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Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 29, 2007
  A recently completed five-year study conducted in southern Wyoming has shown that prairie dog habitat adversely impacts cattle weight gains. Conducted in portions of the Pawnee National Grasslands at USDA’s High Plains Grasslands Research Station, it was found that over the course of the study, as prairie dog towns increased in size, weight gains among cattle sharing the pasture decreased measurably when compared to those grazing adjacent pastures without prairie dog colonies. The study is particularly important for producers in the West where prairie dog populations are on the rise, particularly in shortgrass regions. It has long been known that
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 29, 2007
  USDA recently issued a press release reporting that the agency had teamed up with three manufacturers to produce 1.5 million radio frequency identification (RFID) ear tags for USDA use. The tags, produced by Allflex USA, Digital Angel Corp., and Global Animal Management, will be created to fit the standards of USDA’s National Animal Identification System (NAIS) standards. USDA claimed that the ear tags will be used “specifically for USDA state-federal cooperative disease control and eradication efforts, such a bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis and will be distributed in geographic areas which are determined to be of increased risk for disease outbreak or
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 22, 2007
Beef trade negotiations with South Korea last week failed to produce any meaningful results after a delegation of U.S. officials met with the Korean government in Seoul in an attempt to reduce Korean import restrictions on U.S. beef. The talks came soon after the most recent discovery of a piece of vertebral column in a shipment of U.S. beef sourced from JBS Swift and the resulting suspension of American beef imports into Korea. Beef trade negotiations are a large part of talks between the two nations as they try to forge a workable free-trade agreement (FTA) which would allow more tariff-free
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 22, 2007
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) recent efforts to use ‘no-match’ letters (NML) as a tool for prosecuting employers of illegal immigrants has again hit a roadblock, marking the second time since implementing new immigration rules that the department’s efforts have been met with temporary defeat. Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern California U.S. District Court in San Francisco recently issued a preliminary injunction which will temporarily block DHS’s new enforcement measures. The ruling follows a temporary restraining order issued from the same court by Judge Maxine M. Chesney on Aug. 31 which was granted in order to give the
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 22, 2007
—%IMF or Marbling Score….. Which is it? How can I tell? With all of the incentives to raise Choice and Prime cattle, it’s easy to see why so much selection pressure has been placed on marbling. However, the industry has done a poor job of explaining how producers can use ultrasound to select for quality grade, how ultrasound “measures” marbling, and why it’s done in such a confusing fashion. Percent Intramuscular Fat, or %IMF, is the common ultrasound term for marbling, but it needs further explanation to fully understand the concept. In short, %IMF is simply an indicator trait for marbling,
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 22, 2007
Get it moving It has been a real battle trying to keep fed cattle prices in the $90s. Several weeks ago, the futures markets cratered after some questionable economic news and the fact that there is a more than ample supply of pork and chicken on the market. Feeders gave up nearly $5 the week all that news came out. Last week, feeders battled back and added $1-2 on fed cattle and the futures markets started a slow crawl north. The cattle on feed report that came out last Friday was expected to show much larger placements than a year ago. The
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 22, 2007
—Studies begin to question sustainability of the ethanol industry. The ethanol industry, the focus of much attention after corn prices skyrocketed last year, has been experiencing a massive slowdown in recent months. Reports of delayed construction or expansion have caused concern among investors and the industry’s usage of corn may not reach projected levels this year, according to some industry experts. In 2006, approximately 14 percent of the corn crop went toward the production of ethanol, compared with just 11 percent in 2002. Although there is much debate on the matter, this year, ethanol production could use as much as 20
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 22, 2007
—Studies begin to question sustainability of the ethanol industry. Fed cattle trade was off to a slow start last week as traders waited for the USDA cattle on feed report before exchanging cattle for cash. Expectations of increased placements and lower marketings did little to dampen hopes of higher cash for the week, however. As of Thursday, analysts were expecting cash trade to develop $1 higher, at $94 live and $141-144 dressed. Cash trade the week prior in the south came at mostly $92.50, while farther north, Nebraska and Colorado cattle traded from $90-92.50, with dressed sales from $140-143. Dressed sales
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 22, 2007
—Studies begin to question sustainability of the ethanol industry. FUSDA moved its corn crop expectations higher as part of the Oct. 1 Crop Production report. According to National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the total national corn production will reach 13.3 billion bushels, up 26 percent from 2006. The number was on the low end of analysts’ expectations and the news spurred corn prices to move slightly higher following the report, according to Virginia Tech Commodity Marketing Agent Mike Roberts. Based on crop conditions when the report was compiled, yield will average 154.7 billion bushels of corn per acre nationally, up 5.6
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 15, 2007
All the fence building, hay baling, calf weaning and hundreds of other production tasks would be for nothing if the beef consumers of this nation disregarded our products. Beef industry leaders have focused on beef product demand and the results have been encouraging. Near record cattle and beef prices are partly the result of attentive action toward beef eating quality and consumer satisfaction, and we salute NCBA (National Cattlemen’s Beef Association) as the driving force enhancing beef demand. Consumers choose beef because we like the taste. Even though the science and physiology of taste are complicated, every beef lover understands
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 15, 2007
The pre-cattle on feed report estimates released by analysts last week indicate that the number of cattle placed in feedlots last month will be higher than year ago figures. The 2006 drought, which impacted a large swath of the Plains region, drove calves to feedlots early. Other calves were held over by producers to take advantage of premiums for heavier yearling cattle. The result was a dip in placements last fall. This year’s numbers are expected to be closer to the five-year average, however, analysts noted last week there will be distinct differences in placement weights and where calves have
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 15, 2007
It’s about time A steer finishes at USDA Prime Yield Grade 2 at the peak of seasonal demand, winning premiums of more than $250. He and his owners wasted no time. The steer was the product of timed breeding one day in April, in a heat-synchronized herd of heifers. They were managed so as to calve 30 to 45 days ahead of the main cow herd. That allowed them more time to adjust to being new mothers before rebreeding a bit later the next year on time-grazed pastures. But that’s another story. Before he was born, a veterinarian confirmed his arrival date.
