Ohio Beef Schools examine ‘new normal’ cattle marketing, economy


COLUMBUS — Experts in beef cattle production and marketing will address what one industry expert called “excellent profit opportunities” for cow-calf producers and cattle feeders during the 2012 Ohio Beef Cattle Schools.


The schools kick off Jan. 26 and continue on the Thursdays of Feb. 9 and 16, and Mar. 1.

The topics and speakers will include several industry-respected experts from across the Midwest.

Ohio State University Extension program assistant Stan Smith said each session will be broadcast by many extension offices via an internet link, and will focus on optimizing efficient beef production in a rapidly changing business and consumer environment.


“Nothing is sacred as we explore trends in reproduction, genetics, feeds and feeding, targeted marketing, and the opportunities afforded by backgrounding calves versus finishing them in Ohio feedlots,” said Smith, editor of the OSU Extension Beef Team newsletter. “The economics of beef cattle production have evolved from what they were even two or three years ago.”

Smith said a combination of market forces, both in terms of beef demand and input costs, have led producers to consider a number of marketing options outside the traditional beef marketing chain.


“It’s much more competitive; we’re looking at smaller numbers of cattle, extremely high costs of feed, and now for the first time in years we’re looking at a much larger Choice-Select spread on fed cattle than we’ve seen in some time,” he explained. “We got used to a market spread that was $4-6 per hundred, and with the high cost of feed producers weren’t necessarily encouraged to put on a little extra finish. Today, however, the market encourages producers to produce higher grading cattle with a Choice spread as high as $18 dollars per hundred in recent weeks.”

More than 18 county offices of OSU Extension have registered to provide access to the Beef Schools via the internet link. More information on the Beef Schools is available online at http://go.osu.edu/BeefSchool.

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