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WLJ

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Apr 2, 2007
  Tradition or planning? Have you ever stopped to think through why you do what you do? I don’t mean why you are in the beef business but, rather, why you produce and market the way that you do. Why is the size of your operation what it is today? Why do you market when and how you do? Why do you market with whom you do? All these questions get at the basic idea of making sure that you are making decisions on purpose rather than by tradition. There are so many areas of your business that require your decision making that
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Apr 2, 2007
  Placements up 4 percent from 2006. The March 1 cattle on feed report came in mostly in line with pre-report expectations and was viewed as positive in the near-term for the industry. The number of cattle on feed in feedlots of 1,000 or more head as of March 1 was estimated at 11.6 million head, 4 percent below the same date last year, according to the USDA report. With the tighter numbers of available fed cattle, the market should continue to gain strength over the next several weeks. University of Nebraska Agricultural Economist Darrell Mark said the report was reasonably friendly for
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Apr 2, 2007
  Caution: Market volatility ahead With a $4 corn market, it is absolutely remarkable that feeder cattle markets have found strength at last summer’s level. April feeders were trading at $106.40 last week and the deferred contracts were even higher on into summer and fall. This defies the normal trends we’ve come to expect. Corn goes up, feeder cattle go down. Corn goes down, feeder cattle go up, a simple market dynamic. So what gives in this world of expensive feed costs and high priced feeder cattle? Cattle feeders are earning a little on today’s fed cattle, but they have to be cringing
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Apr 2, 2007
  U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-WY, has introduced legislation to end unfair and manipulative meat packer practices. Enzi said money is being taken out of the pocketbooks of hardworking ranchers in Wyoming and across the U.S. because of off balance policies. Enzi introduced a bill that would address the problem of captive supply in the livestock industry. The bill would amend the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA) to require packers to have a fixed base price in their contracts and to also put contracts up for bid in the open market. Enzi said this would prevent packers from manipulating the base price
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Apr 2, 2007
USDA report expected to show substantial increase in corn acres. Market direction will be influenced by USDA report and rising oil prices. With corn prices hovering around the $4 mark for the past six months or more, cattle feeders are anxiously awaiting this year’s first crop reports. The first indication of how farmers have responded to the market was set to be released last Friday. Until then, industry expectations and available data point to an increase in this year’s crop. Driven by ethanol production, corn usage has skyrocketed over the last two years and is expected to continue its rise as corn
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Apr 2, 2007
  Mandatory COOL is the solution To the Editor: In response to John Robinson’s March 19 column, have all the facts on hand before you write such a commentary. On the $1.99 ground beef, there is no mention of the USA cull cow and bull beef market. I hope this is just an oversight. The real crux of this letter to the editor lies within the next several paragraphs of your commentary. Labeling and COOL: well over 90 percent of the consumers of this country believe that beef products carrying the USDA label comes from only cattle born and raised in the USA. “Mandatory COOL is
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Apr 2, 2007
Cash fed cattle trade got underway early last week at prices lower than the previous week. Trading was light to moderate in all feeding regions last Wednesday. Compared to Tuesday, live sales in the southern Plains sold in a narrow range from $95-95.50. There were more than 35,000 head traded in Kansas at $95-95.50 live basis and $152.50 dressed. Compared to the prior week, live sales were $1-1.50 lower in Nebraska where 29,639 head had been traded as of Thursday and in Colorado, cattle traded in a range of $96-97.50. In the western Corn Belt, dressed sales were called $2-2.50
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Apr 2, 2007
Representatives from the livestock industry and several motorized recreation organizations met to discuss mutual goals for use of public lands. Attendees of the meeting agreed to form the Partnership for Livestock and Motorized Recreation on Public Lands, a group that will work “to ensure that motorized recreation and livestock production on public lands exist in a mutually compatible and beneficial manner.” The meeting was hosted by the Public Lands Council and the Blue Ribbon Coalition. Representatives from the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, National Association of Counties, Western Governors’ Association, Tread Lightly!, Americans for Responsible Recreational Access, Colorado Resource
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Apr 2, 2007
Canada’s latest case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the ninth found in animals from Alberta, involved a 79-month-old Angus bull that was born and raised on the same farm where it died. Investigators with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said last week that contaminated feed or mineral could not be ruled out as the source of infection. In fact, no specific source of infection was identified. Despite the lack of answers, USDA Secretary Mike Johanns last week reiterated his intention to open the border to Canadian cattle born after March 1, 1999, and beef from cattle of any age. Under
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Mar 26, 2007
Colorado residents stepped up to the plate in an effort to help Colorado’s farmers and ranchers who experienced devastating losses when blizzards swept across the state late last year. Residents from across the state, some not even involved in agriculture, made numerous selfless contributions during an evening of country music, poetry, and fun. Operation Blizzard Benefit was held at the Colorado State Fairgrounds on March 18 and so far, donations of cash and hay have totaled more than $680,000. The silent auction, alone, raised approximately $18,500 and there were a total of 3,358 concert tickets sold. It has been reported that
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Mar 26, 2007
