Harlan Hughes is a North Dakota State University professor emeritus and author of the monthly "Market Advisor" column that appears in BEEF magazine. He also consults and lectures widely, making presentations on ranch business management at various state, regional and national beef industry events. He retired as the NDSU Extension livestock economist in 2000 and now lives in Laramie, WY.

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Nov 26, 2012

Drought Economics – Part II

Last month, I summarized my producer educational programs in past droughts. The key lesson I learned from those droughts was that the optimum drought....More
Oct 24, 2012

The Economics Of Various Drought Strategies

The 2012 summer drought hit much of cow country. Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension economist, summed up the situation in late August....More
Sep 21, 2012

2012 Beef Calf Prices Should Be Equal To 2011

By now, drought has forced some ranchers to sell some cows and/or wean early; others have already priced their 2012 calves. We all have one thing....More
Aug 28, 2012

Your Herd’s Economic Base Will Determine Your Drought Strategy

Each ranch operator must figure his herd’s economic base when launching a drought management plan. And in many parts of the country, a....More
Jul 11, 2012

Study Herd Performance In Developing A Drought Strategy

How your herd has been performing economically should play a critical role in your drought management plan. Producers need to know the economic....More
Jun 22, 2012

What’s The Real Cost Of Heifer Development?

Today’s high market prices are stimulating talk of herd expansion. Ranchers can either raise or purchase their replacement females, but the....More
May 24, 2012

Make Your Ranch Better, Before You Make It Bigger

In past cattle cycles, I felt it took average profits of over $200/cow to stimulate a full-blown beef herd expansion. So, what was the profit level....More
Apr 24, 2012

Expect Record Revenue & Costs In 2012-2014

My current price projections are for record-high average calf prices for the next five years. What’s more, I expect those increases will exceed a....More
Mar 28, 2012

Environment For Cowherd Expansion Is Very Favorable

Economic theory suggests that when a major input cost goes up, the industry utilizing that input reduces its production. That’s exactly what happened....More
Feb 23, 2012

Seven Expansion Strategies For Cow-Calf Producers

Given the prospect of increasing beef prices, a key current question for ranchers is whether herd expansion is warranted? Back in the days of....More
What's Market Advisor?

Harlan Hughes has spent a professional lifetime helping U.S. beef producers better manage the business end of their beef cow operations.

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