At the end of November, 69 percent of the U.S. was abnormally dry or worse with over 53 percent in some degree of drought (D1-D4) according to the Drought Monitor.  The Drought Severity and Coverage Index (DSCI) is calculated from the D0-D4 categories and was 181 for the U.S. in the latest w…

As 2021 winds to a close, cattle markets seem to finally be able to move out from under the specter of the pandemic impacts that began 18 months ago.  Indeed, the constant turmoil of a series of Black Swan events have kept the industry on the defensive for over two years.  The recent breakou…

The November USDA-NASS Cattle on Feed report was well anticipated and should not cause big surprises in the market.  Feedlot placements in October were 2.245 million head, 102.4 percent of last year.  Marketings in October were 1.788 million head, 95.5 percent of one year

Ranchers are no strangers to praying for rain, but updated insurance options may help them sleep a little easier in those seemingly endless dry months.

The fall feeder run is in full swing with calf prices moving counter-seasonally higher.  In Oklahoma, the combined auction total last week was 40, 411 head of feeder cattle, up from 26,298 head the week prior.  It is typical for the middle two weeks of November to have the largest weekly auc…

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a standardized method to gauge the condition of cattle? Or any animal species for that matter? Well, folks, let me tell you about the Body Condition Scoring Method. This assessment of relative fatness is a scale from one to nine. A score of one is an animal t…

The pandemic and other market shocks (i.e. packing plant fire, unprecedented winter storm, cyber-attack, etc.) since 2019 have resulted in impacts and residual effects that affect cattle and beef markets in different ways and over different lengths of time.  Much of the challenge in 2021 has…

October brought significant rain across most of Oklahoma after a very dry September.  The rains came in the form of a significant fall severe weather season.  A total of 31 tornados were reported in the state in October, a new record for the month and more than for the entire year from Janua…

The October USDA Cattle on Feed Report showed that feedlot placements in September were 97.1 percent of last year and marketings were 96.9 percent of one year ago.  The placement total was lower than expected while the marketings were just slightly lower than expected.  The on-feed inventory…

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Calf resiliency is at the forefront of every concerned cattleman’s mind the moment calves start hitting the ground — even if that thoughtfulness is only expressed by gruffly throwing the calf in a sleeve to be weighed, pumping it full of powdery milk and relieving it of some less-than-necess…

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For cattle producers looking to maximize efficiency and profits, understanding hidden hindrances is essential. Joe Dedrickson, a technical services veterinarian at Huvepharma, INC, gave producers an overview of coccidiosis at the Kansas State University Beef Stocker Field Day in Manhattan, Kansas.

The combination of drought impacts and high crop prices mean that beef cattle producers face significantly higher feed costs this winter.  Increased feed costs have been impacting feedlots for several months and the impacts will grow as cow-calf and stocker/background producers face addition…

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In the latest livestock trade data, August beef exports were up 21.3 percent year over year with year-to-date total beef exports also up 21.0 percent from 2020.  Beef exports in the month of August were an all-time record for any month.  Beef exports continue to be fueled mostly by the stron…

Welcome rains fell across much of Oklahoma late last week with most areas receiving one-half to two inches of precipitation.  September was exceptionally dry across the state with drought conditions building quickly.  The Drought Monitor tells the story.  The Drought Severity and Coverage In…

The September USDA-NASS Cattle on Feed report pegged September 1 feedlot inventories at 11.234 million head, 98.6 percent of last year. August marketings were 1.885 million head, 99.6 percent of one year ago and August placements were 2.104 million head, 102.3 percent of one year earlier. Au…

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Like all young farmers and ranchers in a challenging climate, Scott and Amy Welch were looking to expand their diversified cattle and farming operation — into a vertically integrated butcher shop and processor.

The cattle cycle is perhaps the most iconic characteristic of the U.S. cattle industry. Cattle cycles emerged as the ranching industry developed in the late 1800s. Cattle inventory data shows that the number of cattle in the U.S. was 28.6 million head in 1867, just after the Civil War. Cattl…

Despite lingering hot dry weather and an unusually high prevalence of armyworms, one northwest Oklahoma farmer is hopeful about the prospects for wheat pasture grazing this fall, assuming there’s enough moisture to bring the wheat up.