Prioritize what’s important It was a great week last week because I was able to take the entire week off and go to bull sales, get out in the country, and visit with you all. Bull sales are, for the most part, quite strong. Cattlemen are being a bit more selective about the bulls they buy, but the discussions are still focused on moisture and snowpack which is now concerning western producers a great deal. Many producers in California never received their winter rain, which grows the bulk of their feed. There is speculation that cowherds will be culled very hard
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Mar 26, 2007
In a year that is likely to be filled with congressional bills dealing with agricultural topics, including a new Farm Bill, members of Congress opened the floodgates last week. U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, D-WI, Jim Gerlach, R-PA, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, and Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer, D-CA, introduced a revised version of The Healthy Farms, Foods, and Fuels Act that originally was introduced in 2006 in the U.S. House of Representatives. The newly introduced legislation, if eventually passed into law, would: Double incentives for better water quality to $2 billion a year; Provide farmers $300
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Mar 26, 2007
Cascades and Colorado front range snowpack above normal. With temperatures rising at spring’s onset, climatologists are warning producers to be cautious with their stocking decisions. Snowpack conditions are very similar to last year and with spring runoff already beginning, water conditions could deteriorate quickly if April storms don’t materialize across the central U.S. Nebraska State Climatologist Al Dutcher said last week that with the exception of eastern Colorado, much of the high Plains region is facing dry conditions similar to those which caused drought conditions last year. “The eastern two-thirds of Nebraska is looking pretty good right now. In fact, they are
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Mar 26, 2007
Cash fed cattle trade stalled out early last week as boxed beef cutout values and choppy trade stalled the market slightly ahead of the cattle on feed report due out on March 23. Both feeders and packers were holding firm on their positions last week, neither willing to give ground to move cattle. As of press time last Thursday, asking prices were firm at $100-102 in the south and $162 plus in the north, while packers were holding steady with offers in the range of $94 in the south and $95-97 in the north on a live weight basis. Dressed
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Mar 26, 2007
Spring is here and with it comes baby calves, blue skies, and lush, green pastures. People are not the only ones looking forward to the sweet aroma of fresh, green grass. After a long winter, cows are more than happy to consume the sweet forage. However, ranchers need to be careful as the rapidly growing grass can be fatal to mature cattle. Grass tetany, sometimes called grass staggers or hypomagnesemia, is a serious, often fatal metabolic disorder which can be characterized by low levels of magnesium in the blood serum of cattle. It primarily affects older cows nursing calves under two
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Mar 26, 2007
During congressional testimony last week, several beef industry representatives said any potential Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with South Korea should hinge on whether or not the country agrees to accept U.S. beef imports and drop its continued unscientific trade barriers. Since agreeing to resume imports of U.S. beef last year, South Korean officials have rejected the three shipments of U.S. beef sent to the country. In all three cases, inspections revealed minute slivers of bone, causing the entire shipment to be rejected. U.S. trade officials have strongly criticized South Korea for its continued protectionist stalling. Last week, USDA’s Economic Research
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Mar 26, 2007
It’s no secret that R-CALF United Stockgrower’s of America (R-CALF) has been experiencing some internal conflicts and has appointed new leaders and directors. The organization has been the source of much scrutiny and some longtime members have reportedly left the organization. Interestingly, some of those members and directors have made the decision to establish a new organization which they have named United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA). Organizers announced the creation of the new organization on March 15. One of R-CALF’s previous directors, Jon Wooster, a cattle producer from San Lucas, CA, has been named USCA’s interim president and Chase Carter, a
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Mar 19, 2007
Careful what you wish for At first glance, it might appear that the “Golden Rule” of trade, also known as “treat other countries like you want to be treated,” isn’t working very well for USDA. There are those in the agriculture industry and in Congress who would paint a similar picture of the beef business. They point to increasing market openness as a sign of impending disaster for U.S. producers. Increased competition from foreign producers will drive down prices for U.S. cattle, seems to be the current line of thinking. However, a check of prices last week shows that probably isn’t the
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Mar 19, 2007
Almost three months have passed since sequential storms rocked the Plains states but we are just beginning to see the significant impacts the storms had on the cattle feeding industry. Feedlot operators are continuing to see a higher death rate than they have seen in the past several years. In fact, Chris Reinhardt, extension feedlot specialist at Kansas State University, says that on average, the feedlots affected by the storms are experiencing about twice the death loss this winter than they would have seen in a normal winter. Unfortunately, even though pen conditions have improved with the warmer temperatures and
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Mar 12, 2007
As a result of the growing appetite of the ethanol industry for raw materials used in the production process, U.S. corn farmers will need to produce record harvests this year to avoid a supply crunch and further jumps in price. Already there are concerns across many sectors, including ethanol plants and, in particular, among livestock producers, about corn shortages later this year. Those concerns are adding to calls for increasing the use of cellulosic materials in the ethanol production process. The biomass available for cellulosic ethanol is much greater, however, the technology lags far behind corn-based ethanol production. Currently, 114


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