Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wednesday January 31 Ag News


All cattle and calves in Nebraska as of January 1, 2018 totaled 6.80 million head, up 5 percent from January 1, 2017, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

All cows and heifers that had calved totaled 1.97 million head, down 1 percent from last year.

Beef cows totaled 1.91 million head, down 1 percent from last year.

Milk cows totaled 60,000 head, unchanged from January 1, 2017.

All heifers 500 pounds and over totaled 1.91 million head, up 7 percent from last year.

Steers weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 2.48 million head, up 8 percent from last year.

Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 110,000 head, unchanged from last year.

Calves under 500 pounds totaled 330,000 head, up 14 percent from January 1, 2017.

All cattle on feed fed for slaughter in Nebraska feedlots totaled 2.77 million head, up 12 percent from the previous year.

The 2017 calf crop totaled 1.70 million head, unchanged from 2016.


All cattle and calves in Iowa as of January 1, 2018, totaled 4.00 million head, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle report. This was up 100,000 head from January 1, 2017. Beef cows, at 970,000 head, were 1 percent above last year. Milk cow inventory was up 5,000 head to 220,000 head.

All heifers 500 pounds and over were down 3 percent to 830,000 head. Heifers for beef cow replacement were down 11 percent from 2017 to 165,000 head; heifers for milk cow replacement, at 135,000 head, were the same as the previous year; and all other heifers were down 2 percent to 530,000 head.

Steers weighing 500 pounds and over were up 6 percent from last year at 1.39 million head. Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over were unchanged from a year ago at 70,000 head. Calves under 500 pounds on January 1, 2018, totaled 520,000 head, up 8 percent from last year.

The 2017 calf crop was estimated at 1.09 million head, the same as the 2016 calf crop. Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter in all feedlots on January 1, 2017, totaled 1.26 million head, up 9 percent from one year ago.

January 1 U.S. Cattle Inventory Up 1 Percent

All cattle and calves in the United States, as of January 1, 2018, totaled 94.4 million head, 1 percent above the 93.7 million head on January 1, 2017.

All cows and heifers that have calved, at 41.1 million head, were 1 percent above the 40.6 million head on January 1, 2017. Beef cows, at 31.7 million head, were up 2 percent from a year ago. Milk cows, at 9.40 million head, were up 1 percent from the previous year.

All heifers 500 pounds and over, as of January 1, 2018, totaled 20.2 million head, 1 percent above the 20.1 million head on January 1, 2017. Beef replacement heifers, at 6.13 million head, were down 4 percent from a year ago. Milk replacement heifers, at 4.78 million head, were up 1 percent from the previous year. Other heifers, at 9.33 million head, were 4 percent above a year earlier.

Steers weighing 500 pounds and over, as of January 1, 2018, totaled 16.4 million head, down slightly from January 1, 2017.

Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over, as of January 1, 2018, totaled 2.25 million head, up slightly from January 1, 2017.

Calves under 500 pounds, as of January 1, 2018, totaled 14.4 million head, up slightly from January 1, 2017.

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 14.0 million head on January 1, 2018. The inventory is up 7 percent from the January 1, 2017 total of 13.1 million head. Cattle on feed, in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head, accounted for 82.0 percent of the total cattle on feed on January 1, 2018, up 1 percent fromthe previous year. The combined total of calves under 500 pounds and other heifers and steers over 500 pounds (outside of feedlots) is 26.1 million head, 2 percent below one year ago. 

Calf Crop Up 2 Percent

The 2017 calf crop in the United States was estimated at 35.8 million head, up 2 percent from last year's calf crop. Calves born during the first half of 2017 were estimated at 26.0 million head, up 2 percent from the first half of 2016. Calves born during the second half of 2017 were estimated at 9.81 million head, 27 percent of the total 2017 calf crop.


All sheep and lamb inventory in Nebraska on January 1, 2018 totaled 80,000 head, down 3,000 from last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Breeding sheep inventory totaled 67,000 head, down 4,000 from last year. Ewes one year and older totaled 55,000 head, down 3,000 from the previous year. Rams one year and older totaled 3,000, unchanged from last year. Total replacement lambs totaled 9,000 head, down 1,000 from last year.

Market sheep and lambs totaled 13,000 head, up 1,000 from last year. A total of 1,000 head were mature sheep (one year and older) while the remaining 12,000 were under one year. Market lamb weight groups were estimated as follows: 3,100 lambs were under 65 pounds; 1,900 were 65-84 pounds; 2,400 were 85-105 pounds; 4,600 were over 105 pounds.

The 2017 lamb crop totaled 70,000 head, up 5,000 from 2016. The 2017 lambing rate was 121 per 100 ewes one year and older, compared with 118 in 2016.

Sheep deaths totaled 3,700 head, up 200 from last year. Lamb deaths totaled 8,000 head, down 500 from last year.

Sheep and lambs slaughtered on farm totaled 700 head, up 200 from last year.

Shorn wool production during 2017 was 440,000 pounds, down 10,000 from 2016. Sheep and lambs shorn totaled 62,000 head, down 2,000 from 2016. Weight per fleece was 7.1 pounds, up 0.10 from last year. The average price paid for wool sold in 2017 was $0.79 per pound, compared with $0.94 in 2016. The total value of wool produced in Nebraska was 348,000 dollars in 2017.

Milk goats and kids inventory in Nebraska totaled 3,500 head, down 200 from last year.


All sheep and lambs inventory in Iowa as of January 1, 2018, totaled 165,000 head according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Sheep and Goats report. The sheep and lambs inventory is down 10,000 head from last year. Total breeding stock, at 115,000 head, was 4 percent below one year ago. Market sheep and lambs decreased 9 percent from a year ago and totaled 50,000 head. The lamb crop for 2017 decreased 8 percent to 115,000 head. Wool production for the State was 780,000 pounds, with fleece weights averaging 5.6 pounds.

Milk goat inventory in Iowa as of January 1, 2018 was 31,000 head, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Sheep and Goats report. Iowa ranked third in total milk goats. The inventory was up 2 percent from January 2017. Total meat and other goat inventory was 35,000 head, an increase of 9 percent from the previous year.

