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2015 June 26
At the CL Ranch just west of Calgary, the grass looked good to us but they said they had only an inch of rain since April. We were told if they didn’t get more rain soon it would be bone dry in 30 days. I’m happy to say that they received a good soaking the very next day.


by WLJ
2015 June 26
We often click “agree to all terms” before doing a bit of online business, and rarely try to read the 15 pages of fine print. Every day we hear in 10 seconds about new drugs that may help if we don’t worry about side effects crammed into the next 20 seconds.


2015 June 26
Growing up on a farm or ranch seemed to be the norm and something everyone did. At least that was the thinking for all those kids who grew up in the middle of the last century. Granted, not everyone wanted to stay on the home place, but regardless of where life led, the memories of those carefree days are real.


2015 June 26
Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett-Packard CEO and now presidential candidate, filed 17 state income tax returns last year. Many Americans file multiple state income tax returns in states where they do not live or work, but where they own a business or have income-producing activities.


by WLJ
2015 June 19
Over the next five weeks, we will witness over 500,000 head marketed through videos sales in the month of July and early August. Cattle are still trading steadily from a year ago even though the CME board has been trying to push contracts down over the past couple of months.


by WLJ
2015 June 19
Sarah Martin, a fifth-generation beef producer from Scammon, KS, recently drove away in a Yamaha Viking 4x4 which she won in the beef checkoff’s “Rev It Up” My ROI Checkoff challenge. Fellow beef producers, friends, family and many others voted the video she made as the grand prize winner of the eight entries.


2015 June 19
Today’s population is two to three generations removed from farming so any opportunity to inform the general public about you and your farming practices will most likely leave a lasting impression.


2015 June 12
eeder cattle markets had a nice rally last week with the August feeder cattle futures gaining nearly $4 for the week. Last Wednesday the contract finished the day at $226.77; Feb. 24 marked the low point at $196.87, so we’ve seen a 15 percent increase in the contract value.


2015 June 12
A shepherd is one who cares for a flock. However, a shepherd does not necessarily just care for sheep because anyone can be a shepherd by caring for those around him or her and helping as needed. That caring and helping process also is a protection process.


by WLJ
2015 June 12
All of our herd must be in optimal shape in order to attain prime breeding potential, but first-time heifers may have special needs. In order to create “reproduction momentum” in your herd, body condition scoring becomes paramount. A perfect world would allow for all cattle to breed and re-breed in an efficient, timely manner ever year.


2015 June 5
Clean water is a good thing, but I’m not sure that the way the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is going about ensuring our clean water supply is a good thing. While EPA says that traditional uses of agriculture water are not affected by the new clean water rule, I have.


by WLJ
2015 June 5
How often we hear a grocer or restaurateur say, “What I want to buy is some of that good Midwest corn-fed beef!” Where does that come from? Part of it relates to the long history of feeding cattle there.


by WLJ
2015 May 29
The recent rulings with the WTO appear justified in their findings, as Canada and Mexico have been fighting the imposed rule as unfair and detrimental. The original intent of COOL was to increase the value of domestically raised beef; however, it has done the opposite.


2015 May 29
Let’s say you really like steak. Maybe you’ve known that for decades or you only recently discovered that ideal combination of aroma, tender juiciness and flavor. Either way, this is a time when it costs more than ever to buy a steak, and it’s more likely than ever to be a great experience.


2015 May 29
All wealth to the industry comes from consumers so it’s important to monitor retail and foodservice beef sales. There are divergent feelings among analysts about whether beef demand has gotten stronger or weaker in the past year, and I’ll leave it to them to fight it out.


2015 May 22
It was quite a week for Country of Origin Labeling. The World Trade Organization (WTO) came out with their final ruling over the legality of COOL. Mexico and Canada had filed complaints with the WTO in 2012 and forced the USDA to come up with another rule.


by WLJ
2015 May 22
Short phrases sometimes say a mouthful. For example: beef checkoff. Those two simple words amount to a return of $11.20 worth for every dollar that beef producers and importers invest! That’s not just a mouthful, that’s a fistful, and something worth shouting about.


by WLJ
2015 May 22
I grew up working on large cattle ranches in Lewistown, MT. As a financial advisor for over 25 years, I’ve spent much of my time working with agricultural families. In my experience, farmers and ranchers are hard-working, industrious, self-reliant and frugal individuals.


2015 May 15
Congress pushed back at the Environmental Protection Agency last week with legislation that would force them to back off their proposed rule redefining the Waters of the U.S., also known as WOTUS. The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act passed the House last.


2015 May 15
Earlier this year I sat in on a presentation given by a “grill master,” who personally owns and uses 36 different grills. Trust me when I say he’s a professional. He said there are four keys to the perfect steak: good equipment; good meat; good seasoning; and good instructions.


by WLJ
2015 May 15
Animal welfare has grown from providing adequate food, water and shelter to also managing pain control before, during and after procedures and aging changes. Managing pain control during common procedures such as dehorning, branding, and castration, as well as treating chronic lameness and acute injuries, are rapidly becoming more prevalent.


by WLJ
2015 May 15
Some trends in the cattle industry we can predict but others surprise us—like the magnitude of the upswing in cattle prices over the past few years. But when grain prices slumped in 2014 and cattle prices headed still higher, it shouldn’t have surprised anyone that we starting adding days on feed (DOF) to feedlot cattle.


2015 May 8
Agricultural producers often experience feelings of uncertainty that are sourced in many day-to-day issues. The biggest uncertainty is the weather. Those operations that push the limit for production will experience greater uncertainty than those that target production to the long-term average.
2015 May 8
As the checkoff’s 2015 Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Cow/Calf Award winner, for us, BQA and ranching is a family affair. We strive to teach our four children proper BQA techniques and provide them with every opportunity to expand their own knowledge.
2015 May 1
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade agreement and Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) have been put into high gear after the Senate Committee on Finance passed a resolution to give the president trade promotion fast track authority. But the politics are CROW.


by WLJ
2015 May 1
Pain in the abdominal cavity (belly) is commonly termed in the horse world as “colic.” This pain can be caused from any organ within the abdominal cavity, but is often attributed to problems involving the intestinal tract. Horses experiencing colic will often paw at their abdomen, roll excessively on the ground, or decline food or water.


2015 May 1
The grilling season has finally begun and the beef industry is cautiously optimistic that Americans will show their love of a good steak. But how much beef gets put on the grill this month will depend on two factors: how aggressively retailers want to build their beef sales; and what consumers are willing to keep paying for beef throughout the month.


2015 April 24
I think it’s a fieldman’s disease, but every spring we all feel compelled to get in the car and drive thousands of miles in the course of a week or two to attend bull sales, which have been remarkable this year. And everyone seems to want heifer bulls.


by WLJ
2015 April 24
Can you think of an investment that returns your money at an 11 to 1 ratio? I can, and it’s our beef checkoff! Did you know that in the most comprehensive study ever rendered about the Return on Investment (ROI) of beef checkoff assessments, Dr.


2015 April 24
The initial key to a good herd-health program is to develop a good working relationship with the local veterinarian and implement appropriate herd-health practices. More than likely, an early point to a herd-health conversation regarding good herd health is herd biosecurity.


2015 April 20
If you don’t know w h a t changes are occurring, how can you prevent or fix problems? It doesn’t matter if it’s your budget, equipment, land, family, or personal health, some monitoring effort should be formalized to help prevent and fix problems.


by WLJ
2015 April 17
This all makes sense since beef cattle prices are still at levels many of us never dreamed of seeing. The difference from 2013-2014 raised nearly $100/cwt. in most weight classes, and the added capital has had a very interesting effect on the bull buyers in this industry.


by WLJ
2015 April 17
A checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training prepares a producer for certification or recertification, but beyond that, why is producer involvement in this program so important? There are several benefits to both the producer and to our industry as a whole.


by WLJ
2015 April 17
The American public has the potential for having the highest quality of life in the world. A major reason for this is due to the Green Revolution that began in the 1950s which involved the introduction of genetically superior, disease-resistant...


2015 April 10
A lot can happen in 90 days in these cattle markets. April live cattle futures crashed down to $144 at the end of December and now they have rallied back to $161. And the cash market is very near its record high of $173. As of last Thursday, feeders were offering cattle at $170 and packers have


by WLJ
2015 April 10
A fairly common infectious disease, Tritrichomonas foetus is a protozoan that can wreak havoc on the reproductive capacity in your herd. The microorganism is slightly larger than a red blood cell, and resides on the surface skin within the penile sheath.
2015 April 6
It’s kind of amazing that the Senate and the House have both passed budgets, since we haven’t seen a federal budget for quite some time. But there are some resolutions in this budget that should bode well for agriculture.
by WLJ
2015 April 3
The buzz with probiotic therapy has jumped ship from the human diet to livestock management. Human nutritionists have reported benefits in digestion and immunity. Probiotics are also known as direct-fed microbials and are a beneficial source of live strains of yeast and bacterial microorganisms.
2015 April 3
One look at annual cattle feeding returns since 1975 would make one wonder why anyone would want to feed cattle or own a feedlot. On the surface, the numbers suggest only 17 profitable years and 23 loss years. But the numbers (from the Livestock Marketing Information Center; LMIC) are averages based on a 750-pound steer fed on the Southern Plains.
by WLJ
2015 April 3
The buzz with probiotic therapy has jumped ship from the human diet to livestock management. Human nutritionists have reported benefits in digestion and immunity. Probiotics are also known as direct-fed microbials and are a beneficial source of live strains of yeast and bacterial microorganisms.
2015 April 3
One look at annual cattle feeding returns since 1975 would make one wonder why anyone would want to feed cattle or own a feedlot. On the surface, the numbers suggest only 17 profitable years and 23 loss years. But the numbers (from the Livestock Marketing Information Center; LMIC) are averages based on a 750-pound steer fed on the Southern Plains.
2015 March 30
Should the cattle industry be worried about the cash market for fed cattle? That question has been bugging cattle feeders for decades. But if you watch their behavior they don’t appear too concerned about the cash market since most feeders market cattle on a formula, and there.
2015 March 30
Should the cattle industry be worried about the cash market for fed cattle? That question has been bugging cattle feeders for decades. But if you watch their behavior they don’t appear too concerned about the cash market since most feeders market cattle on a formula, and there.
2015 March 27
There is the question: Can profitable beef operations go broke? Absolutely, is the answer. Why? For one thing, the definition of profit is misused. And the longer the wrong numbers are applied to the word “profit,” the more likely an operation can get into financial trouble.
by WLJ
2015 March 27
When I started at the Noble Foundation in the late 1970s, agriculture in the Southern Great Plains was still dominated by traditional producers engaged primarily in foragebased beef production. Most operations were fairly large and run by experienced full-time farmers and ranchers.
by WLJ
2015 March 27
The old saying is “hope for the best but plan for the worst.” When it comes to forage considerations for cow/calf producers I believe there is a need to plan for the worst… and plan for the best. And it’s not too early to begin forage planning for 2015.
2015 March 27
There is the question: Can profitable beef operations go broke? Absolutely, is the answer. Why? For one thing, the definition of profit is misused. And the longer the wrong numbers are applied to the word “profit,” the more likely an operation can get into financial trouble.
by WLJ
2015 March 27
When I started at the Noble Foundation in the late 1970s, agriculture in the Southern Great Plains was still dominated by traditional producers engaged primarily in foragebased beef production. Most operations were fairly large and run by experienced full-time farmers and ranchers.
by WLJ
2015 March 27
The old saying is “hope for the best but plan for the worst.” When it comes to forage considerations for cow/calf producers I believe there is a need to plan for the worst… and plan for the best. And it’s not too early to begin forage planning for 2015.
2015 March 23
The House Natural Resources Committee just released their agenda for the next couple years and it appears that they will certainly produce a lot of news that should please western resource users. The new Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) has a very aggressive mindset;.
2015 March 23
The House Natural Resources Committee just released their agenda for the next couple years and it appears that they will certainly produce a lot of news that should please western resource users. The new Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) has a very aggressive mindset;.
2015 March 20
Some events in one’s life become stories because they have an impact on the future. These stories are used to teach and add wisdom to current conversations. Sometimes the discussion may stray, but if the facts are true, the story continues to add wisdom.
by WLJ
2015 March 20
As a fifth-generation cattle producer, I pay the dollarper-head Beef Checkoff assessment every time I sell an animal, and I am confident that those dollars are invested as effectively and efficiently as possible.


