Now's the time to think about generating the maximum possible profit from your 2005 calves, writes “Market Advisor” columnist Harlan Hughes on page 8. In “Profiting on 2005 calves — Part 1,” Hughes suggests to begin by fully analyzing the production of your 2004 calves, and he provides a series of benchmarks on which to gauge your progress.

“Vet's Opinion” columnist, Mike Apley, DVM, critiques some common cattle treatment practices in “Seven therapy myths” on page 12. Before employing any treatment, Apley encourages producers to talk with their veterinarians and weigh the evidence to determine if the practices are worthwhile and cost-effective.

Cattle prices and production costs are going through the roof, while competing visions of the industry's future fiercely vie for support. Joe Roybal looks at these and other factors in “Best Of Times, Worst Of Times” on page 16. Also included are the results of a recent BEEF reader survey regarding important issues and concerns of the day.

Reopening key export markets to U.S. beef, the debate over the Canadian live cattle trade, and the timid first steps toward a national livestock ID program are among the front-and-center issues of 2005. BEEF associate editor Stephanie Veldman looks at these and other issues in “Industry Hot Topics” on page 26.

Five years ago, the National Beef Quality Audit drafted 12 goals in the area of end-product quality for the industry to achieve by 2005. BEEF senior editor, Clint Peck, assembled a panel of industry experts to discuss and grade the industry's progress toward those goals. The industry report card is presented in “A Bit Above Average,” on page 28.

“It may be of little eventual consequence to the beef industry what the Supreme Court decides to do with the mandatory beef checkoff,” longtime beef promotion guru John Huston tells Walt Barnhart in “Go Time For The Beef Checkoff” on page 34. Either way the Court rules, the checkoff program is likely headed for some type of modification.