January 1 U.S. Sheep and Lambs Inventory Down Slightly

All sheep and lambs inventory in the United States on January 1, 2018 totaled 5.23 million head, down slightly from 2017. Breeding sheep inventory at 3.83 million head on January 1, 2018, decreased 1 percent from 3.88 million head on January 1, 2017. Ewes one year old and older, at 3.01 million head, were 1 percent below last year. Market sheep and lambs on January 1, 2018 totaled 1.40 million head, up 2 percent from January 1, 2017. Market lambs comprised 94 percent of the total market inventory. Market sheep comprised the remaining 6 percent of total market inventory.

The 2017 lamb crop of 3.20 million head was down 2 percent from 2016. The 2017 lambing rate was 105 lambs per 100 ewes one year old and older on January 1, 2017, unchanged from 2016.

Shorn wool production in the United States during 2017 was 24.7 million pounds, down 5 percent from 2016. Sheep and lambs shorn totaled 3.44 million head, down 4 percent from 2016. The average price paid for wool sold in 2017 was $1.47 per pound for a total value of 36.4 million dollars, down 3 percent from 37.7 million dollars in 2016.

Sheep death loss during 2017 totaled 213 thousand head, down 2 percent from 2016. Lamb death loss decreased 2 percent from 373 thousand head to 367 thousand head in 2017.

January 1 All Goats and Kids Inventory Down 1 Percent

All goats and kids inventory in the United States on January 1, 2018 totaled 2.62 million head, down 1 percent from 2017. Breeding goat inventory totaled 2.16 million head, down slightly from 2017. Does one year old and older, at 1.60 million head, were 1 percent below last year's number. Market goats and kids totaled 459 thousand head, down 2 percent from a year ago.

Kid crop for 2017 totaled 1.64 million head for all goats, down slightly from 2016.

Meat and all other goats totaled 2.10 million head on January 1, 2018, down 1 percent from 2017. Milk goat inventory was 380 thousand head, up 2 percent from January 1, 2017, while Angora goats were down 7 percent, totaling 142 thousand head.

Mohair production in the United States during 2017 was 725 thousand pounds. Goats and kids clipped totaled 133 thousand head. Average weight per clip was 5.5 pounds. Mohair price was $5.00 per pound with a value of 3.62 million dollars.


Twenty-seven Nebraska LEAD 36 fellows recently returned from an international study and travel seminar in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.

"The seminar is designed to provide firsthand appreciation and understanding of our international community and the potential for people of all nations to work together," said Terry Hejny, Nebraska LEAD program director and group leader.

During the Jan. 6-21 seminar, fellows participated in briefings with Carol Perez, U.S. ambassador, and Marcela Rondon, agricultural attache with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, in Santiago, Chile; as well as Lazaro Sandoval, agricultural attache, and Kenneth Joseph, agricultural specialist, both with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The fellows also visited international businesses, entrepreneurs and several farms. They were able to meet with officials at Massai Agricultural Services, a seed reproduction facility near Rancagua, Chile, where soybean trials are taking place under the direction of George Graef, professor of agronomy and horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. While in Montevideo, Uruguay, they toured the parliament building and received a briefing from Sen. Jose Morin.

"The people-to-people encounters provided the members of Nebraska LEAD Group 36 an opportunity to view characteristics, conditions and trends in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, and determine relationships to issues and situations in our country," Hejny said. "Through this experience, participants develop techniques in identifying comparisons and contrasts of the countries we recently studied in areas such as agriculture, politics, economics, energy, religion, culture and history, as well as technology, trade, food, art and philosophy."

Nebraska LEAD 36 fellows who participated in the seminar, listed by hometown, are:
Arthur: Ty Walker
Broken Bow: Nate Bell
Craig: Johnathan Hladik
Deshler: Ellen Schmidt
Fairfield: Thomas Kluver
Fremont: Andy Langemeier
Gibbon: Shane Bendfeldt, Kimberly Wilkens
Gothenburg: Shane Terrell
Gretna: Kelsey Vala
Hay Springs: Joseph Dorshorst
Holdrege: Chris McQuillan
Johnson Lake: David Rowe
Kearney: Dustin Knuth, Ryan Stien
Kennard: Jennifer Arp
Lexington: Adam Smith
Lincoln: Ben Blomendahl, Nate Blum, Nora Turner
Loomis: Justin Trompke
Martell: Alex McKiernan
North Platte: Kyle Shepherd
Plattsmouth: Dustin Smith
Stapleton: Robert Hecox
Trumbull: Scott Bieck
Waverly: Lori Paulsen

The Nebraska LEAD program includes men and women currently active in production agriculture and agribusiness and is a two-year leadership development program under the direction of the Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council, in cooperation with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

For more information, or to request an application for Nebraska LEAD 38, contact the Nebraska LEAD Program, 104 Agricultural Communications Building, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583-0763; call 402-472-6810 or email The application deadline is June 15.

LENRD Bazile Groundwater Mgt Area Open House

A major push is underway by the four Natural Resources Districts that share in the protection of the Bazile Groundwater Management Area (BGMA) to help inform citizens and gain participation with solutions that will address serious health risks associated with excessive levels of nitrate and other chemicals in local aquifers and area soils.

A public open house is scheduled for Wednesday, February 7, at the City Auditorium in Osmond, NE between the hours of 11 AM to 2 PM.  A lunch meal will be provided to participants.

Martha Rhoades, Ph.D., from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will provide a feature presentation that shares the findings of a recent study showing that there are elevated incidents of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, and birth defects for people within the BGMA and some other parts of Nebraska, due to excessive levels of commercial fertilizer components such as nitrate and herbicides such as atrazine.

The open house also provides an important opportunity for individuals to sign up for available grant funding to use toward best management practice (BMP) tools and technology to reduce the levels of nitrate in our soil and water.   There is an urgency for people interested in receiving USDA grant funds because of the application deadline is February 16th.  Individuals will be able to apply for these funds at the open house meeting.

This issue affects people on private wells and community water systems alike.  Information on other best management practices will be provided for urban and rural landowners.

Reports provided by agricultural producers in each of the four NRDs is also demonstrating that despite efforts of efficiency, too much fertilizer is still being applied in many fields throughout the Bazile Groundwater Management Area.  This over application is not only costing producers thousands of dollars in wasted fertilizer, it directly impacts soil health and is not correlating to greater yields.   Natural precipitation and over irrigating then causes excessive levels of nitrate to leach into the aquifer.

