Kentucky Beef Cattle Market Update

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

This summer has once again shown us how brutal markets can be. In April, fall CME© feeder cattle futures were in the upper $150’s and I was surprised that calf prices weren’t higher given the profit potential of summer stocker operations. Two months later, those same contracts are down over $20 per cwt and many producers are wishing they had done something to protect those fall sale prices. I think the two largest reasons for the decrease are uncertainty created by trade issues and continued delay in corn planting.

Kentucky calf prices really did seem to hold on as long as they could, but finally broke hard through May and early June. After putting in their highs in April just under $160 per cwt, 550 lbs M/L 1-2 steers had moved into the mid-$140’s by the second week of June (see figure 1). Honestly, this is less drop than would be expected given the $20+ drop in the futures market. It’s as though our calf market didn’t completely buy into the Continue reading

Breeding Beef Cows Back after a Tough Winter

Dean Kreager, Ohio State University Extension AgNR Educator, Licking County (originally published in the Ohio Farmer on-line)

How do you avoid getting stuck in a rut? Take a different path. There was a real shortage of high quality or even medium quality hay made last year. Forage analysis results that I reviewed last fall were all lower quality than expected. As a result, many cowherds were much thinner at the beginning of the spring calving season this year. The problem with having thin cows at calving time is that they are likely to be even thinner at breeding time.

When a cow eats, her use of nutrients is prioritized. First is maintenance for survival, followed by lactation and growth, which includes weight gain, and finally, reproduction. While reproduction is the number one priority trait for profitability, it is not at the top of the list when the body of the cow is deciding how to use its nutrient resources.

Years of research have established that thin cows are often difficult to get bred. Results often show around a 30% decrease in the number of cows displaying estrus by 60 days post-calving on a cow with a body condition score at calving of 4 vs 6. Similar results are seen when comparing pregnancy rates within a Continue reading

Plan Now for the 2019 OCA Replacement Female Sale

John F. Grimes, OCA Replacement Female Sale Manager

Last year 107 total sale lots grossed $152,275 for an overall average of $1,423.

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) is announcing an event of potential interest for both the buyers and sellers of beef breeding cattle. On Friday evening, November 29, the OCA will be hosting their seventh annual Replacement Female Sale. The sale will be held at the Muskingum Livestock facility in Zanesville and will begin at 6:00 p.m.

The 2019 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale will provide an opportunity for both buyers and sellers to meet the need for quality replacements in the state. Consignments may include cow-calf pairs, bred cows and bred heifers. Females must be under the age of five as of January 1, 2020 and may be of registered or commercial background. Bred females must be bred to a bull with known EPD’s and calves at side of cows must be sired by a bull with known EPD’s. Pregnancy status must be Continue reading

Grill Smart; Hands-on Learning Great Grilling

The next summer get-together is just around the corner.

Family, friends, or old classmates will be in town.

It’s the perfect time for inviting them over to grill out for dinner . . . or is it?

Few things can satisfy or impress family and friends like the aroma, tenderness, juiciness, and deep rich flavor of a steak or chop grilled to perfection. However, there may not be anything that strikes as much apprehension and fear into the hearts of a dinner host, as that of failing to correctly select, prepare and grill the perfect steak. If you’ve ever struggled with the angst of whether you can pull off that perfect meal and eating experience of dinner originating from your grill, then Continue reading

Feed Prices in 2019

– Brenda Boetel, Professor and Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

The USDA Crop Progress report released June 3, 2019 showed that as of the week ending June 2, 2019 only 67% of corn has been planted, compared to 96% in 2018. The July, September and December 2019 CME corn futures market contracts have increased an average of $0.59 since May 1. The average May change over the last 5 years has been a decrease of $0.11. Given the significant decrease in plantings and the percentage of corn that has been planted late, corn price may continue to increase. While the trade concerns with Mexico are the bearish indicators the decrease in acres will likely have a greater impact.

Over the last 5 years Mexico has taken an average of 24% of our exports. 24% of the average 5 years of exports is 522 million bushels of corn. If one assumes corn planting will be down 6 million acres to 86.8 million acres and we see a decrease of 2 bushels/acre to 174.6 bu/acre yield we would see a decrease in corn production of 554 million bushels. Although the market may focus on the new news concerning Mexico and trade, the long-term impact (and in my opinion the more likely scenario) of lower acres and yield will Continue reading

Forage Focus: Woody Perennials and Invasive Weeds

In this edition of the Forage Focus podcast, host Christine Gelley, an Extension Educator with The Ohio State University Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County, visits with Guernsey County ANR Educator Clif Little about pasture weed management. Below they discuss ways of controlling woody perennials such as Autumn Olive, Tree of Heave, Barberries Calie Pear, Crest Leaf and others.

Too much pasture? Clip it, hay it, or stockpile it for summer!

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Do you stockpile for summer, clip or hay?

I cannot believe the weather. I have never seen a spring quite like this. After a long discussion recently with an old friend who is 79, he said he hadn’t either and we both agreed that we would rather not see another, but only because the weather didn’t repeat itself. We have gone from soggy wet pastures with forages that were hesitating to grow to runaway forage on wet or saturated soils.

I’m still an advocate for utilizing grazing first as the main means of forage management. The normal recommendation is to continue moving animals through the system until the first pasture or allotment is ready to be grazed again. Then go back to that first field and start over. The fields that are skipped can be used as Continue reading

Bruising and Cattle

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist

Cattle bruising is an animal well-being concern as well a loss in economic value. When loaded, 60% of cattle are in the middle portion of a trailer, 30% in the rear compartments and 10% in the nose. Cattle rarely change position while a trailer is in motion, and the cattle typically position themselves at right angles to the direction of travel to try to compensate for the trailer movement and focus energies on keeping their balance. Road conditions can have an impact on carcass bruises as well as driver experience. In one study, it was observed that ‘low’ space stocking rates caused lower carcass weights compared to ‘medium’ and ‘high’ space stocking rates. However, the ‘medium’ space stocking rate resulted in the lowest bruising rate; the ‘low’ and ‘high’ space stocking rates had 4 and 2 times greater bruise scores.

Helen Kline (2018, Colorado State) conducted a study in five commercial slaughter facilities, located in multiple regions of the U.S. Individual carcasses were followed through the slaughtering process and were evaluated for bruising, weight of bruised meat and location of bruising. In Kline’s study she found that Continue reading

Livestock Risk Protection Insurance Program Changes

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

Questions concerning price risk management are fairly regular in this line of business. It is prudent to inform producers that changes have been made to the Livestock Risk Protection insurance program.

The change that will likely have the most impact is the increased subsidy. LRP will now be subsidized 20 to 35 percent depending on the coverage level which is up from the original 13 percent subsidy. In other words, the cost of purchasing price insurance will be lower.

The second most useful change with be the increased number of Continue reading

USDA Cattle on Feed Report for May

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

The past several news has seen considerable volatility in cattle and grain markets, and it is doubtful the volatility will fall off over the next several weeks. Repeated storms across the upper Midwest has delayed a lot of corn planting that will likely become soybean plantings. The immediate forecast shows little prospects of drying out and heating up. The continuous trade-related surprises. Well, at this point in time, I am less surprised. I would be surprised without the emergence of news or announcement. And a Cattle on Feed report. Let’s talk about that.

The USDA NASS Cattle on Feed report for May was released last Friday. For as large as the numbers are, it has the potential to be bullish. Placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.84 million head, 9 percent above 2018. During April, placements of cattle weighing less than 700 pounds were Continue reading