Home / All News / Livestock Industry Opinions
Search: in Authors List
 

Livestock Industry Opinions

by WLJ
2017 May 26
A constant drum beat in ag today is the call for ranchers to get involved. “Tell your story!” you’re told. But it can get overwhelming, particularly given the sheer volume of places and ways you can do that, not to mention the needs of running your operation.
2017 May 26
Selling this group creates opportunity for the remaining herd by lessoning the demands on the operation. Life does not always go the direction that we want. And so, there may be truth in the saying, “one person’s loss is another person’s gain.” But with good planning, both should gain, even if the challenge was not desired.

by WLJ
2017 May 19
We’ve all heard the old saying about the uselessness of closing the barn door—or the gate—after the cows get out.
2017 May 19
I understand why it’s tempting for cattlemen to ask, “Do we have enough quality? Can we start selecting for something else?” Not yet, says the data. Let’s take just take the Prime grade for example. For the last decade, the average annual spread between Select and Prime ranged from $25 to $50/ cwt.
by WLJ
2017 May 5
In its op-ed article, (WLJ, May 1) the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) tries to draw attention away from the growing outcry for checkoff program reform by making The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) a boogeyman.
2017 April 21
I was reminded of this the other night as I turned the corner to walk past the local recreational facility. I was met by several massive tigers. Fortunately, they each were in their cage. Long story short, I walked away. But I still was thinking that if a cage door had come open, what would I do? Let me repeat, they were big, fullgrown tigers.
2017 April 14
Today’s agriculture is more specialized: The two dairy cows became a large modern dairy; the two sows moved to an automated farrowing center; the flock of 50 hens is now a complex of buildings housing thousands of broilers or laying hens; several...
by DTN
2017 April 14
I remember a situation many years ago in which a son told his “retired” father to stop interfering in the business, and he threatened to call the sheriff the next time Dad set foot on the ranch. Calling law enforcement? That sounded so extreme, I thought.
2017 March 31
N o r t h America’s beef processing industry is littered with shuttered plants and broken dreams, as I have written in this column many times over the years. It takes a brave person or persons to enter a business that appears full of riches but is also full of risk.
by WLJ
2017 March 31
for length, grammar, and flow. Its original form contains numerous parenthetical citations to specific points in the U.S. Code and to court cases. Where these citations were referenced by name in the text, they have been retained. To read the letter in its full form, go to http://rangeallotmentowners.
by WLJ
2017 March 24
While that sounds wonderful, making those promises means more than a directive from Washington D.C. It means that your local governments have to take the lead in dealing with the federal agencies. Local decision making is not just for counties with federal lands, but federal decisions can impact the use of private property as well.
by WLJ
2017 March 10
Beef exports were up 25 percent with Korea and Japan both increasing purchases during recent months. The U.S. has also benefited from a drought in Australia that now is broken and Aussie producers are rebuilding their herds and have less beef to export. These are natural and fundamental factors that will always be present in global world trade.
2017 March 10
He thinks about decisions that will keep him profitable here and now, but the long-term goal isn’t to retire rich. The reason he invests money, time and brainpower into better genetics and management is to leave a cow herd and ranch that the next generation will want to own.
2017 March 10
Land use is embedded in long-term thinking and the individual desires of those involved in farming and ranching. Agricultural production systems incorporate land eco-types, along with associated capital purchases and investment in equipment. Once these systems are implemented, change is difficult to initiate.
by DTN
2017 March 10
Though Louis Dinklage has been dead for more than 30 years, his name still causes more than a few ears in feedlot country to perk up. Part of this enduring attention is understandably tied to Dinklage’s historical contribution to the development of large-scale cattle feeding.
by DTN
2017 March 3
Of course, Polk’s responsibility for the Mexican War (1846-1848) has long been a benchmark of American history. On the other hand, it’s way too early in the Trump administration to know if his aggressive saber rattling will actually trigger a major trade war with our neighbor to the south.
2017 March 3
As NDSU Extension’s bioenergy economics specialist, I have a particular interest in corn given its dominant role as a feedstock for U.S. ethanol production, as well as its role as a predictor for the fortunes of American farmers (including those who don’t grow the crop).
by WLJ
2017 March 3
Everybody knows bull calves sell at least $5/cwt. back of steers at weaning, and the discount grows for any still intact as yearlings. That’s because virtually all of them are bound for the feedyard, where steers are the rule. The only question revolves around when the bulls become steers.
by WLJ
2017 March 3
Something not mentioned in your comment is my wife and I were part owners in an Arizona family ranching operation for about 35 years. So we have been allotment owners ourselves. She was a fourth generation Arizona ranch girl. We sold out to a cousin a few years ago, but.


by WLJ
2017 February 24
I love calving season each year, but this one will be hard to beat. I used to do this in the winter on my northeast Kansas farm, starting in February. Heifers were due on pasture leases the first of May, so the family consensus was that we could not wait much more than a week for synchronized artificial insemination (AI) in early May.
by WLJ
2017 February 24
Recently, a group has materialized claiming to be the only organization that represents the public lands rancher. This recently-formed group, which has questionable ties to public lands grazing, is advancing a compelling but dangerous theory that ranchers who hold grazing permits on public lands are not merely permittees, but allotment owners.
2017 February 24
The answers seem at our fingertips, but the solutions are far off at times. The business of beef initiates within a very large, de-centralized base of independent producers. The model is good, but inherent within the vastness of environments the beef industry functions in, change is slow.
by WLJ
2017 February 17
My grandfather started the operation, and over the years, we’ve fed lambs, finished hogs and raised registered horses. All five generations, however, have worked with dairy cows, although we decided in 2014 to focus strictly on beef cattle, as well as raising meat goats and farming corn, soybeans and wheat.
2017 February 17
Healthy cows are the key to a good calving season, which already is under way for some but looms fresh on the horizon for most. Sleeping with the cows may not be the total answer, but in reality, one gets a good gauge of the mood, the feel, of their contentment.
by DTN
2017 February 17
Fairly suddenly, it seems, Corporate America’s widespread hope for slashing taxes and regulations is “crashing into the harsh reality of a nationalist agenda focused on reducing immigration and dismantling a generation of liberalized trade rules,” according to a report this week by Politico.
by WLJ
2017 February 17
Ms. Halladay, thank you for keeping ranchers in the USA informed of trends you see in the industry. In one of your articles (“Trump to USTR: Pull America out of TPP” on the cover of the Jan. 30 issue) you presented President Trump as antitrade. Maybe you can direct me to a source which contains a statement by Mr.
by WLJ
2017 February 10
When the season’s first calves arrive, you begin to see results of your genetic decisions, perhaps eager for more or thinking about what a new bull could bring. Poring through bull catalogs and looking at expected progeny differences (EPDs), keep in mind that the environment affects what your calves are now and what they will become.
by DTN
2017 February 10
Over the years, I’ve spun some wild market tales, including the forlorn bearish analyst of “The Longhorn” (2006), the downtrodden duo “Waiting for Godot” (2009), the motley party of card players in “Riverboat Gambler” (2012), and the doomed quartet headed to the gallows in the three-part “Grains on Death Row” series (2013), just to name a few.
by WLJ
2017 February 3
While I was in the United States Peace Corps, a stranger came to my small village in Kenya and stood on a box to gather villagers around him. He delivered a powerful and convincing story so that he could sell vials of water that he claimed would protect the people from the malaria that was ravaging the community.
2017 February 3
Unfortunately, even successful individuals and organizations have a natural tendency to fall into the trap of focusing on what has worked well in the past, what they feel comfortable doing, and what is politically correct or politically expedient. The result is that we often stifle our potential.
2017 February 3
Aside from demand for beef, there’s no more important issue for beef cattle producers than price discovery. One dictionary definition says price discovery is a method of determining the price for a specific commodity or security through basic supply and demand factors related to the market.


2017 February 3
One of those knobs that need adjusting is selling the calves, or searching for income. The adjustment is timing and how different markets react to different weights of cattle. Either way, as a producer shifts the calving date, he or she finds himself or herself in new, unfamiliar territory in regard to marketing.


