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by WLJ
2007 December 20
Cattle feeders last week gained the upper hand in cash trade and were working to move the market higher despite more slippage in the boxed beef market. Last Thursday, although no trade had occurred by mid-day, packers were beginning to increase bids to levels closer to asking prices. In Nebraska, mid-day trade developed last Thursday at $92 live and $145 dressed basis last Thursday, $3 mostly $3 higher than the prior week. However, many feedlot managers were betting they could go higher, and were sticking firm to asking prices of $93-94 live and $146- 147. In the south, asking prices
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The time has come to bring the buffer zone plan out into the open. For over a year, Gov. Brian Schweitzer, D-MT, and critics of the Interagency Bison Management Plan have been making political hay with the Yellowstone bison/brucellosis dilemma by publicly talking about establishing a “buffer zone” around Yellowstone National Park. For the past few months, the proposal has made headlines and has been bandied about on the opinion pages and in letters to the editor. Yet, with all this, there have been almost no details of a concrete proposal. The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) has been waiting patiently
by WLJ
2007 December 20
—Prices expected to remain above five-year average. Hay supplies are on the increase and prices are beginning to moderate in some areas of the country according to USDA and hay brokers. Last year’s drought dropped stored supplies of hay to record-low levels and prices have been high ever since. However, thanks to above average precipitation in many hay producing areas and good availability of irrigation water in others, prices, along with supply have started to increase again, adding to hopes that carry over supply will be better this winter. According to USDA’s Aug. 10, crop production report, hay production for
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Whether starting lightweight calves or growing and finishing cattle, a sound receiving program that includes prevention, control and treatment measures for respiratory issues helps offset the guessing game producers are typically faced with. “Unless producers are buyig known origin cattle or animals verified with SelectVAC, they don’t know what they’re getting,” says Mitch Blanding, DVM, Pfizer Animal Health veterinarian, Lenexa, Kan. “In any given group of animals, we don’t know if they’ve been vaccinated and for what, we don’t know if the sick animals have been ill for 1 or 5 days, we may not even be sure if they’ve
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Conventional wisdom in agricultural circles says that what goes up—particularly commodity prices and farm incomes—must eventually come down. However, this has not been the case for U.S. agricultural exports this year, according to mid-year analysis by American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) economists. Trade in U.S. agricultural products is strong in 2007, and it appears likely that strength will continue as the year progresses, according to AFBF. Data for sales through the first half of 2007 and contract indications for the rest of the year indicate that the U.S. is setting yet another agricultural export record in 2007–for the fifth year
by WLJ
2007 December 20
  Public scrutiny of farm animal welfare and the industry’s common practices is growing each year. Animal rights activists have been working ‘round the clock to pass both state and federal statutes which dictate how animals must be treated. This includes not only pets, but also livestock and poultry.   The general public has lost its contact with rural life and, for the most part, has little understanding of agricultural practices. When coupled with the support of celebrities—who paint agricultural practices with a broad brush showing extraordinary practices—the general public often becomes willing to turn on animal producers.   The result of this
by WLJ
2007 December 20
  This move essentially takes the state of Idaho out of the packing industry and it is sad to see this limited but vital infrastructure reduced. There was some discussion about the plant being taken over by another packer. Tyson wasn’t terribly eager to help the competition and decided against that idea. Now it appears the plan is to mow it down and develop the real estate. The Boise plant sits on 1,500 acres and is in an area of rapid urban growth.   Now the only opportunity for a packer in Idaho is the old Swift plant in Nampa which was purchased
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The Flandreau City Council earlier last fall voted to issue a 10-year, $750,000 loan to the Flandreau Development Corp., which passed that money and an additional $100,000 on to Ridgefield.   Dan Sutton, president of the Flandreau Development Corporation, said the company no longer had a presence in the community as a result of the shutdown. “Ridgefield only has a shell here in Flandreau and the 37-acre property in Huron. All the rest of the assets, aside from maybe a few boxes, have been turned over to Farmers Union Industries,” Sutton said. Ridgefield moved its corporate headquarters from Huron to Flandreau last year with
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Fires in Nebraska have scorched approximately 70,000 acres impacting several ranchers’ livelihoods by eliminating grazing acreage for thousands of cattle. The state has approximately two million head of cows and nearly seven million head of cattle and calves making it the third largest cattle state in the center of corn country. Along with mass cattle production, Nebraska is third in corn production and second in ethanol production. These statistics have enabled Nebraska cattle producers to have an advantage over other drought and fire stricken regions by having access to more feasible, plentiful feed sources despite burned rangeland. Most of the
by WLJ
2007 December 20
— Pasco, WA, plant will scale back operations. According to an Aug. 11 announcement by Tyson Foods, the company will be shutting down its plant in Boise, ID, and scaling back its operation in Pasco, WA. This means the third and final large Idaho packing plant in as many years will be closing its doors and laying off employees. The decision leaves the approximately 80 Idaho feedlots with little alternative but to ship their cattle greater distances for harvest.   Last year, Swift closed its Nampa, ID, plant and J.R. Simplot closed its Nampa processing plant in 2003. The Boise plant has
