two to five tons of forage on a dry matter basis while investing little more than the cost of 80-100 pounds of oats and 40 pounds of nitrogen.

Over the years we’ve found it’s NOT important to rush to get oats planted as soon as possible after wheat harvest. In fact our experience has been that we get a greater yield and higher quality feed if we wait until Continue reading

Lots of Dynamics in Global Beef Export Markets

– Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist

It’s a unique time in global beef markets with a wide range of issues providing challenges and opportunities among many of the major beef exporting countries. USDA-FAS (Foreign Agricultural Service) estimates published in April project the top five beef exporting countries in 2017, in order, as India, Brazil, Australia, the U.S. and New Zealand. These five countries were projected to export a total of 6.83 million metric tons of beef, about 71 percent of the total among major world beef exporters. Recent and ongoing developments may modify these forecasts.

India is currently projected to be the top beef exporting country with a 2017 forecast total of 1.85 million metric tons of mostly carabeef (water buffalo) exports. Beef exports from India have grown sharply in Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments, June 9, 2017

– Andrew P. Griffith, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle trade was not well established at press but appeared to be steady compared to last week. Prices on a live basis were mainly $136 to $137 while dressed trade was thin. The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $135.14 live, down $1.12 from last week and $219.34 dressed, up $4.20 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $126.81 live and $202.87 dressed. Packers and feedlot managers found it difficult to come to terms on finished cattle prices this week. As would be expected, feedlot managers had asking prices higher than last week due to higher prices on the futures market. Alternatively, packers were bidding steady to slightly lower compared to a week ago in order to narrow the basis. This brought trade to a standstill with only light trade evident in most areas. In the end, trade will occur and both sides of the transaction will likely garner profits. The expectation for fed cattle prices continues to be of a weakening Continue reading

Safety Considerations for Hay Baling Season

Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator

As we progress into summer, hay baling moves to the forefront of things to be done on the farm. Hay baling season can come with its own set of hazards that can cause injuries. These include equipment hazards, working in hot temperatures, lifting injuries, and even the stress of getting hay down, dried and baled in a narrow window to beat the weather. Some guidelines to use to prevent injuries this hay baling season include:

• Review the Continue reading

Plan to Have it Made in the Shade

– Justin Sexten, Ph.D, Director, Supply Development, Certified Angus Beef

It’s been an interesting year for climate, as we could tell halfway through the spring. A parade of wind storms, fires, blizzards and floods moved swiftly by, leaving every cattle farm and ranch to cope with those and the peculiarities of an early or late spring, with too little or too much moisture. Still, cattle are one of the most adaptable food-animal species, proven by their thriving herds in operations across North America in heat, humidity, cold, wet and everything in between. Seasonal stocking rates for a cow-calf pair vary from less than 2 acres to more than 80. Feed and forage options are just as variable, depending on the ranch environment and local resources. Despite these differences, cattle remain the best option to convert solar energy into the most flavorful protein.

That flavor advantage is what keeps beef “king” for millions of consumers, the driving force in beef demand, food trends and taste preferences. As we’ve said before, consumer wants and needs make up the one constant that unites all ranch environments. And since the current market still reflects their preference for high-quality beef, let’s look at some opportunities to produce more of the best by addressing the next seasonal challenge.

Summer means there will be Continue reading

Weed Control Odds and Ends for Hay and Pasture Weeds

– Dwight Lingenfelter, Program Development Specialist and William S. Curran, Professor of Weed Science, Penn State University

Herbicides in new grass and legume seedings: Herbicide selection for new forage grass and/or legume seedings are limited. Most herbicide labels for grasses like orchardgrass, timothy, etc. state that the grasses should be well established with at least 4-5 inches of growth. Some labels are more restrictive than this. The metsulfuron label states that grasses should be established for at least 6 months prior to an application. This ensures that they are developing a solid root system that could tolerate potential stress from the herbicide. Herbicide selection, formulation (ester vs. amine) rate, and environmental conditions at application will all impact the Continue reading