2017 January 30
EPD averages for the growth traits were as follows: birth weight, minus 1 pound; weaning weight, 62 pounds; and yearling weight, 97 pounds. The EPD averages for carcass traits were as follows: marbling score, .46, and rib-eye area, .25 square inch. Step 1 complete.
by WLJ
2017 January 30
The western land-use events of the last few years seem to have been analyzed, pondered, condemned, praised and generally discussed into a state of confusion and stalemate. For 40 or so years I have been active in the advocacy for economic natural resource development, mining, timber, grazing and water.


by DTN
2017 January 30
When President Donald Trump aggressively launched his first full week on the job by withdrawing the country from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a host of agricultural organizations—most of who had explicitly or implicitly embraced the crusade to “Make America Great Again”—almost fell over each other in defiance.


by WLJ
2017 January 20
My husband Russell and I own and operate a cow/calf operation in Louisiana. We are young producers who plan to be in the cattle business for some time. That’s why I was excited when I was selected last year to begin serving on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB).
by DTN
2017 January 20
“Son,” he painfully wheezed through multiple layers of market scar tissue, “don’t hold your breath waiting for equal pieces of pie in this biz. Regardless how big the pastry rolls out of the oven, we always run out of dessert way before we run out of waving forks.


2017 January 16
So let’s ponder this: “Can the beef industry produce terminal and replacement bulls?” Historically, the answer is “yes.” Through the decades, many breeding programs have been proposed to offer cattle producers the opportunity to implement cattlebreeding systems that involve terminal and replacement bulls.
by WLJ
2017 January 6
The calendar turned to 2017 with many resolutions made. What do you resolve for your operation this year? What plan have you and your team made to improve profits, expand or cut costs in 2017? In most cases each team member has ideas for the plan, but rarely does anyone put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard to capture these ideas.
2017 January 6
Were you happy with the calves? If the answer is yes, open the door to better understand the genetics that produced those calves, which is available by better understanding the sires of the calves. While the cows are important, today I want to focus on the sires.
by WLJ
2016 December 30
Political correctness has taught that words matter. Collaboration is defined as “the act of performing work or labor together; especially literary work or scientific research.” The problem is that BLM’s authorized officers will determine what is scientific instead of decisions based on cooperation.
2016 December 30
Hope springs eternal in a cattle person’s heart, so most producers are looking forward to 2017 being a better year than the one just passed. Early such signs came late last year for cattle feeders, as live cattle prices rallied strongly from their mid-October lows.
2016 December 23
Our lives are made up of moments and the many decisions they contain. Some math whiz figured we make 35,000 “decisions” daily, depending on the definition— that’s one every two seconds you’re awake. Every word you say (certainly every one you write) is a choice.
2016 December 23
The net result was a 10 percent increase in revenue for the smaller-framed cows, when compared with the larger-framed cows, based on steer calf performance. Although the smallerframed cows’ revenue per finished steer was lower, $821.81 versus largerframed cows at $895.
by WLJ
2016 December 16
These are on the negative side of what are called convenience traits and fortunately, we’ve had great progress in making today’s cows more functional. But you only need to take a short walk through a few feedlot pens to realize we still have work to do in improving cattle temperament.
2016 December 16
Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 1031 allows property owners to sell appreciated property and defer capital gains tax and depreciation recapture. Since 1921, the 1031 tax-deferred exchange has been a powerful financial tool for the agricultural producer.
by WLJ
2016 December 16
I have been a dairy farmer in New York for more than 40 years. We milk about 75 Holsteins and plant about 275 acres of alfalfa, corn and oats. I know that many people will not automatically recognize a dairy operation as beef producers, but we certainly are part of this industry!.
by WLJ
2016 December 9
In a Nov. 28, 2016 article (“Will midnight regulations see more sunshine?” on the cover), the author gives a brief discussion of upcoming “rules” that Obama and company will impose on those of us who break some “law” every morning when our feet hit the floor.
by WLJ
2016 December 9
Weaned calves in the preconditioning or backgrounding pen should have come in with a plan. For those happy with weanling prices, calves in the pen may be limited to replacement heifer prospects. Others may see this as a year to retain ownership through finishing or you’re just waiting to sell calves in a new year.
2016 December 2
Now that Thanksgiving turkeys are out of the way, it’s time to fire up the grill again and enjoy a delicious steak. That’s what Americans have been doing all year and will continue to do well into next year.


by WLJ
2016 December 2
As calving season approaches, many ranchers look forward to the newborns that represent hours of studying sire summaries and bull catalogs. For all the optimism, however, there’s one source of lingering dread: the cow or cows that you know should have been culled due to attitude.


2016 December 2
Embedded in that question is the need to control costs. However, the fiscal focus points do change, depending on what phase of the beef system with which an individual is involved. These focus points are very evident when the differences between the acre-based cow/ calf producer are compared with the individual animal based point of harvest.


2016 November 25
As the beef industry looks forward and market prices continue to squeeze the cow/calf producer, the questions of cost control certainly surface. At the Dickinson Research Extension Center, the cost spread in the limited number of production systems the center can study is $300.
2016 November 25
“Suppose we could only make 1 million cars. If the auto industry was limited for some reason, what would they do? Would they make small, cheap vehicles or big, premium, expensive cars?” An industry observer asked that question at a cattle feeders’ meeting this summer.
by WLJ
2016 November 18
Foreign objects ingested by cattle make their way into the animal’s rumen and reticulum. Sometimes, the animal’s body will push the objects into the peritoneal cavity, causing severe inflammation (hardware disease). In extreme cases, a sharp, metal object can damage the animal’s abdomen wall and pierce the heart sac, causing pericarditis.
by WLJ
2016 November 18
ballot. The aim was to prevent special interest groups from only consulting the generally liberal, urban voters in metropolitan areas on issues that would impact the entire state. It additionally required such proposed amendments pass with a 55 percent majority rather than a simple majority.
by WLJ
2016 November 18
That’s just one segment of our cherished way of life that was on the line during the recent election. To folks on the coasts, it may seem insignificant, but to most people in the Rocky Mountain West, these are integral parts of our heritage. And it was on our minds in the ballot box.
2016 November 18
of a particular breed is key to embracing any particular type of cattle. Interestingly, each producer had gotten past the early introduction issues of a newer breed of cattle and finally moved herds of to a predominately Salers base. Patience with an eye on a focused goal was critical.
2016 November 11
Your limit could be “knowing” what is not so. Folks in harsh environments often resort to operating herds of “tough” cattle that can take whatever nature dishes out— but also maintain a tough profile when chefs try to create a beef dish for consumers..
by WLJ
2016 November 11
My family and I closed a chapter in our lives when we sold the last piece of our ranch just outside of Midland, TX. My grandchildren were the sixth generation to have the privilege of taking care of that piece of the world.
2016 November 4
Like many of you, I’ve eaten many diff e r e n t types of beef during my lifetime. The first was grass-fed beef from Hereford-Holstein crosses that my family raised on the South Island of New Zealand. Understandably, it counts as some of the best beef I’ve enjoyed.
by DTN
2016 November 4
Although she has served as a passionate surrogate for Clinton throughout the fall, she aggressively moved to circle her own wagons in such a way last month to suggest real doubt about exactly who will prevail on Nov. 8. Specifically, the First Lady fortified her cherished White House vegetable garden with concrete, stone and steel.
by WLJ
2016 October 28
When cattle prices erratically head lower, it’s easy to take issue with reports of higher packer margins or retail beef prices that still seem relatively high. But in a volatile market, the segments along beef’s supply chain often see much above- or below-average returns.

