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Friday, August 22,2008

Key sites aid in range management

by WLJ
Key sites aid in range management Monitoring can help range managers better understand rangeland ecology and health. "As a result, management decisions can be made to improve or maintain the productivity and sustainability of rangelands," says Chuck Lura, Extension rangeland specialist at the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Central Grasslands Research Extension Center near Streeter, ND. Because monitoring all the ecological sites and plant species in a management unit is not feasible, monitoring techniques may involve the selection of areas or species that are key to understanding what is happening to the entire unit. A key site is a portion of the range that serves to indicate the ecological condition, trend or degree of use for an entire pasture because of its location, grazing value and/or use. A key site is often on an extensive ecological site within a pasture that receives representative utilization. The specific location of a key site must be chosen carefully because the information gathered while monitoring these sites will be used to represent conditions on the entire management unit, Lura says. Selecting key areas away from water, salt/minerals, trails, corners of pastures or other areas that are not representative of the grazing pressure is important. Accessibility is also a consideration. Some range monitoring manuals recommend setting up two replications of two different key sites in each pasture. That may not be realistic for many managers, but it underscores the fact that the more managers monitor, the more likely they will have reliable information upon which to base their management decisions, according to Lura. Monitoring key sites can serve as valuable indicators of management effectiveness. Once key sites have been chosen for monitoring, managers can observe what is happening on them and use that information to infer what is happening to the entire pasture. When proper range management principles are applied, the entire pasture may be considered correctly used. The Central Grasslands Research Extension Center has established a program to assist producers to implement and maintain range monitoring procedures. This effort is made possible through funding from NDSU, the North Dakota Natural Resources Trust, and Ducks Unlimited. — WLJ

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Friday, August 22,2008

"Slick" gene helps cattle beat the heat

by WLJ
"Slick" gene helps cattle beat the heat Pinpointing the chromosomal location of the Aslick@ gene identified by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists could help breeders develop cattle with shorter, slick hair that helps keep them cool in the subtropical heat. In central Florida, excessive summer heat can take its toll on cattle, leading to reduced milk production from dairy cattle and higher death rates among beef cattle. But the discovery of the slick gene by scientists at the ARS Subtropical Agricultural Research Station (STARS) in Brooksville, FL, should help deal with these heat-related issues. Breeders could move the gene into other economically important breeds, such as Holstein or Angus, to improve their heat tolerance. The black-and-white Holstein is the world’s top-producing dairy animal. The typical Holstein herd produces more than 21,000 pounds of milk, 775 pounds of butterfat, and 683 pounds of protein per year. Angus is the most popular beef breed in the U.S., with more than 350,000 Angus cattle registered. They are hardy, undemanding and adaptable, and have a high carcass yield of marbled meat—the amount of intramuscular fat that gives the meat its marble pattern appearance—a highly sought trait in the meat industry. Studies at Brooksville led by animal scientist Chad Chase have shown slick-haired animals to have internal temperatures about 1 degree Fahrenheit lower during the summer than other cattle with normal hair coats. Mapping the gene’s location on the chromosome is the first step towards identifying the mutation responsible for the shorter, slick hair. Chase and his STARS team have found a strong association between at least two closely positioned markers on chromosome 20 and the slick-haired phenotype. Microsatellite markers were used in these studies. These results suggest a role for marker-assisted selection to identify bulls that will produce only slick-haired progeny. Some Senepol bulls were tested using these markers, and the results indicated excellent potential for identifying bulls that will produce only slick-haired offspring. The same gene also appears to be responsible for the slick hair coat in Romosinuano cattle. — WLJ

