National Stocker Award Winners
Hughes Cattle Co. of Bartlesville, OK -- owned and
operated by John and Robert Hughes -- has been named National Stocker
Award (NSA) winner for 2006.
When BEEF magazine established the NSA program -- sponsored by
Elanco Animal Health -- the idea was fairly simple: identify and
recognize the top stocker operators in the nation, and showcase what
enables them to thrive in this high-risk business. Easier said than
An evaluation committee representing private industry and academics,
along with specialists in stocker health, stocker nutrition and stocker
economics, sifted through nominees from 15 states.
Competition was divided into three categories: Backgrounding/drylot
stocker (feed-based), Fall/winter stockering (forage-based), and Summer
stockering (forage-based). A single winner was chosen in each category,
and then the overall NSA winner was selected from these finalists.
The Hughes operation -- John bought his first stockers in 1958 -- was
named winner of the Summer category en route to the overall title. From
the very beginning, this operation has focused on grass production first
and foremost to increase carrying capacity. The operation remains
grounded in commonsense basics but also continues to innovate, as with a
unique pilot study they're conducting with a livestock market owner and
feedlot: each entity shares equal ownership in cattle then divvies any
profit or loss equally at the end.
Triple Heart Ranch at Wanette, OK, was the finalist in the
Backgrounding/drylot category. Besides providing custom backgrounding
for others, along with running some of their own cattle, owners, Brock
and Shelia Karges have pioneered a service to help cow-calf producers
realize added value from providing additional animal health
Doug Rogers, who owns and operates D&H Cattle Co. at Collins, MS, was
named the finalist in the Fall/winter stockering category. He chose the
stocker business because he saw more business opportunity in it than
with any of the enticing corporate offers that came his way after
graduating from West Point and business school. He uses lightweight
calves and aggressive health management as a hedge in the
As overall winners, Hughes Cattle Company will receive $10,000 cash from
Elanco Animal Health, along with an expenses-paid trip to the 2007
National Cattlemen's Association Convention.
Triple Heart and D&H each receive a $2,500 cash prize from Elanco.
You can read about the NSA winners in the October issue of BEEF. As
well, the profiles will appear in the next few issues of Stocker
Senate Approves Mandatory Price
Pending approval by President Bush, the livestock
industry will once again be privy to mandatory livestock price reporting
(MLPR). That's due to the Senate's unanimous consent last week to
approve a bill (H.R. 3408) to reauthorize the Mandatory Price Reporting
Act of 1999.
As you may recall, the price reporting act expired last fall. The House
of Representatives approved the bill for reauthorization a year ago, but
it has languished in the Senate until now.
"This reporting process is important to U.S. cattle ranchers, and since
the mandatory law expired last fall, we have been working diligently to
urge its renewal," explains Mike John, National Cattlemen's Beef
Association president. "Making price reporting practices mandatory by
law assures cattle producers are getting the marketing information they
need about their beef products."
Though MLPR has been missing in action for the past 12 months, causing
confusion and wonderment in some cases, for many it hasn't been much of
As an example, last winter, Jeff Stolle, vice president of marketing for
Nebraska Cattlemen, noted the vast majority of folks reporting pricing
information under the mandatory system had continued to do so on a
"The data appears to be flowing as it did," Stolle said. "I haven't
noticed any shift in volumes given the available supply of cattle. There
haven't been any major week-to-week changes on the formula and contract
At the time, we reported in BEEF magazine (February 2006) that
another reason losing mandatory reporting seemed so benign might be that
it never revealed the packer skullduggery many MLPR proponents thought
According to an Economic Research Service report issued last fall, "It
appears that, for cattle of similar quality, prices in negotiated spot
market transactions closely track prices for cattle sold under
contracts. In other words, producers selling under contract do not seem
to realize a significant price advantage." That's based on MLPR
accounting for more than 90% of all cattle sales by early 2002, compared
to an estimated 60% accounted for by the voluntary system just before
MLPR was implemented.
Of course, ever since the system requiring packers to report sales
transactions went into effect (2001) the level of captive supplies that
folks were so concerned about has declined.
Clem Ward, Oklahoma State University Extension economist and a longtime
analyst of concentration, consolidation and captive supplies, put
together a comprehensive analysis of the impact of MLPR on captive
supplies. In it, he explains annual average captive supplies controlled
by the four largest packers ranged from 17.5% to 24.9% between 1988 when
the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA)
began requiring packers to report captive supplies, and 1998. Using a
different and incomparable technique, for 1999 to 2001 GIPSA reported
the range at 32.4% to 42.9%.