2016 October 28
If the bull was turned out June 1, the second trimester of the cows’ pregnancy starts early to mid-September and the third trimester starts Dec. 12. Thus, the last week in September starts a positive opportunity to position the cows for calving and rebreeding next year.
2016 October 28
Many times a potential advertiser will call and not be able to, for whatever reason, identify what they’d like their ad to say. In most of these situations, I’ll ask general questions about their operation, what they’re trying to sell, and if they’ve seen ads in the past that they’ve liked or, more importantly, disliked.

by WLJ
2016 October 21
Although it seems like I’m still brand new, November will mark the end of my first year as Executive Director of the Public Lands Council. It will also mark my first time notching 100,000 miles of air travel in a single year.
by WLJ
2016 October 21
There was plenty of blame to go around as cattle owners assess their positions in a market that can’t find a bottom. Some advanced the notion that computerized trading in the futures was responsible for the large drop in prices. Others faulted formula selling.
2016 October 21
Since 1918, the Tax Code has provided for the net operating loss carryover (NOL). It is a fundamental feature of U.S. tax law. According to IRS statistics, in 2014 over 1.2 million taxpayers filed for an NOL deduction, with the average amount being $163,292 for a total amount of $196.
by DTN
2016 October 21
When the country-fried Machiavellian named James Carville was advising future President Bill Clinton to stay on message and cut to the core worry of voters in 1992, he developed a mantra for the campaign to chant its way to victory: “It’s the economy, stupid.


by WLJ
2016 October 21
It’s the expansion phase for the North American beef cow herd. For most farmers and ranchers, that means finding ways to increase the number of cows rather than the size of each. And of course, everybody’s talking about size— makes sense when you think about the escalating annual cost of keeping an average cow on the place.


by WLJ
2016 October 14
Never before has the agriculture industry faced as many challenges as we do today, and they are not expected to subside anytime soon. We have all seen the statistics: 9 billion people by 2050. Feeding this increased population will require at least a 60 percent increase in agricultural productivity.
by WLJ
2016 October 14
In the article on Sept. 23, 2016, “NCBA files for intervener status in checkoff case,” National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) made false statements regarding the beef checkoff audits. Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) would like to set the record straight.
by WLJ
2016 October 14
Becoming Beef Quality Assurance (BQA)-certified allows us to share our story and ensure consumers that we are responsibly raising a safe, wholesome, and healthy beef supply. BQA practices show us the best management practices for handling cattle, tending to their health, and taking care of the environment.
by WLJ
2016 October 7
Enacted in 1973, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was intended to prevent the extinction of species through recovery and removal from the threatened and endangered list. However, after more than four decades, the ESA is failing with a recovery and delisting rate of less than 2 percent.


2016 September 30
Not many people in the beef industry would prefer a pork chop to a beef ribeye, but consumers aren’t that faithful to one protein or another. While they have preferences, their choice of meat in the grocery store is often determined by price and how much meat their dollars will buy.


2016 September 30
Some of my first assignments included writing about what the “prediction of $4 corn” would do to cattle management and the possibility of camera grading in U.S. packing plants. Many Reiman-authored articles circa 2006 or 2007 talk of “marbling as a lifetime event.


by WLJ
2016 September 23
I appreciate your interest in investigating and resolving unauthorized grazing practices. As the Director of the State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), I am entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing a 3.


by WLJ
2016 September 23
As producers, we ask, “Do consumers still want beef?” By volunteering as a member of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, I’ve learned that the answer is, “You bet they do!” Consumer demand for beef remains strong despite marketplace challenges, such as issues around supply and weather.


by WLJ
2016 September 23
The countdown has begun once again for beef and dairy producers to become Beef Quality Assurance (BQA)-certified for free online through Nov. 13. And, as an added bonus, anyone who becomes certified during this period is eligible to win a prize package, courtesy of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.


by WLJ
2016 September 16
It has been easy to observe the loss of speculative longs in the cattle futures. Futures prices have been volatile and the actual contract construction is flawed and left wanting in order to be an effective tool for use by the industry. Navigating through daily swings can be nerve racking.


by WLJ
2016 September 9
In a pure and perfect free market, prices for our cattle and calves are determined by the supply of cattle, the value of the beef and byproducts, less the incremental or remaining costs to grow, finish, and transform our cattle into the end products. Prices are also influenced by forward expectations for those values.


2016 September 9
The American Simmental Association (ASA) recently held their annual Fall Focus in Bozeman, MT, which featured the ribbon cutting on their new building. The fourday event included tours of the new headquarters, an educational program, open committee meetings and a board meeting.


2016 September 2
Labor Day historically marks the start of the transition for beef from the summer grilling season to the Christmas holiday season. So it’s instructive to look back as well as forward to see how beef has performed and might fare the rest of the year. The latter will be crucial for the direction of live cattle prices the rest of the year.

by WLJ
2016 August 26
The concept is simple and the analysis is the same regardless of the sector of the beef industry; beef producers are margin operators. Similar to other manufacturing businesses, you have inputs and outputs. You have fixed costs and variable costs.


by WLJ
2016 August 26
By now, you have certainly heard that changing U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations (VFD, Guidance 209 and 213) will change the way we use antibiotics in the near future. But what does that mean for your ranch or feedyard and what do you need to do about it? The short answer is to get to know your veterinarian, and make it official.


by DTN
2016 August 26
Depending upon shifting political agendas, many professional and amateur economists (past, present and future) insist that demand is much more complicated, significantly shaped, stretched, and shrunk by realities ranging from country of origin to...



2016 August 19
The nonprofit Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) produced an interesting report about the growing wildfire threat last week. They asked the question, “Did larger fires lead to larger wildfire budgets, or larger wildfire budgets lead to larger fires and greater suppression expenditures?”

2016 August 19
Contrary to what many agricultural families think, land does not need to be exchanged for other land. You can exchange land into many types of investment property, such as office buildings, rental houses, apartment complexes, storage facilities, retail strip malls, etc.

2016 August 19
When you have just enough cows to name them all, it’s easy to characterize them by appearance, temperament and some might even say personality. Kids like to find names to fit. Twister was one of ours 20 years ago, an outlier for poor docility that left no daughters in the herd.

by WLJ
2016 August 5
More of any commodity drives prices lower while less supply moves them higher. Certainly great examples of the latter would be the drought of 2007 driving corn prices up and the cow herd liquidation driving cattle prices higher in 2014. So we do know this supply/demand concept works.


by WLJ
2016 August 5
We write this open letter to the U.S. presidential and congressional candidates and your party to offer guidance as to the path forward for federal land policy in the western U.S. These are the top 10 position statements that would aid in mitigating the rhetoric and in advancing viable solutions associated with the working landscapes in the West:.


2016 July 29
Upper Iowa Beef in Lime Springs designed a traceability system that would allow consumers who bought its beef in a retail store or ordered it in a restaurant to use their smart phones to scan a QR (Quick Response) code to find out about the beef’s origins.
by WLJ
2016 July 22
Like most of you, I’ve grown up in ranching, following several generations of my family in the cattle business. It’s been a way of life, and it’s something I really enjoy. While the ranch operation is predominantly cow/calf, I also began retaining ownership and taking them all the way to the feedlot.


by DTN
2016 July 22
I normally avoid state income tax issues in my column, given that our readership is national. But you might be amused at some of the political discussion in Minnesota over the state’s latest income tax hike. And there’s a lesson to be learned about a retired farmer’s ability to escape a high-taxing state.


2016 July 15
If this person did a 1031 exchange on the $4 million property, the $875,000 that would have gone to pay taxes could be invested in additional real estate. Assuming the $875,000 of real estate returned 7 percent per year, it would provide an additional $61,250 per year of income.


2016 July 1
The aberrant behavior of the futures m a r k e t continues to play havoc with the live cattle market and cattle feeders’ ability to hedge cattle. Its irrationality and volatility have caused producers to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in the past 18 months.


by WLJ
2016 July 1
Reproductive technology and mating programs have significantly improved herd performance. However, decreasing the effective gene pool in some instances may result in a higher frequency of recessive gene traits and defects. Congenital bovine abnormalities can be caused heritable traits, toxin effects, nutritional inadequacies, and infections.