The Bazile Groundwater Management Area is 756 square miles consisting of portions of Antelope, Knox and Pierce counties along with portions of the Upper Elkhorn, Lower Elkhorn, Lewis and Clark, and Lower Niobrara Natural Resources Districts.

For more information about this meeting and these topics contact:  the Lower Elkhorn NRD at 402-371-7313.

2018 Farm Bill Conferences Set in Kansas and Nebraska

The new 2018 Farm Bill is coming together and experts are beginning to see the form it will take. Starting in February and extending into early March, economists from the Kansas State University Department of Agricultural Economics are partnering with the University of Nebraska extension to bring the latest information on the new farm bill to a conference near you.

Topics include the economic conditions of farmers and Title I programs with K-State Research and Extension's Mykel Taylor; proposed crop insurance changes with K-State's Art Barnaby, and potential impacts to conservation programs with Nebraska's Brad Lubben. The series will allow Kansas and Nebraska producers to engage presenters with their own thoughts on possible changes, and use the dialogue to further understand issues facing the agricultural community within the new farm bill's framework.

"We want to give our clearest vision of what the new farm bill is shaping to be, and give producers information to help with their operational planning," Taylor said.

Over the years, the farm bill has expanded to include many agricultural and food sectors, plus bioenergy and natural resource management. It encompasses everything from federal funding for agriculture research to nutrition assistance (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP). It is a piece of legislation that touches most every person in the United States in some shape or form. It is reauthorized approximately every five years, and is viewed as a vital support mechanism by many in the industry.

Barnaby was raised on a diversified farm in Elk County, Kansas. He earned a bachelor's degree at Fort Hays State University, a master's at New Mexico State University and a Ph.D. at Texas A&M University. He came to K-State in 1979 where he is a professor. He conducts national programs on market risk, government commodity programs, crop insurance and public policy. In 2016, Barnaby was named one of Farm Credit's Fresh Perspectives Top 100 Honoree.

Taylor is an associate professor at K-State. Her research and extension programs are focused on farm management. She attended Montana State University majoring in agribusiness management. Her Ph.D. in economics is from North Carolina State University. She has worked in extension positions at both Kansas State University and Washington State University. Some of her current research areas include measuring basis risk for commodity grains, and analyzing trends in Kansas agricultural land values, rental rates, evaluation of commodity programs in the 2014 Farm Bill, and leasing arrangements.

Lubben has more than 20 years' experience as an extension agricultural economist, serving in Illinois and Kansas before returning in 2005 to Nebraska, where he grew up on a grain and livestock farm near Burr, Nebraska. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Ph.D. from Kansas State University.

Dodge City, Kan: Feb. 28, Knights of Columbus Hall, 800 W. Frontview. Andrea Burns: or 620-227-4542

Manhattan, Kan.: March 1, Pottorf Hall, Cico Park, 1710 Avery Ave. Rich Llewelyn: or 785-532-1504

Scottsbluff, Neb.: March 6, Panhandle Research and Extension Center. Brad Lubben: or 402-472-2235

Hastings, Neb.: March 7, Adams County Fairgrounds, 946 S Baltimore. Brad Lubben: or 402-472-2235

Mead, Neb.: March 8, Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center. Brad Lubben: or 402-472-2235

The fee to attend a conference is $20 if preregistered five days or more prior to the event, or $30 at the door, and includes lunch. Register online at or contact a local representative:

Upcoming “Healthy Farms Conference” Connects Foodies with Farmers

Plan to attend the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society’s Healthy Farms Conference, Feb., 9-10 at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln.

The Healthy Farms Conference has been hosted by the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society for over 40 years. The conference has promoted sustainable agriculture and local foods in Nebraska and the Midwest.

This year’s keynote speaker is Wes Jackson, founder and president emeritus of The Land Institute, which he helped establish in 1976. He is the author of several books, including “New Roots for Agriculture,” “Becoming Native to This Place,” “Consulting the Genius of the Place,” and most recently, “Nature as Measure.” Jackson is widely recognized as a leader in the international movement for sustainable agriculture.

The Healthy Farms Conference features over 20 breakout sessions aimed at equipping farmers, aspiring farmers, foodies, and advocates with skills and knowledge about sustainable agriculture. Breakout session topics range from cover crops to holistic orchards, to pollinators and hops production. This conference encourages the entire family to attend by offering a full youth program including crafts, yoga for kids and growing and preparing your own food. The conference also showcases Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers by hosting an “all-Nebraska evening” featuring food and drink entirely from Nebraska growers and producers.

Participants will have the chance to network with farmers, university faculty, and fellow agricultural colleagues. In addition to providing informative, educational sessions, the conferences has commercial and educational exhibits about local food, holistic health products, sustainability, natural resources, and marketing.

A full conference agenda and on line registration is available on the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society’s web site:

Summit Ag Group to expand FS Bioenergia, Brazil’s leading producer of corn ethanol

Summit Agricultural Group announced today a $100 million expansion of FS Bioenergia, the leading corn ethanol production facility in Brazil. The expansion of the FS Bioenergia plant in Lucas do Rio Verde, Mato Grosso, is forecasted for completion in the first quarter of 2019 and will more than double annual corn ethanol production from 60 million gallons to 140 million gallons.

With this expansion, FS Bioenergia will annually process over 50 million bushels of corn and produce more than 14,000 tons of corn oil and 400,000 tons of valuable feed rations for Brazil’s growing livestock industry.

“This is a significant step for FS Bioenergia, but it’s even more important for the growth of corn ethanol production in Brazil,” said Bruce Rastetter, founder and CEO of Summit Agricultural Group. “When we began this project several years ago, we were confident of the opportunities in Brazilian renewables. Today, we’re more convinced than ever of the potential for corn ethanol in Mato Grosso.”

Driving that optimism are two factors – first, increased production of affordable corn through double cropping. In Mato Grosso, corn production over the last decade has increased five-fold.

Second is the RenovaBio program, which is legislation that would double Brazil’s renewable fuels use by 2030.

