Weighing and tagging calves this morning, we had a cow that didn’t like the idea of us working on her calf. It became pretty obvious that she might be inclined to do more than just beller and snort, so we pulled the calf on the other side of the fence to weigh and tag it.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack made a push this week for the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement by highlighting its benefits. Ironically, while it eliminates most ag tariffs almost immediately and pork tariffs by 2016, it will take 15 years for beef tariffs to be reduced to zero. However, the small gains we would enjoy in the meantime should result in significant increases in market share.
Cattle futures set an all-time high this week, as tight supplies and strong export demand continues to push the fed market higher. Fed cattle traded solidly at $1.14/lb. (some cattle traded as high as $118 in Kansas), taking out the previous record set in 2003. On Wednesday, the April contract hit nearly $1.18/lb., the highest a nearby contract has ever traded. December fed moved over $1.22
Jim McGrann, Texas A&M University emeritus professor, sent me a write-up and spreadsheet this week that provided a very sophisticated way of calculating the actual costs of a bull, and the impact of bull prices
I’m sure most readers would consider the political unrest occurring in Libya today to be as disconnected from the U.S. cattle industry as any two events could be. In actuality, however, the situation illustrates just how interconnected we have become via the global economy. The uncertainty has caused oil prices to surge into the $120/barrel range, and the specter of $4/gal. gasoline threatens an already extremely weak economic recovery
Chalk me up as one of those who didn’t get overly excited about the dust regulations that the Environmental Protection Agency proposed under the Clean Air Act. I know that the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) worked feverishly on this issue for quite some time and warned us all about the difficulties this measure could create for rural America.
Given the high prices in all cattle sectors and optimistic expectations for the future, everyone expected a higher bull market this spring. While it hasn’t materialized to the level of the other sectors, the strength of the early bull sales is surprising some folks, particularly when you consider that U.S. herd expansion hasn’t really yet begun.
This is one of those weeks when I sat down to write my weekly thoughts and I struggled for something to say. So I started looking for inspiration by ticking off the things happening at home. The strange weather is number one – bitter cold followed by unseasonable warming. And, of course, there is the calving season getting started.
The World Bank (TWB), which calculates its own world food price index, claims that food prices rose by 15% in just the short time frame of October 2010 to January 2011. In fact, TWB’s latest report says food prices are up 29% compared to a year ago, and tens of millions of people are moving into the poverty category as a result.
At the Cattle Industry Convention in Denver last week, plenty of opportunities and challenges were discussed. Regardless of the seriousness and weight of the issue, however, there was a pervading feeling of optimism because the industry has a contingency plan for just about everything it faces. Sadly, there was one notable exception, and that was the ongoing feud between the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the executive committee of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board
I’ll never be one of those folks who talk about prices being too high. It’s music to my ears when I hear about feeder cattle bringing $1,000/head or cull bulls returning nearly $1,900. And I believe the new price levels are justified. Still, there are talks about riots in the street, and even the turmoil in Egypt and Tunisia has been partly attributed to rising food prices
The December placement numbers released last Friday surprised analysts by being up 16.1% while the average estimate of the analysts was only 13.7%. While last year’s placement totals were extremely low, December placements were up 5.7% compared to the five-year average. In addition, placements were up 10 of 12 months in 2010 compared to 2009.