2016 June 24
The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands met last week to discuss the wild horse problem. They discussed challenges and potential solutions to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Wild Horse and Burro Program. Steve Ellis, Deputy Director of Operations at

2016 June 24
“What am I doing?” The question came from a perplexed young student who was part of a schoolsponsored field trip to the Dickinson Research Extension Center. These young people were spending the day in an agricultural environment, walking through our pastures and fields, as well as the farm shelter belts planted in the past decades.
2016 June 20
I used to think multitasking should be a top goal of management here. Within natural systems like forage and cows, lots of things are always going on at the same time. What if I could do enough things correctly and on time to fit those systems together just right?.


by WLJ
2016 June 20
Ranchers are the original stewards of the West. They are the definition of sustainability as rangelands and wildlife habitat thrive where ranchers are properly managing the land.


by WLJ
2016 June 20
It’s no secret that the increased use of social media by the American public has changed marketing in all sectors. That’s why the Beef Checkoff Program has turned almost exclusively to these channels to efficiently and economically market beef to consumers.


2016 June 10
My thoughts included concepts from the UN report. How exposed should we be to the world around us? That is a very serious and deep question. Why? Simply put, our world is a massive living system utilizing all the living to sustain itself. Living is part of that process, a process of recycling and, ultimately, reclaiming.
2016 June 10
In a remarkable decision, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a Tax Court opinion dealing with a Thoroughbred racehorse owner’s activities. This case is important to the livestock industry because IRS hobby loss regulations, the subject of the opinion, apply to livestock as well as horse activities.
2016 June 10
It’s been interesting watching the organic food movement develop over the past couple decades, especially when it comes to beef. I don’t have any concerns over the organic grass-fed beef production systems that have evolved. If ranchers are able to produce it and market it at a higher value.

2016 June 3
The second most important holiday week/weekend for retail beef sales is now behind us. But how sales went over the Memorial Day week will be vital for the wholesale beef and live cattle markets this month. Retail sales over the holiday week last year were a bust.


2016 June 3
Forward or backward are two options. Once the clutch is engaged and the accelerator pressed, action is necessary. Is the operation in “drive” to move forward or in “reverse” to move backward? Let’s hope cattle producers are moving forward, but slowly, however.


2016 June 3
Boarding wild horses must be a pretty good business and it looks as if it will only get better. I’ve seen many feedlots around the West with thousands of the wholesome creatures penned up and getting regular groceries. This past spring I even saw a band of burros in central Utah enjoying fresh hay.


by WLJ
2016 June 3
I was in my tractor listening to a radio report one day and the message I got was how disassociated people are with agriculture. I took it a step further and found 98 percent of the population today are not associated in any way with ag and that’s a big challenge for our industry.


2016 May 27
A couple months ago the Utah legislators in the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee passed HB276, The Utah Public Lands Act, which would create the Utah Division of Land Management.


by WLJ
2016 May 27
For most, I doubt that you do because we all should know that a fish out of water dies. Perhaps it took a sad day growing up, when the goldfish was found at the bottom of the bowl, to realize someone did not hold up his or her commitment to the fish and provide water.


by WLJ
2016 May 27
There are many words we use every day that somehow defy precise definition. Turning those fuzzy words over to the government to set food standards is a big mistake. Two words under consideration for definition by the FDA are “natural” and “healthy.


by WLJ
2016 May 27
One of the “small” but very important aspects of nutrition involves adequate mineral intake. Minerals are solid chemical compounds that when given in proper amounts will interact with normal biological processes in the body in order to maintain nerve function, digestion, hormone control, and several other pathways.


2016 May 20
Having another marketing option available will be exciting to watch but the big question mark is: Will the Southern Plains feeders use it? They have cited transaction costs as their main motivation for using the formula pricing system. It will be key for this new market to establish a certain amount of volume to make this thing work.


by WLJ
2016 May 20
In a stunning display of federal overreach, on March 1, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Geological Service (collectively EPA) issued a “Scientific Investigations Report” draft report arguing that the Clean Water Act (CWA) can also be used to regulate the amount of water in the nation’s rivers and streams.


by WLJ
2016 May 20
Serious divisiveness among Klamath Irrigation District (KID) board of directors is mirrored by equally serious divisiveness occurring within the Flathead Joint Board of Control (FJBC) located upon the Flathead Indian Reservation. The issue in common, of course, is water and who controls it.


2016 May 13
It hasn’t been much fun to sit back and watch the cattle market erode, especially after such a tremendous high last fall. Now that the markets have fallen, it appears that they are looking for the summer low; where they go, no one really knows. But, at these levels, we’re going to have to figure out how to make this thing work again.


by WLJ
2016 May 13
Your recent story (“More troubled waters on the Klamath,” May 2) on challenges facing the Klamath Irrigation District (KID), while certainly well-intended, is unfortunately flawed. That is because it relies on information provided by the individual who makes himself the centerpiece of the article; Larry Kogan, a New York City attorney.


by WLJ
2016 May 13
I am writing in response to your recent article (“More Troubled Waters on the Klamath,” May 2), which appears to rely heavily on the perspective of Larry Kogan, an East Coast attorney recently hired on by the Klamath Irrigation District (KID).


2016 May 13
The recent moisture and heat has the grass growing; these are happy notes but with a dark side. Fast-growing, lush grass may not have enough magnesium (Mg) within its rapidly growing stems and leaves to meet the daily requirement for Mg in the lactating cow.


2016 May 13
“I’ll just DVR it,” someone might say if they can’t make plans to be in front of the television when their favorite show or special report is scheduled to air. It’s become something of a verb, like suggesting you do an internet web search by “Googling it.


2016 May 6
Here we go again. Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF) just filed suit against USDA citing First Amendment free speech rights over the Montana Beef Council’s advertising efforts to promote beef. Bill Bullard, CEO of R-CALF, and our old friend, J.


by WLJ
2016 May 6
All agree the real driver of beef demand is its unique flavor, and marbling drives flavor. This key component of quality grade has grown in the last few years, to where the U.S. beef industry is probably producing the best eating experience in its history.


by WLJ
2016 May 6
Denmark proposed a tax on all beef sold in the country in order to discourage beef production and consumption. The tax was an offset to their notion of the contribution cattle raising made to global warming from cattle as methane producers.


2016 May 6
Ritchie was born Aug. 3, 1935 to Donald and Irma (Johanson) Ritchie in Storm Lake, IA, where he grew up on a general livestock farm. Upon graduation from Albert City High School in 1953, he enrolled in Iowa State University (ISU) where he received his Bachelor of Science in Animal Husbandry.


by WLJ
2016 April 29
Over the next 50 to 60 days, there will be a lot of bulls turned out to cover the nation’s spring-calving herd. The recent USDA inventory report claims herd expansion is still the trend, although the trend is indicating a slowdown after two aggressive years of heifer retention.


2016 April 29
They must also be clearly and fairly regulated by a body outside the industry that produces those goods. Only then can market participants trust that the market mechanisms are working properly and not, even unwittingly, favoring one group over another.


2016 April 29
The historical North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association calving data summarized through the CHAPS (Cow Herd Appraisal Performance System) program sponsored by the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension Service indicate that 3.7 percent of the calves born do not make weaning.


2016 April 29
After a rewarding trip to Tanzania, Africa for 30 days teaching people simple ways to grow healthy food using very little money, I became the student. An older African fellow stated that before modern agriculture, people lived much longer.


by WLJ
2016 April 29
No livestock species is excluded from potential toxin overload, and economic losses due to toxic plant ingestion accounts for approximately 5 percent of annual fatalities and illnesses. Losses result from organ failure, reproductive inefficiency, decreased weight gain, birth defects, and many other factors.


by WLJ
2016 April 22
Here’s a riddle: What does the Klamath Basin area, the Flathead Indian Reservation, and the African country of Zimbabwe have in common? Answer: Government reform and intentional harassment of farmers end food production, and—in Zimbabwe’s case— bring starvation.

by WLJ
2016 April 22
It seems that most of what we do in the cattle business happens in seasons. I just finished up my spring bull sale season and after traveling tens of thousands of miles from Idaho to North Dakota (and not uncommon to do so in a three-day stretch) I was able to spend some time.



2016 April 15
boxed beef cutout values moved sharply higher last week to $224.43, which is signaling the start of the spring rally. Packers have also started to increase slaughter levels in preparation for the upcoming demand. This seasonal trend should allow cattle feeders to CROW.


