Japan's Open, but...
The first shipments of U.S. beef reportedly went to
Japan last week. That following the July 27 announcement that Japan's
ban on U.S. beef was lifted, at least for boneless beef from cattle 21
months old or younger.
There wasn't much pop in the market, though, for obvious reasons,
including the fact that little volume is expected to move that direction
More than anything, U.S. producers rightfully have little confidence in
the Japanese market remaining open without additional hiccups. Japan's
Health Minister, Jiro Kawasaki, underscored that notion when he told the
Japan Times July 28 that if any specified-risk materials (SRMs)
are found in a shipment, the ban would be re-imposed.
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Program Feeding Could Provide
Though still a novel concept to most cow-calf producers,
a growing number of stocker operators are utilizing program feeding to
work their way around a lack of forage, and to improve the
predictability of cattle performance.
In fact, barring lots of late-summer and early-fall rains, Dave Lalman,
Oklahoma State University (OSU) Extension beef cattle specialist, sees
program feeding as the primary opportunity for stocker operators in his
neck of the woods.
"It's serious and getting more serious every day," Lalman says of his
area's environmental conditions. "If an operator has the facilities,
skill and ambition, it's another year -- like 1998 -- when feeding with
corn and a supplement, or with corn and commodities, can achieve a
respectable cost of gain."
In fact, at current prices, Lalman says, "We can develop a program
ration for $110 to $120/ton, another $10/ton if you have someone else do
the blending. That's 6¢/lb. for feed with conversions of 5:1 to
For producers with little or no program-feeding experience, Lalman
advises, "You have to go into it with the right mindset and understand
the principle behind it. You're feeding a high-energy ration but only
about two-thirds to three-quarters of what the cattle would eat ad
libitum... It won't work on pasture because you have to control what
the cattle consume.
"Program feeding is all about you deciding what you want the cattle to
consume and to gain...You can't be sloppy. You have to feed every day at
about the same time, and have the capacity to feed the right amount; you
can't guess at it," he adds.
You can find a complete description of the practice, as well as sample
rations, in the OSU Extension fact sheet CR-3025 at www.OSUextra.com.
Shade Makes A Difference
Shade may not be an issue for many cattle producers
because it's already part of the pasture system, says Ohio State
University's (OSU) Rory Lewandowski. But for those who may be in the
position to decide if shade is or isn't provided to cattle, the possible
advantages and disadvantages of shade must be considered, along with
other methods that cattle might have to cope with heat stress, writes
the Athens County Extension educator.
In a review of shade research in a recent OSU newsletter, Lewandowski
shares the results of a 1970s OSU study that found, over a four-year
period, that steers grazing summer pasture gained 19 lbs. more on
average if they had access to shade than if they didn't. More
specifically, if there were only 30 days when the temperature was
85ºF. or higher -- and when the temperature combined with humidity
totaled 130 or more -- the gain advantage was only 4 lbs. In years when
the threshold of 130 was met or surpassed 50-60 days, the advantage in
gain was 27-30 lbs. if shade was available.
You can access Lewandowski's article at fairfield.osu.edu/ag/beef/beefJly26.html.
Don't take a chance. Treat all incoming cattle with
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Liver flukes are spreading and every load of incoming cattle could be
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Weather And Crops
Record Heat Continues
"Every summer seems hotter than the last, but few cattle
producers can remember a year when so many areas were suffering from
all-time record heat and drought conditions at the same time," say Ag
Marketing Service analysts.
"Plains pastures are parched from North Dakota to south Texas and from
the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. Northern Plains ranchers
are weaning calves a good 60 days early in an attempt to conserve enough
grass to allow them to maintain their cow herds. These producers have
spent generations improving the quality and performance of their cattle
to ensure weaning weights well over 600 lbs. in a normal year. But
normal years have become abnormal and many of this year's calves will be
pulled off the cows weighing under 400 lbs.," the reporters say.
