Most cattle feeders are pretty shrewd businessmen and women. They don’t just know how to run a break-even. They live and breathe them. They study profit opportunities like their future depends on them, because — especially in times like these — it does. Talk marketing with any longtime feeder, and they’re likely to tell you […]
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.
“It made me mad!” That’s what a Montana rancher told me when talking about the first carcass data he ever got back. “I got tired of trying to sell them. I wasn’t willing to accept generic price when I thought I had something better,” he said. “I soon learned.” Those first calves graded 20 percent […]
As we get ready for preweaning shots and deworming, I think these calves are in the homestretch.
Psst…do you want to know a secret? Kids aren’t very good at keeping them.
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 […]
Just thinking or saying you’re sustainable isn’t good enough.
When making decisions, weigh the evidence carefully.
Cattle ranchers who stuck with their program are likely well-situated in 2014.
’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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Selling fed cattle on a live basis is no longer standard practice, and some day it could end up as no more than historical reference.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 […]
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? […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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.