USDA will release this afternoon (Friday) its semi-annual estimate of total cattle numbers. This report will provide the government’s first estimate of the 2012 calf crop which, given the sharp decline in beef cow numbers last year, will almost surely be significantly lower than that of 2011. In addition, the report will provide figures for the numbers of beef and dairy cows on farms as of July 1 as well as the numbers of younger cattle being held for feeding and breeding....More
Soybeans were introduced on Missouri farms as a hay crop, not an oilseed crop. That started back in the dry years of the 1930s.
This year, cow-herd owners short on feed are asking about baling soybeans that won’t make a bean crop.
Rob Kallenbach, University of Missouri Extension forage specialist, answers two questions the callers do not ask.
When the subsidization of ethanol began, it was assumed that the beef industry would have to shrink by 10% or more, but the addition of drought has magnified the impact and risks. The focus now becomes just how far the U.S. beef industry can contract without beginning to lose major infrastructure....More
While it may seem wasteful to pay farmers to idle land under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a review of research over the program’s 27-year run shows that CRP has provided economic benefits that outweigh its cost to taxpayers....More
On the heels of last year’s disastrous drought in the Southwest, a promising spring crop forecast has devolved into a looming disaster as high heat and lack of moisture cook Midwest grain fields....More
Economists are calling this the worst drought since 1956. Consumers will soon be paying top-dollar for their groceries as the corn crop sizzles, and ranchers cull their cows as feed resources run short. According to the National Climatic Data Center, 55% of the country is in a moderate to extreme drought as of the end of June....More
The effects of heat stress on reproductive performance of beef cows has been discussed by many animal scientists in a variety of ways. After reviewing the scientific literature available up to 1979, one scientist (Christenson, R.K. 1980, J. Anim. Sci. 51: Suppl II: 53.) wrote that the most serious seasonal variation in reproductive performance was associated with high ambient temperatures and humidity. He further pointed out that pregnancy rates and subsequent calving rates of 10 to 25% were common cows bred in July through September.
Widespread drought conditions so far in 2012 are clearly a large contributor to the current weakness in the cattle complex. There are numerous reports of early marketings of feeder cattle and cow liquidation which leaves no doubt that the drought is impacting cattle inventories and flows....More
University of Illinois Extension announced that the Illinois Drought Resources website has just gone live. The site has been created to ensure that information related to the current dry weather in Illinois is organized, easily found, and available
The site can be accessed at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/drought/.
It contains the most recent information about the impact of the drought on crops, livestock, and home gardens, as well as discussions of financial considerations....More
Things are looking a little crispy around my part of eastern South Dakota. Although we got around 9 in. of total rain in May, we haven’t seen a drop since. Because we were so saturated earlier this summer, I think it helped the subsoil and is helping our corn crop survive this extreme heat and dry weather....More
Drought-damaged corn silage may be worth 75% to 95% of the feeding value of normal corn silage. Allow the corn to stay in the field as long as possible because, if rains come, they may bring more stalk and leaf growth, and more tonnage at harvest time....More
Increasing supplies of beef in the short term are likely as drought-induced culling and lighter placements continue for another year. But those same drought concerns are darkening prospects for the bin-busting crop predicted earlier in the growing season....More
We’ll continue to see hay put up in those areas where hay can be produced on grasslands, but fewer and fewer acres will be put into hay production. I wouldn’t be surprised if sometime down the road I might actually find myself explaining to some wide-eyed and incredulous grandkids that we actually used to feed alfalfa hay to commercial beef cows....More
How your herd has been performing economically should play a critical role in your drought management plan. Producers need to know the economic performance of their beef cowherd during its last normal year before they formulate their optimal drought strategy for this year....More
The surge in farmland values continued through the spring and early summer, but the pace moderated in June, according to the Rural Mainstreet Index. The June Index, which captures the overall health of rural communities in 10 states, declined to its lowest level this year....More
The latest USDA report on pasture and range conditions reveals continued deterioration of America’s grazing lands. Overall, in 48 states for the week ending July 8, USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service reports that 21% of states reported conditions as Very Poor, while 29% were regarded as Poor, and 29% as Fair. States categorized as Good and Excellent were 18% and 3%, respectively.
Last week, 17% of acreage was categorized as Very Poor, 26% as Poor, 32% as Fair, 22% as Good, and 3% as Excellent....More
Normally the Torrington Livestock Market sells about 3,500 head of cattle in May. This year, it sold more than 18,000, says Michael Schmitt, one of the market’s owners. In June, it normally moves about 1,800. This year, it sold more than 17,000 head....More
Drought-stricken forages that accumulate nitrates can kill grazing livestock, quickly, warns a University of Missouri plant scientist.
“We’re getting reports of cattle dying,” says Rob Kallenbach, MU Extension forage specialist. “As hot weather without rain continues, we expect to hear of more death losses. It happens at the start of every drought.”
With temperatures hitting the triple digits, cattle producers need to take steps to ward off heat stress in their herds, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln beef specialist said.
Cattle can begin to experience some level of heat stress when the heat index approaches 80 degrees, with most cattle being severely stressed when the heat index exceeds 100 degrees, said Terry Mader, beef specialist at UNL's Haskell Agricultural Laboratory near Concord....More
As the temperature increases ranchers and feedlot operators start to worry about the well-being of their cattle. However, it is not just heat that plays a part in heat stress, says Heather Larson, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specailist.
"Producers need to monitor all weather conditions such as temperature, humidity and wind, closely and start interventions early in the day, well before noon," Larson said. "If an extended amount of time elapses before cattle are cooled down it may be too hot and late."
The heat situation for cattle will be in the ‘danger’ and ‘emergency’ areas for three days this week, according to the USDA’s Meat Animal Research Center. The estimates of heat stress are based on four specific weather factors: temperature, wind speed, humidity, and solar radiation....More
University of Georgia (UGA) researchers have determined that toxic algae killed four cows on a cattle farm in Gwinnett County. A recent perfect storm created the right conditions for a toxic algae bloom in ponds, they say, warning property owners to be vigilant about keeping livestock and pets out of water that has become discolored or opaque....More
Early weaning was one option drought-ravaged producers in Texas employed last year. Many will have to do it again in 2012.
Ron Gill, Texas A&M University Extension beef specialist, says some producers who early-weaned calves in his area sold them right off the cow, while others kept and fed them....More