In dry parts where standing forage or hay can be found, it's getting too
expensive to be considered a solution. And as some folks in the Dakotas
told us last week, though feed is a problem, the driving force in some
areas is a lack of water; ponds and dugouts gone dry or shallow and of
harmfully poor quality. And with diesel at and over $3/gal., hauling
feed in or finding cattle a temporary home is losing its appeal.
For the week ending July 31, the National Agricultural Statistics
Service (NASS) reports:
, which is the same as last year and 9% ahead
of average. 25% advanced to the Dough Stage, compared to 24% last year and 21% for the five-year
average. 56% is rated Good or better, compared to 53% last year.
- Corn -- 91% is at or beyond the silking
Soybeans -- Blooming has begun on 87% of the
acreage, 2% behind last year, but 6% ahead of
normal. Blooming was at or ahead of normal in all states but Indiana.
53% was setting pods, 1% ahead
of last year and 12% ahead of normal. 53% is rated
Good or better; 54% was at the same time last
Winter Wheat -- 91% of the acreage has been
harvested. That's 3% ahead of last year and 4%
ahead of the normal pace.
Spring Wheat -- 22% of the crop is in the
bin, which is 15% ahead of last year and 16% ahead
of the five-year average. 32% is rated Good or
better, compared to 68% last year.
Barley -- Heading advanced to 96%, compared to 99% at this time last year and 98% for
normal. 51% is rated Good or
better, compared to 72% last year.
Sorghum -- 52% of the acreage is in the heading
stage, which is 2% ahead of last year and 3% ahead
of average. 23% was at or beyond turning color, 3% ahead of last year and 2% ahead of normal. 32% is ranked Good or better, compared
to 48% last year.
Oats -- 55% of the acreage is harvested, which is 9% ahead of last year and 17% ahead of
average. 31% is rated Good or better, compared to 61% last year.
Pasture -- 20% is rated Good and 3% is rated
Excellent, compared to 34% and 5%, respectively
last year. 24% is rated Poor and 24% is ranked Very
Poor, compared to 18% and 10% respectively at the
same time last year.
States with the worst pasture conditions -- at least 30% of the acreage
rated poor or worse -- include: Alabama (82%); Arizona (81%); Arkansas
(48%); Colorado (67%); Georgia (65%); Iowa (48%); Kansas (52%); ;
Minnesota (65%); Mississippi (59%); Missouri (66%); Montana (39%);
Nebraska (70%); New Mexico (57%); North Dakota
(71%); Oklahoma (72%);
South Carolina (31%); South Dakota (70%); Tennessee (39%); Texas (74%); Wisconsin (54%); and Wyoming (71%).
States with the lushest pasture conditions -- at least 40% rated good or
better -- include: Florida (60%); Idaho (58%); Illinois (49%); Indiana
(74%); Kentucky (63%); Maine (77%); Maryland (57%); Michigan (49%);
Nevada (42%); New York (71%); North Carolina (53%); Ohio (71%);
Pennsylvania (64%); Utah (51%); Virginia (45%); Washington (53%); and
West Virginia (63%).
Wheatland Stocker Conference
You've still got time to sign up for the Wheatland
Stocker Conference August 18 at the Cherokee Strip Conference Center in
Enid, OK. The 20th annual event features a Who's Who of industry leaders
to discuss everything from the cattle cycle, to no-till and low-till
farming, to the impact of industry transitions on the stocker business.
Speakers and topics include:
To sign up (registration is free, including lunch), call 580-237-7677.
For more info, contact Greg Highfill at 580-237-7677 or Greg.Highfill@okstate.edu.
- Paul Hitch, Hitch Enterprises, Guymon, OK; Mark Gardiner,
Gardiner Angus Ranch, Ashland, KS; and Jackie Moore, Joplin Regional
Stockyards, Joplin, MO; all addressing "Change and the stocker
- Rep. Frank Lucas with a farm bill update.
