Tag Archives: cattle

Markets are higher today, weather concerns building?  Late planting of crops how the markets are factoring that in.   Busy week in store with Japan agreement, USDA report on Thursday & next round of China talks.  Higher boxed beef, hog trade works to turn around.

Higher corn & lower beans & wheat.  Frost concerns coupled with snow at weeks end.  South America’s planting underway.  Disappointing yields.  S&D report due out on Thursday, China will be here for two days of talks…is recent purchases “Good-will” gestures.  AFS & China.  Cattle see late week sales on Saturday.

The Friday, October 4th Fontanelle Final Bell

Corn & beans finished up on the week. So much going on next week the stage is getting set. From China & conflicting weather models & USDA reports. Seasonal average for corn? Can’t Market on Hope. Great move going in livestock-potential for some positive margins.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing today, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) questioned Dr. Jayson Luck, Agriculture Economics Professor at Purdue University, Jennifer Houston, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and Shane Eaton, a member of the United States Cattlemen’s Association, about the impact of last month’s fire at a Tyson beef plant in Holcomb, Kansas, on the cattle markets. The senator asked specifically about the negative impact on suppliers due to low cattle prices and high packer margins following the fire.

China has recently been buying a lot of meat. The Wall Street Journal says their recent purchases are pushing up the prices of beef, pork, and poultry around the globe.

Meat buyers are increasing their activity after African Swine Fever hit the country hard and reduced the size of the world’s largest pig herd by more than a third. Domestic pork prices have jumped in China and meat imports are rising in response and placing a strain on global meat supplies. For example, Brazil poultry shipments to China have jumped 31 percent compared to last year.

Retail prices for chicken breasts, thighs, and legs have increased roughly 16 percent. European meat buyers are paying five percent more for pork because more of their domestically produced supplies are heading to China. American shoppers haven’t felt the impact yet, but that may change.

Futures prices recently rose after Chinese officials say the country could exempt some U.S. pork and other agricultural goods from punitive tariff increases. Many American meat companies have watched as European and South American competitors have raced each other to supply China’s pork needs.

The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) recently sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump reiterating that a successful renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) includes the reestablishment of a country-of-origin labeling program for U.S. beef.

In the letter, USCA Preisdent Kenny Graner states,

“Though COOL failed to make it into the final text of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), there is still an opportunity to address the unfair treatment of cattle and beef in this trade agreement, which has resulted in economic harm over the years to cow-calf producers, backgrounders, and feedlot operators.

“The impact of a poor cattle market and decreasing live cattle prices coincide with the continued decline in America’s rural economy and the rising income disparity between rural and urban residents. The rural America that overwhelmingly supported you in the 2016 election due to your “America first” agenda now has one simple ask, Mr. President.

“On behalf of our nationwide membership, we respectfully request the inclusion of a country-oforigin labeling program for U.S. beef products within the context of USMCA.”


I have six heifers that came from a calving-ease bull. I used a calving-ease bull to breed them, and so far, of the three that have calved, I’ve had to pull two. All of these heifers weigh around 1,100 pounds each. Should I expect more delivery problems with the remaining three? A second question concerns a heifer that has had two calves in a row born backwards. Could this be genetic or just a run of bad luck?


The term “calving ease” is often thrown around without a full understanding of what it really means. This is complicated by the fact that different breeds have slightly different names for similar traits.

Starting at the beginning, make sure you understand the “E” in Expected Progeny Difference (EPD). This is the best estimate, or expectation, for that trait. There is a second, often overlooked, part of an EPD that is very important: accuracy. Accuracy values (ACC) range from 0 to 1; the higher the ACC, the better it reflects the true genetic merit of an animal for a given trait. High accuracy for a Calving Ease Direct (CED) or Calving Ease Maternal (CEM) sire means you can have more confidence that the number will be a true reflection of how easily his calves are born.

The most accurate EPDs today are Genomic Enhanced (GE), or GE-EPDs. This is trait-specific data for things like birth weight, calving ease, udder scores, weaning weight, yearling weight, rib eye area, marbling, etc. A GE-EPD is going to give you a better idea of what you can expect from an animal you are bringing into your breeding program, especially a young animal. Adding genomic data to a virgin bull, for example, is like having performance data on seven to 20 of his progeny (depending on trait) before he’s ever sired one calf.

