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In the Cattle Markets

Cow prices remain strong.

All market classes of beef cattle are at record-high levels for this time of the year, but they are lower than the all-time record highs established in the last half of 2014. Slaughter-cow (85%-90% lean) prices in the Southern Plains peaked in August 2014 at an all-time record high of more than $131 per hundredweight (cwt.). Cow prices then declined seasonally to average about $115 per cwt. in fourth-quarter 2014. First-quarter-2015 cow prices have generally ranged above last year, from $103-$115 per cwt.

Support for cow prices has come from lower slaughter. Total cow slaughter in the first quarter was down about 5% from last year. Beef cow slaughter was down about 15% as herd rebuilding that began in 2014 continued. Dairy cow slaughter was more than 4% higher as milk prices have waned from last year’s record highs. Read more.

Preconditioning Pays

Precondition calves for performance, quality and cash.

It’s been talked about for 60 years. It’s better for animals, preferred by most cattle feeders and could provide a 169% return on investment.

“2014 was the biggest ‘no brainer’ year in history to precondition your calves,” says Purdue University veterinarian Mark Hilton. “2015 could be even better.”

Crunching the numbers, Hilton first turns to an 11-year analysis of Indiana beef herds that showed weight alone added $50.84 average profit on preconditioned calves. Read more.

Prices Starting to Drop

Cattle market prices down from 2014, but still historically high.

In 2014, beef cattle producers were riding some record price highs, but in the first part of the new year, feeder-cattle markets dropped by more than $30 per hundredweight (cwt.). Kenny Burdine, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment livestock marketing specialist, said the markets recovered some of that in March.

April CME Feeder Cattle futures have gained back a little more than half of what had been lost since December. Read more.

Ginette Kurtz

The Source

Why haven’t you enrolled?

American Angus Association members and the commercial cattlemen who purchase their bulls are truly the backbone of this association. I greatly enjoy working with cattlemen, registered or commercial.

This past week I trekked to Big Sky country and visited a few long-time AngusSource® customers. The Midland Bull Test sale is a great place to visit with a large group of producers, so it was also on my list to visit.

Another longtime AngusSource customer was at the Midland sale. Their production sale was right around the corner. They believe in the advantages AngusSource gives them in the marketplace. They sell their steers that don’t make the cut for bulls and have a commercial herd, too. Read more.

Future of Ag in a Global Market

The United States will have a major role in supplying global agriculture needs.

All soils are not equal, and North America is blessed with fertile soils. These soils will play a key role in feeding a burgeoning global population, said Paul Genho, retired president of Farmland Reserve Inc. and chairman of the board of AgReserves Inc. Food security has much to do with optimizing soil use, he told attendees of the International Livestock Congress (ILC–USA) in Houston, Texas, March 5.

The United States is a blessed land, with 6.7% of the world’s land area, 4.2% of the population and 31% of the two most-fertile soil types, mollisols and alfisols. Additionally, the United States has a river system that penetrates most of its farmland, providing cheap transportation and a competitive advantage. North and South America, primarily, will meet the growing demand for food, he claimed, because these continents have the resources to produce enough. Read more.

Cattle Cycle:

Back From the Brink

There are more cows in the country now for the first time in 10 years, and some former drought states report up to 25% more replacement heifers. Does that mean the cattle cycle is in a sustainable expansion phase, or will it fizzle out like it did nine years ago? How long could it last, and what’s in store for cattle feeders?

Pete Anderson, director of research for Midwest PMS, ventured some answers as he addressed producers at February’s Cattleman’s College during the Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in San Antonio, Texas. Read more.

TPA Legislation Introduced

Legislation would give president authority to pursue agreements that open markets for America’s farmers, ranchers and agribusiness.

Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on April 16 introduced Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation that would establish concrete rules for international trade negotiations, boosting American exports and creating new economic opportunities, according to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). President and Chugwater, Wyo., cattleman Philip Ellis urged Congress to act swiftly to pass the legislation.

“2014 was the largest year we’ve ever seen for U.S. beef exports, with over $7 billion in total sales,” said Ellis. “It is critical for our government to remove tariff and nontariff barriers to trade, to ensure our beef exports remain competitive across the world. TPA assures the president and Congress will negotiate present and future trade agreements with common objectives and the understanding that any agreement will receive an up or down vote when presented to Congress.” Read more.

Angus Calendar

To view the Angus Calendar, a complete list of Angus sales, click here.