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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. […]

Achieving the two important qualities in beef: marbling and tenderness

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Marketers try to sell what they have, even if it’s not the most complete product on the market. The phrase “guaranteed tender” may sound like it’s all that matters, the one true path to great meat. But that’s not all there is.

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: Happy people lead to happy cattle

Thursday, November 10, 2011

When ranchers or feedlot employees are unhappy or feeling stress, how much pride can they take in the job they’re doing? Call it mammalian empathy or stress-related errors of management, but those bad feelings are contagious across species.

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.

Black Ink: The ag business of social media

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Farmers and ranchers tend to be on either side of the fence when it comes to social media. There are the hold-outs, the staunch supporters, the occasional users and the clueless.

Planning to cope with emergencies

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Flood water forces the exodus of cattle to higher ground. Drought does the same on a wider scale, only to greener ground. And in the case of wild fires, tornadoes and other natural disasters, there might not even be time for that. Count your blessings As if the job of beef producer isn’t hard enough, […]

Top grades and relationships: You have to work at it in farming, too

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nobody likes to be told that they’ve done a bad job. Think of the situation-comedy or movie scene: A junior high student has worked for weeks on a final science report or English paper, eagerly awaiting the grade. When the teacher delivers it, she shakes her head in disappointment. The young one’s heart sinks, seeing […]

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 […]

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