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Black Ink Results

So your farm is sustainable? Prove it!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Just thinking or saying you’re sustainable isn’t good enough.

Careful decision making can position your herd for success

Thursday, February 20, 2014

When making decisions, weigh the evidence carefully.

Consistency can pay for itself in cattle business

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cattle ranchers who stuck with their program are likely well-situated in 2014.

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 […]

Decisions can make or break your operation

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I can give you advice. Your friends can show you what’s working on their ranch. You can read articles and learn from your local team of experts — Extension specialists, veterinarians, nutritionists and so on. But when it comes down to it, you’re the one who needs to make the decisions. You have to determine […]

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 […]

Value-based cattle marketing dominates

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Selling fed cattle on a live basis is no longer standard practice, and some day it could end up as no more than historical reference. “The old selling-them-live method has given way to formula sales,” says Mark McCully, assistant vice president for Certified Angus Beef LLC. Data from Cattle-Fax and the USDA shows a sharp […]

You can’t judge a cow by its ‘cover’

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Some presents were wrapped in gold paper with a big red bow. Others were less elegant, but showed they were packaged with love. Some givers are even known for their ability to dodge traditional wrapping by handing over a shopping bag with the present inside. What do the ribbons and trimmings say about those sayings? […]

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.

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 […]

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