“Brazil’s long-standing commitment to renewable fuels coupled with an abundance of affordable feedstocks make for an attractive corn ethanol picture in Brazil,” said Justin Kirchhoff managing director and head of private equity for Summit Agricultural Group. ‘’As we look at the expansion of FS Bioenergia over this next year, we’re in a strong position to benefit from these favorable conditions.”

Recognized today as the most modern and efficient corn ethanol production operation in the world, FS Bioenergia is a collaboration between a Mato Grosso agribusiness and U.S.-based Summit Agricultural Group, a leader in international agribusiness development, renewable energy and production agriculture headquartered in Alden, Iowa. Summit and its Brazilian partner broke ground on the corn-only ethanol production facility in early 2016, with the initial phase of production starting in mid-2017.

As with the plant’s original design and development, the FS Bioenergia expansion will utilize process technologies from ICM, Inc. of Colwich, Kansas. Since 1995, ICM has provided engineering, construction and operational services for more than 100 ethanol plants in North America.

By utilizing the most modern process technology FS Bioenergia is able to produce differentiated high-value co-products such as high-protein and high-fiber dried distillers’ grains (DDG’s) that are targeted towards specific livestock markets. This process technology also improves overall plant yield and efficiency.

FS Bioenergia’s corn ethanol operation is considered a landmark project in Brazil that is already delivering immediate value to the country. Once at full capacity, the plant will offset the country’s increasing demand for domestic ethanol, which can’t be met by existing sugarcane ethanol production. The facility will also introduce to Mato Grosso valuable fiber and protein co-products known as dried distillers’ grains (DDGs), which will serve as high-value feed for the expanding Brazilian livestock industry.

Founded in 1990 by entrepreneur and agribusiness pioneer Bruce Rastetter, Summit Agricultural Group is a diverse farming, agricultural investment and farm management company headquartered in Alden, Iowa. Summit’s diverse operations include successful row crop, beef cattle and pork farms in the U.S. and a growing presence in the South American biofuels market. For additional information, go to

Fort Dodge producer is new Iowa Pork Producers president

Gregg Hora of Fort Dodge began his one-year term as president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association at the conclusion of IPPA's annual meeting in Des Moines on Jan. 23.

Upon accepting the gavel from outgoing President Curtis Meier of Clarinda, Hora challenged the nearly 100 delegates and other producers to stand up and speak out for the industry.

"Consumers, restaurant and food industry groups, as well as social media platforms, need to hear from you as the pig farmers that they trust and respect for your noble effort of caring for animals," he said. "We as pork producers and industry leaders have numerous challenges and issues to continue the efforts in which many before us have dealt with and now we must continue."

Profitability is always a concern for pig farmers and Hora says that will be one of the challenges he and the IPPA Board of Directors face in 2018.

"For people to remain in the business, they have to be profitable, and to have profitability, you have to move your excess product," said Hora.

Current visa programs are widely used by U.S. pork producers. However, they are not effectively addressing the labor shortage faced by the industry and the farming veteran of 32 years says it's a concern.

"Animal production is very labor intensive and one of the things we deal with in labor issues is where the workers are coming from," Hora said. "We know we have more worker programs with more foreign workers moving into the area. We advocate for legal citizens and legal working status."

Hora is a contract grower with three finishing sites in Webster County. He finishes about 25,000 hogs per year and raises corn and soybeans on nearly 2,000 acres. He is a long-time member of the Webster County Pork Producers and serves as the president.

Hora is excited for the coming year and the opportunity to lead the industry.

"I'm representing producers and allied businesses throughout Iowa," he said. "We have about 4,400 pork producers and 1,400 associate members that are partners with the pork production systems in Iowa."

The third-generation farmer is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in farm operations/agronomy.  He and his wife, Liddy, have three adult children.

Statement on Governor Reynold's signing of Water Quality Funding Bill

Gregg Hora, President, Iowa Pork Producers Association

"IPPA sincerely thanks and congratulates Gov. Reynolds and legislative leadership on their efforts to establish significant, long-term funding for collaborative water quality improvements. Passage of Senate File 512 is an important step forward and continues the strong momentum of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

"This legislation emphasizes collaborative opportunities and efforts among urban and rural partners while enhancing successful programs already well embraced by Iowa farmers. Iowa pig farmers and the Iowa Pork Producers Association remain committed to research and continuous improvement programs to drive water quality solutions."

Register for Industry-Leading Pork Management Conference

The National Pork Board will host its annual Pork Management Conference, April 17-20, in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

The annual conference will accommodate a diverse set of experts from across the U.S. The 2018 conference will address current business trends and challenges facing the U.S. pork industry. Through presentations, breakout sessions and networking, attendees will gain important insight on the pork industry, its challenges and financial management practices that improve the performance and efficiency of pig farming.

“This year’s Pork Management Conference schedule is powerful,” said Andrew Reinecker, chair of the Checkoff’s Producer and State Services Committee and a pig farmer from York Springs, Pennsylvania. “It is vital to provide valuable guest presenters and experts for attendees in an effort to increase industry knowledge among all sectors. This conference is growing and so is its value to producers and attendees.”

In addition to the general sessions open to all attendees on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning, two concurrent afternoon sessions are planned on Thursday, April 19. Topics include benchmarking, compensation, on-boarding, food safety, siting, succession planning and tax updates.

The registration fee is $425 per person through March 23 and increases to $475 beginning March 24. No refunds after March 30.  A registration form and a detailed list of events are available at

Cattlemen and Women "Blaze a Trail to Phoenix" for 2018 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show

Thousands of cattlemen and women blazed a trail to Phoenix for the start of the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show, which started today. The event runs through Feb. 3.

Holding their meetings at this event were the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the American National CattleWomen, CattleFax and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation.

“Every year the Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show hosts members from every segment of the beef industry,” said NCBA President Craig Uden. “Not only is the event a great opportunity for attendees to network and learn about the newest technology and science to improve their operations, but it’s also when we set public policy for 2018. We’ll also manage to enjoy some sunshine while we’re in Phoenix. If you’re connected to the cattle industry in any way, it’s not too late to blaze your trail and join us this week.”

Early arrivers to Phoenix had the opportunity to attend a Pre-Convention Agriculture Tour on Tuesday with stops at the Caterpillar Eloy Dealership, T & K Dairy, Caywood Farms and Queen Creek Olive Mill.

