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Kris Ringwall, North Dakota State University

Opinion
Jan 8, 2016
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.

Opinion
Jan 4, 2016
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.


Opinion
Dec 18, 2015
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.

Opinion
Nov 30, 2015
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.


Opinion
Nov 20, 2015
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.


Opinion
Nov 13, 2015
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.


Opinion
Nov 6, 2015
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.


Opinion
Oct 16, 2015
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.


Opinion
Oct 9, 2015
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.


Opinion
Sep 25, 2015
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.


Opinion
Sep 25, 2015
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.


Opinion
Sep 11, 2015
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.


Opinion
Aug 31, 2015
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.


Opinion
Aug 21, 2015
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.


Opinion
Jul 31, 2015
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.


Opinion
Jul 17, 2015
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.


Opinion
Jul 10, 2015
[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.


Opinion
Jul 2, 2015
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.