WLJ - Livestock Industry Opinions https://wlj.net/articles.sec-35-1-livestock-industry-opinions.html Tue, 25 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0600 en hourly 1 Beef Talk: A beef cow is what she eats https://wlj.net/article-35-beef-talk-a-beef-cow-is-what-she-eats.html Beef Talk: A beef cow is what she eats
Droughts are not new. I remember Dad recounting the 1930s and the experiences Grandpa had. Hay, or any feed, was scarce, and cows survived eating thistle (I expect Russian thistle) mixed with a fair bit of kochia. Dad’s only comment was to be sure to jump away when the cows lifted their tails....]]>
Navigating pathways to success https://wlj.net/article-35-navigating-pathways-to-success.html Navigating pathways to success
There are positive findings from the 2016 National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) released in mid-July. Among those are data showing a significant increase in Choice and Prime carcasses, a high mobility score for cattle entering packing plants, and the......]]>
Guest Opinion: Animal ID politics—A national disgrace https://wlj.net/article-35-guest-opinion-animal-id-politics%25E2%2580%2594a-national-disgrace.html Guest Opinion: Animal ID politics—A national disgrace
Politics is the tool. It is deployed frequently to disarm and frustrate reform—the behind-the-scenes maneuvering orchestrating opposition. Change is the enemy and those opposing change never say so. They warn the disrupters of moving too fast....]]>
Beef Talk: Pregnancy check cows early https://wlj.net/article-35-beef-talk-pregnancy-check-cows-early.html Beef Talk: Pregnancy check cows early
The upper Midwest’s dry to drought conditions have changed stocking rates, challenged pasture rotation schedules, hastened the end-grazing date, and limited cow and calf condition scores. Producers need to work through the present and take steps to minimize the effects of this year’s drought on next year’s production.


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Black Ink: Tools that work https://wlj.net/article-35-black-ink-tools-that-work.html Black Ink: Tools that work
You need to hang a picture on a wall. As you grab a hammer and swing, I bet you never find yourself thinking, “I sure hope this hammer will work.”You’ve selected the right tool for the job, you ...]]>
Beef Talk: When early weaning, adapt calves and provide right nutrition https://wlj.net/article-35-beef-talk-when-early-weaning-adapt-calves-and-provide-right-nutrition.html Beef Talk: When early weaning, adapt calves and provide right nutrition
This week, the Dickinson Research Extension Center began reducing inventory, selling 66 yearling steers at the local auction. Historically, we grazed these yearling steers into early December and then placed them in a feed yard for early spring finishing....]]>
The JBS decade https://wlj.net/article-35-the-jbs-decade.html The JBS decade
Despite the fact that JBS had enjoyed an impressive growth curve through Brazil and parts beyond for more than 50 years, the global meat giant was treated like the new kid on the block by the U.S. media when it first made “worthy” headlines in 2007....]]>
An organization's response to a vexing cattle market https://wlj.net/article-35-an-organizations-response-to-a-vexing-cattle-market.html An organization's response to a vexing cattle market
It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the beef cattle industry over the past year. For its part, the cattle market has certainly been aggravating. As a beef producer I know the limitations of what any of us at the ranch level can do individually to fully control profitability and assure that the bottom line has more black ink on it than red....]]>
Kay's Korner: Demand needs to remain strong https://wlj.net/article-35-kays-korner-demand-needs-to-remain-strong.html Kay's Korner: Demand needs to remain strong
As you read this, Americans will be preparing to grill what the beef industry hopes will be millions of steaks and hamburgers as they celebrate tomorrow’s July 4 Independence Day holiday. The holiday and the week leading up to it are the second largest such periods (after Memorial Day) for beef sales in terms of volume and dollars spent.


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Black Ink: Rise above the cycle https://wlj.net/article-35-black-ink-rise-above-the-cycle.html Black Ink: Rise above the cycle
You were supposed to respond to those crazy-good prices in 2014 by saving heifers—and thousands did—even though economists figured the cost of the pregnant female by the next spring was more than $2,200 per head. If you bought bred heifers that year, they may have cost $3,000, but what were their calves worth last fall? See? Too many calves already....]]>
AstroTurf: Not just for football https://wlj.net/article-35-astroturf-not-just-for-football.html AstroTurf: Not just for football

In the political world, the concept of AstroTurf has been around for years. Much the same way that actual AstroTurf simulates the look and feel of real grass (the obvious exception being Boise State’s Albertson’s Stadium—I’m not entirely sure what...



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Black Ink: Rise Above the Cycle https://wlj.net/article-35-black-ink-rise-above-the-cycle.html Black Ink: Rise Above the Cycle

You were supposed to respond to those crazy-good prices in 2014 by saving heifers—and thousands did—even though economists figured the cost of the pregnant female by the next spring was more than $2,200 per head. If you bought bred heifers that year, they may have cost $3,000, but what were their calves worth last fall? See? Too many calves already.



