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by WLJ
2007 December 20
It was disclosed last week that Superior Livestock Auction has sold the nation’s largest livestock video auction. The sale will include Superior Livestock Auction, Superior Stampede, the Internet marketing division and Superior Productions, which produces purebred sales and other special events. Superior was sold to Dwight and Helen Mebane of Woody, CA. The closing is to be completed sometime prior to June 1. It was announced that Richard Stober will become the new general manager for the company. The Mebanes are a third generation ranching family with operations in California and Oregon. They are also partners in a Friona, TX, feedlot
by WLJ
2007 December 20
for. April 11, 2005 Many producers are seeking access to federal land when burdened by drought or lack of private land for expansion. Other producers feel their state property taxes are too high. Congressman Chris Cannon, R-UT, addressed both of these issues by introducing H.R. 1370, the Federal Lands Asset
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The herd improvement game It’s the biggest annual cost item in the cattle business, and it’s getting even bigger. Ding-ding-ding: What is feed? That’s right. If you don’t keep a lid on it, profitability of your entire cowherd will be in “Jeopardy.” Cattle for $100: The main ingredient in many cattle rations, this grain is also the staple of all those ethanol production plants that are popping up like mushrooms. Ding-ding-ding: What is corn? Right again. Oh, you want Cattle for $200? It’s the Daily Double and you’ll wager everything— fewer soybean, sorghum, wheat and hay acres, higher land prices and more
by WLJ
2007 December 20
In February of this year, Canada announced it had found the tenth case of a Canadian born cattle infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The animal in question was a seven-year-old bull born and raised on an Alberta farm. According to USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service spokeswoman Karen Eggert, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) traced another calf from the same herd as the infected animal which was exported to the U.S. for slaughter in 2002. The “birth cohort,” which is classified as an animal born within 12 months of the infected animal, was reportedly slaughtered in a
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The genetic package The bull sale season is just about over and for the most part, it was a mixed bag. Moisture conditions remain heavy on producers’ minds in the western Plains and Intermountain West even though we’ve had recent moisture. Holding back replacement heifers may not be a thought for some producers unless it starts to rain. However, those heifers will be valuable as feeders this year. I think that this year we can honestly say there were too many registered bulls on the market. The registered cattle business has been a growth business for quite some time. Most
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Cash fed cattle trade was moderate in the northern Plains by mid-day last Thursday and light in the south Plains ahead of an expected severe winter storm. Compared to the previous week, dressed sales in Nebraska and Colorado traded steady at $160 with a few as high as $161. Live sales were mostly steady to $1 lower with the prior week at $99-100. Prices last week were well above year ago levels despite the slight dip with live and dressed cattle prices approximately 20 percent higher than a year ago. In the southern Plains, prices were mostly $1 lower at
by WLJ
2007 December 20
It is a well-known fact that the demand for a variety of public land uses in the U.S. is at an all-time high. This is mostly due to the country’s changing demographics and needs. Last year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recorded over 56.3 million recreation visits on BLM lands. During the same period, the agency processed almost 9,000 applications for oil and gas permits. Land health is being compromised by factors such as development and expansion of urban cities, catastrophic wildfires, invasive weeds, and unprecedented energy demands. “Demand for public land uses and resources is at an all-time high
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Japan ordered imports halted from a major U.S. meat plant April 6 after a beef shipment arrived in the country without proper papers. The most recent import problems mark the third U.S. plant which has been removed from the list of plants approved to ship beef to Japan. According to Japanese officials, the problem arose when four boxes of frozen beef tongue in a two-ton shipment including 250 cases of beef arrived in Kobe, Japan. The shipment, which did not include proper documentation, originated from Cargill Meat Solutions in Dodge City, KS, the Japanese agriculture ministry announced in a statement.
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns last week highlighted the administration’s Farm Bill proposals related to conservation. Johanns pointed out that a key theme throughout the conservation title is simplification and streamlining of programs, while increasing funding for conservation by $7.8 billion over 10 years. “In the area of conservation, we heard during our Farm Bill forums broad acknowledgment of our successes, but also suggestions to make the programs more user-friendly,” said Johanns. “We are proposing to do just that and to bolster our commitment to conservation through the largest increase in funding for any title within our farm bill proposals.” Under current
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Importance of tax opinion letters for ranch and farm activities A great number of companies do not make a profit but, instead, have operating losses for an extended period of years. Of companies that have decided to start selling stock to the public in initial public offerings, about 75 percent of them have never made a profit. Their newly issued stock is being bought in droves—and is somewhat akin to buying lottery tickets, in my opinion. Many people do not make a profit in their farming ventures—and the IRS is well aware of this fact. For most farmers and ranchers,
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The high cost of owning machinery oftentimes prompts many farmers and ranchers to consider custom hay harvesting. There are many different factors that should be considered when trying to decide whether or not hiring out during harvest is advantageous to your operation. Over the past 30 years, not including the last five or six, custom harvesting of forages was rapidly declining. Now, however, the number of acres of forages being custom harvested is increasing. The decision of whether or not to custom harvest can be facilitated by acquiring a sound understanding of the advantages and disadvantages associated with hiring a custom harvester.
