Aaaargh! A typo in the last issue of BEEF Stocker
Trends had the last confirmed BSE case being born AFTER the ban on
feeding ruminant protein. Dental records estimate the cow to be 10 years
old, which means she was born BEFORE the feeding ban. Sorry for the
June 5 Conference To Spotlight Iowa
Iowa State University (ISU) Extension's Value-Added Ag
Program and Iowa Beef Center (IBC) are teaming up to host "Growing
Iowa's Cattle Industry: Ethanol, Opportunities and Economic
Development." Set for June 5, the program will assist lenders,
economic-development leaders, and producers in exploring ways to work
together to expand Iowa's cattle feeding industry.
Set for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Building at 5400 University
Avenue in West Des Moines, the agenda begins at 9 a.m. The program
consists of panels addressing different facets of the cattle-production
Registration is $40 before May 30, and $50 after.
- The cattle industry and renewable energy economics.
- Overview of feedlot facilities, including design, costs, regulations
and community buy-in.
- Business and financial considerations.
- Management needs, with guest speakers from Iowa's premier feedlots.
For more info, visit www.iowabeefcenter.org or www.iavaap.org; or
call 515-294-BEEF or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S.- Japan Officials Meet On Beef
Next month is apparently the earliest Japan will come to
terms with the U.S. about resuming beef trade. Keep in mind, that's
coming to terms, not actually opening the gates.
That's based on U.S. officials meeting with their Japanese counterparts
in Tokyo last week. According to various reports, the Japanese last week
accepted USDA's audit of packing plants, and now will share the
information and gauge consumer comfort through a series of public
hearings. Presumably, after that will come Japanese inspection of
packing plants here.
Bottom line, the best guess for trade resumption continues to be later
than sooner. Even with access to the Japanese market though, it won't
change the fundamentals of the weakening beef market here (see next
In the meantime, U.S. officials also concluded preliminary negotiations
with China last week to hammer out a deal for resuming beef exports to
White Papers Issued From 2006
White papers focusing on foot-and-mouth disease, avian
influenza and BSE are available for download from www.theisef.com. The
papers are the result of think tanks held during the International
Livestock Congress (ILC) in Houston, TX, in March.
"These white papers are the results of weeks of effort by our think-tank
participants in coming to thoughtful conclusions about the effects and
management of these diseases," says Rod Bowling, who chaired the
program, "Global Prevention and Management of Foreign Animal Disease."
The International Stockmen's Educational Foundation (ISEF) was created
in 1986 to conduct and support educational events that will benefit
stockmen internationally. ISEF sponsors the ILC each year in Houston,
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No Betting On The Come... For
"The last few years, time has usually saved you if
you're a margin operator (feeder or stocker), now it will be against
you," says Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock
marketing specialist. "There's no more betting on the come."
That's the quintessential summary of cattle-industry economics now
compared to last year. The market is running away from margin operators
because supplies are increasing significantly relative to demand.
"The biggest difference today than at this time last year is we have
about 10% more cattle on feed heading into the summer, which is record
large for this time of year," explains Mike Miller, Cattle-Fax director
of research and education.
Not only is a wall of increased supply set to hit the market during what
are historically the softest market months of the year, it's coming at a
time when high breakevens already have feeders losing around $100/head
(more on yearlings, less on calf-feds, Miller says).
However, Peel believes the record April 1 cattle-on-feed numbers make
reality appear darker than it actually is. Though numbers are up, he
says it's not because the cattle inventory is 9%-10% larger than
predicted but because more calves were forced into the feedlot earlier
than anticipated by drought and a lack of stocker pasture.
"We started the year with a cattle inventory 1.7% larger than in 2005.
We'll add maybe another 1-1.5% to those numbers with feeder calves from
Canada. So, we have the capability for feeder cattle supplies to be
4-4.5% larger this year, but not 9%," Peel says.
Either way, Miller adds, "We're still in really good shape from a demand
perspective, but probably not good enough to offset the supplies we see
coming toward us."
In fact, retail beef demand is down 4.5% through the first quarter,
according to preliminary Beef Demand Index figures. Consumption is
actually up slightly, but a sharp decline in inflation-adjusted prices
means demand is down, but still well ahead of 1998 when it finally
turned the corner.
Analysts like Nevil Speer at Western Kentucky University wouldn't be
surprised to see beef demand suffer more under the collective weight of
record and near-record supplies of poultry and pork. That's on top of
high fuel prices that increase the price of all consumer products, while
making consumer wallets lighter to start with.
For anyone who thinks the outlook would be at least twice as bright if
politics and ineptitude hadn't conspired to keep international beef
trade in limbo, both Peel and Miller say having the international
markets fully engaged would undoubtedly provide a psychological lift.
However, it probably wouldn't have changed the industry's current
position from a fundamental standpoint.
Watch For Toxic Effects Of Stressed
As if running out of feed wasn't challenging enough,
drought grows plant toxicity and its potential for poisoning livestock.
