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News Update

February 5, 2013

Angus Calves at Auction Bring Record Premiums

Record-high calf prices last year spelled good news for most U.S. ranchers, but there was an extra bonus for many of them.

That came in the form of record-high premiums paid for Angus calves at auction compared to non-Angus contemporaries, as reported to Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB). The database on more than 300,000 calves sold in 13,794 lots at 10 markets since 1999 is part of the company’s “Here’s the Premium” project.

“Everybody who sold calves enjoyed the market response to supply and demand, but some may not have noticed the price differentials still held,” said Steve Suther, the CAB director of industry information who initiated the study.

Data from nine cooperating auction markets last fall showed the all-time high Angus premium in absolute terms. That was $5.30 per hundredweight (cwt.) for the combination of 504-pound (lb.) heifers and 511-lb. steers sold in 660 lots.

On the steer side, it was $6.20 per cwt., down 8.6% from the 2008 record, but 17% above the 2006 figure. Meanwhile, the heifers set a 14-year high of $4.40 per cwt. above non-Angus.

For expanded coverage, see the March Angus Journal, which will be available to those who have signed up for the digital edition by mid-February. If you are an Angus Journal subscriber, you can sign up for the digital format at There is no added cost to access the digital edition.

Red Ink All Over the 2012 Missouri Steer Feedout Cattle

If you’ve been following the cattle-feeding business the last year, you know there’s been a lot of red ink on closeouts. That point hit home in late December when the June-placed, Missouri Steer Feedout cattle ended up losing $225 per head.

That loss was the greatest for the feedouts dating back to 1981. The previous worst was in 2008, when the average loss was $154 per head, according to Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri (MU) Extension.

“We’ve had 19 Missouri feedouts in Iowa with the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity (TCSCF) since 2001, and six have ended up in the red. This year’s $225 loss set a record,” said Cole. “Usually there’s at least one owner’s cattle that makes money, but not this year.” Only one steer out of the 69 head that completed the carcass phase showed a profit after the TCSCF folks analyzed all the data on an individual basis.

For more information and the full release, click here.

New Phone App to Help Gauge Cattle
Heat Stress is Topic of Webinar

Heat is a particularly nasty foe when it comes to raising cattle, but a new phone app has been developed to manage heat stress in cattle. Business owners and entrepreneurs interested in the phone app are invited to participate in a free webinar, “Thermal Aid: Managing Heat Stress in Cattle,” Feb. 12, at 2 p.m. (CST)/3 p.m. (EST).

Thermal Aid is a smart phone app that combines information on both weather and/or respiration rate of livestock that allow producers to make crucial decisions regarding environmental stress and animal welfare. The app is also a learning device that attracts and stimulates student interest in climate and environmental stress related to themselves and their production animals.

Don Spiers, professor of environmental physiology at the University of Missouri will present the first webinar. Click here to register and get information about accessing the webinar.

The webinar is the first of four planned by the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD) that will focus on technology developed at land-grant universities that may be relevant to business operations or anyone interested in the particular topics. Other webinars planned include Working with Distilled Spirits, Farm-Based Bio-Controlled Seed Treatments for Improving Soybean Yields, and Biodiesel Production and Wastewater Recapture from Swine Waste. More information regarding the NCRCRD or the webinar series is available online or by contacting John Mann or 517-432-4408.

Deficit Irrigation Workshops Planned
for Sidney, Alliance, Scottsbluff

A series of No-Till Deficit Irrigation and Water Optimizer Workshops are planned in Sidney, Alliance and Scottsbluff, Neb., in late February for ag producers who expect to have limited irrigation water supplies this year.

The workshops will address water-limiting issues and low-water-use crop options for producers facing these challenges. Other topics will include the benefits of no-till practices and annual forage utilization in producer operations with cattle. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension personnel will also introduce and review the Water Optimizer decision-management tool, which can help producers determine what crops to grow, how many acres to irrigate and what their potential profitability would be under limited water-supply situations.

The workshops are sponsored by the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center; the North Platte, South Platte, and Upper Niobrara White natural resources districts; the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; and the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund Continuous No-Till Education Grant.

Workshop dates and times and contact numbers to RSVP are as follows:

RSVP by Feb. 22 if you plan to attend one of these workshops by calling the appropriate phone number for the workshop location. There is no charge to attend these workshops.

Emergency Loans Available for Drought-Stricken Farmers

South Texas growers affected by last year’s drought are encouraged to apply for emergency farm loans as soon as possible, according to an employee of the Cooperative Extension Program at Prairie View A&M University, who has a long record of helping farmers apply.

Vidal Saenz, a farm advisor at the Hidalgo County office of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, said he is available to help growers in any of the four counties of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and Zapata County who suffered losses on Oct. 1, 2012, and thereafter.

“It’s important that growers in South Texas know that these loans are available and that there is help from my office, at no cost, in navigating through the application process,” he said. “The loans are available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (USDA FSA) for farmers who suffered losses of 30% or greater, but there are timelines to be met.”

Arnulfo Lerma, FSA loan manager in Edinburg, said the deadline for applications is Sept. 3, but growers should contact him or Saenz as soon as possible.

“If farmers wait too long to apply, a backlog will develop and that can cause delays,” he said.

Through his Small Farm Outreach Training and Technical Assistance Program, Saenz provided help to 45 agricultural producers in 2012 whose loan requests totaled nearly $5.28 million. In other years, loan totals have been twice that amount.

For more information and the full release, click here.

USDA Preserves $4 Billion in Ag Exports in 2012 by Knocking Down Barriers to Trade

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack highlighted how the USDA resolved dozens of export issues in 2012, freeing up an estimated $4 billion in U.S. agricultural and forestry exports and protecting roughly 30,000 American jobs in the process. The work is highlighted on, a resource for demonstrating how the Obama Administration is improving performance and accountability for the American people and businesses.

“As consumers around the world demand high-quality, American-grown products, USDA staff are monitoring more than 160 markets to ensure an open system of trade, free from unwarranted and unjustified barriers,” said Vilsack. “Since 2009, USDA has acted to remove hundreds of unfair barriers to trade for American companies and is providing businesses with the resources they need to reach new markets. These efforts have resulted in the most successful period in the history for American agriculture and a boon for America’s rural economies and agriculture-related businesses.”

During the past year, USDA has aggressively worked to eliminate barriers, open new markets, secure the release of U.S. shipments detained at foreign ports, and ensure the safe movement of agricultural products in a manner consistent with science and international standards. Overall, a highly-dedicated group of USDA Foreign Service officers, animal and plant health experts, and analysts monitor 162 markets around the world, ensuring a level playing field for U.S. businesses and products. USDA works in partnership with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and other federal offices and agencies.


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