Readers should now understand the 10- to 12-year cattle cycle, according to “Market Advisor” columnist Harlan Hughes. In the conclusion column to his eight-part series on the cattle cycle, “Planning prices for future markets,” page 13, Hughes reviews how to use long-run planning prices for calves, feeder steers and slaughter cattle to make the cattle- and beef-price cycle work for you.

When your permanent pastures run out of gas in the summer heat, summer annual pastures can provide high-quality forage. In “Making summer annual pastures work,” page 18, “Grazier's Page” columnist Jim Gerrish says controlled grazing — using forage crops from corn to crabgrass — will help capture a better return on investment via elevated grazing efficiency.

More than 38% of respondents to BEEF magazine's annual State of the Industry survey say they're less optimistic than last year about the short-term future of the U.S. beef industry, with surging energy prices likely being one worry. Editor Joe Roybal reports the results of a survey of more than 14,000 readers regarding their attitudes about the U.S. beef industry and selected industry issues. See “Worrisome Picture” on page 20.

The world has “never seen global competition for meat protein markets this intense. And we haven't seen anything yet,” Patrick Moore, Dublin, Ireland, told Senior Editor Clint Peck at the World Meat Congress in Brisbane, Australia. On page 26, Peck provides a “Global Snapshot” of the world's major players in both the beef import and export game, and what the future holds for U.S. producers in that world market.

USDA in mid May projected a 2006-07 U.S. corn crop 5% less than last year. USDA also forecasts a 34% rise in domestic corn use for ethanol at 2.15 billion bu. While ethanol demand pressures feed price for cattlemen, the sunny side is the co-product feed value of ethanol production. Associate Editor Stephanie Veldman details some recent feeding research in “Ethanol co-products make ideal feed,” on page 34.

“The last few years, time has usually saved you if you are a margin operator (feeder or stocker), now it will be against you,” Derrell Peel tells Wes Ishmael about the future economic outlook of the cattle industry. On page 32, the Oklahoma State University Extension livestock specialist says the short cow numbers should allow cow-calf producers to remain in the marketing driver's seat this fall, but the high times in this cattle cycle are on their “Last Laps.”