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On Target

On Target: Unintended consequences?

You hear more about mature cow size and growth potential of calves, now that profit ebbs and flows with the
cycle. We’ve written about mature size, but not much about how to use the relevant tools to change it. So now, let’s
examine the strategies and tools available, and the unintended consequences of ignoring them.

Decide Sooner

While many of you are in sire buying mode this time of year, more are deciding whether this year’s bull calves retain the ability to become sires. Castration at birth is ideal, but catching them on day one can be a challenge in extensive operations. Castration at branding or turnout offers a balance between handling ease and minimizing calf stress.

Calving seasons of the mind

Winter came early for much of cow-calf country, and now calving season is at the gate. Even those who call it “spring calving” often start in January, but if you’re not out checking a heifer, this is a good time of year to catch up on reading. Calving dates and “housing” options for the herd were explored in a 2019 Nebraska Beef Report article by Terry Klopfenstein and others, who evaluated March, June, or August calving dates on the range, or two July calving systems in year-round confinement or in semi-confinement with grazed corn stalks from fall to April weaning.

Cause and effect

We sometimes associate cause and effect without knowing the real link, or as an academic buzz phrase has it, “correlation does not equal causation.” A quick search provides a humorous example. Did you know ice cream sales and shark attacks are highly correlated? While true in a broad sense, the actual reason for similar seasonal trends is that hot weather brings greater ice cream consumption as well as more swimming along beaches where sharks lurk.

Balance vs. the trade-off

One of the big challenges of livestock judging is explaining “balance” to a new evaluator. As we attend county fairs, state previews and junior nationals, we’ll hear the term used to describe cattle in nearly every class. After the judge remarks on the calf’s balance, they’ll follow up with a collection of terms that support their view of balance.

Weaning diet options

Weaning diet options by Justin Sexten, Ph.D. Spring calving herds, depending on rainfall and temperatures, may be weeks or months away from weaning. For many operations, that will bring the challenge of feeding weaned calves for a short transition period. That’s when...

Better than average

Better than average by Justin Sexten, Ph.D. Few producers strive for average—from cow productivity to cost reduction, we all want to be better than that. Yet half of every herd is below its own average, so the bar we compare against is important for context. As the...

Too much, too early

Too much, too early by Justin Sexten, Ph.D. Fall- and spring-calving herd managers don’t often find themselves facing the same decision as those who buy calves for backgrounding, but this is one of those times. Should you implant the calves and if so, what product...

Add Value by Culling, Feeding

Weaning and “preg checking” tell us how successful our last two breeding seasons were. While many cow herd operators enjoy calving as a time to see the fruits of their labor, I prefer weaning, when management and genetic selection come together in one package. If you fell short in meeting any challenge like keeping pastures vegetative or replacement heifers without records , those effeccts are in full view when calves cross the scale at weaning.

The Angus Taste of Quality

When more cattle mean better cattle, the beef industry’s better for it. That’s the story for today’s cattleman supplying premium-quality beef to consumers asking for more. The Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) brand is in the middle of it all.

Extending a 14-year streak of year-over-year growth and the third year for sales above 1 billion pounds, the first and largest branded beef company reported record sales of 1.21 billion pounds in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, ending Sept. 30. That was an 8.1% increase, or 91 million pounds.

CAB Grids Pays $75 Million Per Year

Angus producers can increase supply for the world’s leading premium beef brand in just two years—and still earn 44% more premium dollars for the greater supply. It seems to go against the laws of market economics, but that’s what happened from the start of 2016 through last December.

After a long string of sales records that reached 1.14 billion pounds last calendar year, many wondered if Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) brand premiums would keep fostering profitability for producers.

Packer Talks Transparency, Trust and Demand Drivers

Beef packers bridge the gap between producers and consumers, but even “the largest packer in the world” is nothing without its suppliers, John Gerber said.

Stating the obvious to 200 cattlemen at the Certified Angus Beef® (CAB® ) brand’s Feeding Quality Forum this summer in Sioux City, Iowa, the longtime procurement head for Tyson Fresh Meats set the tone. Every link in the supply chain from ranch to consumer has a role to play.

Black Ink

Really that good

Young kids often have a misplaced sense of confidence. “Wook, how high I jump.” As a toddler, one of my girls used to love to show off that skill. She’d squat down, chubby thighs almost touching the ground and she’d give it her all. Her jump would maybe clear all of two inches. She was always thrilled.

Uncomfortable change

WHAM! Tap-tap-tap. Some changes are noisy…like the current remodel and addition to our 115-year-old house.

Black Ink: Moo-ving the big rocks

The new year now feels old once you get into a busy season like calving. There are many spans of time in cattle country that can make us feel there’s too much to do, or too little time in each day. By now, some resolutions have fallen to the wayside, the rush of reality helping us sort out what matters most in the commitment to get better. Yet, there are still some that rise above the rest, beat the average and make it look easy

Sign Reading

For the cattle industry, market signals can offer the same perspective. Data, seasonal changes, articles providing the same advice on vaccination programs or colostrum importance are all too familiar.

Uncomfortable change

Don’t let the unknown paralyze you. Think about the end goal and why you’re inspired to do something different in the first place.

Maybe you’re looking to recoup some investment or perhaps just trying to make specific points in the calendar flow a little more smoothly. Maybe you hear about these loads that are reaching 50% Prime and thinking, “I want my cattle to do that.”

Unconventional risk management

Unconventional risk management by Nicole Lane Erceg Sounds of thunder interrupted the radio blaring on our front porch. With binoculars we watched lightning strikes in the distance, waiting for a dispatcher’s voice to say the call number 9210. When those numerals rang...

Perspective and Context

Perspective and Context by Miranda Reiman “You know, a dredge ditch…” I was explaining the Minnesota farm I grew up on and I was met with blank stares from some of my South Dakota State University classmates. “…where you drain water off the field,” I continued. They...

Changing with the environment

Changing with the environment by Nicole Lane Erceg I have a teal dinosaur that sits on my desk. It’s an unusual office ornament, but he serves a valuable purpose. When plans change, when the unexpected pops up, when I’m tempted to say “we’ve always done it this way,”...

Time Tested

Time Tested by Miranda Reiman We’ve dubbed it the “smiling house.” On my family’s regular route through the Sandhills, there’s a lonely old place; rain and time have left the wood devoid of color. Yet, with its classic, square farmhouse design—and a little...

Meet your media team

Miranda Reiman

Miranda Reiman

Director of Producer Communications

Steve Suther

Steve Suther

Senior Editor, Producer Communications

Nicole Erceg

Nicole Erceg

Assistant Director of Communications