2015 March 20
Some events in one’s life become stories because they have an impact on the future. These stories are used to teach and add wisdom to current conversations. Sometimes the discussion may stray, but if the facts are true, the story continues to add wisdom.
by WLJ
2015 March 20
As a fifth-generation cattle producer, I pay the dollarper-head Beef Checkoff assessment every time I sell an animal, and I am confident that those dollars are invested as effectively and efficiently as possible.
2015 March 16
Beef packers had a few days of profitability a couple weeks ago, but slipped back into red ink again, losing $16.75 per head last Wednesday. Despite profitability, they came to the table and started last week’s bidding at $161
2015 March 13
In fact, when one takes a look at data in the world of commercial production, gradual changes are noted, but radical change is not something that is evident within those commercial beef units. Production through decades is a better indicator of change than year-to-year changes.
2015 March 13
A decade ago I was in college and heard the same sad story over and over: Young people just didn’t know how to cook, and that was sure to spell disaster for beef demand.
2015 March 13
In fact, when one takes a look at data in the world of commercial production, gradual changes are noted, but radical change is not something that is evident within those commercial beef units. Production through decades is a better indicator of change than year-to-year changes.
2015 March 13
A decade ago I was in college and heard the same sad story over and over: Young people just didn’t know how to cook, and that was sure to spell disaster for beef demand.
2015 March 9
It appears that we’re headed for a dry summer in the western states, where they have been in an extended drought. Here in Colorado, we received a good shot of snow that for the most part stayed in the mountains and dumped several feet. The state of Colorado has 92 percent of our normal snowpack and we have our wettest months before us.
2015 March 9
It appears that we’re headed for a dry summer in the western states, where they have been in an extended drought. Here in Colorado, we received a good shot of snow that for the most part stayed in the mountains and dumped several feet. The state of Colorado has 92 percent of our normal snowpack and we have our wettest months before us.
2015 March 6
Data needs to start somewhere. In the cattle business, it starts with the calving book. The calendar probably will have some notes on it for those once-yearly events. For instance, bull turnout, weaning, cattle sales, branding and calf workings are all examples of annual events.
2015 March 6
Often enough taxpayers who are audited in connection with their farming or livestock activities are questioned on the issue known in the tax law as the “material participation test.” Under this legal test, you are permitted to deduct losses against outside salary and wages only if, among other things, you “materially participate” in the activity.
2015 March 6
Data needs to start somewhere. In the cattle business, it starts with the calving book. The calendar probably will have some notes on it for those once-yearly events. For instance, bull turnout, weaning, cattle sales, branding and calf workings are all examples of annual events.
2015 March 6
Often enough taxpayers who are audited in connection with their farming or livestock activities are questioned on the issue known in the tax law as the “material participation test.” Under this legal test, you are permitted to deduct losses against outside salary and wages only if, among other things, you “materially participate” in the activity.
2015 March 3
Cattle producers, from the ranch to the feedlot, continue to focus on producing the highest quality cattle they can. That’s because they know that producing the finest grain-fed beef in the world is the big advantage the U.S. has over every other beef producing nation.
by WLJ
2015 March 3
When it was suggested that authority to increase property taxes be returned to County Commission and Township Boards, Haggar’s response was: “Those county officials are going to find ways to spend the money. Their appetites will rise to the level of the candy available.
by WLJ
2015 March 3
Yet once you know that a refrigerated container contains a payload equivalent to 44 fattened steers or 210 finished hogs, once you imagine a cargo ship riding low in the waves with as many as 5,000 containers on board, all of a sudden it seems like a pretty good day’s work.
2015 March 3
Cattle producers, from the ranch to the feedlot, continue to focus on producing the highest quality cattle they can. That’s because they know that producing the finest grain-fed beef in the world is the big advantage the U.S. has over every other beef producing nation.
by WLJ
2015 March 3
When it was suggested that authority to increase property taxes be returned to County Commission and Township Boards, Haggar’s response was: “Those county officials are going to find ways to spend the money. Their appetites will rise to the level of the candy available.
by WLJ
2015 March 3
Yet once you know that a refrigerated container contains a payload equivalent to 44 fattened steers or 210 finished hogs, once you imagine a cargo ship riding low in the waves with as many as 5,000 containers on board, all of a sudden it seems like a pretty good day’s work.
2015 March 2
Boxed beef cutout values are on the rise this past week after several weeks of production declines. Packers have been experiencing losses of $100 per head for several weeks and that looks to be changing. The Choice cutout was $244.24 last Tuesday, up about $5 from the.
2015 March 2
Boxed beef cutout values are on the rise this past week after several weeks of production declines. Packers have been experiencing losses of $100 per head for several weeks and that looks to be changing. The Choice cutout was $244.24 last Tuesday, up about $5 from the.
2015 February 23
This situation with the West Coast shipping ports is getting out of hand and has been for a while. Beef and meat exports to our Asian customers have been damaged and it will take some time to rectify. The labor unions are fighting for relevance while the rest of the.
2015 February 23
This situation with the West Coast shipping ports is getting out of hand and has been for a while. Beef and meat exports to our Asian customers have been damaged and it will take some time to rectify. The labor unions are fighting for relevance while the rest of the.
2015 February 20
“Even during a recession, folks still want to have beautiful moments in their lives,” says John Lundeen, Senior Executive Director of Market Research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff.
by WLJ
2015 February 20
That’s something I’m excited to support. In fact, an overwhelming majority of beef and dairy producers continue to say their beef checkoff has value for them in many ways, including contributing to a positive trend in beef demand and the profitability of their operations.


2015 February 20
Calving season was the backdrop, starting nine days earlier than expected because one of the calving ease bulls apparently succeeds by transmitting a very short gestation period. Cows were due to start two weeks after the heifers, but one of them calved to that same bull 15 days early.
by DTN
2015 February 20
I encourage growers to think of the soil as an engine. The productivity (horsepower) of that engine can be improved, but first we need to measure the existing horsepower. The Solvita test is an affordable tool growers can use to estimate the size of soil’s engine by measuring respiration or carbon dioxide (CO2) release.
2015 February 20
“Even during a recession, folks still want to have beautiful moments in their lives,” says John Lundeen, Senior Executive Director of Market Research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff.
by WLJ
2015 February 20
That’s something I’m excited to support. In fact, an overwhelming majority of beef and dairy producers continue to say their beef checkoff has value for them in many ways, including contributing to a positive trend in beef demand and the profitability of their operations.
2015 February 20
Calving season was the backdrop, starting nine days earlier than expected because one of the calving ease bulls apparently succeeds by transmitting a very short gestation period. Cows were due to start two weeks after the heifers, but one of them calved to that same bull 15 days early.
by DTN
2015 February 20
I encourage growers to think of the soil as an engine. The productivity (horsepower) of that engine can be improved, but first we need to measure the existing horsepower. The Solvita test is an affordable tool growers can use to estimate the size of soil’s engine by measuring respiration or carbon dioxide (CO2) release.
2015 February 16
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association hosted their largest annual convention ever with over 8,200 folks showing up to attend meetings and the trade show—which was also the largest ever—with over 330 exhibitors; and it was pleasing to see so many young people attend.
2015 February 16
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association hosted their largest annual convention ever with over 8,200 folks showing up to attend meetings and the trade show—which was also the largest ever—with over 330 exhibitors; and it was pleasing to see so many young people attend.
2015 February 13
Alfalfa is an excellent choice to feed as a supplement to beef cows that are later in their pregnancy. Seldom do we think of hay as being a supplement, but the right high quality forage, such as alfalfa, certainly can be fed as a supplement to the lower quality forages generally available for the main ration of a beef cow.
by WLJ
2015 February 13
Yet we still see daily limits on dietary fat, as though all fat is the same. What is the truth? Well, the answer and what you did not know about fat grams is best addressed by Dr. Stephen Smith, Texas A&M University Meat Biologist, who has spent most of his career studying the subject.


2015 February 13
Alfalfa is an excellent choice to feed as a supplement to beef cows that are later in their pregnancy. Seldom do we think of hay as being a supplement, but the right high quality forage, such as alfalfa, certainly can be fed as a supplement to the lower quality forages generally available for the main ration of a beef cow.
by WLJ
2015 February 13
Yet we still see daily limits on dietary fat, as though all fat is the same. What is the truth? Well, the answer and what you did not know about fat grams is best addressed by Dr. Stephen Smith, Texas A&M University Meat Biologist, who has spent most of his career studying the subject.
2015 February 9
The markets didn’t seem to like the Jan. 31 cattle inventory numbers that showed 1 percent more cattle available than last year, roughly 1.3 million more cattle. Feeder cattle futures were all down the limit of $4.50, bringing feeder cattle values down to.
2015 February 9
The markets didn’t seem to like the Jan. 31 cattle inventory numbers that showed 1 percent more cattle available than last year, roughly 1.3 million more cattle. Feeder cattle futures were all down the limit of $4.50, bringing feeder cattle values down to.
by WLJ
2015 February 6
During the course of conducting grazing research at the Noble Foundation, we routinely receive and “straighten out” stocker cattle. Many of these cattle are sourced from sale barns and would be considered to be at high risk for contracting bovine respiratory disease (BRD, also known as shipping fever).
2015 February 6
However, the cows still need to be fed. In fact, a common mistake that is made as the weather warms is to reduce the feed a little bit. In reality, yes, that extra feed for body heat may not be needed, but every day that a cow gets closer to birth, the more demanding the pregnancy becomes.
2015 February 6
After a recent trip to Nicaragua in Central America on a USAID Farmer-to- Farmer volunteer assignment to instruct farmers on rotational grazing and electric fencing technology, we tested some very effec tive ways to build an inexpensive grazing system.


by WLJ
2015 February 6
During the course of conducting grazing research at the Noble Foundation, we routinely receive and “straighten out” stocker cattle. Many of these cattle are sourced from sale barns and would be considered to be at high risk for contracting bovine respiratory disease (BRD, also known as shipping fever).
2015 February 6
However, the cows still need to be fed. In fact, a common mistake that is made as the weather warms is to reduce the feed a little bit. In reality, yes, that extra feed for body heat may not be needed, but every day that a cow gets closer to birth, the more demanding the pregnancy becomes.
2015 February 6
After a recent trip to Nicaragua in Central America on a USAID Farmer-to- Farmer volunteer assignment to instruct farmers on rotational grazing and electric fencing technology, we tested some very effec tive ways to build an inexpensive grazing system.
2015 February 2
This survey is a proactive tool for public lands ranchers and can be used to combat the many negative perceptions some have about livestock grazing. This survey supports what many of us already know, which is that livestock grazing is a management tool that helps maintain healthy ecosystems.
2015 February 2
This survey is a proactive tool for public lands ranchers and can be used to combat the many negative perceptions some have about livestock grazing. This survey supports what many of us already know, which is that livestock grazing is a management tool that helps maintain healthy ecosystems.
by WLJ
2015 January 30
We don’t know how many times we’ve heard someone just back from a trip abroad say, “I really would like a juicy steak,” or how many times we’ve seen a small child hand their mother the bun just to eat the hamburger patty. Yes, thank goodness consumers love the unique taste of beef.


2015 January 30
Beef remains Americans’ favorite meat. But they are eating less of it each year because of a shrinking supply. Conversely, people are eating more chicken because of an expanding supply. Meanwhile, beef and the way it is produced remains under intense public scrutiny and criticism while hardly a bad word is spoken about chicken.
by WLJ
2015 January 30
We don’t know how many times we’ve heard someone just back from a trip abroad say, “I really would like a juicy steak,” or how many times we’ve seen a small child hand their mother the bun just to eat the hamburger patty. Yes, thank goodness consumers love the unique taste of beef.
2015 January 30
Beef remains Americans’ favorite meat. But they are eating less of it each year because of a shrinking supply. Conversely, people are eating more chicken because of an expanding supply. Meanwhile, beef and the way it is produced remains under intense public scrutiny and criticism while hardly a bad word is spoken about chicken.
2015 January 26
How people communicate matters. I care how people use language, from the overall message down to the individual word choice. Considering my profession, I’m sure that comes as a big surprise. Or not.
2015 January 26
How people communicate matters. I care how people use language, from the overall message down to the individual word choice. Considering my profession, I’m sure that comes as a big surprise. Or not.
by WLJ
2015 January 23
As a cattleman, I know it’s important for the long-term health of the beef industry that we constantly improve our practices to grow an end product that consumers will want to continue serving to their families. And as a businessman, I also understand the importance of continuous expansion of our market to maintain that sustainability.


2015 January 23
Dollars are the common denominator. Why be in the beef business without a return to labor and management? With current demand for replacement cattle indicative of a positive industry stance to maintaining and expanding the beef business, now is a good time to ponder some fundamental costs of the business.
by WLJ
2015 January 23
As a cattleman, I know it’s important for the long-term health of the beef industry that we constantly improve our practices to grow an end product that consumers will want to continue serving to their families. And as a businessman, I also understand the importance of continuous expansion of our market to maintain that sustainability.
2015 January 23
Dollars are the common denominator. Why be in the beef business without a return to labor and management? With current demand for replacement cattle indicative of a positive industry stance to maintaining and expanding the beef business, now is a good time to ponder some fundamental costs of the business.
2015 January 19
Cattle markets are struggling to find value. The live cattle futures contract has declined over $10 over the past week to $155.80, while the cash market touched $170 live. This week fed cattle are trading $5-6 lower, but still a $10 premium over CROW.
2015 January 19
Cattle markets are struggling to find value. The live cattle futures contract has declined over $10 over the past week to $155.80, while the cash market touched $170 live. This week fed cattle are trading $5-6 lower, but still a $10 premium over CROW.
2015 January 16
I know what it’s like to have someone depending on me. I have four little children who look to me for clean clothes, a full tummy, and lots of love and support. It’s been a few years, but I also remember what it’s like to come to a feedbunk, lined with cattle looking up, eagerly awaiting breakfast or supper.
2015 January 16
I know what it’s like to have someone depending on me. I have four little children who look to me for clean clothes, a full tummy, and lots of love and support. It’s been a few years, but I also remember what it’s like to come to a feedbunk, lined with cattle looking up, eagerly awaiting breakfast or supper.
2015 January 9
Have you had enough of the progressive politics in our government yet? The beef industry is under assault again, this time through the federal government’s dietary guidelines, which are updated every five years. In the past, the struggle for beef was to explain its role in nutrition, and CROW.
by DTN
2015 January 9
Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unlike any tax legislation I have ever seen. We are more than four years since enactment, yet the surprises keep unfolding. The latest administrative decree from the Department of Labor (DOL) will require some coordination between ag producers and their tax preparers.
2015 January 9
Have you had enough of the progressive politics in our government yet? The beef industry is under assault again, this time through the federal government’s dietary guidelines, which are updated every five years. In the past, the struggle for beef was to explain its role in nutrition, and CROW.
by DTN
2015 January 9
Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unlike any tax legislation I have ever seen. We are more than four years since enactment, yet the surprises keep unfolding. The latest administrative decree from the Department of Labor (DOL) will require some coordination between ag producers and their tax preparers.
2015 January 2
If you look at the market dynamics this last December, feeder cattle markets were due for the correction that took place. The year 2014 produced a cattle market that will more than likely never be seen again; you can say it was historical, and you were part of it.
by WLJ
2015 January 2
They say that all good things must come to an end, and so it is that I announce my retirement from Western Livestock Journal. After 42 years of traveling, I have decided to call it a day. I can’t tell you how hard a decision this was and yet I knew it was one I had to make.
\

2015 January 2
The beef industry never lacks for issues. This year will see further tortuous efforts to improve and expand the industry’s promotion and research program, known as the Beef Checkoff. It will see equally drawn-out efforts to change the country of origin labeling (COOL) law to bring the U.
2014 December 29
Agriculture is fighting an uphill battle with the readily assessable information highway loaded with photos that paint a thousand words. Sound science continues to lose over emotions, with photos, captions and haunting music depicting producers and even animal owners as low life, self-centered, evil creatures.
2014 December 29
At the center, values for the current bulls are entered into a simple spreadsheet to allow for easy tracking. The breeding inventory and registration numbers from this past breeding season included five bulls. Their year of birth and registration numbers are: 2013-born bulls, 2790504, 2790544, 2800373 and 2800393; and 2012-born bull, 2669482.
2014 December 29
“You get what you pay for” is a saying that often assumes limitations. It comes to mind when you or a friend find disappointment in a supposed bargain. Add an intensifying phrase and it points out that quality costs more, too. You really do get what you pay for.
2014 December 29
“Typically producers do not want to calve thin cows and do not like cows to lose weight during late pregnancy. We know that is bad,” says Allison Meyer, University of Missouri Animal Scientist, listing the side effects.


2014 December 29
The US- DA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service says we are using and losing more topsoil than the pounds of food produced each year. One reference said, “Six pounds of farmable soil is lost each year per 1 pound of food eaten.” That’s not a sustainable situation.
2014 December 19
For example, using the center’s Red Angus bulls, the breeding inventory from this past breeding season included five bulls. Their year of birth and registration numbers are: 2013-born bulls, 1617778 and 1617805; 2011-born bulls 1473021 and 1473096; and 2010-born bull 1393949.
by WLJ
2014 December 19
At the close of each year, it’s helpful to take a look back to analyze not only our own cattle businesses but the entire marketplace as we continue planning for the coming months and year.