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Friday, August 15,2008

Basin Angus Ranch acquires Stevenson Basin Bull Center

by WLJ
Doug Stevenson, president of Basin Angus Ranch, announced last week the purchase of Stevenson Basin Bull Center, LLC near Hobson, MT. The Bull Development Center and Sale Facility, located on Highway 87 just east of Hobson, is a modern cattle handling and feeding facility and sale barn constructed in 2003 to develop the bulls and market the registered Angus seedstock raised by the Stevenson family ranches. Stevenson Basin Inc., the joint marketing agency for the Doug Stevenson, Clint Stevenson and Keith Stevenson families’ Angus genetics for over 24 years, is being dissolved. Basin Angus Ranch, the largest registered Angus operation in Montana, was started in 1972 by Marian and the late Wayne Stevenson. Basin Angus Ranch and Stevenson Angus began selling their cattle together in 1976, officially forming Stevenson Basin, Inc. in 1984 to jointly market the registered Angus seedstock and Angus semen produced by the Stevenson family ranches. While Stevenson Basin marketed their livestock together, the family’s three ranches, Basin Angus, Stevenson Angus and Stevenson’s Diamond Dot, continued to manage their cow herds independently. "The three operations have reached a point that we are not dependent on joint marketing," said Doug Stevenson, son of Wayne and Marian and a fourth generation Hobson rancher. Buying out the interests of the other two partners in the Bull Center will allow Basin Angus to effectively and efficiently produce, manage and market Angus seedstock under one brand and one owner. For both the commercial cattleman and the registered producer, this means a guarantee of higher predictability, stricter standards and the same superior level of customer service Basin Angus is recognized for, built upon the foundation of the country’s premier Angus genetics. For further information about Basin Angus genetics or to contact Doug Stevenson, log on to www.basinangus.com or call 406/423-5800. — WLJ

