Weekly Livestock Comments for February 16, 2018

– Andrew P. Griffith, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $4 higher than last week on a live basis. Prices on a live basis were mainly $130 while dressed prices were mainly $205.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $128.29 live, up $1.29 from last week and $202.00 dressed, up $0.67 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $118.97 live and $187.44 dressed.

Live cattle futures led the way this week with more than Continue reading

Demand More When Buying a Herd Sire

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Bull buying season is well underway throughout the cow-calf regions across the country. If your calving season starts in January, you may have already made your herd sire selections for this year’s breeding season. If your calving season starts a bit later, you may be in the midst of making herd sire selections. If you have yet to make your bull buying decisions, there are plenty of opportunities available in the immediate future through public auction or private treaty.

As an Extension professional and a seedstock producer, one of the most interesting discussions I can have with a producer is Continue reading

Changes to National Cattle Evaluation Benefits Bulls Buyers in 2018

– Matt Spangler, UNL Associate Professor and Beef Genetics Extension Specialist

National Cattle Evaluation has never been static, and future changes are inevitable as science continues to advance. Photo courtesy of Matt Spangler.

The majority of beef breed associations have made (or are currently making) substantial changes to their National Cattle Evaluation (NCE). These changes ultimately benefit commercial bull buyers by providing improved Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) and improved economic selection indices. This brief article is not meant to be an exhaustive list of the changes to NCE by breed organization, but rather to highlight changes in general and the benefits Continue reading

Improving Cow Herd Reproduction Via Genetics

– Wade Shafer, Ph.D., American Simmental Association Executive Vice President (This article was originally published in March 2008 issue of the SimTalk written by Wade Shafer, Ph.D. Drs. Lauren Hyde and Jackie Atkins provided updates for this reprint)

A beef cow’s job is not an easy one. She is expected to conceive at slightly over one year of age, to calve by the time she is two, and rebreed shortly after that while weaning a healthy, viable calf. Furthermore, we demand that she consistently repeats this cycle for the rest of her life – one stumble and, hasta la vista, baby!

To be sure, producers are best served when the cow successfully performs her task for many years, as the longer her productive life, the more profitable she is to the enterprise. Is there anything that can be done to help her out? Certainly, there are Continue reading

Crawford County Cattlemen Plan Beef Finishing Tour, You’re Invited

The Erf’s take the Holstein calves they start all the way to finish.

Jason Hartschuh, AgNR Educator, OSU Extension Crawford Country

The Crawford County cattlemen are planning to tour two beef finishing operations in the Bellevue Ohio area on March 3rd and they would like to extend an invitation to anyone across the state to join them for the tours. The first stop will be 10:00 am at Lepley’s new slatted floor finishing barn; located at 4084 Prairie Rd Bellevue. From there we will be traveling a few miles to Erf Farm’s, 4516 Yingling Rd Bellevue, to see a dairy beef finishing operation. They purchase deacon calves and raise them through finishing using some the latest technology to feed the deacon calves.

From there we will travel to York Animal Hospital (Dr Mike Mull) 1184 W Main St Bellevue, where we will Continue reading

Beef Herd Continues to Grow

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

USDA released their January 1 estimates for cattle inventory late last month and I wanted to walk through some of the high points of this report. Beef cow numbers were estimated to have grown by 1.6% from 2017, which is a little less than half the increase that was seen in the prior year. Although growth in the US herd is clearly slowing, beef cow inventory has increased by 9% since 2014.

Anytime the beef cowherd is expanding, heifer retention is of interest. Heifer retention for beef cow replacement was estimated to be down 3.7% from 2017. Often a decrease in heifer retention is seen as evidence of future decreases in cow numbers, but that is likely not the case this time. This point is probably best made by Continue reading

Rumors Roil Some Cattle Markets

– David P. Anderson, Professor and Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University

I expect enough analysts have discussed USDA’s recent Cattle Inventory report so I’m going to tackle another issue. Over the last two weeks, a rumor has come up in several Western cattle auctions and even in the futures market about an impending dairy cow buyout. This rumor was used as the explanation for lower prices. Most remember (either you were around then, or you have heard the stories from your elders) the government dairy herd buyout in the 1980s to deal with ruinous levels of production, stocks, and prices. That was also a time period where farm programs used a number of tools to limit production (high acreage reduction programs and payment-in-kind). More recent Continue reading

Gaining Greater Market Access for Ohio Feeder Calves

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

The World is expecting a lot more information about the food they buy.”

During the first segment of the Ohio Beef School, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes visits with Bill Tom of United Producers, and Henry Zerby from Wendy’s, about the rapidly changing demands in the beef cattle market

Consumers are concerned for animal health, and the sustainability of the production systems their food’s raised in.”

Traceability and transparency are of growing concern to consumers.”

Vaccination is not necessarily the same as immunization when it comes to preventing health issues.”

Feed and bunk management, and avoiding nutritional stress are keys to calf health.”

These are just a few of the comments that will be emphasized, and Continue reading

Livestock Water is Essential, Even in Winter

Ted Wiseman, Extension Educator, OSU Extension, Perry County

Water is essential for all livestock regardless of the time of year. So far this year we have certainly had our share of chopping ice, thawing water lines and troughs. With recent temperatures many of us often focus on keeping livestock well fed and with adequate shelter. However, often times we forget about the most important nutrient which is water. Water consumed by livestock is required for a variety of physiological functions. Some of these include proper digestion, nutrient transportation, enzymatic and chemical reactions, and regulation of body temperature.

Although water is the cheapest nutrient we may purchase or provide, it is the one we provide the most of on a per 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 Continue reading