2014 December 19
If you were a bull in the feeder cattle pit at the CME, I’m sorry to learn of your fate after five days of limit down trading. With the January feeders touching $237, didn’t you think that was kind of high? Cattle feeders were buying feeder cattle at $190 breakevens in November when.
2014 December 15
Watching the federal government fund itself is always entertaining. This last $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill may be just about right because it seems that nobody is happy with it because they didn’t get everything they wanted. It always amazes me that Congress passes laws and then we go to battle to fund the law or not.
2014 December 12
I am going to say this three times: A producer does not need to know all the mathematics, justifications or scientific “who done it” aspects of breed association expected progeny differences (EPDs). These EPDs are available to all purebred and commercial producers, so use them.
2014 December 8
Don’t you at times wish this Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) issue would go away? For some reason in the cattle business we take on issues that have the potential to harm our industry and we won’t let them go until somebody gets satisfaction.
by WLJ
2014 December 5
A unique set of challenges in livestock care is associated with the management of young animals—this is especially true with orphaned calves in cold fall and winter weather. Problems can center on inexperience of the dam, illness within the herd, or age of the animals.
by WLJ
2014 December 5
Sex No. In Weight Final Avg. Days Avg. Daily Feed/ Avg. Cost Weight on Feed Gain Gain (Dry Basis) % Death Loss of Gain Weight Steers 71,168 791 1,402 163 3.73 5.72 1.18 92.46 Heifers 96,537 722 1,245 159 3.26 6.15 1.27 98.61 Source: Kansas State University Research and Extension’s Focus on Feedlots newsletter (July, August and September 2014 data).
2014 November 28
It is remarkable how high cattle prices have come; we’re producing just 6 percent less beef than a year ago but the prices of fed steers have increased roughly 30 percent, when fed cattle were trading at $130, and late week fed cattle were trading at $171 with some trades as high as $174.
2014 November 28
Cattle feeders have done a masterful job this year of feeding cattle as long as possible, at the same time remaining fairly current in their marketings. The result has been record heavy steer and heifer carcasses and the percentage of cattle grading USDA Prime breaching 5 percent for the first time.
by WLJ
2014 November 28
Steve Alder, Executive Director of the ironically named Idaho for Wildlife, does a wonderful job highlighting the attitudes behind the Salmon Idaho Predator Derby (“Predator hunt delayed a week in Idaho,” Nov.
by WLJ
2014 November 28
We have a federal law, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which mandates minimum biofuel use by type and year through 2022. By November, the EPA is required to finalize mandates for the upcoming year. That includes lowering the mandates in the event of expected economic harm or inadequate supply.
2014 November 21
Last week we reported that the Organization of Competitive Markets (OCM) filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals and that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) attorneys prepared and submitted the suit.
by WLJ
2014 November 21
In 16 of the last 17 quarters, we’ve had year-over-year increases in beef demand, the only exception being the first quarter of 2014. I think a large part of why that’s going on is success in marketing the right products to the right people and, quite frankly, to the segment of the public that continues to purchase beef.
2014 November 21
Top aides to the president have made the IRS hostile turf to honest taxpayers. The IRS has targeted individuals and organizations. IRS bureaucracy has demanded agents to lead no-change audits, to make greater demands for documents, and to disfavor settlements.
by WLJ
2014 November 21
The complex of viral and bacterial causes for bovine respiratory disease (BRD) does not respect age or condition of cattle and will become opportunistic whenever the advantage may arise. Outbreaks of pneumonia can occur sporadically and without warning, causing a high incidence of disease within.
2014 November 14
Well, guess what? It’s going back to court. This time the Organization for Competitive Markets, (OCM) filed the suit but have attorneys from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) doing the work— pro bono, I assume. The OCM has strong relationships with the aforementioned groups that have been targeting the beef checkoff for years.
2014 November 14
Even though cow numbers are down, keeping cows that are not likely to produce a worthy calf next year is fruitless. Culling really is a process of drawing a line in the sand, and those cows that cannot cross the line are sent to market. At the Dickinson Research Extension Center, the line is a combination of managerial chute-side judgments and data.
2014 November 7
It’s fine that this group took on the task of this definition, which is more of a conservation plan that can be adapted to any ecosystem worldwide.
2014 November 7
Knowing the health of any particular piece of ground— that is, what is happening on the soil surface and determining the health condition of the plants present— is important information, especially when you are about to make a major decision concerning land management.
by WLJ
2014 November 7
So why is this occurring? We would argue genetics is a huge part of the equation. Today’s cattle can be fed to 950-lb. or even 1,000-lb. carcasses without excess fat. Certainly feeding and management strategies have had an impact. Today, many feeder cattle are grown to 850 or 900 lbs.
2014 October 31
By all accounts, it appears that the USDA will appeal the decision from WTO again, which will take time. USDA and the U.S. Trade Representatives have 60 days to appeal, then it’s assumed that the process will take another nine months to get the WTO’s appeal decision.
by WLJ
2014 October 31
When the Taylor Grazing Act was passed into law in 1934, its purpose was “to bring conservation to the public lands and stabilize the livestock industry dependent upon it.” It’s a given that conservation doesn’t mean what it did in 1934. Stabilization has evolved into destabilization as BLM’s management, of ten,.
2014 October 31
It doesn’t take a mathematician to think, “Wait, something doesn’t add up.” Yet, that’s the reality in today’s marketplace. Fed steer and heifer harvest was down 6.2 percent for the first 32 weeks of the year, but it wasn’t an even distribution across all quality grades (See Chart 1).
2014 October 31
Not only do consumers have all these choices; they can read comprehensive nutrition labels to help them make sensible dietary choices. Moreover, they can expect to pay a reasonable price for most food products. I use “reasonable” in relation to food prices in other countries.
2014 October 24
Decades of using at least breed-average bulls in the pasture and artificial insemination (AI) on the top half moved their progeny up from 10 percent premium Choice to eight times that. I would not want to start over with any other cows now, but it’s still easy to find a bottom 20 percent in these.
by WLJ
2014 October 24
It’s been widely documented that California is in the midst of the most severe drought on record in the state, and it’s estimated that nearly 30 percent of the cow herd has exited the state over the past 12 months.
2014 October 20
This Ebola virus situation is getting a little out of hand. It shows once again that the federal government and the Obama administration just can’t govern and are a little too lackadaisical about doing the job.
2014 October 17
Proper selection of heifers is vitally important as our industry works to expand. There are some general principles for any commercial operation to consider, as well as more intensive selection criteria for sire-identified herds, as well as genomic tests.
by WLJ
2014 October 17
At the Padlock Ranch, we strive to manage the resources and assets of the ranch for long-term sustainability, and the checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance program (BQA) helps us meet our goal of producing quality beef.
by WLJ
2014 October 10
Last month, Governor Steve Bullock signed an executive order establishing the Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program. The program has been in the works for some time with several Montana groups having the opportunity to provide input on maintaining state management of the sage grouse species and its habitat in the state of Montana.
2014 October 10
Recently, I spent some time in Africa as a USAID (United States Agency for International Development) volunteer on two farmer-to-farmer assignments, each about three weeks in length. One was in Malawi and the other took me across the central plains of Mozambique.
2014 October 3
It’sbecoming clear who has the ear of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack; the National Farmers Union (NFU). Last week Vilsack held a meeting with the Beef Checkoff working group and said, “This is going to be a one-way conversation,” telling the group that he plans on.
by WLJ
2014 October 3
Do we need an increase in the Beef Checkoff? You say, “But it promotes our product.” Really! The NCBA (National Cattleman’s Beef Association) who controls your Beef Checkoff dollar is associated with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and TNC (The Nature Conservancy) among other groups that aren’t particularly the livestock producer’s friend.
2014 October 3
One of the beef industry’s greatest accomplishments in the past 20 years has been to improve the eating experience for beef lovers. It was a huge shock in the 1990s when the industry discovered that one out of four steaks was not meeting consumers’ expectations.
by WLJ
2014 October 3
Thus, we are introducing our new “WLJ Ambassadors” feature, a short profile of a reader who has been with us for a while and helped us along the way, either through their longtime loyalty or through vigorous sharing of this publication with their neighbors and friends.
2014 September 26
Placements have been lower over the past six months and at lighter weights up until the August report that said heavy weight placements that were over 800 lbs. were much higher during August. Most areas had great summer grazing, producing heavier cattle, which may defer some for cattle going into the feedlot.
2014 September 26
Those first calves graded 20 percent Choice, and motivated him to continue feeding cattle for the next two decades. It also spurred the rancher to adopt an AI plan to infuse the best genetics more quickly. Today he sells loads above 90 percent Choice, with more than half of those reaching the upper two-thirds of that grade.
2014 September 26
That is a difficult question producers must answer. Just how many more is not an easy number to grasp because most beef operations actually try to keep their carrying capacity or stocking rates stable. Stocking rate, or the cow/calf pairs that inhabit the ranch, are set based on the carrying capacity of the particular type of land.
2014 September 19
So let’s see who has the most influence. I figured that Facebook may have some answers about membership or something close to it. According to Facebook stats, NCBA is the clear winner with 34,239 folks liking their page. On the other hand R-CALF has 1,048 “likes” and the United States Cattlemen has 698 “likes.
2014 September 19
“The grain farmer is absolutely going to get hammered to move his grain,” said Dan Basse, President of AgResource Company. “All of this passes back to you,” the analyst told cattle feeders and other attendees at last month’s Feeding Quality Forum in Kearney, NE, and Amarillo, TX.
2014 September 19
For many, the bulls are left on pasture and rounded up with the cows and calves as fall progresses. Throughout the summer, various bulls are moved around or brought home. In some cases, they are injured. In other cases, they simply won’t stay in the pasture.
2014 September 12
The Beef Checkoff is being threatened again. It’s absolutely amazing to me that the Beef Checkoff continues to cause problems for this industry. A simple dollarper-head is no big deal. Even two or three dollars a head shouldn’t be a big deal.
2014 September 12
Advertising and promotional expenses are usually deductible along with other ordinary and necessary expenses in horse and livestock activities operated as a business. Traditional print ads in magazines can be expensive, and must be repeated in order to be effective.
by WLJ
2014 September 12
Agriculture faces many challenges, and strong, effective leadership has never been more critical to the future of agriculture than it is today. In order to meet the nutritional demands of an ever-increasing global population, we must find solutions to the problems that limit our capacity for producing and transporting food.
2014 September 5
USDA said in a 2014 risk analysis, “Although the expected consequences of an FMD outbreak in the United States would be severe, the likelihood of such an outbreak occurring due to exposure of the domestic livestock population to FMD-susceptible animals and products imported from the Patagonia region of Argentina is very low.
2014 September 5
Instead of sustainability, what we really may need is an organized response to everpresent change. As cattle producers, how we respond to the environment is key to our survival. The world is covered with water and plants. How we use the plants depends on how consumers look at their plates.
by WLJ
2014 September 5
Since releasing our proposal in March to better protect clean water, there have been some questions raised in the press, most recently about maps that use data developed by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Fish & Wildlife Service and show locations and flow patterns of many of the nation’s waterways.
2014 August 29
bubble was inevitable. And that is exactly what happened. Beef wasn’t necessarily the problem but simply the scant amount of meat on the market at that time. Total meat supplies were down 4.4 pounds per capita from a year ago, which is a substantial amount; total beef supplies were down 3.
by WLJ
2014 August 29
As a beef producer, I have always believed that the beef checkoff assessment that my family pays each time we sell an animal is a good investment for us, and I’m happy to say that we now have some robust validation of that belief.
2014 August 29
With this in mind, I want to pay tribute to the tens of thousands of families who are the backbone of the U.S. beef industry. Whether these families run cow/calf or stocker operations, own livestock barns or feedlots, each and every family is vital to the health and success of the entire industry.
by WLJ
2014 August 29
Waterway maps for Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. These smaller maps were originally a part of the main map used on the front cover but were removed for size concerns and legibility issues. The maps were prepared by INDUS Corporation under contract with the EPA Office of Water, October 2013.
2014 August 22
The scattle markets have become a little volatile over the past few weeks with live cattle topping out at $160 on the futures market, and just a few days later, dropping down to $148 on the August contract. The cash market traded at a $4 positive basis to the board, which appears to be narrowing.
by WLJ
2014 August 22
An enemy sits in Washington, DC, and refuses for years to allocate funds for its employees to travel to ranchers, farms or cattlemen’s meetings, likely for the specific reason of maintaining no chance of their underlings for fraternizing with ‘their’ enemy.
by DTN
2014 August 22
Sometime in the late 1920s, after countless nights of craning his neck through the nooks and crannies of the Milky Way, Edward Hubble concluded that the universe was indeed still expanding in the wake of the Big Bang, that first true spark of herd building launched 13.
by WLJ
2014 August 15
The “differing views” on trespass law (Western Livestock Journal, August 11, 2014, pg. 1, pg. 8) have succeeded in making a hash of a simple situation.
2014 August 15
The homestretch is a term borrowed from horse racetracks in the 1800s to describe the final phase of any endeavor. Applying it to calves now suggests weaning is the finish line, although in the big picture we have to realize this is just one of several laps on the track of beef production.
by WLJ
2014 August 15
Forecasters have been calling for this trend for almost two years, and as the national cow herd tries to rebound and find stable numbers again, the overpowering temptation to market young females into the feeding chain is hindering the cow herd’s ability to keep up.
2014 August 8
Perhaps the word “aggressive” is too harsh, but there certainly is an interesting relationship that is created when the person who owns or leases the surface of the land meets the person who owns the other side of the coin, which is known as subsurface or mineral rights.
by WLJ
2014 August 8
July and August are considered “the dog days of summer,” and for most cattle folks, a very busy time of the year. It’s a time when heat and humidity most affect those in the cattle feeding industry, especially in the Midwest and central regions of the Great Plains.
2014 August 8
These cattle markets continue to amaze me. The cattle futures took a dump last Thursday with nearly all feeder cattle contracts down the $3 limit in early trading. The live cattle contract wasn’t hit as hard, but suffered.
2014 August 1
Some combinations are obvious. Think cowboy hats and Merle Haggard, pickup trucks and goose neck trailers. So what about beef and red wine? This combo is such a natural that I’ve long wondered why the industries that make both products don’t make more of the way the two go together.
by WLJ
2014 August 1
ed by a “vertical” route— meaning the fetus is infected by the cow during pregnancy. It is believed that the cow’s immune system may cause reactivation of encysted parasites that upon release into the bloodstream are able to infect the growing fetus.
by WLJ
2014 July 25
Producer support for the Beef Checkoff is 78 percent— its highest in 21 years—according to the latest producer attitude survey. And if you’re wondering why support is so high, I think it’s because of a number of things we have helped bring to fruition through our Beef Checkoff.
2014 July 25