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Friday, August 15,2008

Fed cattle prices move higher

by WLJ
Fed cattle sales last week were being called $1-2 higher ahead of any significant trade volume at mid-day Thursday. Strong demand ahead of the Labor Day holiday, strong boxed beef prices, good export sales and tighter supplies ahead were all playing a role in boosting cash expectations among feedlot operators last week. The clearance levels of beef from packers and out of cold storage were good, with retailers taking deliveries of product for holiday sales and also booking advanced purchases of beef to lock in prices before they go up as we head into the fourth quarter. Trade was largely expected in a range of $101-102 live and $160-162 dressed, with a few dressed sales in the Corn Belt being reported at midweek at the $160 dressed level. The very current state of feedlot inventories after strong trade volume the prior week was adding some optimism to the market last week as well. Choice boxed beef last Thursday was reported at $164.58, down 2 cents from the previous day while the Select cutout rose 31 cents to reach $157.81 on good demand and movement. Packers were reportedly seeing good margins on harvested cattle, with HedgersEdge.com reporting packer profits in the neighborhood of $30 per head last Thursday. Understandably, packing interests were working to take advantage of the positive conditions by harvesting increasing numbers of cattle ahead of the expected tighter supply in the fourth quarter. Slaughter volume through Thursday last week was estimated at 512,000 head, 9,000 more than the previous week and 23,000 more than the same period in 2007. On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange at mid-day last Thursday, live cattle contracts were trading mixed to slightly lower ahead of cash trade for the week. The August contract was down 12 points to $103.05, while October was unchanged at $107.45 and December was down 20 points to trade at $107.95. The export markets continue to be a strong point for the beef industry, with first half of 2008 numbers up more than 30 percent in volume and 39 percent in value over the same period in 2007, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) reported last week. For the first six months of 2008, total beef exports reached 445,036 metric tons with a total value to the industry of $1.58 billion, more than 87 percent of the value achieved during the first six months of 2003, the peak year for U.S. beef exports. Mexico and Canada remain the two largest outlets for U.S. products with exports to Mexico up 18 percent through June to 199,890 metric tons valued at $678.1 million. Exports to Mexico set a new record in June—surpassing the July 2003 volume and reaching 36,619 metric tons. Meanwhile, first half exports to Canada rose 41 percent to 78,790 metric tons valued at $365.8 million. In Asia, U.S. exports continue to rebuild their former foothold, with shipments to Japan rising 66 percent over last year’s level to 34,339 metric tons with a market value of $177 million. According to USMEF figures, U.S. beef is also gaining prominence in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Through June, year-to-date exports to this region rose 380 percent in volume over last year to 24,454 metric tons valued at $67.1 million. Vietnam led the way with 18,092 metric tons, followed by the Philippines at 4,992 metric tons. Beef exports to Russia are well on their way to surpassing 2003 levels—the last year this market was open to U.S. beef. Russia has imported 11,194 metric tons of beef and beef variety meats so far this year, valued at $25 million. But even more significant is the impact Russia’s demand is having on selected cuts. "Liver prices increased dramatically as Russia started bidding against Egypt for the limited supply of U.S. beef livers," said Erin Daley, manager of research and analysis for USMEF. "Liver prices have risen to more than 70 cents per pound, compared to less than 20 cents per pound last year. This has added roughly $7 per head on a live animal basis." Daley said that while this year’s beef exports won’t be able to match the peak levels achieved earlier in this decade, the beef industry is getting close to reaching the same level of value. While beef exports exceeded $3.8 billion in 2003, she forecasts that this year’s exports could total as high as $3.5 billion—assuming no major disruptions in trade.Feeder cattle Sustained losses in the corn markets have given cattle feeders reason to be optimistic, the same of which can be said about USDA’s most recent corn progress report which expects high yields exceeded only by the crop average in 2004. Many analysts, however, have doubts in the accuracy of the report, which they feel is overly optimistic and may come down come harvest time. Farmer feeders, which have seen new crop prices tumble over the past month since their all time highs, now have reason to get back into the cattle feeding business and market their corn through cattle, though fed cattle have also taken a hit as they follow corn prices