By-product values for cattle have increased dramatically in the past few months.  Hide and offal values, which have generally declined in recent years, bottomed during the early stages of the pandemic in 2020 to the lowest levels since 2009.  In the past 13 months, steer hide and offal value…

The latest monthly trade data shows that July imports of Mexican cattle were down 37.5 percent year over year.  Mexican cattle imports for the first seven months of the year were down 18.7 percent compared to 2020.  Preliminary weekly data from USDA-AMS through the end of August shows that y…

Probably the most frequently asked question I am getting relates to how much the drought is adding to herd liquidation in 2021. It’s a difficult question for several reasons. In the first place, we don’t know what the industry would have done in the absence of drought this year. Having decre…

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August is a tough time for fed cattle markets to move higher, but the market seems poised to break out from the constraints of the first half of the year as we move into the last part of the third quarter. Meanwhile, auction calf and stocker prices have moved counter-seasonally higher in Jul…

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As cattle producers look to increase profits, they may also look to update their cattle rations. At a Kansas State University Beef Field Day in Parsons, Kansas, beef systems specialist Jaymelynn Farney spoke to producers about the use of spices and essential oils to increase gain and reduce pests.

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Current market conditions provide insight into fall and winter stocker grazing prospects. Feeder cattle auction prices show the current value of gain. For the last four weeks, the average price of 450 lb., medium/large no. 1 steers was $186.08/cwt. and the price of 750 pound steers was $156.…

As concerns of a large-scale, foreign animal disease outbreak in the United States grow, cattle producers in Missouri may be looking for ways to better protect and prepare their operations. Rose Massengill, from the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Services, joined the July Pearls of Prod…

U.S. beef exports have bounced back from the pandemic disruptions last year.  Total beef exports for the January – June period in 2021 are up 21.5 percent over the first six months of 2020.  This includes a 46.2 percent year over year increase for the month of June over the low point last ye…

There is a quote in the 1922 USDA Yearbook of Agriculture I like to refer to…”The cheapest of all feed is pasture because it furnishes a balanced ration at a low cost and the cow does her own harvesting…but, in comparatively few cases is the fullest possible use made of pasture.” There is cu…

Daily slaughter data through July 17, the first 170 days of the year, has a total cattle slaughter of 17.94 million head, compared to 17.07 million head in 2020 and 17.87 million head for the year-to-date in 2019. Yearling (steer + heifer) slaughter makes up 78.5 percent of total cattle slau…

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Cattlemen and soil health specialists convened last week for a grazing workshop and ranch tour on Drexel Atkinson’s Everton, Missouri ranch.

The July USDA Cattle on Feed report shows July feedlot inventories of 11.29 million head, down 1.3 percent from last year and down 1.7 percent compared to 2019. June placements were 1.67 million head, down 7.1 percent from 2020 and down 5.2 percent from June 2019. Feedlot marketings in June …

The Beef Cattle and Forage Field day will be held at the Southeast Research and Extension Center (25092 Ness Rd, Parsons, KS) on August 3, 2021.  Registration will begin at 8:30 am with the educational program beginning at 9 am.  For those that will not be able to attend in person, you may w…

Rising feed prices continue to be reflected in feeder cattle markets.  Market prices for feed grains increase in order to ration feed demand to balance with a limited supply.  High feed prices is a market signal to all feed users to use less grain.  For the pork and poultry industries this i…

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Cattle trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada is part of the increasingly integrated North American beef and cattle market.  Cattle exports and imports among the three countries consists mostly of feeder and slaughter cattle, along with small numbers of dairy cattle and breeding animals. 

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Wholesale beef prices typically increase in the spring, led by middle meat demand.  Spring restaurant demand reflects several holidays, including Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day at the same time as summer grilling demand ramps up, led by Memorial Day and Independence Day.  The…

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The latest USDA Cattle on Feed report showed a June 1 feedlot inventory of 11.699 million head, almost unchanged year over year from 11.671 million head in 2020; and fractionally lower than the June 1, 2019 level of 11.728 million head. May marketings were 1.87 million head, up 23.4 percent …

What offers refreshment on a hot summer day? Cool water? Resting in the shade? It just so happens that these also provide comfort to livestock. With the recent heat wave in Southeast Kansas, livestock producers should monitor their animals for signs of heat stress and plan their chores accor…

Beef imports were up 1.5 percent year over year in April but are down 7.0 percent for the January to April period compared to last year.  Year to date beef imports are down 4.0 percent compared to the same period in 2019.  Table 1 shows a summary of beef imports in recent years and for the y…

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Just off Route 70, on the edge of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town, there’s an unexpected haven for the cheese lovers of Kansas. Alma Creamery has been providing the Midwest with its cheddar, jacks and all-natural curds since 1946.

The April trade data shows that beef exports for the month were up 22.1 percent year over year and up 18.0 percent compared to 2019. Year to date total beef exports for the first four months of the year were up 7.9 percent year over year and 14.9 percent over the same period in 2019.

Cattle markets are never dull but periods of relative calm and stability are sometimes interrupted by a few weeks of unusual daily and weekly dynamics that require constant attention. The past two years, however, have been more like a James Bond movie with a relentless series of unusual and …