On Tuesday afternoon, Cattlemen’s College, which is famous for stimulating and thought-provoking sessions that can help generate high returns for producers’ operations, kicked off by celebrating its 25th anniversary.

SiriusXM The Highway’s host Storme Warren emceed the opening general session on Wednesday afternoon, with Ree Drummond, host of Food Network’s show The Pioneer Woman, sharing her keynote “From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels.” Drummond is a writer, photographer and ranch wife, helping run a cow-calf operation outside of Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband, Ladd Drummond.

“The one thing I learned right away is how much cattlemen care about the animals they raise,” said Drummond, who grew up in the city before living on her ranch in Oklahoma. Following the Convention’s opening general session, the NCBA Trade Show opened its doors, with over seven acres of indoor and outdoor floor space, and over 350 exhibitors showcasing the industry’s latest products and technology.

Other highlights this week include the “Phoenix Fiesta” hosted at Corona Ranch with country artist Paul Bogart, a keynote speech from former Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Abbott on Friday morning, and the “Cowboy Comedy Club” with comedians Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood from Whose Line Is It Anyway, and founding member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour Bill Engvall.

The Convention will wrap up Saturday morning with a meeting of the NCBA’s Board of Directors, where official public policy positions will be set for the coming year.

New Study: Many Factors Impacting Domestic Beef Demand

Beef quality, consumer incomes, attention to beef in health articles in medical journals and the general media, and shifts in race composition of the U.S. population are key determinants affecting beef demand in the long term.

So concludes a newly released study commissioned by the Beef Checkoff Program called “Assessing Beef Demand Determinants.”  The study summarizes the current knowledge of consumer demand for beef and identifies the best opportunities for the industry to influence demand positively.

Authors of the report include Dr. Glynn Tonsor, professor of livestock marketing at Kansas State University, Dr. Jayson Lusk, distinguished professor and head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, and Dr. Ted Schroeder, professor of livestock marketing at Kansas State University.

“The information gathered and analyzed for this comprehensive report is invaluable to the beef industry, in general, and to the Beef Checkoff Program, in particular,” said cow-calf producer Jackie Means, a member of the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board and chair of the Joint Evaluation Committee that commissioned the research for the checkoff. “Members of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and directors of the Federation of State Beef Councils will be asked to use the information in this report in making decisions about how to invest checkoff dollars in Fiscal Year 2018 and beyond.”

Understanding beef demand

While recognizing that understanding beef demand and how to affect it is a daunting task, the report’s authors note that it also is critical to the industry’s long-term viability.

Given the state of the cattle industry’s supply, the understanding of beef demand vs. consumption is particularly critical.

One very important point in developing strategies to grow beef demand will be clarification of the role of per capita consumption in beef demand. Per capita consumption is, in effect, per capita availability of beef, the economists note. Demand, on the other hand, effectively refers to the quantity of beef that consumers will purchase at a given price, with all other factors held constant.

"Beef purchasing decisions have become less sensitive to retail beef prices. While prices will always matter, this reinforces the importance of industry focus on beef quality aspects of taste, appearance, convenience and freshness," said Dr. Tonsor.

“In short, both beef supplies and cattle prices increased in 2017 relative to 2016 – an outcome only possible with demand growth,” the report notes. “A perpetual industry priority is to better understand and monitor beef demand, and to inform stakeholders because demand directly influences overall industry success.”

What is important to beef producers?

It has been a critical need for the industry to understand what beef demand is:  Is it as strong today compared to the past? What has made it strong? Those kinds of basic questions have been of importance to the beef checkoff for a very long time. If beef demand is strong, then higher prices are being paid for beef than would otherwise be the case. That’s because higher prices being paid for beef in turn leads to higher prices for wholesale beef, higher fed cattle and higher feeder cattle prices, and most producers recognize that benefit in the form of higher cattle prices.

One of the things the research did was to update elasticity estimates, or how sensitive purchasing behavior is to prices. If the price goes up by one percent, how many fewer pounds are purchased? This study showed U.S. consumers are less sensitive to beef prices than they used to be. That does not mean price doesn’t matter, but the numbers showed that a one percent increase in price has a smaller impact on beef consumption than it used to.

"What I believe that signals is that beef quality issues such as taste, appearance and freshness have elevated over time,” said Dr. Tonsor.

"The tone and impact of 'hot topics' covered in the media and medical community can change notably over time,” continued Dr. Tonsor. “In past years, discussions around fat were a detriment to beef demand but more recently these discussions have enhanced beef demand. Similarly, this study shows how Atkins Diet discussions remain supportive of beef demand, but less so than a decade earlier."

What can the checkoff do?

Based on research, data, and information examined, the researchers prepared five key recommendations for checkoff leaders to consider in making decisions about how to invest checkoff dollars:
-    Beef quality aspects such as taste, appearance, convenience, and freshness are innate product quality attributes identified as top priorities in past beef demand studies, and they remain key for sustaining and growing beef demand.
-    External coverage of “hot topics” is likely to continue to be dynamic for the beef industry. Researchers made the recommendation for systematic re-assessment of which topics have the largest net impact on beef demand and focus on those.
-    Increase collaborative approaches with the U.S. pork and chicken industries. Given limited cross-price sensitivity and a host of common challenges and opportunities, a more collaborative approach may better utilize the industry’s limited resources given recent increases in competition from plant-based protein sources.
-    Recommend additional targeting of beef product development, messaging and marketing to consumers with particular attention to race, income, age, political ideology and product type considerations.
-    Conduct a systematic evaluation of information sources available to gain beef demand insight. Multiple data sources and methods were used to gain a more complete understanding of beef demand determinants, and the researchers encouraged more focus on leveraging existing industry investments to regularly assess beef demand.

