Did I catch your attention with this headline? I was a little surprised also when I read today’s Daily Livestock Report written by Steve Meyer and Len Steiner. But they make a great point when looking at the cattle to corn ratio. If you look at the last 40-year live cattle to corn ratio, we are currently back to 1970 levels. Corn prices from 1980 to 2005 average in the $2.50/bushel range, and now are bouncing around the $5+ per bushel range.
They suggest “If corn prices hold at around $6 per bushel (some are thinking even higher money to ration demand and “buy” more acres this spring), then cattle prices need to fetch about $130/cwt to come back anywhere close to the five year average ratio levels. Much higher cattle prices (or sharply lower corn prices) will be needed to return to the longer run levels of the past two decades.”
One other interesting point they made is the big change in livestock usage of the corn supply. In the past about half of the US corn supply went to livestock feed, and we are currently down to using only 37% of the corn supply for livestock feed. Much of this shift is due to the growth of the ethanol industry, but along with that is the shift to feeding more co-products in place of corn.
If you would like to learn more about Meyer and Steiner’s Daily Livestock Report check out their webpage at www.dailylivestockreport.com
Economics & Markets, Uncategorized
You can’t eliminate risk in your operation, but you can learn how to identify risks and better manage them with the appropriate tools and techniques. Iowa Beef Center, Land O’Lakes Purina and local cooperatives are sponsoring a series of risk and margin management workshops over the next couple of months and you’re invited.
Through hands-on activities, you’ll learn about risk management tools like futures, options and livestock insurance, and how to use those tools in your operation.
You’ll use actual market prices from a two-year period to make marketing and feeder cattle and corn purchase decisions. You’ll explore the concept of locking in a margin between the selling price of fed cattle and the cost of corn and feeder cattle. You’ll learn a great deal and have fun at the same time.
Cost is $25 per person and preregistration is a must to ensure your spot in the workshop. Each site must have at least 8 participants and no more than 26. You can see the current list of locations and more information on the IBC website here http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/riskworkshops.html
Be sure to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Economics & Markets, Risk Management
Hay is the third most valuable crop produced in Iowa, yet some producers lose as much as a fourth of their crop from improperly storing it. A new decision aid for comparing the costs of different hay storage options is now available.
This free electronic spreadsheet can compare up to eight alternatives at a time. While storing bales on bare ground with no cover is the least cost method, it also results in the most storage loss. Other methods compared include outdoor uncovered storage on gravel or pallets, outdoor covered storage, storage under a roof, and storage in a new or existing building.”
Some of the costs considered in the analysis are initial investments in storage structure, tarps, gravel and pallets are amortized over their individual expected lives. Annual costs such as repairs, insurance and property taxes are part of the spreadsheet, as are estimated labor costs for storing and feeding the hay. And, the estimated value of spoilage losses under each system is considered.
Users need to enter the expected volume of hay to be produced or needed, current hay prices and the size of bales. For each method, a total annual cost is calculated, which includes spoilage losses and the tons of hay available to feed or sell.
The Excel®-based spreadsheet “Hay Storage Cost Comparison” is available for viewing and download.
Economics & Markets, Feed/Corn Coproducts, Forages, Hay & Grazing, Uncategorized
With some of our river bottom pastures flooded, and hay crops under water, many of you will be looking for ways to reduce the amount of hay fed for the following winter, and some of you may be forced to feed hay during this summer grazing season further tightening supplies. Following is a list of Extension publication that may be helpful as you consider ways to reduce feed supplied to the cowherd.
Supplementing distillers grains on pasture�
Distillers Grains for Beef Cows
Stretching Hay Supplies For Beef Cow Herds in a Shortage Year
Managing Cow Herd Feed Needs
Short-Term and Supplemental Forages
Using Distillers Grains in Alternative Cow-Calf Production Systems
Grazing corn residue: Using resources and reducing costs
High-concentrate feeding beef cows to reduce hay needs
Renovating Pastures or Hay Meadows Damaged by Floods
Summer is also a good time to purchase and store corn co-products for feeding in the winter. Feed usage and prices are lower now than during the wither feeding period. Modified moisture products, or we products with added fiber, can be stored in a silage bag for feeding in the winter.
Don’t hesitate to contact your regional beef specialist for help in calculating the ratio of forage to wet feed for bagging, or to help in balancing rations and estimating feed needs for the winter.
Economics & Markets, Feed/Corn Coproducts, Forages, Hay & Grazing
Implants have been used widely in the cattle feeding industry for a good reason. Improvements in gain and efficiency have led to increased profitability, even if quality grade is reduced slightly. But what about those short-fed yearlings? Should they be implanted twice?
A trial was conducted at the Armstrong Research Farm in Lewis to determine the impact of re-implanting cattle fed 118 days on gain and quality and yield grade. Two hundred eighteen steers were finished in a total confinement deep-bedded system during 2009. All steers were implanted with Synovex-Choice on day 1 and half the steers in each pen were implanted with Synovex-Choice on day 56. All steers were harvested on day 118. The 2nd implant resulted in an immediate and significant improvement in average daily gain. In the 76 day weigh period following reimplantation the group receiving the 2nd implant gained .66 lb/day more than the group not receiving an additional implant. The overall average daily gain of steers implanted once compared to the steers implanted twice was 3.81 vs. 4.10. The 2nd implant group produced significantly heavier carcasses. There were no significant differences in carcass fat cover or ribeye area, however the twice implanted steers had a lower percentage Choice and a greater percentage Select.
For the details on this project and more ISU research see the 2010 ISU Animal Industry Report.
Economics & Markets, Feedlot Operations, Livestock Health