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Steve Kay, Contributing Columnist

Livestock Industry Opinions
Jul 3, 2014
Old-timers must be shaking their heads in disbelief at the way calves and feeder cattle are trading. Even when I began covering the industry 28 years ago, I would not have believed the price of calves would by 2014 increase more than 3.5 times. On the other hand, the price of many other goods has probably increased by that much or more.
Cattle and Beef Industry News
May 30, 2014
Americans are still buying beef despite record high prices in grocery stores and restaurants. Foreign buyers are also involved by ordering more than last year, despite the price. All this is good news, as all wealth to the beef industry comes from consumers, whether at home or abroad.
Livestock Industry Opinions
May 2, 2014
Water and plants are vital to the well-being of American ag. Water in its various forms is needed to grow everything from pasture to feed crops to fruit and vegetables. It succors all kinds of plants that turn directly or indirectly into food for consumers at home and abroad.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Apr 4, 2014
What an incredible time to have young cattle to sell. As I write this, calves weighing 600 to 650 pounds are selling for $197 to $206 per cwt at Oklahoma City. Not far behind them are 650 to 700 pounders at $188-189, 700 to 750 pounders at $178- 187.50, 750 to 800 pounders at $174.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Jan 10, 2014
The U.S. cattle feeding industry has depended for years on Mexican feeder cattle to help fill its pens. Annual imports have averaged about one million head, although they have fluctuated dramatically at times, in large part due to drought. That’s why 2011 and 2012 saw more than 1.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Nov 29, 2013
It needed to. For years it had rested on the premise that beef was “King” and Americans would continue to gobble it up. But, beef demand began to decline because beef was too fatty and inconsistent in its eating quality. Fortunately, the industry responded to the alarm bells, although it took nearly 20 years to arrest that declining demand.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Aug 2, 2013
The numbers never did add up for Northern Beef Packers (NBP) in Aberdeen, SD. Around the time that plans for its new plant were getting off the ground, the national cattle herd had completed three years of extremely modest expansion and then returned to contraction mode.
Livestock Industry Opinions
May 31, 2013
One weekend does not make a market. But the beef industry was hoping for a beef sales bonanza over the Memorial Day holiday. Alas, Mother Nature decided to rain on the beef parade. Instead of warm, sunny weather that would have encouraged more grilling, it was wet and cool in parts of the Midwest and Northeast.
Livestock Industry Opinions
May 3, 2013
Weather extremes have played a huge role in American life from the time the republic was founded. From earthquakes to hurricanes or tornadoes, cities and towns from coast to coast have felt the full force of nature and been reshaped by it. Weather has also been a huge influence in shaping agriculture and modern food production.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Mar 29, 2013
Batista’s optimism, and that of his family, transformed JBS from being a mid-sized beef processor in Brazil to being the world’s largest meat and poultry company. The company now harvests every commercial species of animal, including goats. Its global revenue in 2012 was 76 billion reais (roughly $38 billion), up 22.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Mar 1, 2013
I recently had the pleasure of enjoying a Prime rib dinner with Scott George and J.D Alexander, respectively the incoming and outgoing presidents of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). We were attending the 10th annual Alberta Beef Industry Conference held at the majestic Banff Springs Hotel in the Canadian Rockies.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Feb 1, 2013
Plainview was the sixth largest plant on the Southern Plains and its idling causes 4,650 head of daily slaughter capacity to be lost to cattle feeders. But the market grossly over-reacted and Plainview’s absence will have little impact on Southern Plains’ live cattle prices this year.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Jan 4, 2013
It’s startling to realize that the U.S. has lost 14.5 million cattle since 1996. The beef industry has adjusted to the loss of these millions of cattle, notably by improving productivity per animal, better red meat yields and record heavy carcass weights for steers and heifers.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Dec 1, 2012
The U.S. faces a beef “deficit” in the coming year that will challenge every sector of the beef industry. I use the term “deficit” in that per capita beef consumption will decline relative to how much beef people would like to eat. USDA’s latest forecast is for available beef supplies in 2013 to be 54.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Nov 2, 2012
Much has already been written about the impact of the 2010-2011 Texas/Oklahoma-based drought and this year’s most widespread drought in 59-plus years. Drought has forced cow/calf operators to cull cows, retain fewer heifers than expected, and thus reduce their herds for another year.


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