“Market Advisor” columnist Harlan Hughes says once you grasp the cattle cycle, you can predict it, which helps in predicting the beef price cycle. And, predicting the price cycle enables you to identify strategies to make the cycle work for you. See “Working the cycle — Part III” on page 10.

Fed cattle prices hovering steadily above $90/cwt. much of this year, feeders at $1.10+, and calf prices close to as strong as a year ago. That's part of what Larry Stalcup found in talking with industry trend and number crunchers in “2006 Cattle Outlook” on page 36.

It sticks in the U.S. beef industry's craw, but the European Union's (EU) 17-year-old, so-called “hormone ban” continues. But, Meghan Sapp reports in “Unfilled Demand” on page 42 that there are untapped opportunities for U.S. beef marketers willing to undergo certification to export beef into the EU.

Tom Brink is vice president of cattle ownership and risk management for the world's largest cattle feeding firm. So his take on world and U.S. beef industry trends should make for some valuable reading. Kindra Gordon sat down with Brink and developed “Brink On Beef” on page 44.

There's no controlling the weather. But contributor Alan Newport details how one ranching couple's foresight and discipline have helped them deal with a once-in-300-years drought that hit their southwest Nebraska operation two years ago. See “Gearing Down & Gearing Up” on page 75.

Who can forget those 2001 scenes when foot-and-mouth disease forced the destruction of millions of animals in the UK, asks Darcy Maulsby. She reports in “Windrow Composting” on page 78 that Iowa researchers have since found “windrow composting” to be a workable emergency cattle disposal method.