down. Cash feeder cattle prices have been bolstered by the return of profitability to many feeding operations which have been running in the red for quite some time. As more buyers enter the market in search of quality feeder cattle to place on the newly-cheapened feed, competition is increasing for the tight supply of heavier program cattle. Marketings continue to be light during this portion of the year and in light of falling corn prices, some buyers have returned their attention to lighter, six- and seven-weight cattle. "According to reports from all of the feeder cattle production areas, demand for feeders showed a significant increase last week when corn prices took a healthy dip and finished cattle took a major raise," said DTN analyst Walt Hackney. "Feed costs—while still in orbit because of high-priced corn in the inventory—are becoming more manageable with cheaper ingredients going into the averages. Unless something unforseen causes an explosion in the corn market, cheaper rations and subsequent cheaper costs of gain are imminent with the devaluation of the CBOT [Chicago Board of Trade] corn prices." Hackney also made note of the trend towards farmers in the Corn Belt getting back into cattle feeding as a way to increase their returns on corn production. Cash prices in the major corn production areas are lower than board prices, which gives farmers added reason to consider holding off on selling their harvest. "Several reports last week in the western Corn Belt indicated cash corn was purchased below $4.30 per bushel, leading to much more incentives for feeding it to cattle than earlier opinions of marketing it into the cash market at $6 and above levels," he points out. Due to the late corn crop, which was hampered by spring flooding and subsequent replantings, Darrell Mark of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln cautions that feedlot operators may not want to jump into the corn buying game just yet. Instead, he says it may be prudent to wait for the crop to progress further and yield estimates to possibly go up further. "Corn crop progress is clearly lagging behind normal yet. As of Aug. 10, 93 percent of the corn crop was silking, compared to 98 percent last year and 96 percent on average. Only 30 percent of the corp was in dough stage, compared to 59 percent last year and 50 percent on average. So, livestock feeders should continue to watch the corn market carefully for signs of a potential bottom," he explained. In the cash markets, last week’s sale at the Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City, OK, saw a total of 9,276 cattle received for sale where compared to the week prior, feeder steers were steady to $2 higher, with the most advance coming on 800-900 lb. steers. Much of the advance was lost late in the sale as orders were filled, and the market closed mostly steady. Steer and heifer calves were steady to $3 higher. Heavy rains in the area improved interest for calves on sale day. Cattle quality at this sale was noted as mostly average to plain, including several consignments of No. 2 cattle. Steers weighing an average of 726 lbs. brought $115.15, while fleshy heifers weighing 718 lbs. sold at $106. The Joplin Regional Stockyards near Joplin, MO, received 3,500 head last week where compared to the previous sale, steers and heifers sold steady to $2 higher. Demand was good for the moderate supply, with the quality of calves and yearlings being good. Buyers paid an average of $111.28 for steers weighing 724 lbs. and $106.53 for heifers weighing 730 lbs. There were a total of 2,423 head of feeder cattle received last week at the Winter Livestock Feeder Cattle Auction in Dodge City, KS, where steers from 300-600 lbs. and heifers weighing 350-600 lbs. were steady in a light test. Steers from 600-1,050 lbs. were steady to $3 higher, with the bulk of the trade happening at prices steady to $2 higher. Heifers from 600-850 lbs. were steady to $1 higher in a light test. Feeder steers weighing 717 lbs. sold for $117.24, while heifers weighing 708 lbs. averaged $110.83. Last week’s sale at the Huss Livestock Market in Kearney, NE, saw a total of 1,615 head received, where compared to the last sale, steers and heifers trended fully steady to $3 higher. Demand was very good for an overall attractive offering of feeders. Trading was noted as moderate to active. Steers weighing 726 lbs. brought $116.44, while heifers weighing 728 lbs. sold at $104. The Sterling Livestock Commission Company in Sterling, CO, offered 1,413 head of feeders for sale last week where demand was good, with the best demand being for cattle weighing over 700 lbs. No trend could be established due to no recent sales. Steer calves weighing 737 lbs. sold for $117 while heifer calves weighing 730 lbs. sold for $109.75. A total of 811 head were received last week at the Stockland Livestock Auction in Davenport, WA, where compared to the last sale, feeder cattle sold $1-3 higher. Trade was active with good demand. Steers weighing 724 lbs. were good for $105.89 at this sale, while 707 lb. heifers brought an average of $97.97. — WLJ

