Monthly Archives: April 2020

We Need More Small Plants

We Need More Small Plants

Kate Miller


Plant ownership is three business models in one: cattle buying, production operations, beef sales. Guys who jump into small plant ownership usually have ONE of these areas covered. Cattle social media spins this fairytale of plant ownership being easy—but the big four run them all out of business.

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Culling Tips:  Let Efficiency Lead on This Decision

Culling Tips:  Let Efficiency Lead on This Decision

Victoria G Myers

Progrsssive Farmer

She looks like a walking refrigerator. She probably weighs well over 1,500 pounds. Is she on the cull list come fall? Slow the roll. Weight isn’t all there is to efficiency in a cow herd today. Ryon Walker, livestock consultant at Noble Research Institute, says there’s a lot to consider when looking at how efficient a cow herd is overall. Weight is a starting point, but there are a few other things commercial producers should consider.

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Three Good Reasons for Early Castration of Bull Calves

Three Good Reasons for Early Castration of Bull Calves

Kevin Laurent

Ohio Beef Cattle Letter

These are challenging times market wise and it is easy to dwell on the negative and become complacent in our management. But in times like these we really need to explore every avenue to add value to our calves. If you watch the weekly market reports, you notice that we still have a significant number of intact bull calves being sold.

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Beef is in demand, so why are local cattle farmers in trouble?

Beef is in demand, so why are local cattle farmers in trouble?

Michael Wetzel

North Alabama cattle farmers are struggling to keep up with a surge in demand for beef, along with depressed prices. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a run on grocery stores, with meat being a key item most shoppers pick up. The Executive Vice President of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, Erin Beasley, said prices for consumers are soaring, grocery stores can barely keep up, but prices for feeder calves are down.

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MU Extension provides beef cattle breeding tips

MU Extension provides beef cattle breeding tips

Daily Star Journal

As cows transition from winter hay feeding to grazing spring grass with newborn calves by side, there are management targets cow/calf producers need to be aware of in order to maintain a successful level of ranch productivity.

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Namibia Becomes First African Nation To Export Beef To US

Namibia Becomes First African Nation To Export Beef To US

Palash Ghosh

International Business Times

Namibia, a country in southwestern Africa about the size of Texas, recently became the first African country to export beef to the U.S. In late February, Namibia’s state-owned Meatco sent 25 tons of beef to Philadelphia, after nearly two decades of arguments over safety regulations and logistics.

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Considerations for Slowing Feedlot Cattle Growth due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Considerations for Slowing Feedlot Cattle Growth due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Iowa Beef Center

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt cattle markets. Cash sales for the week of April 13-17 were depressed as packing plants operated at reduced capacity or shuttered their doors due to labor issues spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic. Having a market that will take finished cattle at a suitable date has become a concern. In addition, the current live market prices, and limited sale opportunities for fat steers have left many cattle feeders searching for solutions to reduce their economic loss.

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Managing Through a Black Swan

Managing Through a Black Swan

Kasey Brown

Angus Beef Bulleting Extra

COVID-19’s effect on increasing market volatility is certainly a black swan. Robin Reid, farm economist with K-State Research & Extension, explains that dairy, cattle and hogs have been hit the hardest due to processing trouble and the switch in demand.

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Virus is expected to reduce meat selection and raise prices

Virus is expected to reduce meat selection and raise prices


Yahoo News

Meat isn’t going to disappear from supermarkets because of outbreaks of the coronavirus among workers at U.S. slaughterhouses. But as the meat plants struggle to remain open, consumers could face less selection and slightly higher prices.

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U.S. senators scrutinize meat packers’ big profits during pandemic

U.S. senators scrutinize meat packers’ big profits during pandemic

Tom Polansek


U.S. senators are calling for investigations of record profit margins for beef processors like Tyson Foods (TSN.N) and Cargill, after ranchers complained surging meat prices due to coronavirus hoarding did not translate into higher cattle prices.

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What happens to beef if the Mexican border closes?

What happens to beef if the Mexican border closes?

Kerry Halladay

Western Livestock Journal

Ever wonder what would happen to the U.S. cattle and beef industry if the border with Mexico closed entirely? The possibility was raised on Friday, March 29, when President Donald Trump announced he would close the border with Mexico if certain immigration-related demands of his aren’t met. He acknowledged that the move could harm trade and the U.S. economy, but said, “We’re going to have security in this country. That’s more important than trade.”