For those who do math, what is $713 minus $537? The answer is $176. Good numbers, especially for the cow/calf producer because the $713 indicates the amount of cash that cows have been able to generate after adjusting for replacements. The $537 indicates the recent costs to keep a cow for the year.
2014 July 25
Cattle markets took a little breather just after the 4th of July holiday, dropping a few bucks on fed cattle, but came roaring back, appearing ready to break some new records and did, reaching $162-163 live. I know that everyone selling cattle right now is star struck CROW.
2014 July 18
For example, I picked up a pamphlet that had the 2013 net returns per acre for several crops in western North Dakota. Based on cash-rented land, there was a spring wheat net return of $55.65 per acre, $77.32 for winter wheat, $28.35 for corn as grain, $93.
by WLJ
2014 July 18
Holly Neibergs, Washington State University Animal Geneticist, quantified that. The cost per animal treated for bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is $204.10, she said, due to losses in carcass quality, death and treatment costs. She further stated that BRD is estimated to affect 16.
by WLJ
2014 July 18
Pierce meat or score lightly with a fork. Combine all ingredients except beef and mix well to create the marinade. Place meat flat in a 9 x 12 glass baking dish then pour marinade over meat and turn once to coat both sides. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning once after approximately 12 hours.
2014 July 11
The cattle markets have gone wild; last week cash fed cattle were trading at $158 just before the 4th of July. The major retailers were offering bone-in New York strips for $5.99 over the weekend, which should have stimulated beef sales. However, market analysts were reporting CROW.
2014 July 11
Yup, that’s usually how long the mystery remains with nearly every birthday present purchased for a sibling or every “don’t tell your dad I let you” moment. I have four little ones, so it’s hard for a secret to remain that way for long at our house.
2014 July 11
In an important Tax Court case, J. Zane Smith of Earlville, NY, challenged the IRS’s determination that his cow and dairy activities were a hobby. The lengthy opinion also involved other issues, including his dog breeding activity and a cutting horse activity.
by WLJ
2014 July 3
Usually this involves numbers like weaning weights, pregnancy percentages or carcass values of progeny. Add them up and divide by the number of cows. Just that easily, you can compare each cow to the herd average. In turn, you can compare your herd to averages from a cooperative or from government statistics.
2014 July 3
Last week, Northern Video sold a set of all natural steers from the Greet Ranch in Ten Sleep, WY, for $236 cwt. Those cattle may break even in the $160s when they go to market. It seems like cattle feeders have thrown caution to the wind buying replacement feeder cattle.
2014 July 3
Old-timers must be shaking their heads in disbelief at the way calves and feeder cattle are trading. Even when I began covering the industry 28 years ago, I would not have believed the price of calves would by 2014 increase more than 3.5 times. On the other hand, the price of many other goods has probably increased by that much or more.
2014 June 27
Earlier this month, I attended the annual Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC) as the lone media representative. It was an experience of a lifetime! Meeting young (or young at heart) producers from around the country and hearing about the pressing issues in their states was eyeopening, and simply meeting so many new people was a treat.
2014 June 27
At the Dickinson Research Extension Center, seven long, yearling bulls needed to leave. They were neutered and weighed in at 1,179 pounds after a summer on grass. Last fall, they were sent to the feedlot and weighed 1,636 pounds after 88 days on feed. They gained 5.
by WLJ
2014 June 27
The first week in June saw total U.S. federally inspected cattle harvest at 614,000 cattle, which represents half a million steers and heifers and 114,000 cull bulls and cows. This is a decline of 5.8 percent from last year— reflecting the dramatic reduction in the size of the U.
2014 June 20
The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) was back at it last week filing numerous endangered species suits claiming the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has not adequately protected several species. CBD is a radical environmental group that makes their living suing the federal government.
2014 June 20
That’s not to say any beef category has gone down in price. In fact, for the first seven months of the fiscal year starting last October, Certified Angus Beef (CAB) brand cutout was up 8.6 percent, from $203.02 for fiscal year 2013 to $220.46 for October to April.
by WLJ
2014 June 20
April 24, 2014, Tahoe National Forest Tom Quinn, Supervising Officer, met with me and Quinten Youngblood, Sierraville District Ranger, and Leigh Seng and their NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) person at Nevada City, the headquarters for TNF.
by WLJ
2014 June 20
Chores. Even the word sounds unpleasant. But when it comes to advocating about beef, I don’t feel that it’s a chore, but rather something that should be on our “to do” list every day. Find something that inspires you to take action, and share your farming and ranching story.
by WLJ
2014 June 13
I was in the Hilltop canyon again yesterday where the grass tour started and again early today as I live at the mouth of the canyon and drive right up the canyon everyday to work. This is my back door and the grass is very tall with cheat grass near 26” high, and native grasses 18” high in many places.
2014 June 13
Grazing opportunities in the West are constantly going underutilized. Wild fire prevention has become a huge issue and the agencies responsible for fighting wildfires are taking money from Peter to pay Paul. Taking money from rang e improvement and forest management programs has actually CROW.
2014 June 13
At the same time, the news media was discussing the need for grass-fed beef. This probably was the source of the question and, if one ponders, one can see why future generations will get confused. As producers, the word beef conjures up images of cattle and associated production and marketing scenarios.
2014 June 6
The last news we received on the Battle Mountain, NV, story was that the ranchers were able to turn out their cattle for two weeks on their BLM allotment, while the agency determined if they could stay out longer, and the “grass ride” made it to Carson City to deliver a petition to the governor to CROW.
2014 June 6
Handsdown, growing soils is the foundation of good pasture management. I have learned that from the experimentation we have tried in our humanitarian food gardening efforts around the world. The more time we spend improving the soils, the less time spent fighting weeds, sick and diseased plants.
2014 June 6
As calving winds down and calves are settled with their mamas, the inevitable day will come when the calves need to get a round of vaccinations. It is much like the old days when the school made the announcement that the county nurse was coming along with a bag full of needles.
2014 May 30
Several countries that have not had countrywide Foot-and- Mouth Disease (FMD) freedom have used a combination of measures to (1) reduce the likelihood of infected animals being presented for slaughter at export [slaughterhouses], and to (2) minimize FMDV (FMD virus) survival during the slaughter process and the preparation of deboned beef.
2014 May 30
Good spring rains have fallen in many areas of the West, which is a sigh of relief for most ranchers in the region. Still, in many areas, rain is the exception rather than the rule. Drought in the West persists while grass and fuel loads are high and fire dangers remain high, especially in the far West and West Coast.
by WLJ
2014 May 23
My husband, Dan, and I have three grazing allotments in the Battle Mountain district, North Buffalo, Copper Canyon and Argenta. Last May, 2013, Badger Ranch was issued a Full Force and Effect (FFE) decision closing the North Buffalo and Copper Canyon Allotments to livestock grazing for the remainder of the drought and one growing season.
by WLJ
2014 May 23
When people go shopping for food on their dinner table, they may consider its nutritious value and its cost, but many don’t consider the farmer and rancher behind every piece of food on their plate. For every bite you take, the agricultural community strives to provide a healthy, abundant food supply.
by WLJ
2014 May 23
Recent research shows that price is a primary reason that consumers limit beef consumption, but the fact is, there are a variety of beef options to fit any budget. Food prices have increased across the board; beef is not alone, but when you compare current beef prices at retail to 2012 prices, the increase amounts to just about $0.
2014 May 16
There are a lot of issues occurring that could have a profound effect on public land ranching. At this point, I would have to say the Endangered Species Act is the one that needs the most attention, and soon. As an industry, we have a lot on the table that we need to pay close attention to right now.
2014 May 16
Earlier this year, CattleFax predicted a 4.5 percent drop in U.S. per-capita beef consumption. We can only expect other proteins to fill the gap. Chicken is always the cheaper alternative, but that spread between poultry and pork prices and poultry and beef prices has become more dramatic.
2014 May 16
The yearling heifers also need to be processed, the replacements sorted off and the remaining heifers spayed and sent to grass. Replacements basically are preselected because the breed type is monitored and fit into the center’s crossbreeding program..
2014 May 9
Global warming was the big national topic last week when President Obama came out with the third national assessment on climate change in the U.S. This was a collective effort of a group of 13 federal agencies called the “U.S. Global Change Research Program.
by WLJ
2014 May 9
So far consumers have continued to buy beef, although we are seeing shifts in what they buy (more ground beef), and portion sizes at both retail and restaurants are shrinking. We’re even selling beef at retail by the serving rather than by the pound, a good marketing strategy for our times.
2014 May 9
Bulls that are needed are not always affordable, and sometimes scheduling conflicts get in the way. Interestingly, of the last four bulls the Dickinson Research Extension Center purchased, three were purchased through the process of electronic bidding.
2014 May 2
Cattle markets remain strong with Mother’s Day and Memorial Day just around the corner. You can see packers gearing up to get more beef on the market. Cash fed cattle were trading at $148 last week and the beef cutout value is showing stability in the $130.
2014 May 2
Water and plants are vital to the well-being of American ag. Water in its various forms is needed to grow everything from pasture to feed crops to fruit and vegetables. It succors all kinds of plants that turn directly or indirectly into food for consumers at home and abroad.
2014 May 2
The cows seem content, and one may even notice a producer or two out and about checking the cows. Generally, there are strips of hay spread across the pasture or side of the hill to make sure the cows have adequate feed during this critical part of their life.
2014 April 25
Environmental groups have been active in guiding public policy on federal lands and working through the federal government to create policy that is not allowing resource users to gain full value from federal land use.
by WLJ
2014 April 25
Every rancher or farmer fears losing his property or water rights to the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act is a tool to control the land. Fish & Wildlife decides on the rules and then the BLM has to enforce them. Fish & Wildlife may think they are helping the land and the animals, but they are really hurting them.
2014 April 25
Are you at 60 percent? As each operation reviews its herd calving history, a cow is expected to start cycling following birth and prior to the bull arriving in the pasture. Ideally, a cow should cycle within 80 days of calving and then settle with next year’s calf.
by WLJ
2014 April 25
As a checkoffp a y i n g c a t t l eman and c h a i rman of our Beef Checkoff Program’s Joint Evaluation Committee, I want to know that our checkoff dollars are being used as effectively and efficiently as possible.
2014 April 18
Cliven Bundy finally made the national news with his personal range war and staring down the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This story has been going on for years, but it certainly reached a critical point last week when the BLM decided it was time to gather his cattle.
2014 April 18
Sometimes people complain that all they ever read or hear in the news is bad. They may blame the messenger: “Why can’t they tell us about all the good things that happened today?” The news people are just doing their job. Things are supposed to go right, so it is only news when they go awry.
2014 April 18
If the weather can impact calving, the phone will ring and people will want to know how calving is going. For years, I was able to detail the daily struggles and offer words of encouragement. Today, the conversation concerns the needs of others because the Dickinson Research Extension Center will not start calving until May 10.
by DTN
2014 April 18
I would imagine back in the late 1970s through the 1990s when many JD dealerships still tended to be family-owned, the range of John Deere Day events varied greatly. I can remember gatherings at the dealership both in the evening complete with a dinner and dance in the shop and also in the afternoon with a lunch and no dance.
2014 April 11
You would think that I know a lot about how to measure grassland health, but I’m still learning. I attribute this to Allan Savory (the founder of holistic management). Allan is one of those rare individuals who challenges your thinking, and about the time that you think you have it all figured out, you find out you don’t.
2014 April 11
Last fall a freak early snowstorm killed thousands of livestock and horses in South Dakota. Ranchers suffered a tremendous monetary loss of prized livestock and horses. More recently in Kentucky, eight horses were killed in a fire, four of which were yearlings slated for the Keeneland September sale.
2014 April 11
Cattle markets continue to move higher, and I know that you all are wondering just how high it can go. Right now there is great demand for feeder cattle of all grades as short supplies have cattle feeders scrambling to replace inventories.
by WLJ
2014 April 4
this year,” cover, Mar. 24] was very informative. Have been involved in the federal agency water right confiscation scheme in NV. All of this information is timely and ac curate.
2014 April 4
What an incredible time to have young cattle to sell. As I write this, calves weighing 600 to 650 pounds are selling for $197 to $206 per cwt at Oklahoma City. Not far behind them are 650 to 700 pounders at $188-189, 700 to 750 pounders at $178- 187.50, 750 to 800 pounders at $174.
by WLJ
2014 April 4
In 2014, the share of cattle grading Choice is averaging nearly 67 percent, compared to the mid- to low-50 percent area just a few years ago. Percent Prime is averaging over 4 percent. Angus-type cattle qualifying for the Certified Angus Beef brand are up from 24-25 percent a year ago to a range of 26-29 percent for early 2014.
2014 April 4
I just can’t seem to get California’s Proposition 2 egg law off my mind this week. In 2008, California voters passed a measure on the general ballot to ban the use of battery cages for egg laying hens; it was inhumane to put those birds in those small cages.
2014 March 28
We all love to see wildlife, unless it’s in the grill of our vehicles. A good healthy wildlife population means that we have a solid ecosystem at work. Conservation efforts in most regions of the country have been highly successful, restoring populations of many CROW.
by WLJ
2014 March 28
For the past 70 years, beef has undoubtedly been the driver at this legendary eatery in the Pacific Northwest, along with its elder sister, RingSide Uptown. And despite his vast culinary knowledge and cooking ability, Turke knows that starting with a high quality product is paramount to the restaurant’s success.
2014 March 28
One needs to plan, implement, evaluate and replan to stay in touch. That was the essence of the integrated resource management program that was very successful with the help of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the cooperative efforts of the land-grant universities across the U.
2014 March 21
Beef sustainability has been in the news a lot lately with McDonald’s announcing that they would start purchasing sustainable beef for their supply chain in 2016. They weren’t sure what sustainable was for beef, but it sure sounded like a good thing to say and get some positive CROW.
by WLJ
2014 March 21
As a beef producer, I’m proud to be a part of an industry that takes care of its own and is flush with individuals who go that extra mile to do their part.
2014 March 21
Nutritionally, the calf is actively, maybe even aggressively, growing in utero while absorbing the nutrition the cow is consuming and preparing for those first moments of daylight. That daylight will happen when the pregnancy terminates with parturition and, I hope, a live, nursing calf will greet the producer in the near future.
2014 March 14
Environmental and cultural motivations are a constant threat to Western society. At times, it seems like outright blackmail when Indian tribes want to control water or when environmental groups want cattle off the range. But at the end of the day, we’re all activists with an agenda.
2014 March 7
The BLM has already postponed several horse gathers because they don’t have a place to put the horses and they already have 35,000 head in holding facilities. With their $69.6 million 2014 budget, the agency is spending 61 percent on long-term and short-term care for the inventory they already have.
2014 March 7
Last year we had a chance to visit Joel’s farm located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. At that time he was on daily moves, made handy by poly-wire fencing. He followed each move with his “Egg Mobile” where a few hundred laying hens spread his manure around and remove the bugs.
2014 March 7
