Stories by Steve Suther

Fixer uppers? Improvements in herds can be made

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I got my start with other people’s cull cows, just a bid or two above the hamburger market — which was not so dear back then.

Winning the race for beef demand

Thursday, August 21, 2014

As we get ready for preweaning shots and deworming, I think these calves are in the homestretch.

Is your cow herd above average?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

In some ways, my cowherd is average. In other ways it is above and in still others, below. Those things are true of each cow in my herd, too. That’s all part of what “average” means. Comparing each cow Usually this involves numbers like weaning weights, pregnancy percentages or carcass values of progeny. Add them […]

Careful decision making can position your herd for success

Thursday, February 20, 2014

When making decisions, weigh the evidence carefully.

Planning, reality and planning again

Thursday, December 19, 2013

’Tis the season to plan so you can stay jolly all through the year. That may include deciding it is time for Plan B in a few cases, but being on the fortunate side of the drought/recovery line, we are still on Plan A. Starting point It is hard to say when our production year […]

Retaining an interest in your cattle

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I never thought I would feed cattle, until I got to know more than a few cattle feeders. Some were all about buying low, selling high and they were happiest when they beat both their supplier and buyer. But in the mid 1990s, more feeders made new commitments to customer service, reaching out into the […]

Drought can present opportunities

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I dreamed of fresh-smelling rain that beat waves against windows and swept slowly through fields to fill every crack before moving on to refill ponds and kick-start the creeks. Dawn light fell on a full rain gauge. I thanked whoever had left their windows open, washed a truck, mowed a sparse third cutting or made […]

Perceptions, science and business

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The ancient Greeks used to debate what people knew and how they knew it. Deeply held convictions have wrestled with science-based knowledge ever since. And eventually, economics entered in, usually linked to science, if only the qualitative data on what people do with their perceptions. You may know something because it is stated by a […]

Buying cattle: Without a history, premiums paid don’t mean profit made

Thursday, March 8, 2012

In most investment situations, you get a chance to evaluate the risk and rewards, do some research and make an informed decision. But when cattle pass through the sale barn in 30-second intervals, it’s not always easy for buyers to base decisions on anything more than appearance. Data from Oklahoma-based Professional Cattle Consultants shows that […]

Trying our best to beat expectations

Thursday, February 16, 2012

We may think about calving season as one of new beginnings, but it’s really just part of a cycle that started at least nine months earlier, and hopefully before that, when breeding plans were set. Done right, calves should be born into great expectations, and not just hope the market will be up next fall. […]

Black Ink: Finding the common ground in ag

Thursday, December 22, 2011

They say it takes all kinds to make the world, and the adage is all about people. Look around the mall, watch TV or check out the Internet and you find ready evidence of the individuality of individuals.

Black Ink: Critical mass in the beef industry

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It takes so many plants to make a stand, cows to make a herd and drops to make a rain. Before turning that herd out to pasture, you look for enough plant mass to support their grazing. If you’re watching a couple of bred heifers for a month, you might as well be watching 20 or 30.

Tagging the right calves not easy

Thursday, February 17, 2011

As you tag another calf and write the information in that little book, do you ever think about how well it will hit the target? If you are going to the trouble of establishing identity (ID) at birth, you should at least think about the future these calves will face. Some beef brands and most […]

Long cattle life comes with a cost

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The oldest cow on record died in Ireland in 1993 at the age of 49, having been born on St. Patrick’s Day 1944 in Kerry and producing 39 calves over time. So she missed a few years — big deal. She was in a herd that allowed for maximum longevity. Cow’s life span Typically, cows […]

Where do you find your information?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Take another look at your cattle. Get out your records and take a deeper look. You think they’re the right kind, but you may have plans to “improve” them through breeding and management. What would constitute improvement? How do you know you’re on the right track? What informs you on matters of breed type and […]

Summer steak sales equal CAB record

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A steak sizzling on the grill is to a consumer what a cash register cha-ching is to a grocer. Despite economic conditions, those sweet sensations were in the air this summer as demand for high-quality beef cuts picked up for the world’s largest branded beef program. Records The Certified Angus Beef brand set repeat records […]

‘Power Cards’ are keys to success

Thursday, August 20, 2009

If you make a living on a ranch, that’s a success. Just living on a ranch is a success. Heck, just taking one more breath can be a victory. Everybody is a winner, at least in some small way. Success does not always manifest itself with visual clues, but you often see the trappings of […]

Why ‘trade down’ in beef selection?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Demand for beef is down. Can you blame the recession? Not entirely, but it’s a darned inconvenient coincidence. It’s hard to argue that beef quality was too low, because production of every class of premium beef has been trending up for some time. The supply of Choice beef in particular has increased for six years, […]

You need cows that are worth owning

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cows can’t do math, but their owners should at least do some counting. From financial balance sheets to stocking rates, a precise inventory is a must. Beyond that, you need cows that are worth owning. Cows that matter, that count because of what they can profitably produce. That’s true regardless of herd size and it’s […]

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About Steve

Steve Suther, director of industry information for the Certified Angus Beef Program, writes from his farm office near Onaga, Kan. You can e-mail him at steve@certifiedangusbeef.com or call toll-free 877-241-0717.