Daily Archives: May 14, 2007

When NOT to call your vet

When NOT to call your vet

In this audio podcast, Dr. Arn Anderson, Cross Timbers Animal Hospital, Bowie, TX, explains there are times to call you vet and other times not to.

Click Here to play podcast.

Cost Effective Feedlot Facility Design

Cost Effective Feedlot Facility Design

by Jeff Pastoor, Senior Cattle Consultant


 Summer is an excellent time for building, remodeling, or fixing up feedlot facilities because of fewer cattle in the yard and dryer conditions.  Proper facility design and maintenance has a very big impact on cattle performance in the upper Midwest, mainly through the control of mud.

This is the time to get the scraper out and groom your lots and mounds to ensure proper drainage.  Any time water has a chance to sit in the yard, a mud hole will be sure to follow.  Be sure to rebuild your mounds so that cattle have a dry place to lie during muddy periods, and that there is a dry path for cattle to get to the mound.  Mounds can also serve as areas for cattle to catch a breeze in the summer and to get out of the wind in the winter by lying below the crest.


COOL More Valuable As A Non-Reality

COOL More Valuable As A Non-Reality

Troy Marshall

Beef Magazine

Few issues have been more controversial and divisive in the cattle industry than country-of-origin labeling (COOL). With the 2007 farm bill debate heating up, its front-and-center position is assured.

There already have been attempts by some to link COOL in the upcoming farm bill to USDA’s 30-months-of-age rule regarding imported Canadian cattle. We can expect the issue to be raised in a number of ways both pro and con.

First, we must accept that COOL has never been about COOL. Everyone agrees the law is terribly written, but COOL supporters have never wanted it corrected because they fear its defeat if reopened. Meanwhile, COOL opponents don’t want the measure fixed because a more workable law might get it implemented.


Feeding Distillers Grains to Beef Cattle

Feeding Distillers Grains to Beef Cattle

Justin Sexten, Extension Specialist, Animal Systems/Beef

University of Illinois

According to the Renewable Fuel Association (2003) nearly half of the U.S. fuel alcohol production occurs in Illinois and states immediately adjacent. In 2001 approximately 1.8 billion gallons of ethanol were produced in the U.S. and ethanol production is projected to reach four billion gallons this year. Distiller’s grains plus solubles (DGS) is a feed co-product produced in wet and dry forms as a result of ethanol production. As ethanol production continues to increase optimizing DGS utilization in beef, dairy and swine rations will benefit Illinois livestock, corn and alcohol producers.


Nevil Speer, MMP: Fasten Your Seatbelt! There’s Ethanol Ahead

Nevil Speer, MMP: Fasten Your Seatbelt! There’s Ethanol Ahead


Steady money.  That’s been the overriding sentiment within the fed market over the past several weeks.   Recall last month participants were buzzing about $100 sales.  That appears to be the spring high:  the following week business trended $1-3 lower with most sales at the $98 level.   The market then knocked another couple of dollars off the top and fed trade plugged along at $96 for several weeks in a row.  And May’s first full week of business finished with cattle being valued at $96-7.  At the surface the market is seemingly comfortable at current levels.

A look underneath the surface, though, reveals some churning and disruption as it pertains to margins.  For example, fed trade’s $98 in mid-April came as cattle feeders relinquished $2 while the Choice cutout gained nearly a whopping $13 versus the previous week.   Needless to say, packer margins soared amidst that arrangement.   Turnabout is fair play:   the following three weeks witnessed the Choice cutout giving those gains back.   However, cattle feeders hung on to steady money. 


Creep feeds may not be beneficial for producers this year

Creep feeds may not be beneficial for producers this year

Western Livestock Journal

Many producers creep feed calves in an effort to increase weaning weights and, hopefully, increase the calf’s value when sold.

There are many advantages to creep feeding calves and many situations in which it can be a profitable practice. However, this year in particular, the changing economic factors can significantly affect potential profitability and it will be important for producers to consider many things before they choose to creep feed calves.

To ensure profitability, producers need to seriously consider all of the factors associated with creep feeding. When planning, be sure to consider feed and labor costs, pasture quality, cow genetics and potential, current sale weights, and body condition of cows.

“This is a situation where the last four or five years, the calf and grain prices allowed for creep feeding to be a profitable practice,” said Dr. Greg Lardy, beef extension specialist at North Dakota State University. “This year, however, will be a lot different in terms of economics.”

Creep feeding helps to supplement the milk from cows during the grazing season. It has the potential to increase weaning weights, it introduces calves to feed which may help to reduce shrink at weaning, the calf should come onto grain easier when placed in a dry lot, and the early introduction to different feedstuffs may help to increase the animal’s immunity. Additionally, the creep feed can be used to supplement feed nutrients that are lacking in the forage.


Cow Calf: The Principle Of “Value of Added Gain”

Cow Calf: The Principle Of “Value of Added Gain”


The decision to include a management practice that adds weaning weight to calves should be based on two parts of the business equation.  1) What is the value of the added weaning weight gain achieved from the new management practice?   2) How much did I spend on the practice to produce the added weaning weight available for sale?

The “value of added gain”

A commonly misunderstood principle in the cattle business is that of the “value of added gain.”  There is a natural tendency to believe that when the calf prices are good that any extra weight put on those calves will also have a very high price.  Likewise, many producers cut back on management techniques that would add weight to calves when cattle prices are low.  However, there are some financial principles during cattle cycles that make us constantly re-evaluate the current value of added gain.