Archive for May, 2010

Livestock Prices, Profitability and Exports

May 12th, 2010

In April, fed cattle prices passed the $100/cwt for the first time since July 2008. Since that time prices have remained in the upper $90’s/cwt. Stronger beef demand and tighter cattle supplies have given cattle feeders their first significant profits in nearly five years. Based on the ISU Estimated Returns March was the first month cattle were sold for a profit ($77/hd) since July of 2009. April profits are estimated to be $159/hd, the first triple digit profits since mid 2004. Profitability continues to look good for May and June. Although fed cattle prices are expected to remain in the mid to upper $90/cwt for the duration of the year, profitability in the feeding sector will be diminished somewhat as the price of feeder cattle has increased along with fed cattle prices.

Read on to find out projections for cattle and hog markets.

Economics & Markets, Feedlot Operations, Uncategorized , , ,

Not too late to synchronize!

May 10th, 2010

It seems there is no rest for our Cattlemen! Most are just wrapping up calving season and it’s already time to start thinking about breeding season. Many of you still have time to start an estrus synchronization program if you get started soon. We’ve had a few updates to our synchronization options and any of your ISU Extension Beef specialists can help you schedule your program. The ISU Estrus Synchronization Planner helps determine the date and times to work cows, schedules breeding, and allows for economic comparisons of a number of protocols.

Synchronizing estrus has several advantages to a commercial cow herd, the first being to concentrate the calving season. A concentrated calving season reduces the time spent checking cows and also weans a more uniform calf crop. If AI is used along with a synchronized breeding season the value of the calf crop is also increased. Research from eight years of calves at Nebraska showed that they had 12% more calves born the first 21 days from a synchronized system and they were 20 pounds heavier at weaning. They are also more uniform at weaning and have greater carcass weights and quality grades.

A tighter calving season also facilitates a simpler nutritional program and more effective vaccination program since the cows are closer to the same stage of gestation throughout the rest of the year. If you hire an AI technician, you might want to consider a synchronization program with fixed-time AI so you only need the technician for one day.

Not all cows will respond, so don’t expect miracles. The first step is to select those cows that will be the most likely to respond to a synchronization program. For the best results, cows should be at least 40 days post-partum, and a body condition score of at least 5 or better.

If you are interested in learning more about an estrus synchronization program read this publication by Dr. Daryl Strohbehn, or visit the Beef Reproduction Task Force web page. Or you can contact your local ISU Extension Beef specialist for assistance in scheduling your plan. But don’t delay, many of the programs are 10-14 days in length to prepare for breeding.

Cow-Calf Operations, Uncategorized , ,