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Synchronizing Estrus in Cattle

Synchronizing Estrus in Cattle

L.R. Sprott and B.B. Carpenter

Texas A&M University

Cows not conceiving will return to estrus again beginning about 18 to 25 days after the synchronization period. The females will still be synchronized to a slight degree, which gives a second chance to artificially inseminate each female in the early part of the breeding season. Without synchronization, the herd manager is faced with a 21-day period of continual estrus detection and only one opportunity for AI in most females.

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Spring Breeding Seasons Need to Stay On Time

Spring Breeding Seasons Need to Stay On Time

Glenn Selk


Spring breeding seasons need to stay on time. Traditionally spring breeding seasons in the Southern Plains begin about the first of May.  Many ranches breed the yearling replacement heifers starting in mid-April, allowing the first calf heifers to have an extra 2 weeks to return to heat cycles along with the mature cows the following year.

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Heifer Selection: The Road To Profitability

Heifer Selection: The Road To Profitability

Brad Wright

Frontline Beef Producer

Selecting the correct replacement heifers is the single-most important production factor affecting profitability of a beef operation. Heifers that are slow to breed, or worse, fail to breed in their first breeding season are set on a path to negatively affect your bottom line for the rest of their lives. Commercial producers that make their living off the backs of every factory in their pasture depend upon the seedstock breeders they buy their bulls from to have the same emphasis on fertility that they do. The heifers you pick today could impact the production and genetics of your herd for at least the next eight to 10 years, and a breeder cannot be profitable with a sub-fertile herd.

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From the Ground Up: Plant Closures Bottle Neck Beef Production

From the Ground Up: Plant Closures Bottle Neck Beef Production

Todd Carroll


Workers in meat processing plants pretty much work shoulder to shoulder and the Coronavirus outbreak has triggered the closing or slowdown of plants across the country. Pete Scarmardo is a local rancher and cattle buyer and says that the number of beef animals that are harvested daily has dropped from around 120,000 to around 90,000 and is creating a bottleneck in the beef supply chain.

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What an Oklahoma rancher wants you to know about America’s broken food supply system

What an Oklahoma rancher wants you to know about America’s broken food supply system

Kamau Bell


I first met Scott Blubaugh, the president of the Oklahoma Farmers Union, last year when I was filming an episode on family farms for this summer’s season of “United Shades of America.” There’s a lot of talk in this country of farmers as the backbone of America, and we were trying to separate the facts from the pickup truck commercial.

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Should you grow bigger beef calves amid pandemic?

Should you grow bigger beef calves amid pandemic?

Mindy Ward

Beef Magazine

The beef industry is in upheaval, and while it will take time to decide what shoulders the most blame — COVID-19 or the meat packing industry — beef cattle producers face a difficult question right now: “What should I do with my calves?”

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Business steady at Dickinson Cattle Company

Business steady at Dickinson Cattle Company

Brittany Grego


Dickinson Cattle Company is experiencing a high demand for meat products during the pandemic. However, processing plants are shut down and that’s causing a slight increase in prices. “We had a lot of inventory and we are very fortunate that we could provide food to a lot of people,” Darol Dickinson said.

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NMSU Extension beef heifer replacement project introduces youth to cattle industry

NMSU Extension beef heifer replacement project introduces youth to cattle industry

Jane Moorman

Las Cruces Sun News

Six youth from Bernalillo, Torrance and Valencia counties are on a 12-month journey learning about the cattle industry by participating in the New Mexico Beef Select Heifer Replacement Project. The youth are the second cohort to participate in the program offered by New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service in Valencia County.

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Fresh look:  The Fair Cattle Markets initiative

Fresh look:  The Fair Cattle Markets initiative

Tri State Livestock News

As cattle producers face supply chain uncertainty, tumbling markets and heightened tensions both within the industry and without, they’re looking for answers. They want answers to questions like, “Why are packers making more money than ever, while cattle feeders are losing it?” and “Why are there four major packers in operation in the United States—one less than there were in 1919 when President Wilson ordered the investigation that created the Packers and Stockyards Act—and it’s still not considered a monopoly?”

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