Can Small Ohio Cow Herds Compete in the Marketplace?

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

Frequently over the years we’ve talked about Ohio’s average cow herd size – between 16 and 17 cows at any given time – and how it impacts management and marketing decisions on that ‘average’ size beef farm. Related to that, recently I was asked, “What are the key beef herd management concerns Ohio’s small herd owners can address to compete with those who have the cow numbers that allows them to capture the advantages of economics of scale?

Working facilities are a vital component for allowing small cow herds to compete with the economics of scale of larger herds.

As we think about what numbers it might take to capture the benefits of size and scale, keep in mind that most cattle travel to and from the feedlot in pot loads carrying 48,000 pounds of cattle. Also, the question of how smaller herds can compete on a scale with larger herds is not unique to just Ohio’s cattlemen. As we look to our neighbors we find the average cow herd size in Indiana is 16, Michigan’s average herd is 13.5 cows, West Virginia averages almost 19, Pennsylvania has an average of 12.5 cows per farm, and Kentucky has the most of any neighbors averaging 29 cows. Even when we look to Texas, we find their average cow herd size is 32. It’s obvious the challenges of Continue reading

Beef AGRI NEWS Today

Below, the February podcast of Beef AGRI NEWS Today with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes and host Duane Rigsby focuses on a variety of timely management concerns including US beef herd expansion, exports, trade agreements, calving season challenges, breeding season decisions and upcoming programs.

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

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

Weekly Livestock Comments for February 2, 2018

– Andrew P. Griffith, 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 $126 while prices on a dressed basis were mainly $200.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $125.91 live, up $2.86 from last week and $199.90 dressed, up $5.90 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $118.76 live and $189.78 dressed.

Cattle feeders were able to push live cattle prices higher two weeks ago, and they were able to maintain the gains this week. The price increase has been a factor of February live cattle futures gaining $10 since January 12th and strong beef demand. February live cattle futures are only about $3 higher than where they started the year while cash prices are only $5 higher than where they start-ed the year. The volatility in the futures market has influenced Continue reading

Cattle on Feed Report

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

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA, NASS) released their monthly Cattle on Feed report on Friday January 26, 2018. The latest numbers released by the USDA were neutral in numbers of cattle on feed, total numbers of placements and marketings as compared to trade expectations. Total cattle on feed on January 1, 2018 numbered 11.5 million head, up 8.3 percent from January 2017 levels, at industry expectations. The number of cattle on feed is Continue reading

China not a factor in U.S. beef exports . . . yet

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

The latest beef trade data for November shows continued improvement in beef exports. November beef exports were 260.7 million pounds, up 2.7 percent over exports in November, 2016. Beef exports have increased year over year each month in 2017 for the first 11 months of the year. For the year-to-date, beef exports are up 13 percent over one year ago.

Beef exports to the five major destinations are each up for the year-to-date. Exports to Japan are up 27.6 percent year over year. Japan is the largest U.S. beef export market and accounts for 29.5 percent of total exports for the year-to-date. Second largest is Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments for January 19, 2018

– Andrew P. Griffith, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle trade was not established at press with bid prices on a live basis at $118 while asking prices on a live basis were $125.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $120.61 live, up $0.54 from last week and $193.00 dressed, up $1.08 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $121.89 live and $194.82 dressed.

Fed cattle trade was slow to be established this week as packers and feedlots were separated by as much as $7 on a live basis. This price separation was largely due to packers holding on to prices from last week’s trade and early week futures market prices. However, cattle feeders were basing ask prices on late week futures which were $3.80 higher than the close on Tuesday and more than $4.50 higher than the close last Friday. Given the futures close for the week, cattle feeders hold a little leverage over Continue reading