Harlan Hughes

The changing corn environment
Part 1: Uncharted waters Managing a beef cowherd in today's corn environment is like sailing uncharted waters. Ranchers' past experiences may not be of
Price forecasting part II
Ranching's economics are changing. Preliminary data suggest the cost of running a beef cowherd has increased 15-20% in the last two years. Altered production
Marketing 2007 calves
Given the emerging biofuels era in agriculture, I've received quite a few phone calls recently from ranchers looking at retaining their weaned calves
Heifer economics part 2
Replacement females heavily influence a beef cow herd's profitability. Some operators raise replacements from scratch, others buy them, but the key to
Heifer economics part 1
Fall calf prices peaked in 2005, and the current beef-price cycle is expected to trend lower as the cycle plays out. Thus, measuring and controlling heifer-replacement
A financial early-warning system
Like canaries placed in a mine to provide early warning of danger to workers, there are three herd business management tools that ranchers should consider
Part IV analyzing 2006 performance
By the time you read this, you'll likely be working on your 2006 ranch income taxes and pondering your ranch's 2006 business performance
Good accounting Part III
Last month, I suggested ranchers look to their on-ranch accounting systems to answer two key business-management questions
Good accounting Part II
Last month, I summarized how some ranchers are being let down by their on-ranch accounting systems. This month, I'll focus on good accounting and how
Bad accounting Part 1
Today's ranch businesses are dramatically different from those of years ago. Previously, profit margins were such that the more beef you produced, the
The perfect beef-cow-lease
The 2002 and 2006 droughts have stoked interest in beef-cow leases, as drought-impacted ranchers seek to lease their cows to operators with grass and
Planning prices revised upward
Prices continue strong for cow-calf producers. As of late August, the 2006 drought has had little impact on cattle prices, and drought-induced early weaning
What's a fair cow share lease?
As the nation's drought expands and worsens, I get more calls on the economics of moving a cow herd to another ranch for feeding over the next year. Typically,
Calculating gross income accurately
Most ranchers don't accurately calculate the gross income of their beef cow herds. A correct economic analysis should be based on the accrual-adjusted
UCOP will tell your story
A statistical analysis of my Northern Plains 1990s beef cow Cost & Return Database suggests weaning weight explained only 20% of herd-to-herd variation

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