"Stressed pastures bring out toxic plant problems in several ways," says
Dave Sparks, DVM, Oklahoma State University Extension food animal
quality and health specialist. "At these times, toxic plants become more
prevalent. Many toxic plants are able to withstand the stress of
overgrazing better than more palatable forage plants. As the stress on
the pasture continues, decreased competition means greater populations
of toxic plants. Many of the toxic plants become more toxic under stress
conditions such as drought or overgrazing."
In the same May 12 "OSU Cow-Calf Corner" article, (cowcalfcorner.okstate.edu/upcoming.htm), Sparks
explains short forage can also cause protein, energy, mineral or vitamin
deficiencies. These, in turn, make cattle more vulnerable to plant
Though there's no preventing drought, stocker producers can take steps
to manage the risk of potential livestock poisoning that comes with
increased plant toxicity.
Specifically, Charles Hart, Texas A&M University Extension (range
specialist) and Bruce Carpenter (livestock specialist), say producers
should learn how to identify toxic plants, use effective grazing and
livestock management practices and take measures to control the plants
As for identifying toxic plants, livestock symptoms and all of the rest,
check out the Toxic Plant Database at: (texnat.tamu.edu/CMPLANTS/toxic/index.htm).
Once you've identified the toxic plants, Hart and Carpenter say these
steps can help prevent poisoning:
Go to farwest.tamu.edu/rangemgt/pdfs/Drought5.pdf
for more details in a fact sheet by Hart and Carpenter.
- Practice good grazing management, which is probably the most
effective way to deal with potential toxic plant problems.
- Use effective livestock-management practices, such as closely
observing animals new to an area, grazing with the proper class of
livestock, and implementing proper supplemental feeding strategies.
- Recognize when plant control is necessary and what type of control
is best. Control strategies that target infestations before they become
large problems are generally the most economical.
An open-and-shut case.
The case for Strategic Parasite Control is stronger than ever.
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flukes and other internal and external parasites with
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Weather And Crops
Pasture Starts Season Further
Timely rains across the Southern Plains earlier this
month lifted spirits and bought some producers more time to weigh their
options, but it's still plenty dry.
"On a regional basis, pasture and range conditions in the Southern
Plains are significantly worse compared to prior years, despite recent
moisture," explain folks at the Livestock Marketing Information Center.
"As of mid-May, about 42% of all pasture and rangeland was considered as
poor or very poor compared to only 21% last year and the 2000-2004
average of 22%."
The same goes for the Western region where 8% more of the pasture is
ranked as poor or very poor (18%) compared to last year, and in the
Southeast where 13% is less than fair compared to 6% last year.
Likewise, drought is already taking a bite out of some crops. As an
example, the Ag Marketing Service reported last week, "Harvest (for red
winter wheat) is already underway in drought-stricken Texas, which will
harvest the fewest acres in the state since 1925."
For the week ending May 14, according to the National Ag Statistics
At this stage of the game, pasture conditions are
lagging last year on average: Nationally, 52% was
rated good or better compared to 55% during the same week last year,
while 20% was deemed poor or worse compared to 12% last year.
- Corn -- 85% of the acreage has been
planted, which is 3% behind last year and 8% ahead
of the normal pace; 44% has emerged, which is 5% ahead of last year and 4% ahead of normal.
- Soybeans -- 33% is planted, 10% behind last year and 2% behind the five-year average;
9% has emerged, which is 1%
back of last year and the average.
- Winter wheat -- 62% was at or beyond the
heading stage. That's 7% ahead of last year and 7%
ahead of the normal pace. In Kansas -- the largest producing state --
85% was at or beyond the heading stage, 17% ahead of normal.
- Spring wheat -- 79% of the crop is in the
ground, which is 9% behind last year but 7% ahead of
the average; 46% of the crop has emerged, compared to 53% last year and 42% for the five-year
- Barley -- 78% of seeding is complete; 4% behind last year but 7% ahead of normal. Emergence advanced to 36%, 10% off last
year's pace and 5% behind normal.
- Sorghum -- 34% of the acreage is
sown, which is 7% ahead of last year and 4% ahead of
- Oats -- 94% of planting is complete, which is 1% behind last year but 6% ahead of the
States with the worst pasture conditions -- acreage rated poor or worse
-- early on aren't much of a surprise, being areas where drought has
lingered or eased back into gear: Arizona (76%), Colorado (48%),
Florida (65%), Kansas (30%), New Mexico (59%), Oklahoma (39%) and Texas
On the wet side of the fence, states with the most lush pasture
conditions -- rated good or better -- include: Alabama (85%), Arkansas
(54%), California (100%), Georgia (54%), Idaho (82%), Illinois (86%),
Indiana (82%), Iowa (73%), Kentucky (75%), Louisiana (55%), Maine (74%),
Maryland (54%), Michigan (62%), Minnesota (83%), Mississippi (73%),
Montana (63%), Nebraska (54%), Nevada (97%), North Carolina (55%), North
Dakota (62%), Ohio (72%), Oregon (71%), South Carolina (54%), South
Dakota (63%), Tennessee (73%), Utah (87%), Washington (86%), West
Virginia (50%), Wisconsin (74%) and Wyoming (54%).