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Access to fresh, clean water is perhaps the most important key to livestock production of any sort. Livestock can last as much as a week or more without feed. However, more than a day or two without water can be devastating to a herd. Most cattle herds get their water from creeks, ponds or springs, however, as more focus is placed on water quality improvements, riparian areas are being fenced off, meaning that livestock producers need to supply alternative methods of getting water to their animals. New advances in livestock waterers can net producers big benefits in terms of savings
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Cattlemen have long been plagued with the chore of handling heavy, small square bales or trying to flake off pieces of large round bales while balancing precariously on a moving truck bed in an effort to feed cows. Well, producers may have a different option in using tub grinders. The reduction in labor is significant, but there are many other beneficial factors associated with using this kind of equipment as well. Cattlemen always try to adhere to the old adage, “waste not, want not,” and especially as it applies to hay usage. Roughage is an essential part of the cattle’s
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Safe and well constructed cattle handling facilities are critical to producers who are targeting high quality markets or hoping to capitalize on grid premiums. Bruising, abscesses and dark cutting carcasses can often be traced back to injuries sustained at one point or another during processing, either on the ranch or in a feedlot. Injuries that reduce the value and quality of the eventual beef product result from facilities and equipment that are either poorly designed, constructed, and/or maintained. It has been estimated that bruising alone costs the cattle industry $22 million per year. One of the most advanced and user
2007 December 20
Life does not come easy Perhaps the absence of sunlight may be dragging the day down. However, the knowledge that this will pass and brighter days are ahead certainly should reinforce the positive. Tramping through snow (dearly needed moisture), while attempting to get an assessment of the current calving scenario, is never easy. There are times when reports of twins and triplets certainly boost the available calf numbers, but the loss of any calf is always significant. The greatest impact is standing over a lifeless calf wondering what else could have been done. This business we call the cow business and our
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Keep it American If you’ve been paying attention, you know that the packing industry has been on its ear for several years. Oh, they have brief periods of profitability that last as long as a bad cold, but the fact is, beef packing has been a lousy business. The lack of profitability is the mother of desperation, or in the packing industry, we might call it liquidation. Since the turn of the century, every major packing company has gone through a merger, a purchase, or a redesign. At this point, these guys will do just about anything to save their company.
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Animal well being would be considered in federal purchases. There are over 10 billion animals harvested in the U.S. each year and animal rights activists are concerned that there is no federal law regarding the treatment of these animals while in a farmer or rancher’s care. Reps. Peter DeFazio, D-OR, and Christopher Shays, R-CT, have decided to do something about animal welfare of farm animals in the U.S. DeFazio and Shays recently reintroduced the Farm Animal Stewardship Purchasing Act (H.R. 1726) which would require that anyone who sells animal products to the federal government for the military, federal prisons, or school
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Both houses of Congress last week began the examination of consolidation and concentration in the livestock industry. The hearings quickly generated a firestorm of controversy among competing interests in the business. In testimony before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry on Market Structure of the Livestock Industry, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President and North Carolina cattle producer John Queen told subcommittee members that livestock markets shouldn’t be restricted by Congressional mandate. “When it comes to market structure and competition issues, NCBA’s position is simple—we ask that the government not tell us how we can or cannot market
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took a major step to stimulate ethanol production by issuing a rule last week allowing ethanol plants to operate with fewer environmental rules and less air pollution equipment. The agency rejected pleas by clean-air advocates and increased the amount of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants that will be allowed before an ethanol plant is considered a “major air emitter,” a category that requires more stringent regulation. The change will increase the threshold for installing the best air pollution control equipment from 100 tons of pollution annually to 250 tons. It will also allow ethanol plants
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Trade was slow getting started last week, despite expectations that short-bought packers would come out early to fill demand. As of last Thursday, however, there was only light trade reported in Nebraska and western Iowa at $98 live and $154-156 dressed, although there was not enough volume to call a trend for the week. Offers remained at the $100 mark for live cattle. In the beef, feedlots were asking $158-160 for their show lists. Most analysts were expecting cattle to trade steady to $1 lower than the prior week at $97-98 live and $155-157 dressed basis. The USDA’s monthly cattle


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