The Dickinson Research Extension Center is using purebred Simmentals, so we would click on “Purebred Simmentals” to see the 2014 purebred Simmental percentile table, then print the table. The table for other breeds will be about the same but may have different labeling on their respective websites and tables.
2014 February 28
It’s been quite a February for the cattle markets, reaching new highs when demand is typically at its lowest. It’s amazing that beef demand has held up with average retail prices reaching a new high of $5.25. Now it appears beef is in a market of its CROW.
by WLJ
2014 February 28
Recent radio and TV programs have focused on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) management of wild horses, bringing up slaughter. No one has faced the simple solution to ending millions of tax dollars spent on wasteful, cruel, ineffective, stupid policies.
by WLJ
2014 February 28
The importance of public health cannot be avoided, and researchers have been steadily working on a “One Health” program to ensure that both human and animal health is appropriately managed. A high risk illness caused by the bacterium known as Escherichia coli has been in the news headlines for years.
2014 February 21
The latest casualty in the beef processing industry makes you wonder who will be next. From the outside, it appeared that National’s Brawley beef plant had a nice little deal going on the West Coast. Feedlots filled with dairy steers that were no doubt contracted to go to Brawley Beef, and when Japan would only accept cattle from the U.
by WLJ
2014 February 21
The process for setting priorities and planning programs for our Beef Checkoff investments can, at times, be confusing. However, the results of a Beef Industry Scan provided us with compelling research findings to help industry leaders better understand the trends and market characteristics.
by WLJ
2014 February 21
Growing up in small town New Jersey and visiting a friend’s Portuguese restaurant in New York, Hutson developed a fascination with different foods by the age of nine. She watched cooking shows on TV and her family encouraged her to explore the kitchen.
2014 February 14
Performance in the beef business is evaluated by reviewing the overall herd. If there are indications that overall herd performance needs to be addressed, the first step is to compare the herd’s performance with a benchmark to gauge what is normal.
2014 February 14
CattleFax again produced one of the most well-attended events at the beef industry convention that was held in Nashville, TN, a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps the most interesting part of their industry forecast is the long range weather forecast from Dr.
by WLJ
2014 February 14
The run-up in the fat cattle market surprised virtually everyone in the industry with how quickly it occurred and the magnitude of the jump. In late December, we were trading at $1.30/lb. and by mid-January we were chasing $1.50, and trade at that level was confirmed in Nebraska.
by WLJ
2014 February 7
Accounting for only 2 percent of the national budget, this bill seems to garner as much conversation as any agreement passed through Congress from a year-to-year basis. The proposed spending limit is down from the previous spending level by $16.
by WLJ
2014 February 7
Interesting to see your article on fracking (“Fracking controversy heats up with well water contamination,” pg. 5, Jan. 13, issue 15). Although it has been going on longer in the West, the Marcellus area, where I live and produce feeder calves, is by far most active now.
2014 January 31
2014 Farm Bill was, for the most part, completed last week and it appears that there was something in it for everyone, except for the meat business. After a huge legislative effort from major groups representing the cattle and meat industry, they were ignored at the end of the day.
2014 January 31
Catching fish does not always require the use of live bait. In fact, the use of lures of many types and sizes has led to the many storefronts filled with fishing gear. If one is keen on enjoying fly fishing, the artificial fly would more than likely be named and cherished.
2014 January 31
Supporters and opponents of country of origin labeling (COOL) have been deeply divided ever since the idea of COOL emerged in the late 1990s. That divide continues to play out not just in the country but in the corridors of Congress.
by WLJ
2014 January 24
As we enter 2014 in earnest and prepare for our annual cattle industry convention, I have spent some time contemplating the challenges and successes that we encountered in the beef industry during the last year, both from my perspective as a cattle producer and as the vice chairman of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB).
2014 January 24
After living through the summer of 2012, a farmer in my area might be tempted to plant longer season corn. That year it warmed up early, was a hot dry summer that stretched well into fall. The 117-day varieties out-performed the 112-day ones that are common in central Nebraska.
2014 January 24
It was another wild record-setting week in the cattle and beef markets. The boxed beef cutout values moved over $240 on Choice product and $237 on Select trade volume was called moderate. Packers had to come to terms with paying as much as $150 for live fed cattle in the north and $239 for dressed CROW.
2014 January 17
After months of reduced feedlot placements, the decline in fed cattle production and beef supplies is finally coming home to roost. Live cattle prices reached a new all-time high last week with the bulk of fed steers trading at $140 to $141, and some cleanup trade as high as $145 live.
2014 January 17
Given the recent cold wave across the country, walking across cold snow is notable. There are several types of snow. The fashionable snowflake is poetic, so we smile at the beauty, shape and the mild weather required to gently layer the land. Soon to follow is Jack Frost, those beautiful ice crystals on a cool but not cold morning.
2014 January 17
In recent years the IRS has ruled that a written business plan is important evidence which tends to prove that you are operating in a businesslike manner. The Tax Court has said that in hobby loss cases you should have “some type of plan” for the venture.
2014 January 10
Buying bulls is like making soup. You put in a bit of this and a bit of that and in the end, you have good soup. Likewise, a piece of this and a piece of that and you assemble a good bull. Unlike the soup you make from scratch, the bull already is made, but you have to find him.
2014 January 10
There’s that word again— “sustainability”—and now McDonald’s is using it. I think I know how most ranchers define sustainability— the ability to make a profit from one year to the next. And if you look around, there are lots of ranches in this country with long productive histories.
2014 January 10
The U.S. cattle feeding industry has depended for years on Mexican feeder cattle to help fill its pens. Annual imports have averaged about one million head, although they have fluctuated dramatically at times, in large part due to drought. That’s why 2011 and 2012 saw more than 1.
2014 January 4
When I was young and just starting out in agriculture with a few purebred horned Hereford cows, I paid very close attention to the cows, but did not concern myself at all about the health of my soils. Soils were just something that my cows walked on. Little did I know… Now roll the calendar ahead 50 years—a half century— and wow, I am a slow learner.
2014 January 4
It’s going to be an interesting year for the beef import/ export business. USDA has forecasted that beef production will be down somewhere around 6 percent to 7 percent this year and that our beef exports will be down 6 percent. Beef production for 2013 finished out at.
by WLJ
2014 January 4
Angus breeder Keith Russell of Johnstown, CO, has been a mentor and a friend to hundreds of us through the years. During Colorado floods, the Little Thompson River came through at 25 feet above flood stage. Keith lost all of his winter feed and most of his equipment, with severe damage to fences, buildings and his home.
2013 December 27
The year 2013 will be one to remember for cow/calf producers. We had a recovering drought and calf prices had a record long rally starting in May and reached new highs right on to the end of the year. Who would have ever thought that 450-pound steer calves would bring over $1,000 a CROW.
2013 December 27
Having had to break into the office door because the lock was frozen shut reminded me that not all things work well in the cold. Those who have experienced cold firsthand do not need to be reminded. For others who can skirt the harshness of winter, in this case early winter, one only needs to take a short walk to be reminded.
by WLJ
2013 December 27
Pain in the abdominal cavity (belly) is commonly termed in the horse world as “colic.” This pain can be caused from any organ within the abdominal cavity, but is often attributed to problems involving the intestinal tract. Horses experiencing colic will often paw at their abdomen, roll excessively on the ground, or decline food or water.
by DTN
2013 December 27
Remember how the Grinch hated Christmas because, depending on various theories, his shoes were too tight, his heart was two sizes too small, or his head wasn’t screwed on just right? Whatever the reason, the Grinch went on to steal the Whos’ Christmas until, as the story goes, his heart grew and he returned the bounty.
2013 December 20
The first calves are supposed to share my birthday in early February, and that means they are supposed to wait until I get back from NCBA. That’s short for the Cattle Industry Annual Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Tradeshow, held in Nashville, TN, this winter.
2013 December 20
T’was the night before Christmas, when all through the land, Not a creature was stirring, as it was too cold to stand. The hay wagon was loaded all ready for the chore, In hopes that the hired man would be there before..
2013 December 20
I just attended the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, and the National Western Stock Show will soon be upon us. I help conduct the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest at Louisville, which is one of my highlights of the year.
2013 December 13
Every industry has its activists, both pro and con. Last week, while watching the evening news, an ad about American farmers popped up. The ad was very well done and told consumers essentially who feeds them and the importance of respecting the farming community for doing such a good CROW.
2013 December 13
Every day, bulls and breeding stock are selected with the help of genomic tools. Whether producers know it or not, DNA testing affects most cow herds by way of their seedstock suppliers. But those who are more intentional about it are reaping the benefits.
2013 December 13
Having worked cattle for years and too many sheep to count, one develops a feel for the rogue cow or calf. Maybe it is just a quick look or an intense stare. There also are those animals that you know are not going to have a good cohabitation experience.
2013 December 6
A couple weeks ago the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its plan to reduce mandated biofuel, mostly ethanol production, by 1.4 billion gallons, to a 2014 mandated production of 13 billion gallons. This move is creating a mixed bag of reactions across agriculture.
by WLJ
2013 December 6
You know that genetics set the base for profitability in all segments of the cattle industry. Earlier this year, Shawn Walter and Ron Hale of Professional Cattle Consultants summarized feedlot data showing what kind of cattle generate added dollars. And guess what? The high-growth, high-grading cattle were most profitable.
2013 December 6
It is a pleasure to be back at WLJ writing about one of my favorite subjects: American rangeland and pasture management. To be sure, this massive land mass is one of Americans’ most prestigious resources. There are several reasons for this statement. First off, pasturelands account for 25 percent of the U.
2013 December 3
There is certainly a lot less pressure on feed stuffs this winter. With the EPA proposing to lower the volume of ethanol production last week, there should be even less pressure on the huge corn crop that was just produced, and harvest is mostly complete.
by WLJ
2013 November 29
Much has been said about Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) in recent years, but how many of us really know what it is and why it is important to all beef producers? Simply put, BQA is the effort to instruct beef producers, and their workers, as to ways...
2013 November 29
It needed to. For years it had rested on the premise that beef was “King” and Americans would continue to gobble it up. But, beef demand began to decline because beef was too fatty and inconsistent in its eating quality. Fortunately, the industry responded to the alarm bells, although it took nearly 20 years to arrest that declining demand.
2013 November 22
Some decisions need to be “split second.” When you have to figure out which way to dart to keep that feisty cow from breaking out of the group; when you’ve got to say “yay” or “nay” on a set of replacements going for a little more than you expected...
2013 November 22
Last week, one set of 72 beef cows came off the pasture and was brought home to the Dickinson Research Extension Center ranch headquarters. The cows’ trip through the chute was fast. Their average weight was 1,482 pounds, with a condition score of 5.3..
2013 November 22
For some reason, major media and agriculture don’t seem to communicate very well. I think it’s because we don’t try very hard. We as an industry, and I mean all the trade associations, don’t work at cultivating relationships with major media, like Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times.
2013 November 15
It’s hard to think about investing in the beef industry’s future when cattle and beef values are already so high. As a whole, we need to breed more heifers and produce more products. Then we need to sell more of the high priced product. My concern is that beef prices will move higher and we will shun many consumers from eating beef.
by WLJ
2013 November 15
I recently mentioned that consumers should begin watching the price of E85 and E10 as we enter a period where fuels with higher blends of ethanol could have a lower cost on an energy equivalent basis.
2013 November 8
An important consideration in audits is Factor No. 4 of the IRS Regulations. This factor is called, “Expectation That Assets Will Appreciate in Value.” The term “profit” in IRS Regulations encompasses appreciation in the value of assets such as land and/or livestock used in the activity, and was discussed in an early case, Engdahl v.
2013 November 8
They just broke 2 pounds a day of average daily gain on grass and are heading to the feedlot at 940 pounds. The center had 102 yearling heifers last spring. After selecting 25 replacement heifers, 77 were spayed and sent to grass. Of the 25 replacement heifers, 19 were diagnosed as pregnant.
2013 November 8
Beef and cattle markets were trying to find some direction last week after live cattle ran up to the $134 level and the Choice beef cutout ran above $205 for a short period of time. Last Thursday packers were trying to offer $129 and feeders were asking $133 to $134.
2013 October 25
This cattle market over the past few weeks has put some much needed black ink in cattle feeder’s hands. And what do they do? Go and drive the feeder cattle markets even higher. Feeder cattle markets took a little bit of a breather this last week, but who could blame it after a very long extended rally starting in May.
2013 October 25
Any intact male will provide some variety of calves, all worth more than ever. If they make it through the finishing phase, consumers will eat them all, even though the beef will cost more than ever. If they are disappointed, will they go back to that well?.
2013 October 25
Properly managed forage supplies have the potential to increase rib-eye area in long yearling steers by 25 percent. Occasionally, data comes across the desk that causes one to sit back and say: Wow, could you repeat that? Yes, properly managed forage supplies have the potential to increase rib-eye area in grass steers by 25 percent.
2013 October 18
I don’t know how you all feel about this partial government shutdown deal. It’s over for now, but will be back in play this next January, so it isn’t really over in my book. It just means more of not knowing what this administration plans to do.
by WLJ
2013 October 18
The Millennial generation is even larger than the Baby Boomers—currently almost 30 percent of all adults and roughly 27 percent of the total population. Millennials are the most connected generation. They are 2.5 times more likely than older generations to be an early adopter of technology.
2013 October 18
weaned is arguably the busiest and most important time for data collection for seedstock producers. Proper contemporary groups must be formed, as well as weaning data, disposition scores, cow weights, body condition scores, reason codes for culling and genomics, all collected this time of year for spring calving cows.
by WLJ
2013 October 11
Democrats are insisting on passing a continuing resolution, which would push the Affordable Care Act—more often known as “ObamaCare”—through fully funded, while Republicans are looking to ease into the program, if ever even accepting it at all. However, it seems that at this point in time, the U.
2013 October 11
Good supplementation programs will help meet these needs. However, as the summer slowly shifts to fall, finding adequate protein is more of a challenge. In general, as cattle graze, there is an expectation that producers match the season of the year with the nutritional requirements cattle need.
by WLJ
2013 October 11
Although much of the growing season had been dry and dusty, more recently we have been experiencing an excess of moisture in the environment. Very wet and humid conditions during peak growing season can result in ergot infestation on grass heads. Ergot is known to occur throughout the world and is endemic in the Great Plains region.
2013 October 4
That was Steve because he was the one who “obtains from the earth the bread and the meat.” Walking along, the source was the land and all that can be produced from that land. Not only producing but marketing the produce face to face to those who needed an evening meal.
2013 October 4
