Not long ago, the news was sharply higher beef prices in a still-recovering economy. Industry insiders wondered how consumers would respond. Amid the talk of fewer retail features and penny-conscious shoppers, people still turned to beef.
The process of determining the better bull brings good discussion and requires homework. Why? Simply put, years—if not decades— of visual selection based on how cattle look is the foundation of almost all breeding programs. For years, visual selection and pedigree review have been the status quo when buying bulls.
For most people, their encounter with the IRS ends at the audit phase: Taxpayers will often agree to pay whatever the IRS says they owe. In situations where the auditor claims your ranch or farming activity is a hobby, not a business, this can have long-lasting and adverse consequences because deductions against outside income would be disallowed.
Lameness issues are a leading cause of decreased profitability and a common reason for culling decisions. A survey of western feedlots reported that 16 percent of health issues were correlated directly to lameness, and 5 percent of deaths were due to lame cattle.
There is a clear agenda that has been set by the federal government over our so-called public lands or federal lands; whichever name you prefer. The battle lines were drawn up with the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. This, in retrospect, has created an all-out.
One fairly new addition to sire summaries is a selection index, available from several breed associations. The selection index allows a producer to select bulls based on multiple traits through a single expected progeny difference (EPD) value. The selection index EPD value can meet maternal cow/calf selection or terminal beef production objectives.
One of the more lively discussions was about source verification, which is absolutely needed for the U.S. to sell beef to China—a country that provides a huge consumer market for beef and will be needed to maintain profitable live cattle prices at the upper end of the trading spectrum.
The USDA is forecasting net farm income in 2015 to be $55.9 billion, a 38.2 percent drop from the previous year. This is the single largest year-over-year drop in net farm income since 1983. Back in 2013, net farm income was a record $123.3 billion. The 2015 forecast is 55 percent lower than in 2013.
The New Year is an opportunity to think about your business. But that is a broad prospect, and therefore, somewhat daunting. Michigan State University Extension has a way to better define that; think about just three things. Let’s start with the first, think about one thing from the past year.
Let’s change the cow size discussion to a bull size discussion. Generally, the cow herd genetics are changed through the purchase of bulls. On average, genes from an individual calf are as follows: Half come from the sire, one-fourth comes from the maternal grandsire and one-fourth comes from the maternal grand dam.
CattleFax estimates the beef cow inventory grew from around 29 million at the start of 2014 to 30.7 million head as 2015 came to a close. Depending on consumer responses and producers’ ability to satisfy the growing demand for higher quality, some economists suggest the U.
Bringing in a new year always causes a time of reflection, and it’s quite amazing to realize what took place that impacted the beef industry in a short 12 months. There is a variety of issues to ponder about 2015, but I hold steadfast in my optimism and look for continued positive movement in the coming year from many aspects.
This past year taught the beef industry some painful lessons. Cattle feeders discovered that the money always runs out before the cattle. Risk managers realized that market volatility can wreck the best hedging plans. Cattle feeders and packers realized that the shrinking cash live cattle market demands urgent action or it will disappear.
So often, we simply add the words “net profit” and continue. But are not our lives greater than the coins in our pockets? As food producers, we are keepers of others, providers for those without. Like nature and the seasons, we need to ponder potential change within the world.
The complex of viral and bacterial causes for bovine respiratory disease (BRD) or illness commonly known as “shipping fever” does not respect age or condition of cattle and will become opportunistic whenever the advantage may arise.
I’m sure cattle feeders will be happy to see 2015 come to a close. It was by far the toughest year ever for cattle feeders. Jim Robb at the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) and I were trying to figure out what kind of year cattle feeders had, the LMIC calculated the average loss on fed cattle was $295 per head, and with 23.
Using crop aftermath and late-season dry forage can cut production costs; however, this can result in consequences. Cows need to receive a balanced ration to halt poor performance or even the loss of condition.