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Friday, August 15,2008

Beef Bits

by WLJ
New BSE detection method developed The protection of consumers against bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) starts in the slaughterhouse, and a new method of detecting the disease has been discovered. Scientists have detected infected nervous system tissue using a fluorescent light method. Nervous system tissue contains lipofuscin, which fluoresces when exposed to light. Formerly, the use of chromatography, polymerase chain-reaction assays and other laboratory methods for detecting nervous system tissue on an animal’s carcass was a tedious affair. The new simple test can quickly be performed in real time and minimize the chance of nervous system tissue becoming intermingled with the rest of the meat to be processed. Korea set to re-inspect U.S. beef plants The South Korean government plans to dispatch inspectors to U.S. slaughterhouses that want to export beef to South Korea as part of its efforts to check the safety of U.S. beef, quarantine officials said recently. The National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service said it will send inspectors to 22 U.S. meat processing and packing facilities starting late this month. "They are to check if the facilities can safely remove SRMs [Specified Risk Materials] and properly control the age of animals that can be slaughtered for export to South Korea," an official said. At present, only 30 meat processors and slaughterhouses can send beef to South Korea.. An April 18 trade agreement with South Korea allows the U.S. to send beef from cattle under 30 months of age. E. coli monitoring may shift USDA is considering increasing its scrutiny of primals, subprimals and bench trim used by processors and retailers to make ground beef after a series of recalls this summer and survey results that showed more than 70 percent of processors grind these products. Primals, subprimals and bench trim are not the current focus of USDA’s protocols to test for the presence of E. coli O157:H7, which traditionally have been centered around ground beef sampling and, starting last year, sampling carcass trim destined for grinding. Carcass trim is lean and fat removed at slaughter when primal and subprimal cuts are created for boxed beef; bench trim is defined as excess lean and fat trimmed from primal and subprimal cuts during further processing, often at another facility. Tyson confronts labor safety allegations Tyson Foods recently said the U.S. departments of Justice and Labor claimed that the meat processor’s willful violations of safety rules resulted in the death of an employee in 2003. A letter from the agencies also claimed Tyson employees or agents, acting in the course of their employment, made false statements to compliance officers, according to a regulatory filing. "The letter also expressed concern that our agents may have withheld documents in the course of the... investigation, thereby subjecting us to liability for obstruction of justice," the company says in its filing. In 2004, a federal grand jury began an investigation into the workplace fatality from the inhalation of hydrogen sulfide. Regulators issued citations to the company in 2004, alleging violations of health and safety standards. Limousin juniors savor cook-off success Six teams shared their recipes for success at the 16th Annual Limousin Beef Cook-Off July 14 in Sioux Falls, SD. Each prepared a beef dish while keeping with its chosen theme—from costumes to serving style. The Limi Boosters hosted the contest as part of the National Junior Limousin Show and Congress. The judges awarded the "Road Kill Crew" from Kansas and its fajita recipe with first-place honors. The "Oklahoma Construction Crew" won the People’s Choice Award with its "Back-Road Brisket." Third place went to the "Trail Dusters" from Texas and its "Smoked Standing Rib Roast." This year’s judges were Dan and Rae Jean Gee, Brookings, SD, and Lisa (Reimer) Johnson, Huron, SD. Dan is a professor emeritus of animal science at South Dakota State University, and Rae Jean studied home economics. Lisa is a former North American Limousin Junior Association advisor. Certified Humane label awarded to PM Beef The Certified Humane Raised and Handled label was awarded by the nonprofit Humane Farm Animal Care to PM Beef Holdings, LLC, a premium specialty beef producer based in Windom, MN. The Certified Humane Raised and Handled label assures consumers that a meat, poultry, egg or dairy product has been produced according to Humane Farm Animal Care’s (HFAC) precise standards for humane farm animal treatment. Animals must receive a nutritious diet without antibiotics or hormones and must be raised with shelter, resting areas and space sufficient to support natural behavior. Since HFAC’s program was unveiled in May 2003, more than 65 companies, representing hundreds of farms, have been certified.

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Friday, August 15,2008

Livestock producer compliance with the COOL interim final rule

by WLJ
Livestock producers are not directly regulated by the Country Of Original Labeling (COOL) interim final rule as livestock are not considered covered commodities. However, only producers have first-hand knowledge concerning the origin of their animals. Definitive origin information must be provided to slaughter facilities so that meat covered commodities can be accurately labeled at retail. Presumption of origin by packers and other entities in the marketing chain is not permitted. For example, it is not acceptable to assume that if an animal has no ear tag and/or brands identifying that the animal was born and/or raised in Canada or Mexico, the animal is of U.S. origin. The COOL law provides for the use of producer affidavits to provide origin information to packers. Thus, under the interim final rule, USDA will consider a producer affidavit as acceptable evidence on which a packer may rely upon to initiate an origin claim, as long as the affidavit is made by someone having first-hand knowledge of the origin of the animal(s) and identifies the animal(s) unique to the transaction. Evidence that identifies the animal(s) unique to a transaction can include a tag ID system along with other information such as the type and sex of the animals, number of head involved in the transaction, the date of the transaction, and the name of the buyer. With regard to what is considered first-hand knowledge, a subsequent producer-buyer (e.g., backgrounder, feeder) that commingles animals from several sources is authorized to rely on previous producer affidavits as a basis for formulating their own affidavit for the origin of the new lot. Such affidavits must also identify the animals unique to the transaction. In contrast, first-hand knowledge would not include an affidavit made by someone such as a truck driver whose knowledge would be limited to where he picked up the load. The driver would not have sufficient information about the chain of custody and other information needed to provide the origin declaration. The responsible party (e.g., buyer) for commingling the animals would be the attestor to the origin of the newly formed group of animals and would retain the original affidavits, or other appropriate records, to substantiate claims made about the newly formed group. Other records that may be used to assist in a COOL verification audit include birth records, receiving records, purchase records, animal health papers, sales receipts, animal inventory documents, feeding records, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Veterinary Service forms, segregation plans, state brand requirements, breeding stock information, and other similar documents. In addition, participation in USDA Quality System Verification Programs, such as the USDA Process Verified Program and the Quality Systems Assessment Program that contain a source verification component is also considered as acceptable evidence to substantiate COOL claims. These examples are not inclusive of all documents and records that may be useful to verify compliance with COOL, but they should provide a strong basis to substantiate a claim during a supply chain audit. Ultimately, the packer, as the first handler of the covered commodity (meat), may require from their suppliers records or access to records in order to substantiate COOL claims made by the packer. However, if the producer participates in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), that is considered sufficient documentation of an animal’s origin. Participation in the NAIS program is voluntary, but does provide a livestock producer "safe harbor" for COOL compliance. The rule specifies that packers that slaughter animals that are part of a NAIS compliant system or other recognized official identification system (e.g., Canadian official system, Mexico official system) may rely on the presence of an official ear tag and/or the presence of any accompanying animal markings (i.e., "Can," "M") on which to base their origin claims. This provision also applies to such animals officially identified as a group lot. — WLJ