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Black Ink: Prime—Profitable and possible https://wlj.net/article-35-black-ink-prime%25E2%2580%2594profitable-and-possible.html Black Ink: Prime—Profitable and possible
“The last five years our percent Prime has doubled, and those spreads have stayed the same…the demand is there,” Williams says, fending off myths that it might be simply a factor of cattle numbers: “Weights are up, beef production hasn’t tailed off.”....]]>
The beef checkoff's digital ecosystem https://wlj.net/article-35-the-beef-checkoffs-digital-ecosystem.html The beef checkoff's digital ecosystem
You’ve managed the ecosystem of your farms and ranches since you started in the cattle business, likely putting most of the emphasis on the living things. There are living things in the digital ecosystem, too (you and me, for example). But it is the non-living things that take up most of the space: all those apps, photos, music, etc....]]>
Plan to have it made in the shade https://wlj.net/article-35-plan-to-have-it-made-in-the-shade.html Plan to have it made in the shade
It’s been an interesting year for climate, as we could tell halfway through the spring. A parade of wind storms, fires, blizzards and floods moved swiftly by, leaving every cattle farm and ranch to cope with those and the peculiarities of an early or late spring, with too little or too much moisture....]]>
Beef Talk https://wlj.net/article-35-beef-talk.html Beef Talk
The drought map is a product of a working relationship among the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, the USDA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This tool needs to be used and integrated into the cattle operation....]]>
Product News https://wlj.net/article-35-product-news.html Product News
Fresh green grass is a welcome sight come spring. However, early spring grass with limited growth or volume should be approached with caution when it’s used as the sole source of nutrition for recently-calved cows. With limited grass volume, cows can expend more protein and energy than they are taking in and lose body condition....]]>
Have your voice heard https://wlj.net/article-35-have-your-voice-heard.html Have your voice heard

I had the pleasure of joining my state cattlemen’s association for their mid-year meeting this past week in Montana. These meetings provide an invaluable opportunity to find out the latest issues pressing to your industry, network with other ranchers, share ideas/.



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Kay's Korner: All about supply and demand https://wlj.net/article-35-kays-korner-all-about-supply-and-demand.html Kay's Korner: All about supply and demand

In my 30 years of covering the U.S. cattle and beef markets, I’ve seen numerous ups and downs that sometimes defied logic. Notwithstanding claims about everything from packer power to a deviant futures market, my observation is that it’s invariably all about supply and demand.



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Beef Talk: Cattle, so why not sheep, too? https://wlj.net/article-35-beef-talk-cattle-so-why-not-sheep-too.html Beef Talk: Cattle, so why not sheep, too?

In fact, ecological advantages certainly result when cattle and sheep (and perhaps even goats) cohabitate on grasslands. However, suggesting that option usually produces some simple stares, and perhaps a shrug or two, and life continues.



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Opinion is not just wanted; it’s needed https://wlj.net/article-35-opinion-is-not-just-wanted-it%25E2%2580%2599s-needed.html Opinion is not just wanted; it’s needed
A constant drum beat in ag today is the call for ranchers to get involved. “Tell your story!” you’re told. But it can get overwhelming, particularly given the sheer volume of places and ways you can do that, not to mention the needs of running your operation....]]>
BeefTalk: Proactive cow penning https://wlj.net/article-35-beeftalk-proactive-cow-penning.html BeefTalk: Proactive cow penning

Selling this group creates opportunity for the remaining herd by lessoning the demands on the operation. Life does not always go the direction that we want. And so, there may be truth in the saying, “one person’s loss is another person’s gain.” But with good planning, both should gain, even if the challenge was not desired.



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Beef talk: Ponder this—$2,000 each for your steer crop https://wlj.net/article-35-beef-talk-ponder-this%25E2%2580%2594%25242000-each-for-your-steer-crop.html Beef talk: Ponder this—$2,000 each for your steer crop
Although some would say this is premature, now actually is the time to start thinking about cash flow and income the 2017 calf crop will generate. Many opportunities in the beef business exist when time is taken to explore, discuss and plan for them.....]]>
Guest opinion: Getting it right—A new approach to ag biotech https://wlj.net/article-35-guest-opinion-getting-it-right%25E2%2580%2594a-new-approach-to-ag-biotech.html Guest opinion: Getting it right—A new approach to ag biotech
Now, with $3 million allocated as part of the recent government funding bill, the Food and Drug Administration plans to launch a public outreach campaign regarding the benefits of agricultural biotechnology and biotech crops....]]>
Black Ink: Are we there yet? https://wlj.net/article-35-black-ink-are-we-there-yet.html Black Ink: Are we there yet?
I understand why it’s tempting for cattlemen to ask, “Do we have enough quality? Can we start selecting for something else?” Not yet, says the data. Let’s take just take the Prime grade for example. For the last decade, the average annual spread between Select and Prime ranged from $25 to $50/ cwt....]]>
Your beef checkoff https://wlj.net/article-35-your-beef-checkoff.html Your beef checkoff
We’ve all heard the old saying about the uselessness of closing the barn door—or the gate—after the cows get out....]]>
Beef talk: Cows pregnant again in 82 days https://wlj.net/article-35-beef-talk-cows-pregnant-again-in-82-days.html Beef talk: Cows pregnant again in 82 days
Assuming a 283-day gestation, if the cow that calved on April 1 wants to maintain her position as the first cow to calve on April 1, she only has 82 days to recoup from calving, start lactating and be cycling the day the bulls arrive in the pasture....]]>
Letter to the editor https://wlj.net/article-35-letter-to-the-editor.html Letter to the editor
In its op-ed article, (WLJ, May 1) the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) tries to draw attention away from the growing outcry for checkoff program reform by making The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) a boogeyman....]]>
On Target: Ranch environment and beef demand https://wlj.net/article-35-on-target-ranch-environment-and-beef-demand.html On Target: Ranch environment and beef demand
That sounds simple enough, but individuals vary their interpretations. Those who love to put more labor into it may select for twinning and double their output....]]>
Beef Talk: Why did the calf die? https://wlj.net/article-35-beef-talk-why-did-the-calf-die.html Beef Talk: Why did the calf die?
Typical statistics collected through the Cow Herd Appraisal Performance System (CHAPS) indicate a calf death loss of 3.6 percent is typical. Calculate that number by adding up the number of calves that died and divide by the total number of calves born....]]>