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The Cattle Connection

The cattlemen's connection to timely topics, current research, and profitable management strategies
Economics
Bull pic

Bull Buyers Guide

Are you sifting through stacks of bull sale catalogs looking for your next bull? While bull selection can be a daunting task, your choice will impact your herd for years to come. Thus, taking some time to think about what you need from your next herd sire is important. Here are some points to emphasize when it comes to bull selection. Know your market. Understand what tr...

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feeding hay

Simple 2-part cow rations for this winter

Depending on your farm set-up, available equipment, and your willingness to purchase diesel fuel, your least-cost ration may look very different than your neighbors. Availability and proximity to co-product feeds, such as corn gluten feed (CGF) and dried distillers grains (DGS) may also shift your diet make-up. The traditional method of winter feeding is hay. Hay is variable in quality....

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Resource for understanding Unit Cost of Production

Posted by Travis Meteer - Economics

Cow/calf producers will forever remember the record profits of 2014. They may also vividly remember the "fall of the 2015 fall." Prices have quickly fallen off the last two weeks, this following a continual inching down during the months of July and August. This collapse in prices leaves many heading back to the balance sheet to do some figuring. One of the most valuable keys for a cow/...

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Designing a Bud Box

It is often said "If you can work cattle together, you can do anything together." We have all had a stressful chuteside experience, but have you investigated ways to better handle your cattle? As you prepare to wean calves, preg-check cows, and give fall booster vaccinations, you should consider looking into the "Bud Box." The Bud Box is named after Bud Williams, who created the design....

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Focus on Getting Cows Bred Early in the Breeding Season

I was speaking at a meeting one evening and I was talking about how nutrition affects reproduction. I got to the portion of the talk discussing how post-partum interval affects cows getting bred in a 60 day season. I asked the members of the crowd to raise their hand if they maintained a 60-day calving season. Very few hands went up. One of the few was attached to a gentleman that spoke up and...

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Lonely Bulls

How much can I afford to pay for a bull?

A popular question this time of year is "How much can I afford to pay for a bull." My go-to answer is usually… "How much revenue loss would you have from a pasture full of open cows?" After all, we often de-value the role of the bull. We forget that he is a crucial part of the equation to making our product. Now, the question is a good one to ask. Especially after watching calf prices c...

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Finding more Grazing Days

The current cattle market can be distracting. Record high prices, while certainly a good thing, can leave many cattlemen in a state of awe and amazement. Instead of getting caught watching high prices this fall, your time will be better spent monitoring the cost side of your cattle business. Cow/calf producers can significantly reduce costs by extending the grazing season, delaying feed...

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Adding Value to Your Calf Crop- Checklist

Record cattle prices, lowering feed costs, and good pasture conditions all are benefiting cattlemen in 2014. One of the most popular questions I have received lately is "what opportunities should I be taking advantage of to get the most out of this current market?" In short, anything you can do to add a pound for less than that pound is worth is beneficial. Obviously, producers still ne...

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Corn Silage: Foliar disease, the silent killer? - Dr. Phil Cardoso

Corn silage is popular as a forage source for dairy cows due to its high energy and digestibility. It should have a light, pleasant smell with only a slight vinegar odor. Knowledge of the silage process often explains why some silage may be of poor quality. Once ensiled, the material starts to ferment and will continue to do so until enough acid is produced to stop bacterial action. The desired...

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Herd Expansion: Is it for you?

Posted by Travis Meteer - Economics

If you haven't heard… cattle prices are pretty good right now. This coupled with the retreat in corn price last fall and lowering feed costs, has cattle producers looking for their long-promised "good times". For nearly three years, the talk of herd expansion has been suggested only to be silenced by drought and high feed costs. So now that favorable weather patterns and lower commodity prices...

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Is cowherd expansion the best option for increasing profits?

Posted by Travis Meteer - Economics

One of the hot-button topics this fall has been expanding the cowherd. It seems as though this topic has been discussed in some capacity for the last several years. However, drought and increased feed costs have slowed cow/calf profits and therefore held a cap on cowherd expansion. Some projections look favorable for removal of this cap as moisture is more plentiful in areas and corn prices hav...

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Are you managing for Profit or Production?

Posted by Travis Meteer - Economics

Have you ever been at the diner when guys are talking cows? After everyone gives rain gauge reports, usually you start to hear weaning weights and how much they got per pound for the last set of calves. The easiest things to measure are the numbers that come back on the salebarn ticket. That's what you always hear, because it's easy to measure. If these are the only numbers you measure...

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100 0047

Land for Sale: $200/acre

On Tuesday, Dr. Ken Nimrick, retired WIU professor and cattleman, shared his secret to being profitable in the cow/calf business at the IL Forage Institute. His secret is simple..."Buy land for $200/acre." Of course, those of us in the audience all laughed. For good reason too, as most tillable farm ground has been setting records and all land prices have escalated. It is not uncommon to see go...

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glass-half-full

Cattle Industry Insight

Posted by Travis Meteer - Economics

Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty person? Your response likely correlates with your view of the current beef industry dynamic. It seems that the beef industry is offering up a "mixed bag" as discussed by Chris Hurt, Ag Economist, Purdue University, in his industry update . Extens...

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silage drought

Pricing Drought-Stressed Corn for Corn Silage

It is easy to see that many portions of the Illinois corn crop will be hurt badly from the drought. A prolonged and intensifying drought coupled with extremely high temperatures the last two weeks has punished this corn crop. The "good" corn will certainly be low in yield and some corn has failed to pollinate or even put on an ear. These different circumstances have farmers scrambling for optio...

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