Based on MLPR during its first three years -- April 2001 to April 2004
-- negotiated pricing averaged 46.1%, followed by formula pricing at
43.3%, packer-owned cattle at 7.1%, and forward-contracting at 3.5%.
While some speculate MLPR actually caused a shift back to more cash
transactions, market fundamentals are the more likely cause. About the
time the law went into effect, supplies started to dwindle, demand began
to climb and prices followed suit. In other words, there has been less
incentive for sellers to lock up prices and market access.
Once approved by President Bush, MLPR would be reauthorized until Sept.
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Added Bulk Extends Wet Distillers
Anyone utilizing wet distiller's grains (WDG) already
knows the challenges of spoilage borne by the high moisture content.
What researchers are beginning to demonstrate though, is the added
shelf-life that can be had by mixing dry, bulky feeds with the
For example, University of Nebraska (UNL) researchers tried mixing in
grass hay, alfalfa hay or wheat straw. According to a recent UNL report,
mixing in grass hay (15%), alfalfa hay (22.5%) or wheat straw (12.5%) --
all on a dry matter basis -- proved to be the minimum level that allowed
for successful bagging at 300 lbs./square inch.
For bunker storage, researchers found 40% of grass hay mixed with WDG
was firm enough for packing; 25-32% for wheat straw.
There may be 2-3 in. of spoilage at the top, but everything else appears
fine says Galen Erickson, UNL nutritionist.
"Other fiber sources would presumably work but we chose these three
because of their availability this time of year," says Erickson, who
worked on the project with fellow UNL nutrition researcher, Terry
You can find more details of the project, including work with mixing WDG
with Dried Distillers Grains, and mixing corn gluten with WDG at: ianrnews.unl.edu/static/0606270.shtml.
Drought Can Change Parasite
It may be drier than a teetotaler's liquor chest in some
part of the world, but drought conditions can actually increase the
challenge of parasites, says Dave Sparks, DVM, Oklahoma Cooperative
Extension Service food animal quality and health specialist. In a recent
issue of Oklahoma State University's Cow Calf Corner, Sparks says
normal late-summer forage height means parasites are often a minimal
challenge this time of year. He explains about 80% of parasite larvae
reside on the lower 2 in. on a forage plant; most can't crawl higher
"If your animals are grazing 1- 2 1/2- in.-tall forage, they may be
getting large numbers of infective larvae, even though it's dry. You can
help to alleviate the problem by watching your animals graze," Sparks
says. "Try to avoid this danger zone if possible and/or modify your
de-worming program to fit the conditions."
Don't take a chance. Treat all incoming cattle with
IVOMEC® Plus (ivermectin/clorsulon)
Liver flukes are spreading and every load of incoming cattle could be
carrying them. The liver fluke problem is hard to diagnose and rarely
shows in clinical signs. Only IVOMEC® Plus
(ivermectin/clorsulon) kills liver flukes and other internal and
external parasites, all in a single dose. Product
®IVOMEC and the CATTLE HEAD LOGO are registered trademarks of
Merial. © 2006 Merial Limited. All rights reserved.
Weather And Crops
Global Grain Supplies
Corn producers have done it again, producing a
near-record corn crop, but that doesn't mean prices won't be inching up.
According to last week's "Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook Report"
from the Economic Research Service (ERS), the 2006-2007 corn price is
expected to average $2.15/bu. to $2.55/bu., up from $1.99/bu. for
2005-2006; it was $2.06/bu. two years ago.
Besides increasing demand, growing price has something to do with
decreased global production. ERS analysts note both global coarse grain
production and global coarse grain ending stock estimates have been
lowered -- reduced production in the European Union, former Soviet
Union, Canada and Australia.
For that matter, last week's report also lowers domestic ending corn
stocks to 1.22 billion bu.
Soybean meal production is projected at 42,035 thousand short tons, up
2.5% from last year and up 3% from 2004/05. Soybean meal prices are
expected to average $147.50 to $177.50 per short ton, down from $173.50
in 2005/06 and $182.89 in 2004/05.