“Assessing Beef Demand Determinants” is available on

 Survey Shows Growing Approval of Beef Checkoff Program

An independent survey of beef producers found 74 percent continue to approve of the Beef Checkoff Program; this finding is 5 percent higher than the survey a year ago. Importantly, the more producers know about the program, the more supportive they are. The survey also found that producers are generally more optimistic about the cattle industry than they were a year ago. The random survey of 804 beef and dairy producers nationwide was conducted by the independent firm Aspen Media & Market Research from mid-December 2017 until mid-January 2018. The survey found that in addition to stronger support of the checkoff compared to a year ago, a substantial majority of beef and dairy producers continue to say their beef checkoff is a good value:
-    76% say the beef checkoff has contributed to a positive trend in beef demand
-    78% say the checkoff has value even when the economy is weak, 5% higher than last year
-    65% say the checkoff contributes to profitability of their operations
-    71% say the checkoff represents their interests, 4% higher than last year
-    61% believe the checkoff is well-managed

In addition, while fewer producers (43 percent) said they remembered having seen, read or heard anything about the checkoff in the past six months, 86 percent reported the information they remembered was positive, 8 percent higher than a year ago.

“We are encouraged that three out of four producers continue to support the checkoff,” said Jo Stanko, Investor Relations Working Group co-chair. “On the other hand, it is concerning that fewer producers consider themselves ‘informed’ about the checkoff, and only 43 percent say they have seen, read or heard checkoff news in the past six months. Since most producers believe it’s important for the program to communicate to them checkoff results, it’s clear we will need to step up these communications efforts in the months ahead.”

The survey informs checkoff leaders of strengths and weaknesses in producer communications efforts and is used directly in developing an authorization request for the next year. See this year’s survey results as well as results from previous surveys.

For more information about your checkoff investment, visit

Report Release: U.S. Beef Cattle Identification and Traceability Systems

Background: The 2016-2020 Beef Industry Long Range Plan included the following strategic objective:  Adopt Animal I.D. Traceability Systems - Secure the broad adoption of individual animal ID traceability system(s) across the beef community to equip the industry to effectively manage a disease outbreak while enhancing both domestic and global trust in U.S. beef and ensuring greater access to export markets. Critical and immediate: Conduct a feasibility study to understand the economic opportunity of opening new and expanding markets…and the lost opportunity in the event of an animal disease outbreak.

Report: US. Beef Cattle Identification and Traceability Systems: Opportunities, Obstacles and Incentives Across the Value Chain by World Perspectives, Inc.

The report developed by World Perspectives, Inc. (WPI) was based on the following methodologies:
    600-plus respondent quantitative survey.
    90-plus interviews with industry participants (all sectors).
    23 discussions with state cattle and beef associations.
    20 previous academic/government studies reviewed/analyzed.
    15 years of data analyzed for demand modeling and economic projections.
    9 global systems reviewed via direct interviews with foreign industry association and government officials.

The report addresses an issue that the industry acknowledges needs action, and it contains the information necessary to consider animal identification and traceability in a new framework, including the following conclusions and recommendations:
The industry should be proactive in continuing the discussion of animal identification and traceability based on the framework laid out in the report.

Moving forward, the basic tenets of an ID and traceability system(s) should be [that a system(s)]:
    Is industry driven.
    Is managed and overseen by an entity that includes both private and government interests.
    Maintains data privacy.
    Is equitable to all industry sectors.
    Is compatible with common industry practices.
    Operates at the speed of commerce.
    Is credible in domestic and international markets

Trade Shuffle Poses Risk for US Beef Exports

While the U.S. beef industry is well positioned to capitalize on a growing global middle class and an improving economy, trade uncertainty could hamper the U.S.’s ability to capture market share in the coming years, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division.

The U.S. beef herd is expanding, bolstered by low input costs, and so is the demand for beef around the world. However, approximately 80 percent of beef exports are sold to countries that could be affected by ongoing trade pact negotiations. Trade deals being negotiated or recently approved include the Trans Pacific Partnership, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement, and are either being renegotiated or the U.S. has dropped out of the agreement altogether.

“Beef production in the U.S. is on the rise, and export outlets have never been more important,” said Trevor Amen, industry analyst with CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “However, the U.S. is threatening to retreat from key trade deals and the U.S.’s beef exporting competitors are forging their own deals with major global beef importers.”

What’s at Stake

Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Canada and Hong Kong top the list of countries importing beef from the U.S., representing 83 percent of all U.S. beef exports. Of these trade partners, only Hong Kong will be unaffected by current trade pact negotiations. Competing exporters that are part of TPP will gain preferential access to Japan, exports to Mexico and Canada are at risk with NAFTA, and beef trade with South Korea could decline if KORUS is renegotiated. New Zealand, Australia, Brazil and Argentina are all hoping to take of advantage of a trade reshuffle. Meanwhile, U.S. beef exporters eye China as a key long-term opportunity; however, current trade requirements are cost-inhibitive for most U.S. exporters, and recently imposed U.S. tariffs on other Chinese goods could aggravate trade progress in the near-term.

Southern Hemisphere Competitors Rising

While U.S. beef production is increasing, so is production in Brazil, Argentina and Australia. Brazil and Argentina are hampered by higher transportation costs to the major importers of beef, and the U.S. still has an advantage in product quality over all three countries. But, as U.S. trade agreements are at risk, and new ones that exclude the U.S. are forged, Brazil, Argentina and Australia will look to capitalize on improved market access.

A video synopsis of the report, “U.S. Beef Exports Are Growing, but so Are Trade Risks” is available at

USDA Launches MARS, Delivering Market Data to Agricultural Producers Around the Globe Faster and Easier

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced the launch of a new electronic data platform to deliver market price information to the commodities industry. The new web-based platform, Market Analysis and Reporting Services (MARS), uses state-of-the-art technology to present detailed data sets in a more customer-focused way to better support competitive markets for producers and help stabilize food prices for American families.

“USDA Market News is the most relied upon source of unbiased agricultural market data,” said Greg Ibach, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “USDA’s on-site market reporters gather, analyze and publish unbiased data all day long to ensure fair food prices for consumers across the country and around the world. The MARS project applies the best data management practices to make that data available when and where farmers, packers and processors need it.”

As Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue promised last summer, USDA staff are using the latest technologies available to deliver the most effective, most efficient, customer-focused service in the federal government. MARS improves the transparency, speed and accuracy of USDA Market News, and facilitates the flow of data from more than 3,600 markets to AMS analysts and ultimately to producers, industry and the public. The new dynamic interface provides data analysts one-stop instant access to agricultural commodity data through a searchable database with the ability to create custom reports, data sets and data visualizations to make large amounts of information more easily understandable in a fraction of the time. Businesses may also utilize the built-in application program interface (API) to use the data to create new uses for the data as customer needs evolve.

