Kentucky Beef Cattle Market Update

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

The cattle markets continue to be at higher levels than I would have projected this time last year given production levels for all major meats. A lot of large groups of 800-900 lb steers are still moving in the $150’s. Exports have remained strong and I also think the overall strength of the US economy has encouraged solid beef movement. Heavy feeders moving now, are still being sold based on strong spring CME© Live Cattle futures prices, but as is always the case, there is a sizeable drop from April to June. I don’t expect heavy feeders to hold at these levels as we move towards the end of the year and the summer live cattle contracts become the driver.

Calf markets have also held pretty well through the first part of fall. Some of this is due to a Continue reading

October 2018 Cattle on Feed Report

– Stephen R. Koontz, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University

The USDA NASS released the October Cattle on Feed Report last Friday. Marketings and placements were below the prior year while the end of the month inventory was larger. Marketings during the month of September were 1,719 thousand head and this is 3.6% below the prior year. Placements during September were 2,051 thousand head and this is 4.6% below the prior year. These flow measures result in the October 1 Cattle on Feed inventory being estimated at 11,400 thousand head in greater than 1,000 head capacity feedlots. This is 5.4% above the prior year.

From an expectations perspective, the report is long-term bullish but short-term bearish. Pre-report estimates were very Continue reading

Avoid Forage Toxicities After Frosts

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

As cold weather approaches this week, livestock owners need to keep in mind the few forage species that can be extremely toxic soon after a frost. Several species contain compounds called cyanogenic glucosides that are converted quickly to prussic acid (i.e. hydrogen cyanide) in freeze-damaged plant tissues. A few legumes species have an increased risk of causing bloat when grazed after a frost. Each of these risks is discussed in this article along with precautions to avoid them.

Species with prussic acid poisoning potential

Forage species that can contain prussic acid are listed below in decreasing order of risk of toxicity after a frost Continue reading

Too Much, Too Early

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

Fall- and spring-calving herd managers don’t often find themselves facing the same decision as those who buy calves for backgrounding, but this is one of those times. Should you implant the calves and if so, what product should be used? Answers will vary, of course.

It’s simple if increasing gain is the singular goal. Given adequate nutrition, the return on investment to growth-promoting implants makes it one of the best dollars you can spend. But let’s examine that given: are there adequate dietary resources to support the implant? Data suggests calves need enough nutrition to gain at least a pound per day to make any implant pay. Few operations plan for gains lower than that, but for those who try to hold calves back to change marketing windows, this may be a consideration.

Another reason implants may not make sense is a contradiction with your marketing plans, such as those who sell natural or non-hormone treated calves (NHTC) at a premium. Implanting would limit marketing to conventional outlets, where facts may not support perceptions. I hear of ranchers forgoing the calf performance from implants because they think non-implanted calves bring more in the everyday market, but there’s evidence to the contrary. Calves that are verified Natural or NHTC may Continue reading

The Effect of Cow Udder Score on Calf Performance

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

Nebraska research shows hot carcass weights were lighter from bad uddered cows.

Scientists at the University of Nebraska (J. Beard, J. Musgrave, R. Funston and J. Mulliniks) used 812 cows and their udder scores to evaluate calf performance. Udders scores were recorded from a 1 (bad) to 5 (good) as reported in the Integrated Resource Management Guide (National Cattlemen’s Beef Association). They then separated the data into 2 groups of Bad Udders (1 and 2 scores) and Good Udders (3 or greater scores). There were 233 cows with Bad Udders and 1,742 cows with Good udders.

There was not a difference in Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments for October 12, 2018

– Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded steady com-pared to last week on a live basis. Prices on a live basis were mainly $110 to $111 while prices on a dressed basis were mainly $173 to $174.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $110.63 live, up $0.07 from last week and $173.76 dressed, down $1.06 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $111.05 live and $174.96 dressed.

Finished cattle continued trading steady for the fifth consecutive week. Early in this trend, one might say this was beneficial for cattle feeders as they were able to hold packers at bay and keep prices from falling. However, some concern may be creeping in from the Continue reading

Spot, Futures and Forward Markets

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

Seasonality is often discussed in terms of a consistent pattern in cash prices. In the northern plains the cash or spot price for fed cattle has an April or May peak with a September or October low. Such patterns are also consistently observed in forecasts and futures prices. In addition, the forward contract market may provide some insights into intervening months. Can such patterns be used when making marketing or risk management decisions? The answer depends on how much stock one puts into the different prices and what patterns are expected to hold going forward.

Consider the seasonal pattern implied by recent live cattle futures prices. The nearby October 2018 contract is Continue reading

Despite a Hay Making Season to Forget, Options Remain!

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County (originally published in The Ohio Farmer on-line)

I know I’ve shared this story before, but considering the weather most of Ohio experienced, it’s appropriate to tell it again. Dad was a mechanic for a local farm implement dealer. Once while out on a service call in mid-summer he asked the farmer if he’d gotten his first cutting hay made. The response – in a deep German accent – was, “Yes, it got made . . . but it rained so much I never got it baled.”

Despite that being the case in many parts again this year, we still have an abundance of feedstuffs available that will maintain beef cows efficiently when managed properly. With Ohio farmers harvesting more than 3 million acres of corn this year, a brood cow’s feed supply could easily be extended by utilizing crop residue. Corn residue is practical for feeding dry, gestating beef cows in mid gestation providing they have average or better body condition. Plus, it’s also the perfect crop to utilize during the time Continue reading

Do You Have 100 Days of Grazing Still Ahead?

Mark Landefeld, OSU Agriculture Educator, Monroe County (originally published in Farm & Dairy)

As we move into the fall season here in September, how much longer will your livestock be able to graze forage from your hay and pasture fields? Have you prepared stockpiled forages? Are you able to utilize your livestock to take that last growth of forage off your hay fields rather than using equipment?  Not using equipment to make a last cutting of hay, not having the livestock in pasture fields right now and not feeding hay for a while yet seems to be a winning combination all the way around.

Everyone’s situation is different and many producers are not able to get livestock to every hay field. Nevertheless, where you can use livestock to harvest forage from hay fields, production costs can be reduced. Producers who have not been doing this should try using their livestock, not the equipment to make later cuttings of hay and this last cutting everyone wants to get off in late September and  October. This allows pasture fields and stockpiling areas to grow the maximum amount of forage before killing frosts arrive. I believe this is one of the best opportunities livestock producers have to reduce costs and make more profit year after year. There are some limitations and guidelines producers should consider when doing this and Continue reading

It’s time to grow forage, take inventory, and use it efficiently

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Allocating out forages and strip grazing them can greatly improve the efficiency of the forage.

Fall is here and it means that our perennial forages are starting to think about taking a siesta. You will want to do three things this time of year: grow as much forage as you can prior to plants going dormant, be as efficient as you can with what you have to graze, and take inventory on how much winter feed you have on hand.

There are still plenty of good growing days left this fall and they need to be taken advantage of. One of the first things to do to make sure you obtain as much growth as possible, especially with perennial forages, is to stop grazing forages that can and will Continue reading