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Friday, August 8,2008

Markets

by WLJ
A good jump in the futures trade lent some support to fed cattle markets last week and was expected to push cash prices higher. Although there was only minimal trade at mid-day last Thursday, analysts were calling the market $1-2 higher at $99-100 live and $158-160 dressed basis when trade finally got started, although the bulk of the action looked to be a Friday affair. Boxed beef prices also continued to support the live trade with Choice cutout values rising at midweek on fair movement in the retail trade and very good export shipments. South Korea has jumped into the market in a major way and was among the biggest buyers of U.S. beef with a net purchase of 3,000 metric tons, exceeding all other buyers last week. That helped push Choice values to $162.09, up $1.21 at mid-day last Thursday. Select also added 31 cents to reach $155.09, with movement called moderate, with 230 loads trading hands during morning trade. Packers continued to harvest good numbers of cattle on positive margins. The week-to-date tally through last Thursday was estimated at 505,000, with 665,000 head expected for the processing week. Those numbers would be nearly even with the previous week and slightly ahead of year-earlier numbers. A rally in the up-front live cattle contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) last Wednesday pushed spot month prices over the $1 mark and spurred several deliveries against the contract. The amount of volatility in the market recently is causing many market analysts to raise caution flags. Fund trading has caused significant price swings in the relatively small commodities markets, however, analysts said the overall picture for the protein markets remains bullish going into 2009. The result should be an overall upward trend for much of the remainder of the year despite a significant decline in grain prices. The supply of beef and other meats is projected to decline while demand is picking up in the export markets, said analyst Troy Vetterkind of Vetterkind Cattle Brokerage. Although he noted the large supply of heavy grass cattle heading for placement this fall and the resulting increase in fed cattle supplies as a reason for some of the weakness in deferred contracts on CME. However, he noted that the opposite dynamic is at play in the pork and poultry markets. "Canadian hog numbers are down, pork imports are down 14 percent year-to-date, and pork exports are up 61 percent year-to-date. The same type of scenario holds true in the cattle market as we see year-to-date cow slaughter up 6 percent, year-to-date beef imports down 22 percent, and year-to-date beef exports up 33 percent. Factor in year-to-date broiler exports up 29 percent and one needs to be careful about getting too bearish meat markets going into 2009 as we clearly have an overall trend of decreasing beef, pork, and poultry production with increasing demand overseas for each of these markets going forward," he said. Vetterkind noted that the current market fundamentals, which point to short supply of fed cattle availability in the next several weeks, will support the cash market and also lend to the positive fundamentals in the futures trade. "This next leg up in cash cattle and beef prices going into the fourth quarter will eventually pull back month fat cattle futures back up in my opinion, a rally we will want to use as a hedging opportunity in Febuary and April futures. We have likely seen the highs in these contracts for the year, however, I do think we will get a better hedging opportunity this fall," said Vetterkind. "Front month August and October fats are probably going to be a sell at some point as we will likely get these contracts a little too far ahead of cash, however, we need to get this spread trade worked out first. I still think if we run into a marketing hole later this year, it is going to come in late October through November, and I continue to like December live cattle futures for this reason." Feeder cattle Changing grass conditions and hot summer weather accounted for some of the largest influences on feeder cattle purchasing trends last week, which remained steady to higher at most auction markets. As sellers begin to become more aware of trends in the cattle feeding industry which demand heavier-weight cattle for placement, earlier expectations of receiving typical premiums for lightweight feeders have waned and have adjusted to real market demands and transportation costs. DTN analyst Walt Hackney noted last week that western ranchers have had the hardest time adjusting to the new ways of doing business in light of high feed and transportation costs which have placed a burden on feeder cattle prices in many regions. He mentioned, however, that