On Feb. 2, 2018, Market News information for dairy products will be the first set of data and reports available through MARS followed by Cotton and Tobacco, scheduled for April 2018. Dates for Livestock, Poultry and Grain and Specialty Crops will be announced on the new My Market News website. It is anticipated that all Market News data will be moved to the new system by March 2019. USDA’s existing Market News website will continue to post data until all commodities are available through MARS.

Trump Administration Delays Implementation of Waters of US Rule by Two Years

(AP) -- The Trump administration on Wednesday delayed implementation of an Obama-era clean water rule by another two years to give the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers more time to do away with it.

The move follows a Supreme Court ruling last week that said legal challenges to the Waters of the U.S. rule should be decided in federal district courts. That will result in the lifting of a stay issued by an appeals court blocking the 2015 rule from going into effect.

The rule expanded the definitions for wetlands and small waterways under the Clean Water Act -- prompting opposition from agribusiness, mining and industry groups. The expansion was intended to reduce sources of pollution dumped in the small tributaries of larger lakes and rivers.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order nearly a year ago ordering a review of the WOTUS rule. By moving the effective date to 2020, the Trump administration buys itself more time to issue a replacement.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt routinely cites WOTUS as what he sees as regulatory overreach by the prior administration.

"EPA is taking action to reduce confusion and provide certainty to America's farmers and ranchers," Pruitt said Wednesday, according to a statement. "The 2015 WOTUS rule developed by the Obama administration will not be applicable for the next two years, while we work through the process of providing long-term regulatory certainty across all 50 states about what waters are subject to federal regulation."

NCBA Applauds Two-Year Delay of Waters of the United States Rule

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Chief Environmental Counsel Scott Yager today issued the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to delay implementation of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule for two additional years:

"Today’s action from EPA and the Army Corps ensures the 2015 WOTUS Rule never comes back. We thank Administrator Pruitt and his team for this prompt action which protects agricultural producers across the country and we look forward to the next steps — repeal and replace."

Farm Bureau Applauds Delay of Unlawful WOTUS Rule

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“The American Farm Bureau Federation applauds today’s action by the U.S. EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to delay implementation of the hopelessly vague 2015 rule that expansively defined ‘waters of the United States.’ That rule would have put a stranglehold on ordinary farming and ranching by treating dry ditches, swales and low spots on farm fields just like flowing waters. Without today’s action, countless farmers and ranchers, as well as other landowners and businesses, would risk lawsuits and huge penalties for activities as common and harmless as plowing a field.

“Today’s announcement is part of a measured and thoughtful process to provide regulatory certainty to farmers and ranchers while the agencies continue the important work of withdrawing and rewriting the unlawful 2015 WOTUS rule. America’s farmers value clean water as much as anyone, and they work hard every day to protect it. But they deserve clear rules, too.”

ASA Applauds President’s Commitment to Infrastructure Improvements

The American Soybean Association (ASA) today applauded the priority placed on improving the nation’s infrastructure in President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address last night.

ASA President John Heisdorffer, a soybean farmer from Keota, Iowa, stated that “the President’s commitment to work with Congress to fashion an initiative that will generate $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investments to upgrade roads, bridges, highways, railways, waterways and broadband addresses a priority that is long overdue.”

“America’s transportation network is U.S. agriculture’s competitive advantage for reaching world markets at less cost than other exporting countries,” Heisdorffer said. “Brazil and other soybean exporters have been making significant investments in bolstering their railroads and river systems in recent years, while our aging infrastructure continues to deteriorate, causing delays and higher freight costs.”

Heisdorffer added that “the emphasis the President placed on investing in rural areas, and to reduce the time required to obtain federal permits for new projects, is welcome news for U.S. soybean farmers.”

The U.S. exports an estimated 60 percent of annual soybean production, expected to total four billion bushels in 2018. Together with the Soybean Transportation Council and other industry stakeholders, ASA has been an outspoken supporter for modernizing locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River system for over 20 years. Upgrading the system would improve efficiency and our global competitiveness by significantly reducing freight costs and delivery times.

Retail Fertilizer Prices Continue Upward Trend

Average retail fertilizer prices continued to trend higher the fourth week of January 2018, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

Prices for all but one of the eight major fertilizers were higher compared to a month earlier. Once again leading the way to the high side was anhydrous, which was 5% higher compared to the previous month. The nitrogen had an average price of $490 per ton.

The remaining six fertilizers that were higher saw only slight price gains. DAP had an average price of $458 per ton, MAP $492/ton, urea $353/ton, 10-34-0 $415/ton, UAN28 $226/ton and UAN32 $261/ton.

For the first time in several weeks, one fertilizer was actually slightly lower in price compared to last month. Potash had an average price of $344 per ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.38/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.40/lb.N and UAN32 $0.41/lb.N.

All but three fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices pushing higher in recent months. Both urea and anhydrous are now 2% higher, while both DAP and potash are 7% higher and MAP is 11% more expensive.

Three fertilizers are still lower in price compared to a year prior. UAN32 is 3% lower while UAN28 is 4% and 10-34-0 is 5% less expensive looking back a year.

Ethanol Stocks Tumble From Record High

Ethanol supply in the United States tumbled 800,000 barrels (bbl), or 3.4%, from a record high to 23.0 million bbl during the week-ended Jan. 26, with plant production also down substantially, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, Jan. 31.

The draw comes after four straight weekly stock builds. Compared with the corresponding week in 2017, total ethanol supply is up 1.1 million bbl, or 5.0%.

Domestic plant production declined 22,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 2.1%, to 1.04 million bpd last week, while down 21,000 bpd, or 2.0%, year over year. For the four weeks ended Jan. 26, production averaged 1.04 million bpd, down 14,000 bpd, or 1.4%, versus a year ago.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, climbed 32,000 bpd, or 3.9%, last week to 858,000 bpd. Compared to a year ago, blending demand was up 21,000 bpd or 2.5%. For the four-week period ended Jan. 26, blending demand averaged 834,000 bpd, up 5,000 bpd, or 0.6%, versus a year ago.

Be Counted! Complete USDA Census of Agriculture Today

With only days remaining, the National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers to complete U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service's 2017 Census of Agriculture before the February 5 deadline.

