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WLJ

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 2, 2006
—Packers expected to trim harvest levels soon. Fed cattle traders were still several dollars apart with asking prices in the range of $92 live basis and $142-145 dressed basis last Thursday. Trade was anticipated to occur at prices steady to $1 higher than the previous week once it got underway. The last confirmed trade was Sept. 22 at $88.50-90 in the southern Plains and in the north, live sales traded at $87-89. Dressed sales sold at $137-141. Boxed beef prices, supported by lower packer harvest levels, moved upward last week. Choice cutout values rose 17 cents on Thursday last week to close
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 2, 2006
Simplify the ID message It has been three years since the U.S. livestock industry appeared on the brink of finalizing a national animal identification system (NAIS). The U.S.’s first bovine spongiform encephalopathy case in December 2003 was expected to speed up implementation. Paradoxically, it appears to have done the opposite. Now the industry is holding its breath that a system will be somewhat in place before another devastating disease, notably foot and mouth disease (FMD), is discovered. Progress has been painfully slow and confusing. Latest developments show that implementation of NAIS urgently needs clarity and a new focus. USDA and industry need
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 2, 2006
Kansas City, MO-based National Beef Packing Company, LLC is not reducing beef processing in the least; in fact, they are expanding it. Some processing plants in the recent past have closed plants, cut staffing and have significantly reduced the amount of cattle slaughtered due to cited profit losses. However, the country’s fourth-largest beef processor has recently begun operations in their newest addition to its Moultrie, GA, facility. Terry Wilkerson, National Beef’s executive vice president for strategic business development, told WLJ last Tuesday that the Moultrie, GA, expansion is a true success story. “Our Moultrie facility is a classic success story
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 2, 2006
Start-up beef packing venture, Northern Beef Packers in Aberdeen, SD, is in the final stages of activity before construction is set to begin on a new beef packing plant. The facility will also create a series of new employment opportunities and income to related individuals and companies in the area. According to Dennis Hellwig, owner of Hub City Livestock Auction and one of the plant’s founders, Northern Beef is waiting for the final building permits to be approved and plans to start construction on the plant by the end of November. Plans call for the construction of a 180,000 square-foot building
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 2, 2006
The Sept. 1 cattle on feed report contained a surprise in the form of a higher than anticipated placement number which was 15.4 percent ahead of 2005. Analysts cautioned the bearish impact of the report on the market should be kept in perspective since the calves placed in the past two months are mostly cattle that would have entered the feedlot later this year anyway. As of Sept. 1, the report showed the total number of cattle on feed in the U.S. is 10 percent higher than last year at 11 million head. The number is the highest Sept. 1 on-feed number
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 2, 2006
—Bighorn sheep cause cattlemen to halt production. Ranchers are familiar with the challenges associated with sustaining the wildlife population and working cooperatively with the environment. Often heard called the best stewards of the land, ranchers have constantly compromised with environmentalists and federal institutions to take a proactive stance. Despite ranchers’ efforts, some decisions being made are causing ranchers to halt production. Most recently, environmentalists are praising a decision made by the Forest Service that will suspend livestock grazing in parts of Nevada and California, primarily near the eastern Sierra. The decision was a result of constant legal battles raging between ranchers
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Oct 2, 2006
—Recent rains are encouraging producers, but also causing animal disease concerns. As fall approaches, cattlemen in nearly all geographical tiers are experiencing some relief from scorching temperatures and lack of rainfall. Recently, producers have received late rains that are giving them hope for additional grass growth, as well as wheat for those who plan to stock cattle for fall and winter grazing. Although the rain is needed, it is also causing producers problems they usually don’t experience in late summer and early fall, but rather the spring. More specifically, along with new grass growth, producers are seeing an increasingly higher
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 25, 2006
Live cattle trade, which in recent weeks had been stronger than expected, was slow last week after the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) sold off sharply last Wednesday. Trade was expected in the $88-89 live range and $135 dressed basis. If those prices develop, they will be steady to $1 lower in most areas. As of last Thursday, bid and ask prices were still a couple dollars apart in most regions. Perhaps the most significant factor in delaying trade was the weak cutout value, which by last Thursday, had dropped sharply for the second consecutive day to trade at $140.99 on the
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 25, 2006
There is no lack of knowledge about the scientific changes that have come our way in the last decade in the area of production efficiency and animal management. We have all become table top experts conversing about the latest article we have read about gene mapping, embryo transfer, ultrasound fetal sexing, etc. This fits right into our traditional role in production agriculture trying to get more pounds of meat out of our animals and more bushels of crops from an acre of ground. It fits right into the role that we are comfortable with in production agriculture. It is our
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 25, 2006
Across borders, among friends It had been a while since I talked to my Canadian market buddies. Wouldn’t you know it, the minute I think about them, they call. One thing I like about the agricultural business is that I have been able to make friends all over the world. Bob Balog, owner of the Lethbridge Auction Company, called in last week. Bob runs a weekly cattle sale and, of course, sells some purebred sales and a few farm auctions. He called to talk about the markets and to compare notes. The main items on his mind were the calf market, USDA’s
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 25, 2006
