Ohio beef schools look at “new normal”

By Stan Smith, Fairfield County Extension


“It’s a great time to be in agriculture.”

“We have more people to feed and a growing global economy. I don’t know of a better industry to be involved with than agriculture because the underlying fundamentals are strong.”

“If you’re in the cow-calf business you’ve got what everybody else wants. Prices will continue to move higher next year.”

Those words came from Randy Blach, president of Cattle-Fax, at the recent Kansas Livestock Association annual convention. More specifically he said 2012 and 2013 should provide excellent profit opportunities because declining inventories of stocker and feeder cattle will continue to support prices and keep cow-calf producers in the driver’s seat. In fact, Cattle-Fax projects average national prices for 550-pound calves to average $1.75 per hundredweight next year, and 750 to 800-pound yearlings to average $1.50 per hundredweight.

From a feeder’s perspective, consider Blach’s thoughts on marketing high quality fed cattle. “We’ve seen the Choice-Select spread widen to $18 or $19, and it could easily be $10 to $15 over the next 12 to 18 months. You need to consider that and possibly make some adjustments to your production. The spread will trump weight.”

For those of us who have forages which need to be converted to meat, it appears we are, indeed, in the drivers seat! But are we positioned correctly today to fully capture the benefits over the coming years of the scenario that Blach describes? Preparation to take full advantage of this “new normal” is the approach being taken as the speakers and agenda for the 2012 Ohio Beef Cattle School series have been assembled. Hold these dates and make plans to the participate during the first session beginning on January 26, 2012, and continuing on the Thursdays of February 9 and 16, and March 1. Each session will be broadcast locally by many of Ohio’s Extension offices via an internet link, and will focus on optimizing efficient beef production in a rapidly changing business and consumer environment. Nothing is sacred as we explore trends in reproduction, genetics, feeds and feeding, targeted marketing, and the opportunities afforded by backgrounding calves versus finishing them in Ohio feedlots.

More specifically topics and speakers include these industry respected individuals from across the Midwest.

* January 26: Kevin Duhvetter, Extension Specialist, Farm Management, Kansas State University, speaking on Economic Considerations in Beef Cattle Production

* February 9: Dan Frobose, retired OSU Extension, and Sam Roberts, United Producers, speaking on Targeted markets and marketing alternatives

* February 16: Dr. Les Anderson, University of Kentucky Beef Extension Specialist and John Grimes, OSU Beef Programs Coordinator on Genetics, reproduction efficiencies, calving season alternatives, etc

* March 1: Nevil Speer, PHD, MBA, Western Kentucky University, focusing on Meat industry perspective looking to the future including ‘outlook’, Choice/Select spreads, etc.

If interested in attending, contact your local or a near-by Ohio State University Extension office  to ask if their winter programming plans include hosting the Ohio Beef Cattle Schools.

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