Conducted once every five years, the census aims to get a complete and accurate picture of American agriculture. The resulting data are used by farmers, ranchers, trade associations, researchers, policymakers and many others to help make decisions in community planning, farm assistance programs, technology development, farm advocacy, agribusiness setup, rural development and more.

"The Census of Agriculture is USDA's largest data collection endeavor, providing some of the most widely used statistics in the industry," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. "Collected in service to American agriculture since 1840, the census gives every producer the opportunity to be represented so that informed decisions can support their efforts to provide the world with food, fuel, feed and fiber. Every response matters."

The census was mailed in several phases through December. Farm operations of all sizes which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural product in 2017 are included in the census. The census is the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agriculture data for every state and county in the nation.

NASS revised the census forms in an attempt to document changes and emerging trends in the industry. Changes include a new question about military veteran status, expanded questions about food marketing practices and questions about on-farm decision-making to help better capture the roles and contributions of beginning farmers, women farmers and others involved in running a farm enterprise.

"Producers can respond to the census online or by mail. We highly recommend the updated online questionnaire. We heard what people wanted and we made responding to the census easier than ever," said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. "The online questionnaire now has timesaving features, such as automatic calculations, and the convenience of being accessible on mobile and desktop devices."

The census response deadline is February 5, 2018. Responding to the Census of Agriculture is required by law under Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113. The same law requires NASS to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes, and only publish in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation. NASS will release the results of the census in February 2019.

For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture, visit or call (800) 727-9540.

CNH Industrial Reports Higher Net Income in 2017

CNH Industrial N.V. announced consolidated revenues of $27,361 million for the full year 2017, up 10% compared to 2016. Net sales of Industrial Activities were $26,168 million for the year, up 11% compared to 2016. In the fourth quarter of 2017, consolidated revenues were $8,102 million, up 16% compared to the fourth quarter of 2016. Net sales of Industrial Activities were $7,798 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, up 17% compared to the fourth quarter of 2016.

Net income was $313 million for the full year 2017 and includes a non-cash pre- and after-tax charge of $92 million due to the deconsolidation of CNH Industrial's Venezuelan operations effective December 31, 2017; a non-cash tax charge of $123 million due to the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and tax legislation changes in the UK and certain other countries enacted in the fourth quarter of 2017, as disclosed in our press release of January 25, 2018; as well as a total pre-tax charge of $64 million (total after-tax charge of $55 million) related to the repurchase/early redemption of certain notes in 2017.

Adjusted net income was $669 million for the full year 2017 compared to $482 million in 2016. Adjusted diluted EPS in 2017 was $0.48, up 37% compared to 2016. For the fourth quarter of 2017, net loss was $40 million and, as mentioned above, was affected by the $92 million charge for Venezuelan operations deconsolidation, the $123 million charge due to the U.S. Act and other tax legislation changes, as well as a $8 million charge on early redemption of notes. The adjusted net income was $197 million for the quarter, flat compared to the fourth quarter of 2016. Adjusted diluted EPS in the fourth quarter of 2017 was $0.14, flat compared to the fourth quarter of 2016.

Agricultural Equipment's net sales increased 10% for the full year 2017 compared to 2016. The increase was mainly due to higher industry volume, market share gains, a favorable mix of higher horsepower products and net price realization.

Lighten Workloads, Pack on Pounds: Tips for Performance Success at the Feedlot 

You go to work well before sunup, and you don’t hang up your hat until after sundown. But with so much to get done, hours in the feedyard click by in a hot minute. Cattle are constantly moving — feeder cattle coming in, market cattle shipping out. Your list continues, from processing 100-plus head at the chute to moving and checking on cattle that could be miles from the operation where you’re standing now.

It is more important now than ever for feedlot operators to take advantage of every tool and technology available to increase overall gain and to improve labor efficiencies and operational flexibility.

When it comes to evaluating a feedlot’s performance and average daily gain goals, Richard Zinn, PhD, renowned researcher and animal science professor at the University of California, Davis, closely examines four things. “I would first look at the implant program — that’s No. 1. No tool has a greater impact on average daily gain and gain efficiency than the implant, so this is an area that feedlots should pay very close attention to. And then the use of feed additives, feeding management and the effective fiber content of the diet.”

While there are many implant options available to cattlemen, using a long-acting implant can be more sensible than traditional implants, which often require re-implanting to get the same duration.

Long-duration implants can help cattle producers:

Find more time in the day. There’s not enough time in the day to go back and redo anything, especially re‑implanting cattle. Consider 1,000 head. Let’s assume that it takes seven minutes per animal to bring them through the chute to re-implant. This task alone could mean more than 100 hours spent re-implanting cattle, which could add up to $1,222 per employee in hourly wage costs. Could that time have been put to better use?

Improve labor efficiencies. If asked your biggest pain point, “labor” might top the list — high turnover rates, unreliability, finding enough help when you need it most. Imagine if you only had to implant cattle once every 200 days. How would you utilize the extra time and resources?

Reduce risk of injury. One of the major sources of employee injury in the industry can be attributed to handling livestock. Implanting lighter-weight cattle upon arrival at the feedlot is safer than the risk of running a 1,000-pound animal through the chute to re-implant later in the feeding cycle. If you could reduce the risk of injury by not re-implanting and handling cattle less, why wouldn’t you do it?

“The implant program is extremely important,” Zinn said.

Synovex® One Feedlot provides producers a long-duration implant option that is approved for use with both steers and heifers, offering 200 days of uninterrupted performance — nearly twice the duration of conventional implants. Compared with nonimplanted feeder cattle, steers implanted with Synovex One Feedlot saw a 15.4% improvement in average daily gain and 9.8% improvement in feed efficiency. Also when compared with nonimplanted feeder cattle, heifers receiving Synovex One Feedlot demonstrated a 12% increase in average daily gain and a 7% improvement in feed efficiency.

Dr. Zinn recommends that feedlots experiencing decreased feed intake should also look at current feed additive programs to help enhance performance and implement changes if needed.

“When I see a feedlot where the intake is off, then we’re going to look at the feed additive program and try to determine if they’re optimizing the potential of various feed additives to enhance performance,” Zinn said. “The important thing in the feedlot is to maximize average daily gain, and by doing that, they maximize net return.”

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