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Someday in the future we may look back and think the opening paragraph of Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities sums up the situation facing production agriculture in the mid 1990's.
Historically, feeder calf prices decline as weight increases. That relationship of price to weight still exists, but it has narrowed considerably due to the high price of corn and feedlot cost of gain. Feedlots and the market are telling us to make calves heavier at home before selling them as feeder calves.
After much time and deliberation, H.R. 2419, the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 became law on May 22, 2008. A congressional news release urged the government to "ensure that the entire farm bill is enacted into law swiftly" after clerical errors occurred involving the trade title. The 5-year bill totaling approximately $300 billion is set to expire in 2012.
If we reflect back fifty or more years, what did the term beef mean to most of the consuming public? Since I wasn't born, it's hard for me to know; however, I think beef was thought of as the premium red meat.
I can't remember a time when the grass has been as green, the cows have been as fat, ponds have been as full, and producers have been as worried about their future and the future of agriculture as a whole. The really frustrating part about the predicament we find in mid-2008 is that so many of the contributing factors are beyond our control. Seemingly, the only silver lining is that calf prices have stabilized and are staying relatively strong.
The value of each pound of gain is an important economic factor for operators to consider before buying stockers.
Many producers in the stocker business have said that the profit is made when the calf is purchased. If correct decisions are made when the calf is bought, then the rest of the job is much easier.
If you're a cow-calf producer and your spring calves are grazing with their mothers, there is no time like the present to begin making plans for how you are going to market those calves this fall.
No, I'm not talking about the chicken or the pork guys. It's the other cow-calf producers in your area, in the states of Oklahoma or Texas, the United States and even in foreign countries.
Between the autumns of 2006 and 2008, we have seen some real volatility in the cattle and grain markets. This condition has forced producers to reevaluate how they go about doing business. We have seen prices for corn double, and fertilizer and fuel triple.