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WLJ

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 11, 2006
— Other states now questioning registration process. Vermont Agriculture Secretary Steve Kerr is putting the mandatory premises registration process on hold, but his office insists it has nothing to do with the strong opposition the agency has faced from producers in the tiny New England state better known for maple syrup than livestock. The decision came after Kerr said USDA could not assure him the information contained in the database housing premise information would be exempt from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. “USDA had promised us complete confidentiality at every step of this process,” Kerr said. “Now we have reason to
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 11, 2006
Routinely, this is the time to start planting wheat in the southern Plains, preparing for winter grazing. However, this summer has not been routine, with the South being engaged in severe drought conditions, provoking fires throughout the region. This year’s plans may impact the market if significant changes were to occur, straying from routine. Questions concerning what stocker forage will be planted, whether stockers will buy as many head as typical, and whether the drought has lifted enough to allow wheat to be planted and land to be stocked are valid points that may have an impact on feeder prices
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 11, 2006
A rule to lift federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from gray wolves in most of Idaho and Montana, but not Wyoming, could be made public by winter, state and federal officials said last week. The ruling would help clear the way for controlled hunts and more aggressive management of the predators that have thrived in the northern Rocky Mountains since the federal government reintroduced them there in 1995. Wyoming however, unlike Montana and Idaho, hasn't won approval for its management plan. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) doesn’t agree its plan meets the necessary standards to protect wolves. FWS
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 4, 2006
— Two new pastures in the West needed to house unwanted horses. John Hughes from Bartlesville, OK, has been in the cattle business for over 55 years now and is enjoying the run of profitability that he calls the best in history. Along with his stocker operation, which consists of 2,500 to 5,000 head depending on the year, the ranch also dedicates 18,000 acres to housing 2,128 unwanted wild horses and burros contracted through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM manages wild horses and burros as part of its overall multiple-use land management mission under the authority of
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 4, 2006
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) personnel recently received new instructions for the collection of brain samples for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) ongoing surveillance plan. The notice released Aug. 23 with an implementation date of Aug. 27 is called FSIS Notice 51-06, “Sample Collection From Cattle Under the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Ongoing Surveillance Program.” The notice essentially cancels FSIS Notice 28-04. The previous notice (28-04) has an extended expiration date of June 1, 2007 and is referred to as the “FSIS Sample Collection From Cattle Condemned During Ante-Mortem Inspection For The
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 4, 2006
—Contaminated feed most likely source of BSE infection in 50-month cow. The 50-month-old Alberta, Canada, dairy cow diagnosed with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) last month probably contracted the disease from contaminated feed, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said last week. The finding by CFIA came after an enforcement investigation was launched because the animal, born on a dairy farm near Edmonton, Alberta, contracted the disease well after the 1997 Canadian ruminant animal feed ban was put in place. “A particular incident was documented in one commercial feed facility that may have permitted the contamination of a single batch of cattle feed
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 4, 2006
In a previous column, I mentioned that Beef Checkoff-funded advertising was “predominantly” seen in agricultural trade publications. What I was attempting to convey was that I believe consumer advertising funds could be better spent through more comprehensive advertising campaigns. Before I ramble, I must first clarify that I am a strong supporter of the purpose and function of the producer-funded Beef Checkoff and even worked on their behalf through Osborn&Barr Communications. According to the 2005 Beef Board financial audit, $45,236,042 was collected. Of that hefty sum of cash, $22,309,397 was spent on promotions. Although consumer advertising is included in this
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 4, 2006
— Higher costs may have reduced value of feeding cull cattle. Producers have a variety of differing philosophies when it comes to handling cull cows. Numerous studies have shown that selling unproductive cows contributes a substantial amount of money to an operation’s bottom line. According to the 1999 National Beef Quality Audit, cull cow marketing creates an average of 16 percent of ranch income. In some cases, it could be much more. Feeding culls is normally a proposition which is both risky and potentially rewarding, however, with this year's drought and high fuel costs translating into increased feeding costs, the picture may
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 4, 2006
USDA promised $780 million in aid last week to ranchers and farmers stricken by the worst drought to hit the U.S. in decades.   Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced the aid while visiting a ranch in South Dakota, one of several states which has been hard-hit by near record dryness and higher than normal temperatures this year. Producers in the Plains, south and western corn belt are struggling with low yields and high prices this year. The relief, although welcome, is just a start, many said after the announcement.   “As I walked a pasture where grass should be high and growing and cattle
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 4, 2006
Packers’ behavior is difficult to fathom at times. No more so than in the live cattle market the second week of August when packers paid $5-6 per cwt. more for cattle than the week before. The behavior had market analysts shaking their heads about packers’ apparent aversion to making money, although what really happened was that a major packer was seriously short bought on cattle. The behavior also set me to thinking about how plant competitiveness plays a role in how packers position themselves and how Tyson Fresh Meats (formerly IBP) has been eclipsed as the low-cost processor of fed beef.