2016 April 15
Bull docility often is mentioned as a critical talking point when bulls are bought, but it’s often simply accepted once they are unloaded at home. Never trust a bull! That is a story in itself, but the point today is the current bull inventory and the condition of the bulls.


by DTN
2016 April 15
start in more ways than one. Not only is seasonal beef demand experiencing great difficulty in locating the first rung on the ladder to Memorial Day, neither one of our major political parties seems to be making real progress in crowning a presidential nominee.
2016 April 8
Looking at the cattle futures markets down the road, it’s a little hard to get excited about feeder cattle through summer and fall. The June live cattle contract was at $132 and August is trading at $117.65. We need to see a good rally on the futures and cash markets so cattle feeders.


2016 April 8
The traditional thought process embedded in generations of beef producers would not acknowledge the countercultural role. Cow/ calf production has been anchored by strong ties to the land, which change very slowly. Those who depend on the land approach life in the same way; “stability” would be a good word.


by WLJ
2016 April 8
Historic and seasonal trends are important for reference points testing current price and production trends against a historical perspective. Fortunes have been made and lost trading on information provided by datasets from the past and staking bets accordingly.


2016 April 4
The result was The Strategic Alliances Field Study, published in August 1993. This seminal work laid the foundation for the valuebased marketing of fed cattle. At the time though, such was the outrage at the suggestion of producers working with packers that one would have thought NCA had signed a pact with the Devil.
by WLJ
2016 April 1
July can’t come soon enough. The Republican National Convention is on the horizon and “politics as usual” has taken its course over the last month. The name-calling, political positioning, and campaign negativity surrounding the remaining candidates have been escalated.


2016 March 28
In an effort to evaluate this change in management, a review was conducted comparing overall performance of the center’s herd for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011(mid-March calving) to the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 (mid-May calving).
by WLJ
2016 March 28
We all know dairy cows serve a dual purpose. In the words of our 2016 Dairy Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) award winners Reid and Diane Hoover, “Our love for the dairy animal goes beyond just making milk. We know that animal has a unique quality in life in both milk and meat production.
2016 March 25
“We are filing this petition to force unelected bureaucrats to follow the law,” said PLF Staff Attorney Jonathan Wood. “This illegal regulation imposes onerous regulatory burdens on property owners and small businesses, and ultimately hurts the very species it purports to protect.

2016 March 21
The charming voice and smooth lyrics of the classic song sure make being “unforgettable” sound like an awfully good thing. Even when applied to cattle, it certainly can be. There are those “bell ringer” groups that gain and grade. They never get sick and they earn premiums upon harvest.

by WLJ
2016 March 21
Boy, oh boy, we who live in the “fly over country” sure lost some good men lately, and they were friends of mine. You all know what kind of friends I mean; you see them once or twice a year at a bull sale, in Denver at the Stock Show, been to their place for the Angus tour, or maybe they spoke at your convention.

by WLJ
2016 March 21
Trouble often comes in the form of some new policy or directive from Washington; written by a lawyer who’s never been west of the Mississippi, tainted beyond recognition by the relentless litigation of radical environmental groups, and finally implemented according to the subjective interpretation of local field office staff.

2016 March 18
Last week Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Science Committee, challenged a study produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NOAA study was in conflict with another study that claimed there was less global warming between the years 2000-2015 and it was less than scientists expected.

by WLJ
2016 March 14
The well-being and humane management of animals has long been a hot topic among consumers, and the fire doesn’t appear to be fading anytime soon— with good reason. Buyers and retailers have responded to the increased demands for gentler animal handling and alternative management styles.


by WLJ
2016 March 14
Less talked about is the impact of longer feeding periods on feed efficiency (or as measured by feedyard managers, cost of gain). It seems logical from what we learned in our nutrition classes that we lose efficiency as cattle are fed longer, to fatter compositional end points.


2016 March 11
I’ve been traveling to a lot of bull sales around the western U.S. during the past few weeks. For the most part the sales are off a bit but the quality of the bulls is much better. It has also given me the opportunity to visit with a lot of public land ranchers to find out how they are getting along CROW.

2016 March 4
I typically don’t comment on political races but this year’s primaries are exceptional so I’m going to make an exception because it’s all I can think about this week. I don’t want to offend anyone in either party, but you have to admit that these primary races for the next.


2016 February 29
That being said, producers still have reasons to select bulls based on traits that are not readily available nor in the breed databases. Interestingly, no one ever bluntly denies the use of data, but one most certainly can sense a presence of denial at times.


by WLJ
2016 February 29
The food reform movement is active, vocal, and not likely to go away. The banner under which they parade is a noble one; consumers need to know more about the origin of their food and how it is grown, harvested and delivered to the ultimate user. They also demand a healthful, safe product and they should.


2016 February 22
It’s fine to have a weekend diversion for fun with your horses, and a source for the next beginning 4-H club project. And it gives you a reason to tow a stock trailer sometimes. But c’mon: You’re just playing, right? You’re not in it to make a profit or improve your herd.


2016 February 22
Every winter, I do enjoy visiting with producers regarding upcoming bull purchases and offer a workshop titled “Bull Buying by the Numbers” to help producers get a better understanding of what the numbers mean. Participation is geared to help individual producers streamline their bull-buying strategies to meet their individual goals and objectives.


by WLJ
2016 February 22
Your response puts you on a slippery slope. You want to appear responsive to customers’ needs, yet over-committing to something you can’t provide only will damage your reputation.


by WLJ
2016 February 22
Your consumers receive hundreds of messages daily through social media, the nightly news, and even your local newspaper. Headlines like, “Protein is making a comeback” or “Human nutrition benefits from beef,” are some of the positive messages you might have seen in the past few months.


by WLJ
2016 February 22
B ec o mi n g Beef Quality Assurance (BQA)-certified allows us to share our story and ensure consumers that we are responsibly raising a safe, wholesome, and healthy beef supply. The checkoff’s BQA practices show us the best management practices for handling cattle, tending to their health, and taking care of the environment.


2016 February 19
He did it again. President Barack Obama locked up another 1.8 million acres in Southern California under the Antiquities Act, and this president has given monument designations to a staggering 260 million acres of land and water— that’s 406,250 square miles.


by WLJ
2016 February 12
I have had the pleasure of seeing a lot of high quality bulls sell to great cattlemen throughout the United States.


2016 February 12
Two major improvements this year are ease of use and simplicity of use. Some repetition is involved, especially in going back to breeders one previously has purchased bulls from and the progeny performed up to expectation. The information available continues to gain depth and expands through the many breed databases.


by WLJ
2016 February 12
Fire is an important process in the ecology of most native plant and animal communities, especially in uplands. Most plant and animal communities in the Great Plains and eastern forests evolved with fire.


2016 February 12
Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) has long boasted that they have the most precise and reliable EPDs (expected progeny differences) in the industry for good reason. An EPD is a genetic prediction of a trait in the units of that trait—pounds, square inches, probability, etc.


2016 February 7
Heavy snows moved through cattle country and slowed trade and transportation to a crawl. Several packers closed plants or ran only one shift, which is more common that you think. But at press time it appeared that markets were going to move higher this week.


2016 January 29
We always knew that the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon was not going to end well; it hasn’t ended but should soon now that someone has been killed.
2016 January 22
For most people, their encounter with the IRS ends at the audit phase: Taxpayers will often agree to pay whatever the IRS says they owe. In situations where the auditor claims your ranch or farming activity is a hobby, not a business, this can have long-lasting and adverse consequences because deductions against outside income would be disallowed.



by WLJ
2016 January 22
Lameness issues are a leading cause of decreased profitability and a common reason for culling decisions. A survey of western feedlots reported that 16 percent of health issues were correlated directly to lameness, and 5 percent of deaths were due to lame cattle.


2016 January 22
There is a clear agenda that has been set by the federal government over our so-called public lands or federal lands; whichever name you prefer. The battle lines were drawn up with the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. This, in retrospect, has created an all-out.


by WLJ
2016 January 22
As a Missouri cattle producer, I oppose the $1 a head state beef checkoff. The state government wants to take another $2.


2016 January 22
One fairly new addition to sire summaries is a selection index, available from several breed associations. The selection index allows a producer to select bulls based on multiple traits through a single expected progeny difference (EPD) value. The selection index EPD value can meet maternal cow/calf selection or terminal beef production objectives.