The shrinking U.S. cattle herd has claimed another victim. Cow processor Martin’s Abattoir & Wholesale Meats in North Carolina ceased operations mid-September after 58 years in business. It’s the third cow processor to close in the past two years.
2013 October 4
ObamaCare is to blame for this entire mess. Ironically, as a small businessman, I still don’t know what to expect with ObamaCare and I’ve tried to learn as much as I can over the past couple years.
by WLJ
2013 September 27
For the past 13 years I have had a front row seat to one of the most important issues facing the beef industry: the issue of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL).
2013 September 27
Are they all here? It never seems to fail that when the crew goes out to gather the cow/calf pairs, we are short one. The obvious response is: Any dead ones? The crew looks wry-faced and reasserts that they can tell a dead calf, so no, they did not find a dead calf!.
2013 September 27
The recent weather roller coaster has me wondering when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is going to step in. With all of the Colorado flooding wreaking havoc on feedlots and oil fields, I’m sure there are countless fines to be handed out and new regulations to be made.
2013 September 20
Last week we experienced major moisture events in much of the country. Here in Colorado we received a years’ worth of rain and hail in roughly four days. Larimer County in central Colorado received up to 18 inches of rain in a few short days and many parts of the state received three to six inches of rain.
by WLJ
2013 September 20
With a U.S. cattle inventory at levels not seen since 1952, “We’re much smaller than we ever intended to be,” Peel said. Drought and other circumstances led producers to liquidate their cow herds 15 out of the last 17 years, despite recent market signals to expand.
2013 September 13
According to Texas data, those costs have jumped to nearly $600 per head from maybe half that a few decades ago. At a recent meeting, a Nebraska ag business economist estimated the number had climbed to $800. You can blame that on everything from land and feed prices to labor and fuel.
by WLJ
2013 September 13
I like a houseful of children. I cannot help but smile when I hear their infectious laughter and the conversations that stem from yet unbridled imaginations. I love it, until I realize it is dinner time and there are several more children present than I can claim as my own.
2013 September 13
After re-racking the COOL rule in the wake of a WTO complaint from Mexico and Canada, the USDA was forced into a do-over on the rule. Mexico and Canada and the entire meat industry weren’t very happy with the rule that USDA came up with which mandates a new label that will require born, raised and slaughtered information.
2013 September 6
Higher, higher and higher is the mantra of the feeder cattle market, which has been on a rally of extraordinary strength. It’s just amazing that this market has been on a three month roll and nothing is holding it back.
by WLJ
2013 September 6
How many times have you heard it? “I raise good cattle, but I just take them to town and I take what they give me!” Many Oklahoma commercial cow/ calf ranchers do a great job of selecting, feeding, caring for, and taking to market top quality cattle, yet do very little, if anything, about promoting the products they sell.
2013 August 30
It’s been quite a summer for calves and feeder cattle. The market took off in June and hasn’t looked back. Ever smaller supplies of feeding cattle have forced cattle feeders to dig deep into their pockets if they want to keep their yards operating efficiently.
2013 August 30
The Zilmax story is still unfolding. But years from now, it should be taught as a cautionary tale of how the best intentions can go awry. Merck Animal Health, which makes the feed supplement, had spent 30 years developing and testing the product.
by WLJ
2013 August 30
I have had the opportunity to travel nearly 4,000 miles in the month of August over a good deal of the drought areas of the Southern Plains and western Great Plains. In one trip I traveled across the Texas Panhandle and made a loop covering much of central and eastern New Mexico.
2013 August 30
With the whole Zilmax controversy shining a light on the use of beta-agonists, I think we all need to stand back and review their value to the industry. I question the real benefits of them to our industry when in my opinion crossbreeding our current British-based cowherd with Continental cattle may achieve the same results.
by WLJ
2013 August 23
Every breed of every species contains genetic abnormalities. Each breed of cattle contains them, but because Angus has the largest population, they have had the most attention from corporate DNA labs and academic institutions as they have the quickest means to validating DNA technology.
2013 August 23
Perhaps one is somewhat handicapped in the beef business without a marketing background. Marketing information is continuous and certainly needed. There are processes that allow producers to cover market risk, and given the center’s recent $300 losses in feeding cattle, one comes to appreciate those risk processes.
by WLJ
2013 August 23
Tom Brink, president of J&F Oklahoma Holdings, says feeding 1.6 million cattle per year at Five Rivers Feedlots has led him to conclude: “Planned crossbreeding is not the problem. Planned straight breeding is not the problem. Breeding cattle without any consistent plan is the problem.
2013 August 16
Live cattle markets finally moved off the six-week average of $119 last week when Tyson foods announced that they would not be buyers of cattle fed the beta-agonist Zilmax. The announcement came on Aug. 7 during the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) midyear conference in Denver.
2013 August 16
The Dickinson Research Extension Center (REC) had three pens of yearling steers. One pen (A) was harvested when the steers were 18.1 months old. The next pen (B) was harvested when the steers were 21.4 months old and the last pen (C) was harvested when they were 22.
2013 August 16
Some were all about buying low, selling high and happiest when they beat both their supplier and buyer. But in the mid 1990s, more feeders made new commitments to customer service, reaching out into the country. They wanted “relationships” with producers.
2013 August 9
All of a sudden, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has come to their senses about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandate and finally realized that cellulosic ethanol won’t be a big contributor to the ethanol mix for a while.
by WLJ
2013 August 9
Councils that direct how producer dollars are used are not allowed to engage in policy decision, and checkoff dollars cannot be used to lobby or promote policy issues. That is why I was at first confused that a member of CBB would be weighing in so heavily on a policy matter from his position.
by WLJ
2013 August 9
Next month will mark five years since TransCanada first applied to the U.S. State Department to build the Keystone XL pipeline. In those five years, we have endured a financial collapse and a Great Recession, and we continue to struggle with stubbornly high unemployment.
2013 August 2
Fed cattle markets have been pretty dull this past July. The cash price for fed cattle was $119 every week of the month. Futures markets have also been dull, with the August contract staying in a $3 trading range for the month. We know that July is typically the hardest month on the fed CROW.
2013 August 2
The numbers never did add up for Northern Beef Packers (NBP) in Aberdeen, SD. Around the time that plans for its new plant were getting off the ground, the national cattle herd had completed three years of extremely modest expansion and then returned to contraction mode.
by WLJ
2013 August 2
The moisture has two impacts, including boosting summer forage production of both pastures and hay, and increasing prospects for wheat pasture this fall. While conditions could turn dry at any time, the soil moisture in place now likely means that early wheat establishment for grazing will be possible.
2013 July 26
The December corn contract broke below $5 last week, which seemed like a major support level. Some of the latest corn reports are suggesting we’ll have a good pollination season despite the late planting, and there appears to be confidence that we’ll have a record-setting corn crop this year.
by WLJ
2013 July 26
This fight has gone on far too long! Not the battles between the cattlemen and the Humane Society of the United States, Sierra Club, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or even chicken producers. No, I mean the fight among cattlemen over mandatory country-of-origin labeling (MCOOL).
by WLJ
2013 July 26
Anaplasma marginale or Anaplasma caudatum are the infectious cause of the general disease termed Anaplasmosis, also known as gall sickness. Anaplasma species are rickettsial parasites or bacteria that spend some of their life cycle within an arthropod.
by WLJ
2013 July 26
As an appointee to the 106-member Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) I often wonder if I/we are spending your beef checkoff dollars in the best interest of beef promotion.
2013 July 19
The House of Representatives may have put the cart ahead of the horse on their recent farm bill project. Last week, the House narrowly passed a farm bill that excluded any food assistance programs. Separating the two pieces of legislation is a good idea in my CROW.
2013 July 19
Perhaps it’s this fascination with the steakhouse, or it could be the way we talk about the filet mignons, New York strips or prime ribs like they’re the ultimate test of beef greatness. Whatever the cause, somehow folks are often led to believe that’s the only place quality matters.
2013 July 19
The points made in the saying are very true. Anyone who has a fence certainly must ponder why all the effort is being made in keeping a fence. Frost notes the difficulty of maintaining a fence as the forces of nature beat upon the structure.
2013 July 12
It looks like the gloves are off in this industry battle for a bad Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law. Last week, eight U.S. and Canadian meat and livestock industry groups filed suit against USDA for injunctive relief regarding COOL.
2013 July 12
One item that always sticks in my mind was a demonstration at one of the incident command trainings that center personnel attended. Sheri, the presenter, asked for someone to come forward to participate and started handing tennis balls to Sam, the volunteer.
by WLJ
2013 July 12
My job focuses on supporting new and existing North Dakota-based bioenergy and bioproducts ventures and current and proposed businesses that use renewable organic matter to produce fuels, chemicals and materials to displace those made with fossil fuels.
2013 July 5
I get the feeling that Canada and Mexico decided not to wait around for WTO tariffs and may be starting to sidetrack some U.S. beef markets. Logistically, it wouldn’t make sense for Canada to bring in beef from Mexico in any kind of volume to intentionally damage U.
by WLJ
2013 July 5
Most of us are born into this great beef industry and that is the same for me, too. We often hear, “I am fifth generation on this family ranch,” and I admire that very much. First you have to get along with your family, and that is no easy matter for anyone! So when I say I am a second-generation cattle feeder from Arizona—no big surprise.
2013 July 5
Perhaps a discussion in broader terms would provide some background. Cattle are no different than other living creatures. They are a highly refined and well-organized package of living cells. These cells each have a function and must and will do what is expected for the lifetime of the cow.
by WLJ
2013 June 26
Recently, the Public Lands Council (PLC) has had witnesses testifying before Congress on some of our priority legislation, including the Grazing Improvement Act and the Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act. Not surprisingly, the topic of taxpayerfunded litigation by radical environmental groups came up at each of these hearings.
2013 June 21
One thing I learned is that animal agriculture activists come in all shapes and sizes and can camouflage themselves very well. You might be visiting with a guy who has all the right credentials and shares some of the same opinions, but he just might turn out to be the wolf in boots and a cowboy hat.
2013 June 21
The same as having cardiac pads available in human environments, cattle operations should have quick access to a veterinarian for consultation and care in this situation. The two probable causes that came to mind were ketosis (sometimes confused with milk fever at calving) and hypomagnesaemia tetany (commonly called grass tetany or grass staggers).
2013 June 21
You’ve heard it many times, maybe even said it: “Oh yeah, that’s a no-brainer.” But how can that be when that assessment and comment took conscious thought? I submit there are very few legitimate no-brainers except autonomous functions like breathing..
by WLJ
2013 June 21
When nutrition is consistent and bull fertility is not compromised, most mature cows will tend to calve near the same date every year. A good amount of effort should be centered on a heifer’s first breeding season. Many producers focus on a goal of approximately 80 percent of their females to be cycling before the start of breeding season.
2013 June 14
It sounds like it ought to be a simple matter, to label meat products with their country of origin, but when you take it to the level of where it was born, where it was raised and where it was slaughtered, things get a bit more cumbersome and expensive for processors and distributors.
2013 June 14
The unpruned plant probably will look long and scraggly with a few flowers on it. The pruned plant will look robust and full of new leaves and additional flowers. Good gardeners spend all summer snipping, pinching and pruning their selected plants to make them more vigorous, full and gorgeous.
2013 June 7
This farm bill will cost nearly a trillion dollars over 10 years, according to the Office of Management and Budget, and will save somewhere between 24 billion over the 10-year span. I honestly don’t understand how Congress got into this 10-year budget idea.
2013 June 7
S e e dstock producers submit performance data to their associations to produce genetic predictions, and the basis for these are weight/ measure deviations within a contemporary group. To make these genetic predictions as precise and reliable as possible, it is of paramount importance that contemporary groups be formed properly.
by WLJ
2013 June 7
Perhaps the surest sign that the drought in Oklahoma has been severely dented is the return of severe weather that reminds us why Oklahoma is the heart of Tornado Alley. The latest round of storms culminated in deadly tornados and record rain totals in central and eastern Oklahoma which added to the grisly human toll for the month of May 2013.
2013 May 31
Market fundamentals are starting to look pretty good right now although a few things look a little out of line. The beef industry finally got the cutout over $2 on May 2 and it has remained there with the top coming in just before Labor Day at $211.67. The last.
2013 May 31
One weekend does not make a market. But the beef industry was hoping for a beef sales bonanza over the Memorial Day holiday. Alas, Mother Nature decided to rain on the beef parade. Instead of warm, sunny weather that would have encouraged more grilling, it was wet and cool in parts of the Midwest and Northeast.
2013 May 31
The ranch discussion focuses on the occasional problems. Problems always will crop up, but when work, time off and sleep are balanced, people make better decisions. Those improved decisions make for fewer complications and better outcomes, so there is a better work environment.
2013 May 24
First I have to say that states that have seat belt laws have them for good reason. The Montana Highway Patrol said that they would have had a good chance of making it if they were wearing their seat belts. The Highway Patrol also told us that there have been seven accidents on that same curve in the last two weeks.
2013 May 24
The flashback put me in the seat of an International 806 tractor with no cab, pulling a John Deere combine with a long-forgotten model number. The field was an average field of barley with the windrows running west to east. A strong wind was blowing from the west and the day was a typical hot, late-afternoon harvest day.
2013 May 24
It’s something that often crosses my mind when I see a news headline about a faroff city facing an economic crisis or promoting a study on the benefits of eating brussels sprouts. (Sorry to any of you growers. It doesn’t matter how good they are for me, that’s a taste I just can’t seem to acquire.
by WLJ
2013 May 17
May 10 marked a milestone for Superior Livestock as the acquisition by National Livestock and a group of cattlemen from several states was announced. This transaction marks the next chapter for Superior, but more so, is a statement of business moving forward in a rebounding economy.
2013 May 17
As the calving season winds down, check the calving book. Count the number of cows that calved within 21 days from when the third mature cow calved. After that, check the number that calved the next 21 days and the next 21 days. Keep counting until you get to the end of the calving book.
2013 May 17
“We got $10 in new spending over that 20 years; meanwhile our pork and poultry competitors got $110,” said Nevil Speer, an animal scientist at Western Kentucky University. “You can’t grow an industry without new revenue coming in, and we basically worked in a stagnant industry for 20 years.
2013 May 10
Wholesale beef prices finally moved over the $200 mark and have remained there for the past five days. Last Thursday, Choice beef was $3.00 higher at $204.67 in the afternoon report. Trade volume has been light as everyone tries to adjust to this new price point.
2013 May 10
Missed breeding opportunities are expensive because the next opportunity only comes around again in three weeks. Bulls need to have structural soundness and physical stamina to breed and conceive calves on a daily basis throughout the breeding season. No excuses need be made for questionable bulls.
2013 May 10
For many people in the horse or livestock business, the operations have a history of losses, but the expectation is that future operations will be profitable. The IRS will want to see evidence that the taxpayer has taken steps to correct or abandon unprofitable strategies, and to demonstrates steps taken to improve operations.