For the week ending Sept. 17, according to National Agricultural
Statistics Service (NASS):
- Corn -- 96% is at or beyond the Dent
Stage, compared to 97% last year and 90% for the
five-year average. Maturation is at 52%, 2% behind last year, but 3% ahead of normal. 9% is harvested, which is 1% behind
last year and the five-year average. 61% is rated
Good or better, compared to 52% last year.
- Soybeans -- 48% of the acreage was at or beyond
dropping leaves, 12% behind last year and 1%
behind the average. Growers have harvested 6% of
the crop, compared to 7% at this time last year
and 5% for the average. 61% is rated Good or
better; 53% was at the same time last year.
- Winter wheat -- 19% of the crop is sown, 5% less than the same time last year and 4% less than
average. Planting was behind in most states, delayed by either soggy
field conditions or lack of soil moisture.
- Sorghum -- 81% was at or beyond turning
color, the same as last year and the norm.
45% is mature, compared to 42%
last year and 47% for average. 33% is rated Good or
better, compared to 48% last year.
- Pasture -- 27% is rated Good or Excellent, compared to 30% last year. 23% is
rated Poor and 22% is ranked Very Poor, compared
to 23% and 14% respectively at the same time last year.
States with the worst pasture conditions -- at least 40% of the acreage
rated poor or worse -- include: Alabama (66%); Arizona (53%); Arkansas (46%); California
(72%); Kansas (42%); Mississippi
(60%); Missouri (59%); Montana (48%); Nebraska (53%);
Nevada (60%); North
Dakota (62%); Oklahoma (65%); Oregon (54%); South Dakota (50%); Texas
(75%); and Wyoming (68%).
States with the lushest pasture conditions -- at least 40% rated good or
better -- include: Florida (65%);
Illinois (52%); Indiana (65%); Iowa
(68%); Kentucky (66%); Maine (83%); Michigan (55%); New Mexico (67%); New
York (62%); North Carolina (58%); Ohio (64%); Pennsylvania (50%); South
Carolina (52%); Virginia (41%); Washington (41%); West Virginia (59%);
and Wisconsin (56%).
K-State Stocker Conference Is This
You've still got time to make it to Manhattan, KS, for
the Kansas State University (KSU) Beef Stocker Field Day on Thursday,
Sept. 28. Scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. at the KSU Beef Stocker Unit,
this year's program features a broad range of topics from industry
For more info, call 785-532-1267.
- Forces Shaping Change in the U.S. Beef Sector -- Jim Mintert,
- Impact of Added-Value Programs on Beef Stocker Producers -- Leann
Saunders, IMI Global, Inc.
- Utilization of Individual Stocker Info for Value -- Brad White,
- Are Stocker Implants Still Relevant for Targeted Quality Grade
Programs? -- Chris Reinhardt, KSU.
- Animal ID Technology Performance - Realistic Expectations -- Dale
- Variation in Forage Quality as it Relates to Stocker Performance --
KC Olson, KSU; and Pablo Guiroy, Cargill Animal Nutrition.
Other Upcoming Events
Oct. 11-13 -- Texas Cattle Feeders Association
Annual Convention, Amarillo Civic Center, Amarillo, TX. For info, log on
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call
Feb. 13-14 -- Mid-South Stocker Conference, Cave City, KY,
presented by the University of Kentucky and the University of Tennessee.
For more info, visit www.midsouthstocker.org. You can also contact Jim
Neel at 865-974-7294 or email@example.com; John Bartee at
931-648-5725 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or John T.
Johns at 859-257-2853 or email@example.com.
Sign Up Now For BEEF Quality
Summit, Nov. 14-15
Sign up now at www.beef-mag.com for BEEF magazine's 2006
BEEF Quality Summit. The Nov. 14-15 workshop in Oklahoma City's
Clarion Hotel aims to provide attendees with the background, tools and
the environment to make the connections for involvement, and the
potential rewards offered, in the new beef-value chain.
The first day's program is devoted to outlining the opportunity
available in the new beef-value chain, the second to how to link your
production into that chain. Among the topics to be discussed are:
For more detail, visit www.beef-mag.com and click on the "BEEF
Quality Summit" box in the top right corner of the opening page.
- How U.S. beef consumers define quality.
- Quality, profit and the cattle cycle.
- International competition and opportunities for U.S. quality beef.
- Current international beef trade opportunities.
- Producers will discuss how they're paid for quality.
- Selecting a marketing partner.
- Evaluating costs, trade-offs and risks of various markets.