by WLJ
2007 December 20
  This request came prior to Canada announcing preliminary findings of their eighth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) last Wednesday found in an older cow born prior to Canada’s imposed feed ban preventing ruminant remains from being fed to ruminants. One of the U.S.’s three BSE cases was also believed to have been born and raised in Canada before being trucked to the U.S.   At the beginning of this month, USDA rescinded a proposal that would have allowed imports of Canadian cattle over 30 months of age saying there won’t be a ruling on the case until the investigations into
by WLJ
2007 December 20
South Dakota’s state veterinarian, Sam Holland, attributed the outbreak to unusual weather conditions across the northern Plains this summer. “We had about a foot of rain in June, followed by hot dry conditions in July, which contributed to the outbreak,” he said. Holland also said low water conditions along the Missouri river have exposed long-covered soils which may be harboring the disease. “The 15 counties along and east of the Missouri River are where the most cases have been reported, some of that is likely a result of the Army Corp. of Engineers’ water draw down,” said Holland Susan Miller, South Dakota
by WLJ
2007 December 20
After the environmental group, Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), attempted to push his cattle off Coronado National Forest, Jim Chilton, a fifth generation Arizona rancher, turned the tables, suing the group for making “false, unfair, libelous and defamatory statements.” Earlier this year Chilton won that suit and was awarded $600,000 by an Arizona jury. CBD is appealing the ruling, asserting First Amendment Rights and claiming “honest mistakes” caused the group to post a July 2002 news bulletin claiming “much” of the allotment had been “grazed to bare dirt.” Since CBD was founded in 1989, the group has a long history of litigation,
by WLJ
2007 December 20
August 29, 2005 The North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association (NDBCIA) has been keeping records since 1963 and annually presents five-year rolling benchmark values for average herd performance on several traits. The purpose of the NDBCIA is the improvement of beef cattle, primarily focusing on genetic improvement, but also being very cognizant of the yearly management that is involved in a beef cattle operation. By comparing individual herd values with the overall averages, individual herd performance can be evaluated. The data from the evaluation may lead to discussion, which may be the basis for management changes. Data trends also can be evaluated. For
by WLJ
2007 December 20
August 29, 2005 We live in an era of new ideas and technology that can produce better beef profitably. It’s exciting to try out the cutting edge, but unless you are isolated and independently wealthy, you’ll feel pressure to justify your actions. When you “know” you are right, that pressure is a pain in the neck. Maybe you just need an adjustment. There is risk in making changes to an enterprise based on any new insight, tool or practice. The more you depend on that enterprise for a living, the more risk. The less known about the new application, the more
by WLJ
2007 December 20
However, Brazil has made some progress on improving sanitation procedures and the natural barriers to infection from dangerous diseases such as mad cow, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, due to the fact cows are mainly grass-fed here, allowing exporters to open new markets. “With other major exporters hobbled by disease, importers will rely on us more and more for supplies despite the animal-health issues,” said Jose Vicente Ferraz, meat sector analyst. Brazil’s meat exports are expected to jump 15% to approximately $7 billion in 2005 and may take over from soy as the main agricultural export in the next couple of years–no
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The change in subsidy rules is contributing to a drastic reduction in the number of cattle in the country, as producers ship them to market to stem per head losses. A London Daily Telegraph report cited feeder losses of $80-100 (U.S. dollars) per head, mirroring conditions in the US market. Already this year, the British government is reporting a decrease of more than 100,000 calves produced, a decrease of 4 percent from last year. Overall herd numbers in England have been reduced to 10.5 million animals, a decline of more than 1.5 million animals in the past ten years. British producers,
by WLJ
2007 December 20
August 29, 2005 Just when you think all the ballyhoo about the Canadian border is over, someone has to go and push the “fools button”. The calamity of errors over the Canadian import rule and BSE testing continue; this time it was the Canadian Food Safety Agency that messed up. You would think that with the sensitivity toward BSE and trade with Canada that the agencies would go out of their way to insure accuracy of import and testing standards. Last week, it was discovered that a heiferette over 30 months old went through a processing plant in Wisconsin. Then, to top
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Field peas are a cool season legume crop grown across the Northern U.S. and Canada. Presently, Canada, at more than 127 million bushels per year, is the world’s leading producer of peas and lentils. However, U.S. producers are increasing production rapidly as peas gain popularity in rotation programs. According to Vern Anderson, a researcher at North Dakota State University’s (NDSU) Carrington Research Extension Center, U.S. growers are expected to harvest more than 32 million bushels of dried peas this year. In addition to an increase in production which allows for wider distribution, peas are also a very economical feed source. Current prices
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) Aug. 18 announced that two Mexican cattle companies are among the front businesses for Mexican drug-trafficking cartels. Cattle sold to Texas ranchers by these suspect companies after Aug. 19 could be seized as evidence of a money laundering scheme, agency officials said. Cattle already purchased and owned before the suspect Mexican companies were identified are not going to be impacted by the announcement, Treasury officials said. The department also plans to inform cattle associations and other groups of the action taken against the Mexican companies, officials said. The Treasury also will provide other information, such as


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