sellers have begun to adjust their asking prices to market expectations. "Ranchers in the western areas are fairly well in tune with the markets now and are selling fall delivery calves at a much more realistic level than earlier attempts, which were closer to last years’ money," he said. Hackney also mentioned that weakness during last week’s trading of corn futures has seen a number of buyers come back into the market for lighter-weight offerings scheduled for fall delivery. "Monday’s serious break in corn contracts on the CBOT [Chicago Board of Trade] appeared to be the straw that broke the camel’s back as calf buyer interest began in earnest on their decision to go ahead with their program to own fall delivery calves," he explained. Even as buyer attitudes improve slightly, USDA Market Reporter Corbitt Wall said that weather has begun to play a significant role in the kind of cattle purchasers seek. "Steer and heifer calf prices continue to run unevenly steady, with buyers still willing to pay the top prices of several weeks ago for larger lots of weaned calves with desirable flesh and weighing conditions," he noted. "However, there seems to be more wrong with the calf quality than with the calf market. Current conditions are simply too hot for the acquisition of fleshy or unweaned calves which can literally melt this time of year." And as Utah State University Economist Dylan Feuz points out, although competition for quality feeder cattle should keep cash prices high for some time to come, relief from slim or negative margins in the feedlot sector are unlikely to improve anytime soon. "Higher grain prices are resulting in cattle being placed on feed at heavier weights and cattle are spending fewer days in the feedlot," he observed. "Feedlots tend to be more profitable if they are operating close to full capacity. Therefore, feedlots will continue to aggressively pursue the available supply of feeder cattle and there may be another year or two of minimal or no profits in this sector." Last week’s sale at the Oklahoma National Stockyards saw a total of 8,232 head available for sale where compared to the week prior, feeder cattle moved $1-3 higher. Demand was very good for feeders, with buyers showing very little discrimination for type and kind. Limited tests of the steer and heifer calf market showed it to be steady with moderate demand. The quality of cattle offered continued to be similar to that during recent weeks, with several consignments of No. 1-2 cattle from out of state. Steers weighing 725 lbs. sold at $114.85, while heifers weighing an average of 721 lbs. sold at $109.57. There were 3,992 head received last week at the Joplin Regional Stockyards near Joplin, MO, where compared to the most recent sale, steers under 800 lbs. sold steady, with those over 800 lbs. selling steady to $1 higher. Heifers under 600 lbs. were steady to $2 higher, with weights over 600 lbs. steady. Demand was moderate to good for the moderate supply. The bulk of the calves offered were weaned, with one to two rounds of vaccinations. Temperatures of mid to upper 90s in the area with high humidity are expected to start slowing the rate of gain on grazing cattle in the region. Buyers paid $112.02 for 731 lb. steers at this sale, and $104.18 for heifers weighing an average of 719 lbs. The Winter Livestock Feeder Cattle Auction in Dodge City, KS, offered 2,180 head for sale last week where compared to the previous sale’s light test, steers from 350-700 lbs. were steady to firm, with 700-900 lb. steers steady to $2 higher. Heifers from 350-650 lbs. were steady to firm, with 650-900 lb. heifers steady to $2 higher. Steers weighing an average of 807 lbs. brought $114.44 at this sale, while 767 lb. heifers sold at $109.22. A total of 1,750 head were received for sale last week at the Bassett Livestock Auction in Bassett, NE, where compared to the previous sale, feeder steers and heifers trended fully steady. The bulk of the offerings were good quality yearlings coming off of grass. There was also good demand noted for the short list of fall-calving cows. Steers weighing 715 lbs. sold for $117.75 at this sale, while 735 lb. heifers brought $111.70. Last week’s sale at the La Junta Livestock Commission Co. in La Junta, CO, saw 1,032 head available for sale, with feeder steers and heifers steady to $1 higher compared to the previous week. Buyers paid an average of $104 for 793 lb. steers and $101.50 for 713 lb. heifers. The Riverton Livestock Auction in Riverton, WY, received 855 head for sale last week where compared to the most recent sale, there was no good comparison available for feeders, though the first test of the season on lightweight calves saw good demand. Steer calves weighing 458 lbs. sold at $126, while 477 lb. heifers sold at $107.28. — WLJ