Don't take a chance. Treat all incoming cattle with
IVOMEC® Plus (ivermectin/clorsulon)
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Record Cattle-On-Feed Numbers
While not necessarily unexpected, the more bearish
prognosticators were exonerated Friday with the most recent USDA
Cattle-On-Feed report pegging the May 1 inventory at 9% more than a year
earlier (11.6 million head). That inventory is 11% higher than two years
ago and is the largest for the period since the series began in 1996.
April placements were 2% below last year (2% above 2004), while fed
cattle marketings for the month were down slightly from a year earlier
(5% less than in 2004).
That news came after the week's trade, though, which saw recent rains
and improved pasture prospects boost stocker cattle and calf prices as
much as $5/cwt. According to USDA's Ag Marketing Service, yearling
prices jumped $2-4/cwt. last week, buoyed at least in part by tight
yearling supplies and higher futures prices on the week. Likewise, when
the fed-cattle trade broke on Friday, feedlots pressed buyers for
another $1-$1.50 compared to the week prior ($79-$79.50).
For the next several months, corn promises to play a more pivotal role
in cattle prices. USDA's first supply and demand outlook for feed grains
this year (www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde/latest.txt)
estimates the corn crop at 10.55 billion bu., 5% below last year. Total
estimated corn supply at 12.8 billion bu. is down 3%, partially offset
by beginning stocks.
On the other side of the net equation, corn usage is projected to climb
6% to a record 11.6 billion bu. For perspective, domestic corn use for
ethanol grew 34% last year (2.15 billion bu.) and exports increased by
6% (also 2.15 billion bu.).
The estimated ending stocks of 1.1 billion bu. are half of a year ago.
Sum it all up and USDA's initial report estimates corn prices in
2006-2007 to range from $2.25 to $2.65/bu., compared the 2005-2006 range
of $1.95 to $2.05.
If USDA's estimates are close, and if it's true that a 50¢ increase
in the bushel price of corn (relative to same fed-cattle price) lowers
the price of a 550-lb. steer by $7.50/cwt., you'd think buying leverage
for calves might pick up a notch.
The summary below reflects the week ended May 19 for Medium
and Large 1 -- 500- to 550-lb., 600- to 650-lb., and 700- to 750-lb.
feeder heifers and steers (unless otherwise noted). The list is
arranged in descending order by auction volume and represents sales
reported in the weekly USDA National Feeder and Stocker Cattle Summary:
| State|| Volume ||Steers || Heifers
| Calf Weight|| 500-550 lbs. || 600-650 lbs.
|| 700-750 lbs.
|| 500-550 lbs.
|| 600-650 lbs. ||
700-750 lbs. |
| OK || 30,900
||$118.90 || $106.90 || $115.45 || $105.51
|| $96.64 |
| TX ||24,000 || $122.49
|| $111.02 ||
|| $100.17 || $92.49 |
| MO || 21,400 || $128.36 || $120.57 || $108.88 || $118.29 || $109.09 || $97.18 |
| KY* ||17,800 || $114-124 ||
$105-115 || $91-1005 || $106-116 || $93-1033 || $83.50-935 |
| KS ||10,500 || $122.522 || $121.57 || $107.31
|| $122.11 ||$106.58 || $103.02 |
| SD ||10,000
|| $122.172 || $121.57 || $109.81 || $113.632
|| $109.24 || $105.46 |
| AL ||9,100
|| $106-113 ||
|| $97-107 || $92-1014 |
| TN* ||7,600 || $118.48 ||$108.93 || $98.33 || $109.90 ||$99.04 || $95.514 |
| AR ||7,600
|| $111.73 || $101.77 || $111.36 ||
$105.34 || $95.98 |
| GA*(***) ||7,300 || $105-123 ||
$95-114 || $86-99 || $96-125 || $88-109 || $90-1014
| FL ||5,200
|| $100-1112 ||
|| $92-1132 || **
| MS* ||4,400 || $105-1151 || $95-1053 || $85-95 || $95-1051 ||$84-953 || ** |
| NE ||4,300 || $133.58 || $122.82 || $111.42 || $120.60 || $114.50 || $104.02 |
||4,200 || $104-122 ||
$92-1133 || $85-975 || $97-118 || $80-118 || $75-965 |
| CO ||3,200
|| $115.44 || $100.26 || ** ||$91.55** || $89.14 |
| LA*ND ||3,200 || $104-122 ||
** || $95-118 ||
$98-1152 || ** |
| NM* ||2,500 || $114.252 || $109.17 || $102.68 || ** ||$107.802 || ** |
| VA ||2,500
|| $112.19 || $108.504
|| $111.162 || $100.214/sup>
| WA* ||1,700 || $116.132 || $114.10 || ** ||
** ||$106.47 || ** |
| MT ||3,200
** || $110.772
||** || $102.35 |
* Plus 2
** None reported at this weight or near weight
(***) Steers and bulls
Questions & Comments
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