2016 January 15
One of the more lively discussions was about source verification, which is absolutely needed for the U.S. to sell beef to China—a country that provides a huge consumer market for beef and will be needed to maintain profitable live cattle prices at the upper end of the trading spectrum.


by WLJ
2016 January 15
The USDA is forecasting net farm income in 2015 to be $55.9 billion, a 38.2 percent drop from the previous year. This is the single largest year-over-year drop in net farm income since 1983. Back in 2013, net farm income was a record $123.3 billion. The 2015 forecast is 55 percent lower than in 2013.


by WLJ
2016 January 15
The New Year is an opportunity to think about your business. But that is a broad prospect, and therefore, somewhat daunting. Michigan State University Extension has a way to better define that; think about just three things. Let’s start with the first, think about one thing from the past year.


2016 January 8
Most western resource users, grazers, miners, timber interests will all tell those uninformed folks that the federal agencies—the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, U.S.

2016 January 8
Let’s change the cow size discussion to a bull size discussion. Generally, the cow herd genetics are changed through the purchase of bulls. On average, genes from an individual calf are as follows: Half come from the sire, one-fourth comes from the maternal grandsire and one-fourth comes from the maternal grand dam.

by WLJ
2016 January 8
CattleFax estimates the beef cow inventory grew from around 29 million at the start of 2014 to 30.7 million head as 2015 came to a close. Depending on consumer responses and producers’ ability to satisfy the growing demand for higher quality, some economists suggest the U.

by WLJ
2016 January 4
Bringing in a new year always causes a time of reflection, and it’s quite amazing to realize what took place that impacted the beef industry in a short 12 months. There is a variety of issues to ponder about 2015, but I hold steadfast in my optimism and look for continued positive movement in the coming year from many aspects.


2016 January 4
This past year taught the beef industry some painful lessons. Cattle feeders discovered that the money always runs out before the cattle. Risk managers realized that market volatility can wreck the best hedging plans. Cattle feeders and packers realized that the shrinking cash live cattle market demands urgent action or it will disappear.


2016 January 4
So often, we simply add the words “net profit” and continue. But are not our lives greater than the coins in our pockets? As food producers, we are keepers of others, providers for those without. Like nature and the seasons, we need to ponder potential change within the world.


by WLJ
2016 January 4
The complex of viral and bacterial causes for bovine respiratory disease (BRD) or illness commonly known as “shipping fever” does not respect age or condition of cattle and will become opportunistic whenever the advantage may arise.


2015 December 27
I’m sure cattle feeders will be happy to see 2015 come to a close. It was by far the toughest year ever for cattle feeders. Jim Robb at the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) and I were trying to figure out what kind of year cattle feeders had, the LMIC calculated the average loss on fed cattle was $295 per head, and with 23.


2015 December 27
Using crop aftermath and late-season dry forage can cut production costs; however, this can result in consequences. Cows need to receive a balanced ration to halt poor performance or even the loss of condition.


by WLJ
2015 December 27
has exposed weakness in sectors and the cattle industry as a whole. Vertical integration is a process that continues to streamline the efficiency of beef production from birth to plate.


2015 December 18
The CME is a private marketplace with a board of directors and shareholders, who expect a return on their investments. They are in the business of conducting a trading platform for a variety of markets. As far as they’re concerned, the more contracts the better.



2015 December 18
This concept is an outcome from the question, “When should I calve?” For the past four years, the center has calved on grass. Initially, the May- and June-born calves at the center were weaned at the traditional early November dates, held in confinement pens for up to a month and then put back out on winter paddocks and supplemented.

2015 December 18
Small cow herds started up 10,000 years ago when the first farmers decided they would rather herd cattle than hunt them. Cows became second nature to farmers over the millennia and made the trip to America with Spanish expeditions more than 500 years ago.



2015 December 11
World Trade Organization (WTO) allowed Mexico and Canada tariff relief over country-oforigin labeling (COOL) last week. The WTO ruled several times against the COOL law, which violated U.S. trade obligations and discriminates against Canadian and Mexican CROW.


2015 December 11
Trend information on pasture conditions is valuable. Photos and transects data document the changes that have occurred in forage species, soil health, soil cover and woody over-head species over time. These changes reflect the results from your pasture management strategies.


2015 December 4
After last week’s disappointing futures trade I’m sure that everyone is asking where the bottom is in this cattle market. The week after Thanksgiving usually produces a rally on live cattle as packers gear up for Christmas, one of the best demand times of the year.


2015 December 4
I was talking with a California cattle feeder last week and asked him how he prices his cattle. “Off the Texas-Oklahoma-New Mexico market” was his reply. Then he added that the prior week, the price was based on cash or negotiated grid sales of less than 250 head.


by WLJ
2015 December 4
With cooler weather evident, it is important to remember that what producers do and don’t do during the winter months can affect next year’s calving success, conception rates, and weaning rates. Colder weather means more energy is needed in the diet in order to maintain weight and increase a herds’ body condition score.


2015 November 30
At the Dickinson Research Extension Center, cattle are worked quite frequently because we need to collect data for research projects. But, as the center has shifted from intensive cattle production to extensive cattle production, certain managerial questions arise.


2015 November 30
An ideal beef steer is one you can profitably produce again and again, to earn premiums on a value-based grid. That’s the premise Paul Dykstra used in presenting “How to build the perfect steer” at the Angus Means Business National Convention Nov. 2-4..


by WLJ
2015 November 30
By the time this issue reaches mailboxes, Thanksgiving and Black Friday will have taken place and the start of the harvest season for retail stores has begun. It has been a very interesting past few months for the cow/calf producer, especially for those who didn’t manage risk earlier in the year.


2015 November 20
Paperwork and processes were developed to assure cattle verification by a unique animal identification number as cattle moved along the market chain. As the animal went further down the marketing chain, pressure mounted to assure compliance with the original intent of the animal purchase.


by WLJ
2015 November 20
In 1999, prominent Purdue Economist Michael Boehlje said the “new agriculture” in the 21st century would include a focus on differentiated, branded production. At the time, most ag commodities were sold unbranded. Are we making progress? There’s evidence that says we are, especially in the beef sector.


2015 November 20
The USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) wants to add Namibia to the list of countries that can export to the U.S. The U.S. does represent one of the most robust markets for beef products in the world and it appears that every beef producing country wants a piece.


2015 November 13
markets are on a terror and have sucked the life out of the cash cattle markets. Over the past six weeks we were down $20 on fed cattle, then we were up $20, and now we’re back down $20. I think we all expected some volatility in the market but this is CROW.


2015 November 13
Sometimes I think I’m an average beef consumer. But then in the grocery store checkout line, as I put my items on the conveyer I realize my purchases rarely contain any meat. Not unlike many in the ag community, my family has a deepfreeze full of protein, so during normal weeks we’re dipping into that supply daily.


by WLJ
2015 November 13
During the past 25 years, much of my research has been on the economics of water markets. Economists continue to emphasize that water is an economic good especially in the western U.S., where water is scarce and therefore valuable.


by WLJ
2015 November 13
Through the first half of the 20th century, preventing nutritional deficiencies was the focus of nutrition guidance from public health groups and government agencies. But that changed 40 years ago, when publichealth policy shifted from what was not in the diet that should be, to what was in the diet that should not be.


2015 November 6
Risk management is a term you might forget about when it comes to the cattle business because there just isn’t any. The futures markets just don’t seem able to find value or price discovery. Last Wednesday all contracts were down the limit $4.50 for feeder cattle and $3 for live cattle.


2015 November 6
Cows are labor-intensive, and a slip on ice, a sick spell or the many variations of life can have significant impact on the labor force involved with the cow herd. As the owner or manager, a longterm cattle-handling plan needs to be in place in case of unexpected change.


by WLJ
2015 November 6
We’ve seen this movie before. A lame duck president uses the Antiquities Act to declare huge swaths of public lands off limits so he can have an environmental legacy.