2013 May 3
Corn is back in the news and it looks like the livestock industry has re-armed and is going after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) again over the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS). Bob Goodlatte, R-VA, proposed legislation a few weeks ago that would reform the law.
2013 May 3
Weather extremes have played a huge role in American life from the time the republic was founded. From earthquakes to hurricanes or tornadoes, cities and towns from coast to coast have felt the full force of nature and been reshaped by it. Weather has also been a huge influence in shaping agriculture and modern food production.
2013 May 3
The contrast was stark, but there was a beautiful point. Life survives. In the world of beef production, baby calves need to survive inclement weather with minimal intervention. The desire to survive, seek that first drink and dry place to bed down, and to bond quickly with mother are desires that come from genes that kick in at birth.
2013 April 26
We know that calf death will occur. However, that does not mean we accept the death of a calf. Instead, we see it as a challenge to our management abilities. The recent cold spells and spring snows are a challenge for those who chose to have their cows calve early or, for all practical purposes, at the traditional calving time.
2013 April 26
“The production side is looking for something bigger to cover their increased costs,” he said, “but the retail and foodservice sides are looking for [more units of] something much smaller that’s easier to manage from a portion-control standpoint and a unit-cost standpoint.
2013 April 26
Boxed beef started to move higher last week and beef markets were turning more active for middle meats. Let’s hope that folks feel an overwhelming need to fire up the grills after several weeks of pent up demand from the delay of grilling season. Lateseason snows have hammered Plains states the past few weeks.
2013 April 19
The Baldie is back. Although Angus still dominates the bull market and the make-up of this nation’s cowherd, there has been a definite resurgence in the Hereford sales. I feel this can be traced directly to the drought. On paper, Hereford’s are very modest in their production traits, especially on milk.
2013 April 19
I’m sure I was supposed to learn responsibility through chicken chores, but I probably needed more motivation. A few pep talks, a bonus of staying up late if the chickens laid 75 percent or more. Maybe even the explanation that this was Mom’s discretionary fund and I could help her.
2013 April 19
have to wonder how US- DA will finally deal with Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (MCOOL). I took a good look at the comments filed at USDA’s filing website, and if USDA looks at them closely, from a number of points of view, the beef industry will have a problem and CROW.
2013 April 12
Salebarn studies routinely prove uniformity in weight and cattle type mean premiums at auction, but the rancher really noticed the difference when he began working closely with Haverhals Feedlot near Hudson, SD, a decade ago. Simons has retained partial ownership on steer and heifer calves ever since.
2013 April 12
Regardless of current net returns, the goal of increasing net returns in the cattle operation is always commendable. For those who are struggling with negative net returns, the increase should move the cow/calf operation in a positive direction and provide enough additional dollars to remain in business.
2013 April 12
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), more often referred to as drones, will most likely be coming to a field near you… in the very near future. Not to date myself or anything, but I think I may be having an 80s flashback.
2013 April 5
The corn report sent corn prices into a tail spin, losing nearly $1 in the three days that followed Thursday, March 28. Conversely, feeder cattle were up the limit, $3, that Thursday and have been quite strong since, which suggests that the low for feeder cattle may have arrived.
2013 April 5
T-bones, sirloins, filets and strips—these are the beef cuts referred to as “middle meats.” Such steaks make up 12 percent of the carcass, but represent just under half of its total value. That and the difference in cooking method lead many to believe it’s the only place where beef grades matter.
by WLJ
2013 April 5
The surface is never paid for. The leases assume the right to take gas and liquids out for free. Only the gas is paid for, sometimes not even the liquids that are very valuable. If you own enough land, this can be neglected, is neglected, for the royalty.
2013 March 29
When you buy your bulls to breed the cows, you have tons of data that you can utilize to pick the right bull for your needs, and the list of selection traits is getting longer and more accurate. Add in the new DNA gene marker data and you have even more information to pick just the right bull.
2013 March 29
Batista’s optimism, and that of his family, transformed JBS from being a mid-sized beef processor in Brazil to being the world’s largest meat and poultry company. The company now harvests every commercial species of animal, including goats. Its global revenue in 2012 was 76 billion reais (roughly $38 billion), up 22.
by WLJ
2013 March 29
Over the last few years, there has been success in developing Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. These agreements offer great potential to increase market share in key markets for U.S. beef in Asia and South America.
2013 March 22
Cattle feeders are finding a little relief these days with feeder cattle prices much lower than a year ago. All classes of feeder cattle are down nearly $20/ cwt., which should give cattle feeders a chance to earn back some of their equity that has been lost over the past year.
by WLJ
2013 March 22
As a cattle feeder from Nebraska, I have been well-versed for more than 20 years on Clean Water Act regulations. I take great pride in the practices I’ve put in place to protect the environment, as well as the fact that what I do, everyday, helps feed my family and yours.
2013 March 22
In anticipation of this spring’s summaries of agricultural enterprises provided by the North Dakota Farm Management Program (NDFM, at ndfarmmanagement.com), I have been reviewing previous numbers. Data also are available on the FINBIN website at finbin.
2013 March 15
It has always been a finetuning process to balance quality and cutability, but with an improving economy and retail giants like Walmart moving to Choice product, the advantages of inherent marbling is becoming clear.
2013 March 15
Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (mCOOL) has been a contentious issue in the past and will continue to be contentious. The mandatory labeling law went into effect in 2009 and was a product of the 2002 farm bill. It took a lot of arm twisting to get Congress to.
2013 March 15
Even the nightly news shows feature stories on how a consultant helped consumers save on prescriptions or when buying a car saying, “That’s real money!” Some of you may be of the same philosophy that we adhere to in our house.
2013 March 8
Data from Cattle-Fax and USDA shows a sharp decline in cash sales in the past seven years, from 52.1 percent in 2005 to just 26 percent in 2012. The inverse of that is the steep gain in negotiated sales, like grid marketing and other arrangements, which moved up from less than half of sales to more than three-quarters during those years.
2013 March 8
Some cases involve a combination of activities, such as Smith v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2007-368. This involved a cow and dairy farm, a cutting horse operation, and dog breeding. The court held that the cow and dairy farm was engaged in forprofit activities under the IRS hobby loss rules, but not the other activities.
2013 March 8
This sequester situation sure has to make one think about having faith in government. We all know that the federal government has been on a spending spree since President Obama took office four years ago. The thought of them being forced to cut 2.4 percent out of their 3.
2013 March 1
It happened to Kodak. It happened to Blockbuster. It happened to Borders, Oldsmobile, Hostess, Circuit City and Pan Am. Written into the history of these once towering companies is a cautionary tale about survival that public lands ranchers would do well to heed: Adapt to change or get dumped in the dustbin of history.
2013 March 1
I recently had the pleasure of enjoying a Prime rib dinner with Scott George and J.D Alexander, respectively the incoming and outgoing presidents of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). We were attending the 10th annual Alberta Beef Industry Conference held at the majestic Banff Springs Hotel in the Canadian Rockies.
by WLJ
2013 March 1
The federal government gets sued often. Sometimes these lawsuits are high profile, like when the states sued the federal government over the president’s healthcare law. Other cases garner far fewer headlines. Yet, no matter how big or small, all of these lawsuits end up costing the public money.
by WLJ
2013 March 1
Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious and severe disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, such as cattle, swine, sheep, goats and deer. The virus that causes this disease has been eradicated from the U.S., but in recent years has again been appearing in the news.
by DTN
2013 March 1
If Congress fails to head off the approaching sequestration cuts and USDA is forced to furlough meat inspectors, John Harrington’s “Plan B” suggestion is to use members of Congress—such as Reps. Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner—as substitute meat inspectors.
2013 February 22
Fewer people are buying beef and even with smaller fed cattle supplies, the market isn’t responding to lower prices. The beef cutout value toyed around with $2 beef over the holidays but has been in a tail spin since the New Year; the beef cutout was CROW.
2013 February 22
To start, producers can sit down and review their own records. However, if history means anything, the evaluation of records is not simple, so the producer ends with the records set aside because numerous production articles and catalogs seem more interesting.
2013 February 22
That’s according to two years of results from the Southern Carcass Improvement Project (SCIP) as presented by an advisor to the demonstration. Tom Brink, president of J&F Oklahoma Holdings, Inc., helped compile a white paper on last fall’s results (www.
2013 February 15
Last week’s cattle industry convention held in Tampa, FL, was, for the most part, uneventful, and I suppose the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association prefers it that way after years of arguing over the checkoff and governance issues. There was a new committee structure in place that seemed to produce CROW.
by WLJ
2013 February 8
This was a special year at Red Bluff for several reasons. Following a strong sale season last fall, there was much anticipation for this year’s event. As fall faded into winter, much of the southwest experienced a wetter than normal year, but it has since slowed up and has the radar as very close to average moisture at this point.
by WLJ
2013 February 8
Veterinarians in both small and large animal medicine have been facing economic pressures along with owners and producers alike.
by WLJ
2013 February 8
We have entered the DNA era in selecting cattle…now what? Most of the breed associations are, in fact, moving in that direction, and over the next several years, tools and traits derived from DNA analysis will continue to expand and the data will become more and more useful.
2013 February 8
The bull-buying season certainly is here, and I hope those who need some good replacement bulls are busy shopping. Like a good ice pond with way too many ice houses loaded with fishermen, who gets the fish (in this case, the bull) takes luck and good planning.
by WLJ
2013 February 8
protocols. The findings showed synchronized naïve beef heifers vaccinated with a five-way MLV were more likely to have abnormal estrous cycles. This same group of heifers also had significantly lower pregnancy rates than those vaccinated with a well-adjuvanted, inactivated vaccine (INV).
2013 February 1
Plainview was the sixth largest plant on the Southern Plains and its idling causes 4,650 head of daily slaughter capacity to be lost to cattle feeders. But the market grossly over-reacted and Plainview’s absence will have little impact on Southern Plains’ live cattle prices this year.
2013 February 1
“Producers do put pressure on growth, since they get some of the benefit in added pounds at weaning,” he said. “Unfortunately, grade is often overlooked as folks think, ‘It’s not my problem.’” More than 70 percent of today’s cattle are sold on a grid or formula where quality is a key component.
2013 February 1
The live cattle market regained all the losses that were realized two weeks ago after Cargill announced the closing of their Plainview, TX, beef plant. The market has made nearly a full recovery. I’ll admit, it was a bizarre day at the CME when the news came about.
by WLJ
2013 February 1
Cattle infected with LHB typically appear clinically normal but can shed the bacteria for months or years, putting the entire herd at risk for poor reproductive performance, early embryonic death, delayed breeding, abortions, weak or stillborn calves and unexplained infertility.
2013 January 25
On one of my last days at the National Western Stock Show, I had a great visit with a longtime friend and ag educator, Pat Stanko from Steamboat Springs, CO. We spent some time discussing the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and their latest at- EATHERTON.
2013 January 25
“We sell to people who are going to cook product and please guests—they’re not buying for themselves and they’re not shopping for price,” says Mort Kent, U.S. Foods of Denver, CO. “They have a reputation to uphold and their customers expect consistency and quality, and they’re willing to pay for it.
2013 January 25
The process is long, but continuous, just like herd selection. Selection, in the short term, ends with the purchase of a bull. In reality, the newly purchased bull will add genes to the breed and ultimately make a genetic contribution within the herd and very likely within the breed as a whole.
2013 January 18
Beef sales for 2013 have started off with a big thud; consumer demand is fading in the shadow of less expensive pork and poultry. Competing with those meats in the grocery store will be a big challenge for the beef industry this year. Most market watchers were looking for the beef cutout values to get much closer to $2 by now.
2013 January 18
When I started teaching a course on genetics several years ago, the textbook name was “iGenetics: A Mendelian Approach” by Peter J. Russell. This fall, I am teaching the same course. However, the text is now “iGenetics: A Molecular Approach” by Peter J. Russell.
by WLJ
2013 January 18
Unprecedented new demands for agricultural products have caused significant changes in crop production and have provoked huge impacts on livestock production. Input market shocks, dynamic global markets and drought have all contributed to volatile short term market conditions.
2013 January 11
I can feel it coming. That word sustainability is coming around again and from what I can see, it may be getting more political, driving food policy in the U.S. Last week, I stumbled upon an article from an Israeli university that was promoted by Israel’s green party.
2013 January 11
Ever since the inception of income tax, all areas of farming have enjoyed generous tax benefits. Livestock owners are permitted to take depreciation deductions on their farm to offset gross income, as well as to deduct reasonable costs of operating a livestock breeding or activity from other income.
2013 January 11
Some presents were wrapped in gold paper with a big red bow. Others were less elegant, but showed they were packaged with love. Some givers are even known for their ability to dodge traditional wrapping by handing over a shopping bag with the present inside.
2013 January 4
are currently very nice premiums for feeder cattle and live cattle on the futures markets. August feeders are at $163.50 and the February live cattle contract is at $133.70, with April at $137.10. The futures markets are offering good hedges and producers ought to take a look at locking down CROW.
2013 January 4
As far as the heifers go, we have a 96 percent pregnancy rate, but only 85 percent are predicted to calve by June 15. Some would say feelings have limited value when culling cows or replacement heifers. However, there always is that gut twinge when sending a well-grown, well-haired heifer to market.
2013 January 4
It’s startling to realize that the U.S. has lost 14.5 million cattle since 1996. The beef industry has adjusted to the loss of these millions of cattle, notably by improving productivity per animal, better red meat yields and record heavy carcass weights for steers and heifers.
2012 December 28
The bull’s genes were measured and presented as data at the time of sale. By utilizing that data, bulls may be sorted and selected with considerable accuracy. However, the data does not stop with the purchase of the bull. Breed associations constantly are updating their databases and fine-tuning the expected prog eny.
by WLJ
2012 December 28
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has a lot to be proud of in 2012. We continue to be the trusted leader and definitive voice serving the U.S. beef industry. We continue to successfully represent cattlemen and women in Washington, D.C., making sure that rural America’s voice is heard loud and clear.
2012 December 28
The so called fiscal cliff is set to occur early this week and it doesn’t appear that our leaders in Washington, D.C., are too concerned about the issue. There was a little noise made last Thursday. But it’s becoming apparent that we’ll take that ride over the cliff and it is probably CROW.
2012 December 21
We’re just about to close out another year and beef production is only 388 million pounds short of last year’s beef production numbers. Ironically, we did it processing 1.2 million fewer cattle passing through packing plants. Carcass weights were much larger than normal.
by WLJ
2012 December 21