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Friday, August 8,2008

Coming Events

by WLJ
Coming Events Aug. 15 Aug. 27 Aug. 27 Sept. 17-19 Sept. 19 Oct. TBD Oct. 2 Oct. 7-9 Oct. 23-29 Nov. 2-4 Nov. 6-8 November 19-21 Dec. 3-4 Dec. 7-10 2009 Jan. 28-31 March 8-10 - Annual Meat Conference, Sheraton Denver Hotel, Denver, CO. - National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Annual Convention, Phoenix, AZ. For more information, call 303/694-0305. - Wyoming Stockgrower’s Association Joint Winter Convention, Parkway Plaza, Casper, WY. For more information, contact WYSGA at 307/638-3942 or email info@wysga.org. - Kansas Livestock Association Convention and Trade Show, Wichita, KS. For more information or to register, contact KLA at 785/273-5115. - California Cattlewomen’s/California Cattlemen’s Association Convention, John Ascuaga’s Nugget, Sparks, NV. For more information or to register, call CCA at 916/444-0845. - Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Annual Convention and Trade Show, Redmond, OR. Contact OCA at 503/361-8941. - Texas Cattle Feeders Association Annual Convention, The Gaylord Texan Resort & Conference Center, Grapevine, TX. For more information, contact Trent Tyson at trent@tcfa.org. - U.S. Animal Health Association Annual Meeting, Greensboro, NC, Sheraton Greensboro Hotel. For more information or to register, contact USAHA at 816/671-1144 or email usaha@usaha.org. - National Angus Conference and Tour, Oklahoma City, OK. For more information, contact the American Angus Association at 816/383-5100. – Kansas State University Stocker Conference, KSU Stocker Unit, Manhattan, KS. - National Beef Ambassador Competition, Oklahoma City, OK. - Cattle Producers of Washington (CpoW), 2008 Annual Fall Meeting and Trade Show, N.E. Washington Fairgrounds and Ag Center, 411 W. Astor Ave, Colville, WA. For more information, call 509/994-8051 or 509/855-5571. - Red Angus Association of America, National Convention, Little America Hotel, Cheyenne, WY. For more information, visit www.redangus.org or call 940/387-3502. - Southwest Iowa Feedlot Shortcourse, 10 a.m., ISU Armstrong Research farm, Lewis, IA; 712/769-2600 or www.iowabeefcenter.org. - California State Fair Cattlemen’s Day, Sacramento, CA. For more information, contact CCA at 916/444-0845. - Triennial Stocker Conference, Auburn University, Auburn, AL. Contact Walt Prevatt at prevajw@auburn.edu.

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