The recent packing house fire in Kansas has the potential to cause a backlog in feedyards that pressures feeder calf prices this fall. Backgrounding calves for later sale is an alternative.
Typically, when feed prices go down, we see feeder calf prices begin to climb as a corresponding move. That is, unless fed cattle prices are unstable or declining. A fire in a Kansas cattle packing plant just before a report detailing that the U.S. might have planted more acres of corn than earlier anticipated caused the perfect storm that allowed pressure on feeder calf prices at the same time as declining feed prices. With the time of year when the vast majority of U.S. feeder calves are weaned and marketed quickly approaching, there’s little time to develop a plan that might preserve or even enhance some of the value and profit in feeder calves that simply may not be in as strong of demand now as they might have been just a few weeks ago.
However, less expensive feed combined with the thought that calf prices can rebound in the coming months once we are past the seasonal tendency for lower prices and the damaged Kansas packing house comes back on-line offer incentive for developing a strategy to hold on to this fall’s feeder calves while also adding value to them.
Consider a number of factors before retaining calves for backgrounding.
Backgrounding is the growing of steers and heifers from weaning until they enter the feedlot for finishing. Backgrounding and Stocker cattle are similar although backgrounding is sometimes associated with a drylot, and stockering cattle is thought of as pasture-based system. However any system that takes advantage of economical feed sources can be investigated.
Why might someone consider backgrounding or growing cattle?
The producer has time and economical feed resources
The market at weaning is not as favorable and is investigating alternative marketing times
Some feedyards prefer buying/feeding yearlings. They can expect fewer health problems and can feed two turns of cattle in a year.
It could be a way of upgrading mismanaged cattle so as to add value.
Since the cattle can be on feed for several months, they can fit the preference by some feeders for preconditioned cattle
– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County OSU Extension
The more tools we have that maximize the days our animals graze while minimizing the days we feed hay, the better!
Years like 2019 can test farmers and ranchers to the brink of insanity. People in this profession have to be resilient to the unpredictability of the weather, the markets, and the general chaos of life. All year thus far, we have discussed many ways to adapt our animal feeding programs, pasture systems, and hay production to the far from ideal conditions we are facing.
By now, I hope you have read articles, listened to podcasts, watched videos, talked with your neighbors and your local ag educators about what to do next. Crop selection, site management, and soil health have been a huge topics addressed regarding cover crops for prevent plant acres, damaged pastures, weeds, poor quality hay, and feed shortages.
But, I’m going to take this article a different direction . . .
– Jason Jones, Grassland & Grazing Coordinator, Quail Forever
Warm season grasses such as indiangrass and big bluestem can provide forage at a time when cool season grasses might be in a July/August summer slump.
The “Fescue Belt” is land dominated by non-native cool season grasses, primarily tall fescue. Cool season grasses, such as fescue and orchardgrass, thrive in April to early June and October to November. However, they have obvious drawbacks; and operations that rely exclusively on cool-season forages may find it increasingly difficult to stay above the bottom line.
When the summer is at its peak, cool season grasses can be very unproductive. In contrast, native warm season grasses peak during summer months (85 – 95 F). Warm season grasses are Continue reading →
Water is the most essential nutrient in the diet of cattle and during hot and dry weather, it is especially important to monitor water quality if using farm ponds for livestock. What is a “harmful algae bloom” or “HAB”?
During periods of hot and dry weather, rapid growth of algae to extreme numbers may result in a “bloom”, which is a build-up of algae that creates a green, blue-green, white, or brown coloring on the surface of the water, like a floating layer of paint (see Figure 1). Blooms are designated “harmful” because some algal species produce toxins (poisons) when stressed or when they die. The majority of HABs are caused by blue-green algae, a type of bacteria called “cyanobacteria” that exist naturally in water and wet environments. These microorganisms prefer warm, stagnant, nutrient-rich water and are found most often in ponds, lakes, and slow moving creeks. Farm ponds contaminated with fertilizer run-off, septic tank overflow or direct manure and urine contamination are prime places for algae to thrive. Although blooms can occur at any time of year, they happen most often in the warmer months between June and September when temperatures reach 75 degrees or higher and ponds begin to stagnate. HABs can reduce water quality and intake, but more importantly, they can be deadly when ingested by livestock. Windy conditions can push algal blooms along water edges, increasing the risk for Continue reading →
– Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee
FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $3 to $4 higher compared to last week on a live basis. Live prices were mainly $106 to $109 while dressed prices were mainly $175 to $176.
The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $108.81 live, up $3.41 from last week and $175.02 dressed, up $4.56 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $109.08 live and $172.82 dressed.
The finished cattle market experienced a soft rebound this week following last week’s precipitous decline. A few dollars were gained back by cattle feeders, but they are still below where they were prior to the news of the Tyson fire. The story in all of this is what is happening in futures. The August live cattle contract has regained half of its losses but all the deferred con-tracts continue to be bottom feeders. The deferred contracts have failed to Continue reading →
– Garth Ruff, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension, Henry County
A recent CattleFax survey indicates that calves weaned for 45 days return almost $100/head more.
As summer slips past us yet again and with fall rapidly approaching it is time to discuss how to maximize the value of feeder calves that will be hitting the market in late September and October. If you have been following the cattle futures both fed cattle and feeders have been on a roller coaster here as of late. With that in mind there are some things we can do management wise to capitalize on this year’s calf crop.
Weaning. Across the industry, feeder cattle sold in the fall tend to fit within one of three categories: 1) balling (zero days weaned) calves 2) calves weaned less than 45 days, and 3) calves weaned for at least 45 days. When we look at adding value, weaning calves for at least 45 days netted the highest average sale price of $916 per head, according to the annual Cow-Calf Survey conducted by Cattlefax. In the same survey calves weaned for 28 to 45 days averaged $836/head and calves shipped off the cow were valued at $829/head. The lowest value calves on average were those Continue reading →
In this edition of Forage Focus, host Christine Gelley, an Extension Educator with The Ohio State University Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County is joined by Jessie Radcliff from Noble Soil and Water. This month’s topic focuses on reseeding pastures and making new hay seedings. Christine and Jessie will discuss proper seeding depth, seeding rates, calibrating the seeder, soil testing, proper timing, differences between annual and perennial forages, and harvest management for new seedings.
Do note that planting date cut offs mentioned in this clip are not concrete since we never know how long fall will last, how early winter will come, or how much rain we will get as we experienced this spring. Often times forage seedings may be planted into September, but as noted, we take a risk with the uncertainty of weather patterns. In addition, it is important to note the charts shown in this example apply to perennial forages sown and grown in southern Ohio. As you move north in the state, the suggested planting dates will differ slightly.
Properly interpreting a forage sample analysis report may be the most important thing you can do for your cows this winter!
Previous articles in this publication have established the critical need for forage analysis on the various timings and cuttings of forages that have been made throughout Ohio this year. Once the forage analysis report is received back from the laboratory, the information below will help with interpretation of the results.
Dry matter (DM) is the percentage of feed that is not water. Dry matter basis allow you to compare feeds such as hay, grain and silage. Many software packages formulate diets on the dry matter basis. Feed test results may have dry matter and “as fed” values. As fed is the nutrient content with the water included. You will note that the dry matter values are higher than the as fed values. Removing the water makes the nutrient values to be higher or more concentrated.
Crude protein (CP) measures both true protein and non-protein nitrogen. Crude protein is an excellent place to start but some other Continue reading →
– John F. Grimes, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale Manager
Featuring bred females that have met several genetic, health, and age criteria!
The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) is providing an opportunity for both the buyers and sellers of beef breeding cattle this fall. 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 Continue reading →