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 15, 2007
In need of repair Two major ground beef recalls have brought to light a growing consumer dissatisfaction with the government’s inspection protocols. In fact, over the past few years, a number of high profile food recalls including peanut butter, spinach, ground beef and, most recently, turkey pot pies, have consumers questioning the safety of the U.S. food supply. The recall of 21.7 million pounds of ground beef processed at Topps Meat in New Jersey, and an additional 845,000 pounds from a plant in Wisconsin, only serves to further weaken consumer demand for our product at a time when it is already
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 15, 2007
Congress vows action to end export of horses as part of HSUS campaign. State laws passed in Texas and Illinois have effectively ended the slaughter of horses in the U.S., although the DeKalb, IL-based Cavel International plant operators may still have the opportunity to appeal. It was unclear last week whether an appeal to the U.S.  Supreme Court would proceed. However, that hasn’t ended the slaughter of horses. As anticipated prior to the de facto ban, the number of horses being sent to Mexico and Canada for slaughter has jumped significantly since last year. Canada, too, has stepped in to fill the
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 15, 2007
South Korean officials recently halted quarantine inspections of U.S. beef imports and again asked the U.S. government to immediately stop any shipments. The report marks another violation in a series of seesaw beef trade negotiations between the U.S. and South Korea. Korea, which does not accept beef with bones or beef from cattle aged over 30 months, has repeatedly discovered shipments containing materials in violation of the current trade standards. On Oct. 5, Korean inspectors found vertebral bone pieces in a 30.3 kilogram box contained in an 18.5 metric ton shipment of U.S. beef. According to a Meat and Livestock Australia
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 15, 2007
Grazing corn residues is one way to reduce the cost of wintering beef cows in the upper Midwest, a North Dakota State University (NDSU) cattle expert says. “With the increase in corn acres in North Dakota and the surrounding region this year, availability of corn residue also has increased, making this practice even more attractive,” says Greg Lardy, NDSU Extension beef cattle specialist. Corn residue left behind after harvest includes the stalk, leaf, husk and cob, as well as downed ears. The amount of downed ears varies with the corn variety, but it can be as much as three to five bushels
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 15, 2007
As the cattle industry changes, so too must the organizations that represent livestock owners and producers. Production costs and challenges continue to mount and ranchers need all the help they can get on their own operations, let alone having to constantly fret what affects them from the outside. Most ranchers, along with a large part of the general populace, dislike national politics because they feel too far removed from the process to have any impact. In many cases, livestock producers become disenfranchised with the policy process because they feel their voice is not heard. In April of 2007, a new livestock
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 15, 2007
Many producers in the southern Plains rely heavily on grazing wheat pasture in the winter as an integral part of their annual production strategies and an important part of their yearly income. Farmers who also own cattle can usually take advantage of the cheap cost of gain using stocker cattle, with relatively little impact to the gross profit margins of their wheat. Farmers with no cattle will still normally offer their wheat pasture to cattlemen who need a forage resource in the winter, but don’t want to put up with the high cost of hay. This year, however, wheat prices are
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 1, 2007
—Demand for Certified Hereford Beef growing 25 percent annually. The American Hereford Association (AHA) hosted its first-ever media fly-in event at its headquarters in Kansas City, MO, on Sept. 24-25. Members of various top-tier beef industry publications were on hand to hear about AHA’s objectives, news updates, and progress. David Mehlhaff, AHA’s newly appointed director of communications, spearheaded organization of the event and ensured that prominent AHA members and staff were on hand to help give media representatives the proper insight into AHA’s exciting initiatives. “Our first priority with this event was making sure that we are able to let producers and
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 1, 2007
—Packers are losing money with cutout stalled below $148. Fed cattle trade was extremely slow last week. Packers were offering $92 and feeders were looking for $96. Futures markets started the week with a roar after a bullish cattle on feed report, but slowly declined by mid-week with the October contract at $96.95. The general tone of the fed cattle markets was that prices would be higher and it was apparent trade would take place Friday. There were roughly 2,500 head traded in the southern Plains early in the week at $95.50, JBS Swift was the buyer. Last Thursday morning,


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