2015 November 6
A resolution has been introduced in the U.S. House to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for violation of the public trust, failing to comply with congressionally-issued subpoenas, and misleading the public over the IRS’ practices of targeting conservative groups in audits.


by WLJ
2015 November 6
Bankers allocate their limited funds to borrowers based on the “5 Cs” of credit, and those factors can be affected by the quality of the farm’s water supply and water rights. According to Heather Malcolm at Bank of the Rockies in Livingston, MT, those factors are Capital, Capacity, Conditions, Character and Collateral.


2015 October 30
someone tries to sell you something important— be it a truck, a bull, a politician, or an idea—there’s a certain kind of behavior you expect. They will make direct statements supported by evidence. They are willing to answer your questions fully and HALLADAY.


by WLJ
2015 October 30
We learned last week that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has voted to tell the world that they believe processed meats are a human carcinogen. Similarly, they have decided red meat is a “probable carcinogen.


2015 October 30
Close your eyes and imagine this scene. Prehistoric man has just discovered how to make fire. As the flames flicker, he accidentally drops into the fire the raw meat of a creature he was gnawing on. It takes him a few minutes to retrieve the meat. Then he starts eating again and lets out a roar.


by WLJ
2015 October 30
As a cattle producer, you know how important nutrition is to the health of your animals. My husband, Steve, and I take a great deal of energy and time in providing really good feed for our cattle. Before they arrive at our feedyard, we’ve worked with a nutritionist to help us formulate a ration that will meet the needs of those animals.


2015 October 23
It didn’t take the bull market players long to figure out that the cattle market bust came a bit too fast and went a bit too far. October cattle futures rallied back to $140. In just a week-and-a-half. Markets are the markets and there is no rhyme or reason as to where they go sometimes.


by WLJ
2015 October 23
I have always been fascinated with animal behavior, especially beef cattle on pasture. They are selective grazers always in search for the highest quality forages. This explains why you see areas of lush pasture go ungrazed in pastures with light stocking rates and high forage availability.


by WLJ
2015 October 23
Molds can form in fields under opportune growing environments (especially very wet weather) as well as during storage and fermenting, such as silage and haylage products. Mycotoxins are the secondary metabolites emitted from molded feedstuffs and can affect any organ system of the body.


2015 October 16
The Hammond family in Oregon must be in utter disbelief after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals demanded that Dwight and Steven go back to jail for the fires they were convicted in 2012 of setting. Time was already served by the pair and for some reason the Department of Justice (DOJ) simply.


2015 October 16
By considering the 2014 calf prices abnormally high, budgeting for the future is challenging as prices drop. Budget development is challenging, but cost cutting is even more challenging. The actual implementation of a conservative budget, regardless of business is never pleasant.


by DTN
2015 October 16
Forty-one years ago this summer, Gerald Ford stared into the barrel of constitutional chaos and recited the shredded remains of the presidential oath. With pardon in pocket, Tricky Dick (Nixon) tearfully waved from his helicopter and the threatening sluices of Watergate began shutting down.


by WLJ
2015 October 16
Becoming Beef Quality Assurance (BQA)-certified allows us to share our story and ensure consumers that we are responsibly raising a safe, wholesome, and healthy beef supply. The checkoff’s BQA practices show us the best management practices for handling cattle, tending to their health, and taking care of the environment.


2015 October 9
Recent discussions of costs and output in the beef cow industry need some of that pondering. As I ponder the concepts that make up the statement “Costs are going up, production is stagnant and prices are falling,” lots of thoughts come up. In this ever-increasing cost environment, let’s talk about production.


by WLJ
2015 October 9
Yes, we all can agree that tighter beef supplies from reduced cattle numbers, while exports grew and domestic consumers kept buying, led to amazing cattle prices. Even more amazing, consumers stayed hooked on beef in the face of great buying opportunities for other proteins.


2015 October 9
Packers had a fire sale last Wednesday to clear inventories and moved 281 loads of beef in one day. The cutout dropped down to $203, but put on another dollar a day later. They were earning $90 a head at mid-week and cut the slaughter rates to shore up the cutout values.


2015 October 2
Cattle feeders came into 2015 knowing the year would be completely different from the previous 18 months. After all, it’s in the nature of cattle feeding to go from boom to bust in terms of feeding profits. But the speed with which this occurred took many by surprise.


by WLJ
2015 October 2
In most parts of America we have a school year that is based on farming. Because of this, summer has no classes. That was created because almost everyone needed three months off to work on a farm and grow food, including kids and teachers.


by WLJ
2015 October 2
Anthrax is a highly infectious and fatal disease caused by a spore forming bacterium named Bacillus anthracis. The bacterium has been identified upon every continent on the globe. Three types of anthrax exist and affect the skin, respiratory system, and digestive system.


2015 October 2
So now we ask the question: Why? In the big picture there isn’t much more beef available than there was a year ago. I know that everyone is asking when we will hit the bottom and when will it come—obviously questions that no one really knows how to answer.


2015 September 25
Let’s walk down the direct expense side of the numbers. FINBIN reports increases in expenses: feed supplements (protein, vitamins and minerals) up 294 percent; corn silage up 274 percent; alfalfa hay up 140 percent; grass hay up 165 percent; pasture up 200 percent; and other feedstuffs up 154 percent.


by WLJ
2015 September 25
That’s what happens each day in the Kawartha Lakes region northeast of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, but it wasn’t always on his mind. With a degree in cinematography and no formal culinary education, there was a time when owning and operating a steakhouse didn’t quite make sense.


by WLJ
2015 September 25
As the current Secretary-Treasurer of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, I also am directly involved in making those decisions on behalf of all checkoff investors, and I guarantee you that those decisions are not being made in a vacuum.


by WLJ
2015 September 25
The countdown has begun for beef and dairy producers to become Beef Quality Assurance (BQA)-certified for free online through Nov. 20. And, as an added bonus, anyone who becomes certified during this period is eligible to win a prize package, courtesy of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.


2015 September 25
But not everyone is so eager to put their farms or ranches—their lives—on display. Between calving and AI, haying and silage chopping, there is never an “off” season or a good time of the year to devote a day to visitors, not to mention to prep ahead of time.


2015 September 25
I am not referring to the end product but rather to the weaned calf. The cost per pound weaned per exposed cow has jumped 200 percent since the turn of the century. That is not good news. Cost control is critical in every business. If costs are allowed to run out of control, the next step is liquidation.


2015 September 25
Cattlemen and natural resource users across the West dodged a bullet last week when Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell announced that the government would not be listing the greater sage-grouse as an endangered species. However, she did say that the BLM and Forest Service were going to go ahead.


2015 September 18
The Forest Service decided to borrow another $250 million from the forest management program to battle the wildfires, bringing a total of $700 million in funds that were destined for other Forest Service projects.


2015 September 11
The cattle markets have been adjusting over the past several weeks. Calf sellers were looking pretty good in early summer but cattle feeders finally realized that they just can’t spend as much for yearlings as they did a year ago. The August futures market was keeping a bit of a floor CROW.


2015 September 11
Crops that were not a success went to the cows, or maybe the sheep. Yes, cows and sheep were prevalent, along with hogs and chickens. Today, Roundup herbicide and anhydrous ammonia fertilizer are utilized extensively throughout agriculture, and calves are weighing in at more than 600 pounds after seven months of grazing.


by WLJ
2015 September 11
Sometimes you are reading emails, see something you realize is not spam—and your only reaction is “wow!” Such was mine as I looked at qualifying numbers for the Certified Angus Beef brand for the months of June and July and saw 30.1 percent for both months.


2015 September 4
We have forest management plans that are unworkable and unresponsive to local needs. The current wildfire situation is a symptom of forest negligence, which to a large degree is part of the 1970s environmental law boon.


2015 September 4
USDA currently forecasts that beef production next year will total 24.835 billion pounds, up 4.5 percent or just over one billion pounds from this year. That’s quite a hefty year-on-year increase, which will bring the total back above the 2014 total. USDA also forecasts that exports next year will increase slightly and imports will decline sharply.


by WLJ
2015 September 4
Despite the conflicting opinions and perspectives, and ensuing litigation, this brief point in legal history is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the basic functions of the three branches of U.S. government, a structure that has been in place for more than 225 years.


by WLJ
2015 September 4
“I grew up in southeastern Montana on a small commercial cow/ calf ranch,” he told us. “I was very active in the community and 4-H and FFA growing up. I was very interested in the cattle industry in general, went on to college to pursue livestock judging.


