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Livestock Marketing
Crop rotation fits like glove

Mike Adkins grows five crops at Rochester, Texas, with irrigation available for all.

Cattle market has positives

A weak U.S. dollar has encouraged investment in commodities, resulting in a positive picture for agriculture — including cattle producers.

Making moolah with Moo Doo

After five generations and 1,500-plus acres of much loved Middlebury, Vt., land, the Foster Brothers’ spirit of ingenuity is very much alive. As Robert “Bob” Foster, the family spokesman, puts it, “We’re just being true to our ever-resourceful Yankee heritage.”

Cattle prices rally to tight supplies, consumer demand

As fed cattle prices hit $1 a pound during April, it signaled strength in all facets of the cattle market, as well as improving consumer demand, says a Texas AgriLife Extension Service livestock and food products economist.

Producer uses DNA to improve bull sales

With improvements in genetic testing and computer software, beef seedstock producers are able to fine-tune bull performance data to commercial cattlemen’s needs.

Ranchers ride out tough bull market

Economic woes reach beyond Wall Street, even down country roads to bull sales.

A promising partnership

To help revitalize pizza sales, the dairy checkoff has partnered with Domino’s Pizza. As a result, other pizza chains, including Pizza Hut and Papa John’s, are taking notice and are offering more cheese-focused promotions.

Dairy checkoff dollars beef up sales

To drive dairy innovation at the food-service level and beyond, the dairy checkoff has partnered with McDonald’s to promote McCafe specialty coffee beverages, Angus burgers and single-serve milk in plastic, resealable containers.

This year’s cattle market depends upon economy

In the cattle market, 2009 was another year of turmoil, as the overall economic and financial crisis kept a lid on prices. The economic crisis followed an extended adjustment in the industry caused by the high feed costs that began in late 2006. As if that wasn’t enough to deal with, severe drought continued in central and southern Texas, further cutting into herds.

Will dairy industry fare better in 2010?

The past year was one of the worst years ever for the dairy industry. Milk prices collapsed at the beginning of the year. What made it worse than past years with low milk prices is that feed and other costs were so high. The most important question is “How much light is there at the end of the tunnel in 2010?”

Rapid-fire bidding of 175 bulls at Bradley 3 Ranch sale

The spring 2010 Bradley 3 Ranch sale sold 175 bulls for a powerful average of $4,412. The top-notch Angus bulls were thick and sound, and offered calving ease backed by generations of known performance.

Getting a bigger slice from beef

You remember the Flat Iron, Ranch Steak and other value-added beef cuts discovered within the shoulder clod that were unveiled nearly a decade ago. The beef industry estimates those cuts added $50 to $75 per head more in value to the carcass.

High-quality cattle get spotlight

Video cattle auctions, long a novelty, are now a staple of the livestock industry.

2011 Ag Outlook

We spent most of 2010 catching our breath from the pummeling that milk prices took in 2009. While last year’s prices weren’t great, most farms were at least cash-flowing again.

Beef production decline continues

U.S. beef production rises and falls in cycles of 8 to 12 years duration. Keep that in mind as you go into 2011.

They’re ‘bullish’ on bison

The future of the buffalo industry looks brighter than it has in 15 years, says Frank Kralicek Jr., Yankton, S.D.

Lamb continues strong

Lamb prices set a record high in 2010, which is welcome news for producers after several years of depressed prices. The last record-high year for slaughter-lamb prices was 2005. The 2010 prices exceeded that old record by more than 15%. Slaughter-lamb prices were 25% higher than the depressed prices of 2009, and feeder-lamb prices were 33% higher.

Online livestock sales heat up

Many farmers, maybe even you, are jumping on the information superhighway, selling cattle, hogs, horses, sheep and goats online. It now makes sense to develop farm websites and post pictures and videos of animals for sale.

Texas A&M, OSU tool helps producer make

Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Oklahoma State University have developed a decision aid to help cattle producers make difficult culling decisions caused by extreme drought.

R.A. Brown Ranch sale posts strong averages

The 37th annual R.A. Brown Ranch Sale was like an oasis in the desert at Throckmorton, Texas.

Dudley Bros.’ 50th bull sale brings in more than $465K

Despite the worst stretch of drought in Texas history, this fall’s Dudley Bros. 50th Anniversary Bull Sale attracted a capacity crowd to the Comanche ranch headquarters, and bulls fetched top prices.

Value-added ag grows markets

With nearly 14 million acres of corn expected to yield more than 2.2 billion bushels when harvested in Iowa this fall, there is no doubt corn is king. In fact, there are more corn acres in Iowa than all other crops combined. However, more and more producers in Iowa are looking for ways to expand markets for the crops they produce by developing value-added opportunities.

A livestock legal update

There have been several important court cases in the past year or two involving Iowa livestock producers. This column will focus on a few of those situations and, hopefully, shed some light on how livestock producers can avoid similar legal issues and subsequent litigation.