- Linking up with a marketing partner -- an opportunity to meet with
participating marketing channel reps.
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Cattle on Feed Smashes
As many market analysts predicted, Friday's Cattle on
Feed Report was a whopper: 11 million head as of Sept. 1. That's 10%
larger than the same time in 2004 and 2005. It's the largest Sept. 1
inventory since the series began in 1996.
Also unsurprisingly, August placements were huge: 15% more than a year
ago and 9% more than in 2004. In fact, 67% more cattle lighter than 600
lbs. were placed compared to a year ago.
Last week's monthly "World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates"
raised the estimated average annual Choice fed-steer price slightly from
a month earlier: $85-$86 compared to $82-$84 in the August report. The
estimated average price for the fourth quarter is $85-$89.
"The cattle price forecast is raised from last month as the slower pace
of fed cattle marketings is supporting prices at higher than expected
levels," explains the report.
Shorter term, last week the USDA's Economic Research Service reported,
"Recent rains in the Southern Plains have improved prospects for winter
pastures, which could mean reduced beef cow slaughter. Seasonal
increases in cow slaughter will likely be reduced as much culling has
already occurred, along with early weaning, due to drought. Improving
grazing prospects, particularly for small grain pasture, will provide
increased competition for relatively low feeder cattle supplies, at
least in the near term.
Reduced cow slaughter should provide support for cow prices, and
increased competition should provide support for feeder cattle prices."
Overall, the futures market for cattle suffered significantly last week,
while feeder cattle sold $5 lower compared to the prior week -- steer
and heifer calves were $3-$6 lower. Yet, by Friday afternoon, fed cattle
sales gained 50 cents at $88.50 to $89.50.
The summary below reflects the week ended Sept. 22 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:
| Summary Table
| State|| Volume ||Steers || Heifers
| Calf Weight|| 500-550 lbs. || 600-650 lbs.
|| 700-750 lbs.
|| 500-550 lbs.
|| 600-650 lbs. ||
700-750 lbs. |
| MO || 36,400 || $134.06 || $124.64 || $121.14 || $119.95 || $116.08 || $110.90 |
| OK || 35,300 || $129.37 || $124.50 || $122.794 || $118.06 || $114.36 || $109.75 |
| TX ||32,500 || $120.53 || $112.35 || $108.90 || $113.13 ||
$107.01 || $102.56 |
| KY* ||26,900 || $118-128 ||
$107-117 || $104-1145 || $106-116 || $99-1093 || $93-1045 |
| AL ||17,800 || $117-126 ||
$108-117 || $107-1144 || $108-115 || $100-107 || $93-1005 |
| Dakotas ||16,300 |
| TN* ||14,400 || $118.49 ||$110.53 || $104.18 || $107.73 ||$101.41 || $97.25
| NE ||13,500 || $138.34 ||$127.62 || $123.07 || $125.22 ||
$120.73 || $117.47 |
| AR ||12,400
|| $112.16 || $107.77 || $109.93 ||
103.85 || $105.194 |
||10,800 || $103-124 ||
$98-115 || $91-106 || $100-116 || $89-110.50 || $88-994
| FL* ||10,500 || $96-17 || $94-106 || $89-196 || $95-109 ||$86-99 || $80-964 |
| MS* ||9,400 || $110-1201 || $100-110 || $97-1004 || $100-1101
||$90-100 || $85-904 |
| WY* ||9,100 || $131.58 ||$117.924 || $121.47 || $119.27 ||$117.73 || $113.92 |
| KS ||6,700 || $133.72 || $120.50 || $116.07 || $121.73 ||$109.79 || $110.12 |
| IA ||6,500
|| $132.52 || $128.754 || $127.62 || $1218.28 || $112.19 |
| CO ||6,300
||$120.86 || $115.854 || $119.43 ||$110.85 || $112.564 |
| LAND ||6,300 || $107-124 ||
** || $100-123 ||
$98-1162 || ** |
||5,500 || $107-124.50 ||
$99-116.503 || $92-108.505 || $99-114 || $88-1083 || $85-102.505
| VA ||5,400
||$115.42 || $108.40 || $106.68 ||$104.84 || $98.61 |
| NM ||2,800
|| $109.92 || ** ||
$114.96 ||$100.97 || ** |
| WA* ||2,400 || $122.37
|| $106.816 || $110.99 ||$103.60 || $103.424
* 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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