- Dan Thomson, DVM, Kansas State University, "Stocker cattle health."
- Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University, "Cattle cycle and stocker
- Craig Watz, FBI Special Agent, Kansas City, MO, will discuss food
- Roger Gribble, Area Agronomist, Enid, OK, "No-till, low-till and
maintaining forage quality and quantity."
Other Upcoming Events
Sept. 28 -- Kansas State University (KSU) Beef
Stocker Conference, KSU Beef Stocker Unit, Manhattan, KS. For more info,
An open-and-shut case.
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Extreme Heat Slows Feeder-Cattle
"Auction receipts were light throughout the Plains as
triple-digit temperatures made the transporting and handling of cattle
too dangerous to their health, not to mention the health of the
handlers," say Ag Marketing Service (AMS) reporters. "Many of these
auctions continue to anticipate big runs, but each week the heat forces
sellers to keep the cattle at home, despite the lack of forage."
So it goes as record heat continues to scorch much of the nation,
forcing more cows to town, earlier weaning and plenty of head-scratching
about if and when to buy and sell.
For all of that, maybe in part because of the lighter volume, feeder and
stocker cattle sold evenly unsteady to as much as $2/cwt. higher last
week compared to the previous one, according to AMS.
"The demand for both feeders and stockers continues to hold up
remarkably well with the availability of true yearling feeders currently
very tight, plus few of the calves being bought will actually be
stockers," say the AMS folks. "Inexpensive feedstuffs are becoming more
popular to grow calves than pasture grazing, especially in the Midwest
where corn by-products are readily available from an increasing number
of ethanol plants," (see the article, "Program Feeding Could Provide
Drought Strategy," elsewhere in this issue).
Fed cattle ended the week mostly $1-$1.50 higher on a live basis at
The summary below reflects the week ended Aug. 4 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 || 31,600
||$120.61 || $117.34 || $114.89 || $111.67 || $108.17 |
| TX ||29,000 || $116.42
|| $115.44 ||
|| $108.86 || $99.77 |
| MO || 14,900 || $132.07 || $125.62 || $114.80 || $122.28 || $112.26 || $106.70 |
| AL ||12,500
|| $106-1124 || $103.50-106
|| $101-108 || ** |
| KY* ||11,700 || $115-125 ||
$108-118 || $102-1125 || $107-117 || $99-1093 || $94-1045 |
| AR ||10,000
|| $112.17 || $106.48 || $109.46 ||
104.72 || $97.63 |
| KS ||9,900 || $132.86 || $124.92 || $118.08 || $120.84 ||$113.22 || $110.38 |
| GA* ||9,300 || $102-124 ||
$98-114 || $96-104 || $95-114 || $91-104 || $90-994
| TN* ||8,300 || $116.50 ||$110.73 || $103.466
||$101.22 || $94.93 |
| FL* ||7,600 || $100-115
|| $95-108 ||
$94-1074 || $94-109 || $90-101 || $91-954
| MS* ||7,600 || $110-1201 || $100-1103 || $92-1005 || $100-1101
| NE ||7,500 || $135.21 || $127.15 || $119.82 || $127.30 || $117.284 || $117.39 |
||7,300 || $102-122 ||
$90-116.503 || $90-1055 || $94-113.50
|| $85-1063 ||
| SD ||6,600
|| $122.194 || $123.07 || ** || $119.854 || $109.20 |
| LAND ||3,800 || $108-119 ||
** || $101-1131 || $98-1132 || ** |
| NM* ||2,800 || ** || **
|| ** || $107.64 || ** || ** |
| WA* ||1,700 || ** ||** ||
$98.336 || ** ||$102.114 || $98.52 |
| VA ||1,200
|| $128.852 ||$119.29 || $111.90
||$104.24 || ** |
* Plus 2
** None reported at this weight or near weight
(***) Steers and bulls
Questions & Comments
Please send questions to:
Wes Ishmael, Contributing Editor, BEEF Stocker Trends, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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