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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 […]

Demand more from your herd

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The headline reads, “Beef prices skyrocket.” A little more information comes with, “Wholesale beef prices at record levels.” Another adds, “Beef exports up 7 percent in two months.” The articles that follow those zingers all explain different facets of the supply and demand equation. Beef prices are up because of a shrinking cowherd, accelerated by […]

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.

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