My grandparents scratched out a living in the dairy business when they first came here from the Azores and my parents carried on that tradition. But today in my home state and nationwide, cattlemen, dairymen and livestock producers are facing the perfect storm of shrinking corn supplies and soaring feed prices.
2012 December 14
The fiscal cliff is getting closer and closer and in my humble opinion, this government is going to run off the edge with smiles on their faces. This president isn’t concerned about raising more revenue as much as he is sticking high income earners with a knife.
2012 December 14
It’s that time of year for breed associations to have their spring National Cattle Evaluation (NCE) run to produce expected progeny differences (EPDs) for a release somewhere around the first of the year. The quality of these EPDs is directly related to the quality of data that is used to produce them.
by WLJ
2012 December 14
Agricultural exports have become increasingly important to Colorado’s economy, with high-quality, locallygrown products sold from our farmers and ranchers to worldwide markets that are rich with opportunity. And these exports are growing rapidly, doubling since 2009 to $2.
2012 December 7
While there is no shortage of water in the Columbia Basin, this country wouldn’t be much if it wasn’t for the massive irrigation projects associated with the Columbia River and the network of dams that service the area with hydroelectric power and water.
2012 December 7
Even as the cattle went through the chutes, the feeling was good. Interestingly, the cows seemed to be bred steadily until about midway through the second cycle and then tailed off quickly. One could say the cows were almost all bred by a cycle and a half.
2012 December 7
Statistics show an 8 percent to 10 percent cow culling rate at the markets. But how many don’t make it to the sale? Unfortunately, some death loss is a fact of life on a livestock farm, and the older the cows going through “one more winter,” the more likely some will fit into that statistic.
by WLJ
2012 December 1
Under current tax law, the tax goes back on Jan. 1, 2013, to a top rate of 55 percent and a $1 million exemption. With such a low exemption, as many as 18 percent of farms and ranches in Utah could owe estate taxes next year, according to the Agriculture Department.
2012 December 1
The U.S. faces a beef “deficit” in the coming year that will challenge every sector of the beef industry. I use the term “deficit” in that per capita beef consumption will decline relative to how much beef people would like to eat. USDA’s latest forecast is for available beef supplies in 2013 to be 54.
2012 December 1
Discussions about the Republican party being willing to consider tax increases to avoid the fiscal cliff have been making the rounds. But, ironically, the numbers they’ve thrown out have been a bit too large for Democrats. Cuts that were on the table just last year are now being snubbed by the very same side that proposed them.
by WLJ
2012 November 23
Clinical signs of disease vary, but often include: severe watery and bloody diarrhea, fever, dehydration, inappetence, and weakness. Some pregnant animals may abort, and affected dams may inadvertently starve their calves due to decreased milk production.
2012 November 23
It sure seems that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has missed the entire point in granting the livestock and food industries a waiver regarding the government’s production mandates for ethanol outlined in the Renewable Fuels Standard’s legislation.
2012 November 23
For many, the cows and calves head home, and then the calves are sorted for market. The busy-ness of it all is mind-boggling at times. The pens are stretched to the max, and there is not enough time to get every animal fed and watered on a normal schedule.
2012 November 16
The election is over, thank God! Each general election seems to be a more enduring process every time. Or perhaps I pay too much attention to them? But, Obama won another four years and, like it or not, we will have to adjust and learn to tolerate.
2012 November 16
I rode shotgun through a lot of drought-stricken pastures this summer and fall where producers weighed their options. Some folks had a few stores of hay saved up from good years. Some were going to cull a little deeper, while still others were making plans to rent some grass in the few places that were doing all right on moisture.
2012 November 16
However, perhaps some momentary thought should be given to managerial practices that have proven through the years to be sound practices. The problem is, when the obvious payment for calf processing disappears, then the logical conclusion is why even do it.
2012 November 9
Ever since the inception of income tax, all areas of farming have enjoyed generous tax benefits. Livestock owners are permitted to take depreciation deductions on their farm to offset gross income, as well as to deduct reasonable costs of operating a livestock breeding or activity from other income.
2012 November 9
Next year’s planning is under way. Everything is upbeat, and the cows and bulls even get a blue ribbon. Eighty-four percent of the cows are projected to calve in the first 21 days of the calving season next spring. This means that the cows cycled and the bulls got them bred.
2012 November 9
One of the emails on my computer Wednesday after the election read, “Obama wins, Financials Dive.” The DOW index dropped 303 points the day after the election. I took it as a confirmation that investors have little confidence in the president’s fiscal policies.
by WLJ
2012 November 2
This week, as the election draws to a close, we will find out who our national leader is going to be. The historical election on Nov. 6 will have a major impact on our domestic and global policies and economy. I cannot recall when an election has been so close, as many polls were claiming an even tie six days before Super Tuesday.
by WLJ
2012 November 2
With drought conditions forecasted to impact over 70 percent of cattle production across the nation, it is no surprise to New Mexico’s ranchers that the drought from last summer will be felt through the foreseeable future.
2012 November 2
Much has already been written about the impact of the 2010-2011 Texas/Oklahoma-based drought and this year’s most widespread drought in 59-plus years. Drought has forced cow/calf operators to cull cows, retain fewer heifers than expected, and thus reduce their herds for another year.
by WLJ
2012 November 2
First and foremost, follow vaccine guidelines as directed by product labels and your veterinarian. Vaccines should be stored in the refrigerator and placed on icepacks if being transported for longer than 20 minutes. Make sure to check the label for an expiration date, and do not use vaccines that have passed this time.
2012 October 26
Va l u ebased marketing of fed cattle is quickly becoming the norm, so genetically designing cattle that pay premiums on such a marketing system should be a consideration for cow/calf producers in order to add value to their calf crop.
2012 October 19
Snow is starting to fly and winter is just around the corner. By now, most of you all should have your winter feed secured so you can keep that valuable cow herd intact. It’s going to be tough if you haven’t got your plan figured out.
2012 October 19
“We spend about 7 percent of our disposable income to feed our families,” he said. “In Europe they spend anywhere from 13 percent to 28 percent of their income. What am I getting at? One, we take food for granted. Two, it’s cheap. And three, we always expect it to be there.
2012 October 19
We are halfway through the fall semester, so students are busy learning. The reality of skipping class or slacking off is starting to show up for some. For others, the self-fulfilling rewards of better understanding how the world works is becoming evident.
by WLJ
2012 October 12
Since the first of September, I’ve been to more than 30 auctions and the driving point at each of these has been clear: the homework must have been done! What I mean is that whoever is holding the sale must have marketed the event through advertising as well as personal contact to customers.
2012 October 12
For more than 20 years of the CHAPS program, producers have encountered many challenges in the beef business. If the word “optimistic” is correct, the most optimistic year resulted in replacing cattle at more than 21 percent of the herd, while more conservative times are reflected in a low replacement rate of just less than 15 percent.
2012 October 12
The calves weaned as heavy as last year despite the drought, and they stayed healthy in the lot. The cows bred back to where I had to sell more just for age to make room for better heifers coming in that would intensify the best of my cow families. It was good for cash flow and genetic improvement.
2012 October 5
In the latest Beef Quality Audit that the Beef Board and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) produced, they learned that we haven’t done a good job communicating beef production methods. The audit said we need to be more transparent to our customers so they have complete confidence in beef products.
by WLJ
2012 October 5
“The removal of six members of the Wedge pack was caused by improper management of the wolf in our region and could have been prevented,” said SCCA President Scott Nielsen. “If Fish and Wildlife had addressed the situation sooner instead of letting the whole pack turn into cattle killers, we would be looking at a different situation today.
2012 October 5
However, here is something to keep in mind: If a typical beef producer marketed all the cattle last week that normally would be sold off the operation, approximately 50 percent of the check would be from the value of steer calves, 30 percent from the value of heifer calves, and 20 percent from the value of market cows and bulls.
2012 September 28
I heard today on the radio that 25 percent of the young people in this country are not eligible for the armed services. Twenty-five percent wouldn’t pass basic boot camp because they are physically unable, according to the report. We sure are hearing a lot about obesity these days in the news and it seems the meddlers.
2012 September 28
“Corn is King” has been the catch-cry in U.S. agriculture for many years. This was also the case in the beef industry as it moved to grain-finishing more and more cattle.
2012 September 28
As cows and bulls are rounded up for fall sorting, some are sorted for sale, so it is very important to remember that cull cows and bulls are market beef and should be treated as such. Market groups need to be sorted and appropriately presented to the market.
2012 September 21
It seems that responsible news reporting is becoming a thing of the past. You expect to see bias news junk on the web in various blogs, but the large national news organizations like NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and FOX news have a responsibility to get the story right, simply because they consid.
2012 September 21
Most everybody is familiar with DNA, the basic coding for life. Genomics is just a fancy word for finding places that are informative on areas of DNA for certain traits. The technology first used was markers, which is essentially identifying a place on the DNA that was closely associated with the area or gene of interest.
2012 September 21
I rode shotgun through some of Anderjaska’s summer pastures last Monday. As we looked at their commericial and registered Angus herd, the sky was gloomy. The clouds teased with a few sprinkles, but, like so many times this summer, moved along before offering reprieve.
2012 September 14
The point is this: The weather is nice and the cows are thin, so we need to feed them. Do not put off what is inevitable. Thin cows must be fed, and fall is a good time because the cows’ nutritional requirements are low, especially if the cows are dry, and the requirements are easier to meet.
2012 September 14
Hitting 60 percent Choice won’t cut it. When premium Choice branded programs emerged, it was really something to get 15 percent or 20 percent that reached those marbling levels in commercial cattle. That’s when it was incidental production, or luck of the draw that landed those cattle in branded programs.
2012 September 14
There’s that word again, sustainable, which has a different meaning to everyone. The Sustainable Beef Resource Center (SBRC) just released its interpretation of sustainable, which seems more like a justification for beef industry growth promotants to enhance.
2012 September 7
Section 183 of the IRS Code pertains to activities “not engaged in for profit.” This provision is used to disallow deductions for all farming-ranching activities as well as other ventures ranging from multi-level marketing to air charters. How this provision is applied and interpreted is something that the IRS commissioner can and does influence.
2012 September 7
If one drives around much of the country, 2012 is a lot like 2008. The traditional summer hay is somewhat scarce in many areas and, in some areas, nonexistent. Maybe some solace can be found in the fact that we survived previous dry spells, so we also can survive this one.
2012 September 7
Japan banned U.S. beef products just after our first BSE case back in 2003. They took until 2005 to start importing beef from cattle under 21 months.
2012 August 31
Although it is true feed must be edible, free of digestive problems and compatible with the beef cow, that still leaves a large selection of alternative feedstuffs. Regardless what one is feeding, the first step is figuring cost per unit of desired nutrients.
2012 August 31
When I first started w r i t i n g about the beef industry 25 years ago, it was fashionable for cattle producers to regard beef processors as “the enemy.” They decried packers for their perceived market power and that they made millions of dollars per year.
2012 August 31
After cogitating over the last cattle on feed report, something seemed a little odd. We’re in the middle of a widespread drought, pastures are scrubbed clean, and you would think there would be some early weaning going on with calves going into grow lots or feedlots.
2012 August 24
The latest Cattle on Feed report showed that cattle placed into feedlots was 10 percent lower than a year ago, but it’s a little misleading since there were a lot of cattle placed last year because of the drought in the southern plains.
2012 August 17
In the mid-1980s, basically all breed associations started their National Cattle Evaluation (NCE) programs to produce EPDs on their whole herd book. What their breeders did with the information differed greatly. Without a doubt, of the major breeds, Angus breeders were the first to pick up and run with these new tools.
2012 August 17
I dreamed of fresh-smelling rain that beat waves against windows and swept slowly through fields to fill every crack before moving on to refill ponds and kickstart the creeks. Dawn light fell on a full rain gauge.
2012 August 17
Who involved in agriculture, and of sound mind, would get involved with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)? The Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM)—that’s who. Two weeks ago, OCM, teaming up with HSUS, filed suit in Kansas district court against USDA.
2012 August 10
beef industry’s report card came out during the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s midyear meeting a couple weeks ago. It shows that most beef producers have done a pretty good job improving the product over the past 20 years when the first National Beef Quality Audit CROW.
2012 August 10
Beef producers face the most widespread drought in their lifetimes. This means their drought management options are fewer than in years when droughts might have been just as severe but much more local. Take the historic Texas-Oklahoma drought that finally broke this spring.
by WLJ
2012 August 10
There is absolutely no scientific basis for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to not allow grazing of burned acres for two years. In Elko County, I challenged the BLM policy on a burn we experienced and they allowed grazing the first year after seed ripe.
2012 August 3
Cattle markets have declined a bit over the past few weeks but they are still relatively strong. Yearlings at 750 pounds are still selling for $150/cwt. And light calves are still selling around $200 or more. The big question is, what are you going to feed them?.
2012 August 3
The 2012 report includes TCSCF retained ownership records from cattle fed in 18 cooperating yards that used common nutrition, health and management strategies.
2012 August 3
The weather continues to make life interesting. I am tempted to say the weather makes life difficult. If that were true, life always would be difficult because, as long as the earth spins and continues its rotation around the sun, the weather never will be uninteresting or constant.
2012 July 27
Corn went over $8 a bushel last week, and soy beans were around $17 a bushel. These are new record level prices for these commodities. This situation makes one wonder where the grain markets will end up when it’s time to harvest. I don’t see moisture conditions getting.
2012 July 20
Most individuals who fail to file tax returns, or underreport income or take inflated tax deductions may end up being assessed a “fraud” penalty, which enhances the tax liability but does not proceed into the criminal arena.
2012 July 20
Last week, the markets pulled a fast one that I’m still having a hard time figuring out. Corn moved up the limit, feeder cattle moved up the limit, and fed cattle moved up near the allowable trading limit. When corn goes this high, feeder cattle just aren’t supposed to go limit up.
2012 July 20
I read with great interest last week’s article, “Composites may trade predictability for simplicity” by Miranda Reiman of Certified Angus Beef (CAB). The hypothesis of the article was that using composite (F1) bulls had a number of disadvantages compared to purebred bulls and straightbreeding.
2012 July 13
Last week we prayed for rain and it seemed to work pretty well here in Colorado with a couple inches of the golden material hitting the ground. It also was a godsend for the fires in the area. So far this has to be the most destructive fire season we’ve ever seen in Colorado.
2012 July 6
We may be a ground beef nation but steaks still put the sizzle in wholesale beef prices and underpin fed cattle prices. That’s what occurred this spring, as beef cutout values responded to aggressive retail featuring of