2015 September 4
Dark colored soils full of OM is like money in the bank. As it rots, it becomes food for the billions of microorganisms and earthworms, which causes new soils to form and generate new plant food. Organic matter becomes a reservoir of plant nutrients. Each percent of OM releases 20-30 pounds of nitrogen, 4.


by WLJ
2015 September 4
Management of fire emergencies is typically well planned in most households, but unfortunately is often overlooked on farms and production settings until it is too late. Fire danger elevates quickly due to extreme heat, formation of toxic gases, and rapid loss of available oxygen.


by WLJ
2015 August 31
As the summer here at the Noble Foundation is winding down, I have been putting together my presentation on the summer’s activities. One day I sat down and tried to make a list of all the things that I have done as a Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture.


2015 August 31
The fall bull-buying season is practically upon us, which means preparation for both sellers and buyers. Most bulls sold in the fall are approximately 18 months, but a strong yearling market still exists in areas where fall is the natural calving season.


2015 August 31
Most noticeable is the change in the agricultural labor force. At the Dickinson Research Extension Center, the summer interns return to college. Usually after a short break at home, they head off to school. The workforce notices the difference.


2015 August 28
Consumer Reports used to have some credibility in my book. But after last week’s publication of their Beef Report, they lost some ground.


2015 August 21
The Animas River in Colorado is a beautiful place; my late son David was a river guide on it for a couple years. It’s a shame that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ruined it…for a while. The EPA was attempting to clean up the old Gold King Mine near Silverton and accidentally.


2015 August 21
The recent passing of a blue moon soon will be followed by the passing of summer. A blue moon is the second full moon in the same month, something that doesn’t happen that often (the next blue moon will be in January 2018). But, like life, it will happen.


2015 August 21
“Ag-gag” is the term used to describe anti-whistleblower laws that apply within the agriculture industry. About half a dozen states have passed laws to criminalize surreptitious filming of alleged abuses of animals on farms and ranches.


by WLJ
2015 August 21
This last year, I served as Chair of the checkoff’s Market Research Working Group, which oversees consumer market-research efforts. Both state and national checkoff efforts should be based on research.


by WLJ
2015 August 14
We are amid the worst fire year in documented history and it doesn’t look like there are any signs of relief in sight.


by WLJ
2015 August 14
One of the many things that I have learned since arriving at the Noble Foundation is that prescribed burns are a big thing out here in the West. In Kentucky, I had only ever seen some of the national forests burned on occasion to reduce the chance of a wildfire.


by WLJ
2015 August 14
In my search to better understand stocking rate, I obtained a better appreciation for major land resource areas (MLRA) and ecological sites. For instance, by looking up the MLRA for the Dickinson Research Extension Center (DREC) ranch in Dunn County, ND, the MLRA is 54.


2015 August 14
So we tried her method of growing with deep mulch, we layered eight inches of old straw between tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in the springtime. All the plants turned yellow. Trying to figure out what happened; we pulled back the straw cover and found the soil surface was like mud.


by WLJ
2015 August 14
Cool, wet growing seasons may delay grain maturity, and can result in mold and mycotoxin formation in the field. Producers are faced with the decision to feed moldy feeds or forages and knowing there may be a potential risk to animal productivity.


2015 August 7
The U.S. red meat industry has achieved outstanding export growth in recent years, enhancing profitability for all members of the supply chain. In 2014, both beef exports ($7.13 billion) and pork exports ($6.67 billion) shattered previous records for export value.


2015 August 7
It is appears that the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule expanding the definition of waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) took a tumble last week. The Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has refused to be associated with the EPA’s plan. Ironically, the Corps is the agency that must implement the EPA’s new plan, and they don’t seem to agree much with EPA.


by WLJ
2015 August 7
After spring showers comes summer sun—sometimes with a vengeance. Any summer’s heat and dry weather throughout the western states will present an added challenge to producers in the region. Increased costs for management of livestock with limited resources may be seen by consumers if drought conditions arise.


2015 August 7
Gerri Badden, Public Information Officer U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Oregon Office phone: 503/727-1033 Also, Oregon Representative Greg Walden (R) has invited concerned citizens to email him regarding the Hammond case, which his office is following closely.


2015 July 31
The Livestock Publications Council (LPC) held their annual meeting in Scottsdale, AZ, to acknowledge and critique member publications and get to know colleagues who communicate to livestock producers around the nation. This group has been around for a while.


2015 July 31
Back in the early 2000s , when the battle to introduce mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) was raging, California rancher Carolyn Carey quietly took the issue into her own hands. Rather than supporting mandatory COOL, she introduced a “Born and Raised in the USA” program and label that was approved for most meat and poultry species.



2015 July 31
Every rancher needs to ask three questions: “How many acres does one need?” “What is the stocking rate or carrying capacity of those acres?” and “How many grazing months are available?” The profitability and sustainability of the ranch are embedded in understanding grazing systems and getting the answers correct.


by WLJ
2015 July 31
So how are we helping restaurant operators sell more beef? Our checkoff created an infographic to help explain. In a nutshell, the number of people eating steak at dinner (in my neck of the woods, that’s supper!) is growing.


2015 July 24
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) set some lofty goals a couple weeks ago at their mid-year meeting in Denver. They released their new Long Range Plan (LRP) for the beef industry, as they have done every five years since 1990.


by WLJ
2015 July 24
On my bucket list was eating at a quaint old hotel in the Flint Hills known for quality steaks. So I met an old friend, ordered a glass of Merlot and a USDA Prime but otherwise unbranded sirloin. When the steak arrived, flavor was outstanding, juiciness great—but it was so tough I did what I have never done before and sent it back to the kitchen.


by WLJ
2015 July 24
It is clear that consumers are asking more questions than ever about where their food comes from and how it is raised and the use of antibiotics is at the forefront of the consumer’s mind.


2015 July 17
The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef held their first general assembly meeting last week in Denver during the NCBA midyear meeting. They have a basic operational structure nailed down and are open for business. Now they need to develop a plan to measure the industry.


2015 July 17
Pounds, efficiency and quality are three simple words, but in reality, there is nothing simple about understanding these three words. Many producers see understanding pounds as simple: Produce the maximum possible. But living things do not do well at the extremes, so maximum brings additional problems.


2015 July 17
File that under the “highly unlikely to ain’t-gonna-happen,” category, but stay with me. If every single backgrounder and cattle feeder decided they weren’t going to purchase “high risk” calves; if they refused to take unweaned, unvaccinated calves, that’s virtually what would happen.


by WLJ
2015 July 10
Reports are claiming one of the best grass summers in memory across the midwestern states. This has dried up summer culling and delayed beef sales. In addition, heifer retention is on the up-trend, keeping summer beef sales lower than projected.


2015 July 10
[Author’s note: This Beef- Talk concerns pounds of beef produced per acre utilizing two different types of cattle to help demonstrate what pounds of calf weaned per acre means. The information presented, at this point, is an example of production data reflecting pounds of calf weaned per acre.


by WLJ
2015 July 10
Many areas of the western states have recently seen a tremendous amount of rainfall accompanied by slick and muddy conditions. Our livestock have no choice (in most circumstances) but to stand and travel amid standing water and muck as well as rough and stony ground.


2015 July 2
We have one of those rare times when every organization representing agriculture agrees on an issue. The Obama administration announced last week that they will start to allow 14 regions of Brazil and Argentina to export fresh and frozen beef to the U.


2015 July 2
But even without major tweaking, at least for the center, those May-born calves are holding their own. Last year, the center’s beef herd may have started 100 pounds light, but the calves actually had an adjusted 205-day weight of 681 pounds.


2015 July 2
Who would have believed the discovery of live cattle prices would change so much in a decade? Or that the public cries in the 1990s over “captive supply” would be replaced by a public silence about the disappearing cash market and the preponderance...


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.