Most Recent Blog Posts

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
Jan 26, 2012

The Economic Value Of A Preg-Checked Heifer

Profits per cow grew in 2010 and preliminary data suggest profits per cow were up again in 2011. I project even higher profits for the next few....More
writing a beef cow lease
Jan 12, 2012

Tips For Setting Up A Cow Lease

A beef cow leasing or sharing arrangement allows two business partners to share the production costs and, in turn, the cowherd income. The issue is....More
Dec 01, 2011

Increase Your Cowherd’s Gross Income

In only a handful of cases in my 40-year career have I seen such economically favorable times as we have today. Because such good times don’t occur....More
Nov 01, 2011

Key Economic Opportunities In Calf Marketing

My last series of articles focused on the economic challenges occurring in the beef-cow sector since the start of the biofuels era. This month, I’ll....More
Oct 01, 2011

How Is The Beef Cow Sector Doing Six Years After Ethanol?

This is the final article in my four-part series on the beef cow sector’s economic transition to the “new normal.” The question I’ve specifically....More
Sep 01, 2011

Analyzing The Costs Of Maintaining A Breeding Herd

In my July column, which kicked off this series analyzing how beef cow costs are changing in the biofuels era, we discussed the 17-year trend in....More
Aug 01, 2011

Overhead Costs On The Ranch

A key question for today’s ranchers is whether ranch cost structures are changing as we progress further into the biofuels era....More
Jul 01, 2011

Effect Of Ethanol Supports On Ranchers – Part I

The nation’s ethanol program kicked into high gear in 1996, dramatically impacting corn prices and changing the economics of the beef cow sector in....More
Jun 01, 2011

Corn & Cattle Prices Are A Roller Coaster

The economics of the U.S. beef-cow sector have turned into a real roller coaster – three of them, in fact – one for corn, one for slaughter cattle....More
May 01, 2011

Take Advantage Of Record Cattle Prices

My current price projections and associated economic analysis suggests that profits are finally returning to the ranch sector. I project decade-high....More
Apr 01, 2011

Today’s Economics For Ranchers

As we enter the “new normal” for the U.S. beef industry, I encourage ranchers to think about the overall economics of the ranching sector. To....More
Mar 01, 2011

Corn Determines Calf Prices

Ranchers are facing a new normal in the beef cow-calf business. The price of corn has replaced the cattle cycle as the key factor determining feeder-....More
Contributors

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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