With regard to calving ease, there are two numbers I pay close attention to. These numbers are calculated based on data from heifers. The first, the CED, is a percentage of first-calf heifers calving without assistance compared to the breed average. Higher numbers are better. If Bull A has a CED of 10, and Bull B has a CED of -2, you would expect 12% more of the heifers bred to Bull A would calve unassisted than Bull B.

The second number I watch closely is the one for CEM. This is the difference in percentage of unassisted births of a sire’s daughters (as first-calf heifers) compared to daughters of other bulls in the breed. Again, a higher number is desirable.

Here’s where EPDs get complicated. Specific-trait EPDs often work against each other. In this example, CEM has a negative genetic association with CED and a positive genetic relationship with growth and mature size. Unless you are just trying to get a live calf on the ground and are not concerned about retaining heifers or weaning weights, or other growth numbers, you have to look at both traits in sire and dam.

In your case, the sire to these heifers may have had a very good CED EPD, but a bad CEM EPD. The heifers may simply be genetically prone to problems. To answer your question, you may well have problems in the remaining heifers. So keep them close, and watch them closer.

As an alternative to specific traits, experts have made value judgements for particular end goals. When choosing animals, instead of looking at individual traits, we can consider multi-trait indexes from breed associations. In an index, traits are balanced to help producers achieve individual herd goals more easily, whether those are focused on growth and maternal traits, carcass values or a combination of all of the above.

The American Angus Association calls its indexes “Value Indexes.” The American Hereford Association has the “Profit Index.” Other breed associations and some crossbreed groups have or are developing indexes as well, so check with those that apply.

CENTENNIAL, CO (Sept. 9. 2019) — Just 10 years after its inception, the Beef Checkoff-funded Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program celebrated its 15,000th graduate in August. The program was created to equip and engage beef industry advocates to communicate about beef and beef production. It is one of the strongest beef advocacy efforts in the industry.

A self-directed online training program managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, MBA requires students to complete five lessons in beef advocacy, including The Beef Community; Raising Cattle on Grass; Life in the Feedyard; From Cattle to Beef; and Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. MBA has also been made available via digital download to allow agriculture educators, state beef organization representatives and other beef industry and youth leaders to incorporate the modules into their curriculums.

Once the MBA course has been completed, graduates gain access to resources on the MBA Classroom site, as well as tools to advance their advocacy efforts, including talking points, fact sheets and continuing education opportunities. Graduates are also invited to join the Masters of Beef Advocacy Alumni Facebook group, a virtual community for MBA graduates to share success stories and to receive the latest research and information on the beef industry.

MBA graduates interested in taking their advocacy skills to the next level can participate in state training workshops. These workshops offer more in-depth training on tactical communication skills and provide greater confidence to successfully engage with consumers, both in person and online. More than 70 such workshops and presentations, reaching more than 3,000 beef advocates, were completed in 2018. In addition, a “Top of the Class” program provides more in-depth instruction and training to leading advocates each year who express an interest in advancing their advocacy efforts. Started in 2014, there are now 50 Top of the Class national advocates. Each year, advocates reach tens of millions of consumers as a result of their advocacy efforts.

“As the percentage of consumers with interest in beef production continues to increase, our engagement with them, as well as with food professionals, dietitians, nutritionists and other thought leaders, has become increasingly important,” says Ryan Goodman, director of grassroots advocacy and spokesperson development for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. “MBA has evolved during the last decade to become a key tool and support system for those who want to advocate for beef and beef producers.”

“We all benefit when consumers better understand our product and how we produce it,” says Laurie Munns, a cattle producer from Hansel Valley, Utah, and chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils, a division of NCBA. “The MBA program from NCBA is a great Beef Checkoff-funded initiative for increasing beef demand by enhancing what is known about beef and how it comes to market.”

The MBA program is open to everyone, and there is no cost to participate. To enroll or find out more about this checkoff-funded program, go to MastersOfBeefAdvocacy.com.