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 4, 2006
In 2001 an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the United Kingdom (UK) resulted in catastrophic economic losses exceeding $15 billion. The cost to livestock producers was estimated to be nearly $1 billion and at least 6 million animals were slaughtered. Any outbreak of FMD in the US today, where the density of livestock animals is high, would likely be as devastating as the one that hit the UK in 2001.   With no recent FMD outbreak to use as an example, it is hard to predict how an outbreak might spread in today’s US. Current information on precise animal locations, movement
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 28, 2006
— Report suggests lack of marbling leading challenges. Every five years, the National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) is conducted to access the current successes and challenges of the beef cattle industry as well as to establish goals for future years. The most recent study was conducted between July 2005 and June 2006. The audit includes interviews with beef and beef product export decision makers, purveyors, restaurants, food service operators and supermarkets. In addition, specific quality data was collected at 16 U.S. packing facilities. The audit collected data for live cattle, carcasses on the harvest floor and carcasses after chilling and after
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 28, 2006
— Placements 17 percent above last year. — Marketings slightly higher than 2005.   The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) cattle on feed report released Aug. 18 was mostly in line with analysts’ pre-report expectations. The total number of cattle on feed as of Aug. 1 was up 7 percent over 2005, at 10.82 million, the second highest on record behind 2001 when NASS reported 10.89 million head on feed. The Aug. 1 number is down only 50,000 head from the July 1 number. NASS statistics show the normal decline is closer to 300,000 head between July and August. Erica Rosa, agricultural
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 28, 2006
— Biosecurity measures mean more record keeping.   In December, those in the animal feed business will have new regulations to comply with in regard to transportation. The new set of rules were not introduced recently. In fact, the rules were detailed in the Public Health and Security Preparedness and Response Act that was passed in 2002. However, the regulations are set to take effect in just three months. The new set of guidelines are reportedly designed to protect the food supply from serious threats that could be introduced during transportation of animal feed and other such products. More specifically, the regulations
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 28, 2006
— On feed report does little to move market despite jump in placements.   Fed cattle trade last week was at a virtual standstill with offers last Thursday at $88 live basis and $139-$141 on dressed cattle. Packers were still about $5 below live and $5-6 on the dressed asking prices at press time last week. Trade was expected to be at least steady to higher when it did finally occur last week.   “Producers have every reason to hold firm given the packers’ record of caving in at the last minute and having the economic incentive to add weight,” said Andy Gottschalk
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 14, 2006
— Yet another shot at a repeal down the drain. The Senate voted late Thursday, Aug. 3, to yet again refuse a repeal of the estate tax, commonly known as the death tax. The most recent rejection was H.R. 5970, a bill that would not only significantly cut the estate tax , but also increase the federal minimum wage. The bill would have essentially increased minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 and by 2015, increased
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 14, 2006
Congress passed legislation last week which will greatly enhance the benefits for ranchers who enter into a conservation easement on their property so long as the easement will keep the ranch in production agriculture. According to California Rangeland Trust, the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (HR 4) includes provisions that will allow ranchers who donate land for conservation purposes to receive an increased deduction, while ensuring that those lands will remain in agricultural production. The adjusted deduction for conservation easement donations ensures
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 14, 2006
— Fed cattle $5-6 higher live and $6-7 higher dressed. — Feeder cattle follow feds higher. Packers stepped up to the plate early last week and paid sharply higher prices for cattle in both the north and south Plains. Trading occurred late Wednesday afternoon at $86 live basis in the south, $5-6 higher than the previous week. In the northern Plains, packers paid $136 live, $6-7 higher than the prior week. Volume was reportedly good with feedlots in Texas, Kansas and Nebraska each trading
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 14, 2006
The hay market across the country remains very strong with prices at their highest point in recent years. In fact, in some areas hurt by heat, drought and a lack of production, prices are through the roof, according to brokers. Dryland alfalfa and most grass hay production is significantly below normal in much of the Great Plains and with a lack of carryover from 2005 and crop failures in states like Texas and Oklahoma, the competition for hay is causing some producers
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 7, 2006
— USDA halts rule-making process. USDA has rescinded a proposal which would have allowed imports of Canadian cattle over 30 months of age, saying there won’t be a ruling on the case until it has completed its investigation into the most recent case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The most recent case, announced last month, was found in an animal just 50 months old. That animal had been born nearly four years after Canada’s ruminant animal feed ban was enacted.


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