By 5 a.m., my dad Tom can be found on the couch: pen, paper, calculator and notebook in one hand, a strong cup of coffee in the other. He steadfastly puts his ag economics degree to use, running the numbers on whatever latest idea he or another member of my family has come up with to survive the drought searing Eastern Wyoming this year....More
Times of drought are no time for business as usual. Here are tips for planning ahead for next year and thinking outside the box for this year. Here are nine drought-management tips by BEEF veterinarian columnist Mark Hilton....More
The future undoubtedly will bring record prices for the beef industry – and, if Mother Nature cooperates, record profits. The trick is that one has to survive the current challenge to get to that point. But the decline in numbers also presents some long-term challenges....More
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday that he intends to file special provisions with the federal crop insurance program to allow haying or grazing of cover crops without impacting the insurability of planted 2013 spring crops, a move that can help provide much-needed forage and feed this fall and winter for livestock producers....More
“…If U.S. ethanol consumption were somehow banned, then U.S. corn prices would drop to an average of $2.67/bu.,” says Bruce Babcock, Iowa State University Cargill Chair of Energy Economics. “But there is no mechanism for implementing a ban on corn ethanol production. The only tool that the U.S. government......More
USDA announced Monday that it would purchase up to $170 million of pork, lamb, chicken and catfish for federal food programs (beef was not part of the transaction). A press release characterized the purchase “as part of the Obama administration’s commitment to do everything it can to help farmers, ranchers, small businesses and communities being impacted by the nation’s persistent drought.”...More
What a difference a drought makes. Beef producers started the year thinking 2012 was going to be the turnaround time for cowherd expansion. Then drought hit and the situation went from upside to downside in short order. While beef producers are feeling the stress of a year gone awry, your banker can be a resource to help you manage the risk....More
It’s hard to ignore the impacts the drought is having on farmers and ranchers across the country. Corn is being cut for silage, cows are already being fed winter forage supplies, pastures have dried up, and forest and grass fires are quickly devouring acres of land. And there’s little relief in sight. As a result, producers have to make adjustments to their usual management plans....More
The latest USDA Crop Progress report (week ending Aug. 12) shows 59% of U.S. pasture and range in the 48 states to be in Poor or Very Poor condition. That total percentage remains steady from last week, but considerably worse than last year’s 39% figure....More
Agriculture isn’t a top-level issue in national politics anymore. We’ve done such a good job of producing food and fiber that our numbers are just too small. But the 2012 drought puts those up for re-election in a bit of a quandary – how do you cut the deficit but earmark funds to help those impacted by the drought?...More
At the start of 2012, most in the U.S. beef industry were thinking that this was the year that expansion would begin in earnest. Instead, this season’s disastrous crop prospects have many thinking that maybe it’s time to collect on land appreciation and get out of the business....More
Tomorrow’s USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report is arguably the most important of the year so far. This will be the first report that USDA estimates of corn and soybean yields will be based on actual observations rather than trend yields and assumptions....More
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) stands with 156 U.S. Representatives and 25 U.S. Senators in their quest to bring commonsense to Washington, D.C., and relief to rural America by encouraging Environmental Protection Agency Administrator (EPA) Lisa Jackson to implement a waiver to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)....More
Many farms are starting to, or plan to, harvest drought-stressed corn, hoping to salvage it as livestock feed. University of Illinois beef extension specialist Travis Meteer answers some frequently asked questions.
Q: Do I need to test for nitrates?
A: Yes, elevated levels of nitrates have been well documented across the state. Cattle are valuable, and the test is inexpensive.
Q: When do I test for nitrates?...More
I’m counting my blessings, as we got a sprinkle of rain last week. Even though it was hardly enough to get the ground wet, I will take any moisture we can get in this epic drought that is impacting 56% of the nation....More
One of the oldest sayings in business is “Fail to plan and plan to fail.” While that’s good advice, it’s impossible to plan for every contingency. Still, having a plan in place for major natural disasters is a good idea. Question is, is it too late for this drought?...More
Every day that goes by brings another day of devastating drought to much of cattle country. While ranchers have faced hard times before, this year is shaping up to be one for the record books. However, while it’s impossible to go through a drought unscathed, you can minimize the damage....More
Some heat-stressed cows are delivering premature calves, ahead of normal fall-calving season.
With a heat wave and severe drought, fall-calving season might become as labor intensive as winter calving, say University of Missouri Extension specialists. Farmers who have calved both spring and fall prefer the normally trouble-free ease of fall calving.
"Cows under stress need to be watched closely," says David Patterson, MU beef reproduction specialist.
Even before the drought, livestock producers daily faced the difficult decision of figuring out which feed source was the best buy when it comes to providing protein and energy sources to their livestock.
This dilemma is even greater as feedstuff prices continue to increase due to the current drought, says Warren Rusche, SDSU Extension Beef Cow/Calf Field Specialist.
To aid livestock producers in this chore, Rusche and Tracey Renelt, SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist together developed a Feedstuff Cost Comparison Spreadsheet....More
It’s impossible to have a conversation about farming or ranching nowadays and not have the “D” word come up – drought that is. Short-term, the drought is playing havoc with prices and price predictions. For the next 12 months, however, CattleFax anticipates corn prices will stabilize while cattle prices continue to rise....More
July data indicates domestic consumers are pulling back on their spending in response to a sluggish economic turnaround. At the same time, input costs are rising for livestock producers as ongoing drought continues to work its deleterious effects in important crop production areas. The result is a double whammy for producers struggling to control costs and plan ahead....More
The U.S. is experiencing the worst drought since 1956, with 56% of the nation suffering from dry and hot conditions. This epic drought is baking crops, scorching pastures and dwindling hay supplies....More