Prairie dogs could be poisoned in three federal grasslands in South Dakota and Nebraska under a plan to be considered by U.S. Forest Service (USFS) officials. Forest Service officials announced Sept. 18 they will undergo a year long process to amend prairie dog management plans for the three national grasslands in question. If approved, the management plans will allow greater leeway in how prairie dogs are managed on the Buffalo Gap and Fort Pierre National Grasslands in South Dakota and the Oglala National Grassland in Nebraska. After many conflicts with graziers on public lands over the destructiveness of prairie dogs and
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 25, 2006
APrairie dogs could be poisoned in three federal grasslands in South Dakota and Nebraska under a plan to be considered by U.S. Forest Service (USFS) officials. Forest Service officials announced Sept. 18 they will undergo a year long process to amend prairie dog management plans for the three national grasslands in question. If approved, the management plans will allow greater leeway in how prairie dogs are managed on the Buffalo Gap and Fort Pierre National Grasslands in South Dakota and the Oglala National Grassland in Nebraska. After many conflicts with graziers on public lands over the destructiveness of prairie dogs and
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 25, 2006
RA rancher-organized and driven grazing and ranch management mentor program is providing grassland guidance and counsel to those new to ranching or to western Nebraska. The program, sponsored by University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Extension, the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition and Nebraska’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, started about two years ago with the goal to minimize grassland management disasters, said Pat Reece, extension rangeland ecologist at UNL’s Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff, NE. “The group wants to help other ranchers—outside or young—avoid career ending mistakes,” the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources specialist said. “Land ownership has changed a lot in Nebraska’s
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 25, 2006
— Preble's Mouse debate illustrates problems with Endangered Species Act. The Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse, a tiny rodent, is at the heart of an ongoing dispute between agriculture interests and environmentalists. The mouse, which ranges across the Plains of Wyoming and Colorado, inhabits riparian areas, particularly those along irrigation ditches and stream banks. Its habitat is a key to the debate, because if listed as an endangered species, it would prevent the alteration of those areas for improvements such as water storage basins, which are desperately needed in many areas of both states. Last week, in an effort to support the
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 25, 2006
— The biggest packing plants are getting bigger. Virginia-based Smithfield Foods is paying a 13 percent premium to buy out Kansas City, MO-based Premium Standard Farms for roughly $810 million in cash, stock and assumed debt of $117 million. The buyout of the number two hog grower, with about $1 billion in revenue, makes Smithfield even more dominant in the pork business. Smithfield said that all hog production contracts will be honored and they will continue to purchase hogs on the open market. Premium Standard Farms currently has facilities in Texas, North Carolina and Missouri, and has approximately 220,000 head of sows, which
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 25, 2006
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has moved to upgrade Wyoming's brucellosis classification status to a brucellosis-free rating. The decision became official Sept. 12 when it was published in the Federal Register. It is now available for public comment for 60 days until mid-November. The disease is a bacterial infection which causes cattle, elk and bison to abort their calves. It can also cause reduced birth weight and generally poor reproductive health in livestock. Wyoming initially lost its brucellosis-free rating in 2004 when a second infected herd was found in the state. The first case was detected in cattle which
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 18, 2006
— After many delays, South Korea is officially open for business.   outh Korea, once the third-largest export market for U.S. beef, announced Sept. 7 that it will once again resume importing U.S. beef. However, the country that imported $814 million in U.S. beef in 2003 will now only be accepting boneless beef from cattle less than 30 months of age. Of the $814 million worth of beef exported, boneless beef accounted for $449 million, according to USDA figures.   The Agriculture Ministry in Seoul said health authorities have cleared 36 U.S. processors to start shipping beef later this month or early next
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 11, 2006
If you understand, let the rest of us know You could call it a perplexing week in last week’s cattle markets. It looked like a sure bet that the packers were going to have their way just before Labor Day weekend and drive the fed market down a couple dollars. The hold out for the week carried until Thursday night, two weeks ago, when packers literally capitulated, gave into the cattle feeders and paid nearly $4-5 more for fed cattle. Most of the following week had market analysts still scratching their heads over what happened. Bob Price at North American Risk Management
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 11, 2006
Scarce feed resources and high transportation costs have producers scrambling this fall to provide for their cow herd over the winter. Producers in many parts of the U.S. are considering a variety of feeds that many would consider unconventional. For those who have feedlots nearby with open pen space during the winter, there may be another answer. In North Dakota, the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Cooperative Extension Service has compiled a list of feedlots which have plenty of space to accommodate large numbers of cows. “Because of the high cost of diesel fuel, transporting large quantities of forage may not
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 11, 2006
— Bill sails with a 263 to 146 vote last Thursday. — If the Senate follows the House's lead, 92,000 horses have undetermined futures. U.S. House of Representatives legislators spoke last week during the first week of session since recess. The vote of attention on behalf of agriculturalists, as well as animal rights activists, was House Resolution 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. Legislators said yes by a 263 to 146 vote to a ban that has the potential of leaving approximately 1 percent, or 92,000 horses, in the U.S. with an undetermined fate. Of the 9.2 million head in the