Ranchers share tips of trade at meeting

No matter the form of education, a person pays tuition. Colleges, online courses, seminars and conferences always charge a fee, but the most expensive tuition usually comes from experience.

Could sheep become a new profit niche?

Whether you’ve ever raised any livestock, particularly sheep, or not, or swore you never would, this story is worth reading!

Farmer trades hogs for goats

John Emmert once stood in the midst of more than 1,000 pigs. Now he walks along pastures surrounded by red Boer goats. Emmert isn’t alone in the livestock switch. He knows of three other former hog operators now raising goats. Over the years the Emmerts gained a long string of awards and titles for dedication and involvement with the swine industry. Now, his family is making a name in the meat goat industry.

Packer ban bill introduced

Two years ago this spring, 900 people (many of them farmers) crowded into an auditorium in Des Moines for one of several public hearings across the country addressing competition and antitrust issues in agriculture. The hearings were held by USDA and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Beef brands bring big business

The word “Angus” has become synonymous with a good-tasting steak. That’s not to say that other breeds don’t turn out excellent products. But consumers have been conditioned to think quality when they hear the word “Angus.” It’s likely one reason why black cattle sell better at feeder auctions.

Valentine Livestock Auction celebrates reaching milestone

Ranchers and investors around Valentine reached a milestone recently. A group of stockholders who resurrected Valentine Livestock Auction in 1992 were able to burn the mortgage on their new sale barn facility opened in 2003.

Drought to further hinder protein sector

This year’s growing season was being compared to the drought of 1988, but as Michael Scuse, USDA undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, made several stops in Michigan to meet with agricultural leaders and growers in mid-July, the consensus was it’s even worse.

Change brings challenge for sheep producer

In order for Henry Shultz to embark on his latest sheep endeavor, he had to wait until his daughters moved out of the house.

Ag not immune to financial crisis

As 2009 closed out to 2010, the American farmer was faring better than other segments of the economy. However, agriculture continues to suffer problems centered around the collapse of credit from commercial lenders afflicted by the subprime contagion.

Carrs help teach next-generation grass managers

Jim Carr, Atkinson, has been a rangeland manager in the making since his days on the high school FFA range-judging team, and he’s determined to help the next generation of farmers and ranchers become successful grass managers.

How organic dairies differ

Large organic dairies are much more likely to generate returns above capital and labor costs, suggesting that organic milk production will migrate toward larger operations, as has conventional production, according to a USDA Economic Research Service costs study. The smallest organic operations use much more unpaid labor, accounting for most of this cost difference.

Fall calving brings more bull sales

Calving season comes around twice a year at the Spickler Ranch near Glenfield, N.D. They calve 450 cows from March 15 to May 15 and 150 cows from Aug. 10 to Oct. 10.

BQA adds value

Drew Gaffney does more than preach to Nebraska producers about the value of Beef Quality Assurance. He pockets an extra $20 per head in value at market time by practicing BQA principles in his cow-calf and yearling operation.

Beef economist sees bullish times

Randy Blach, CEO of CattleFax, Centennial, Colo., delivered a message of optimism to Missouri beef producers. The beef industry economist shared his latest outlook on the state of the U.S. beef industry at the 2010 Missouri Cattlemen’s Association meeting in Columbia.

‘Premium’ beef began with one man’s tough steak

No matter what breed, type or color of cattle you raise, there’s no escaping the fact that the Certified Angus Beef program changed how all beef cattle are promoted and marketed. As with most paradigm-changing events, it began with the strong convictions of a few individuals.

Beef program helps producers ‘PEP’ up their bottom line

Helping beef producers become more profitable and identifying methods to make an operation more efficient are just two goals associated with a program offered by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

Heritage hogs bring new markets

Tom Primmer says that living through the ag crisis of the 1980s taught him how to deal with adversity. “I look closely at my expense and debt load,” he says. “I try to keep it as low as I can.”

Watch high producers closely

It’s as plain as the numbers in your milking reports. Cows in early lactation are generally more profitable than cows later in lactation.

Don’t take shortcuts in feeding minerals

Mark Williams of Loomis believes minerals are overlooked on most cow-calf operations. Not his.

‘Black attack’ is a beef game-changer

Joel “Jay” Reach loves to promote his black cattle — at Reach Simmental. “They bring a $50- to $100-per-head premium any day at auction, and all the way to the meat counter.”

New finishing barn offers cattle comfort

Lawrence area farmer and rancher Zach Herz has built a cattle finishing barn that could be the first in a beef feeding revolution. The bedded manure-pack barn is one of the first in the state, but if more farmers and ranchers build similar structures, beef feeding could move from the feedlot to the farm.

Full service

Advanced genetic technology is not confined to the crop production arena, as evidenced by the pens, new housing barns, office building and labs at Nebraska Bull Service, four miles north of McCook.

Sheep keep soil in place at Green Dirt Farm

Military families know the drill. At the end of three or four years in one location, it’s time to pack up the house and move on to another destination. Each move brings new opportunities, people to meet and places to discover.