Most Recent Blog Posts

Jan 29, 2015

What’s ahead for 2015 on the cow-calf side?

Generating a profit from finishing cattle in 2015 will be more difficult, thanks to the rapid increase in feeder-cattle prices during 2014....More
Jan 06, 2015

An analysis of 2014 calf prices and projections for 2015

What a marketing year 2014 was! I prepared a set of price projections for fall weaning prices every month, and each month’s price projections in 2014....More
Dec 01, 2014

What are the economics of a beef cow lease agreement?

Given today’s cull prices and production costs, what beef lease agreement would lead to a more equal allocation of the economic profit between the....More
Oct 30, 2014

3 Steps To Negotiating A Great Cow Lease

A common question I get regarding cow leasing is how the calf crop should be shared. In other words, what’s an equitable lease arrangement? I suggest....More
raising heifer calves
Oct 08, 2014

Heifer Development Costs Are Down, But Opportunity Costs Are Up

Annual heifer development costs have decreased since 2012 as hay prices have fallen, but heifer opportunity costs have risen dramatically....More
developing heifer calves
Sep 07, 2014

Cost Of Developing 2014 Heifer Calves Will Be Record High

With cattle prices up and feed costs down, many producers outside the major drought areas are contemplating holding back additional replacement....More
expansion tips from harlan hughes, market specialist
Aug 07, 2014

Part 3 In Harlan’s “Thinking Expansion?” Series

This year’s rapid price increases require each rancher to rethink his long-run business plan. Such profit opportunity comes around only one or twice....More
herd expansion
Jul 02, 2014

Thinking About Herd Expansion? Keep These Points In Mind1

We all know it costs money to expand a beef cowherd, and net cash flow will decrease in the early years of expansion. Here's how that could impact....More
how to know if you should expand your cowherd
Jun 07, 2014

Should You Expand Your Cowherd? Take This Test1

Should your cow herd get bigger or get better before it gets bigger? BEEF Columnist Harlan Hughes looks at expansion possibilities in the first of....More
Apr 24, 2014

Is There A Game Change Just Ahead For Ranchers?

My calculated feedlot profits for March 2014-finished cattle are at or near record levels for finished cattle. Feedlots making money appear to be....More
Mar 30, 2014

Harlan Projects $276/Cow Profit In 2014

After another month of record cattle prices. I’d planned on moving to another subject in my April 2014 column, but I am compelled to the....More
Mar 09, 2014

Despite Record Prices, Push The Pencil For The Best Selling Option

Current corn prices are lowering cost of gain, and current marketing buy/sell margins are putting upward pressure on breakeven cost of gain. Be sure....More
marketing cattle
Jan 29, 2014

What’s The Best Way To Market Beef Calves This Year?2

Most of the ranch profit in recent years has been made from running the cows, not from post-weaning marketing alternatives....More
lower feed costs may spur expansion
Jan 07, 2014

Lower Feed Costs Will Boost Cowherd Returns In 20141

My current projections for the production of 2014 calves for this study herd suggest a slight increase in earned net returns, thanks to lower feed-....More
heifer replacement costs
Nov 28, 2013

Year-End Analysis Shows Replacement Costs Are Surging

The cattle market is now signaling that ranchers are starting to hold back replacement heifers....More

Harlan Hughes

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,...
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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