Short-covering Boosts CME Live Cattle Futures; Hogs Higher – Drovers Magazine

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures closed higher on Thursday after short-covering and fund buying reversed the previous session’s losses, said traders.

In a trading strategy known as bull spreads, traders bought June and simultaneously sold deferred months, stirred by firmer wholesale beef values and future’s discount to expected cash prices this week.

June live cattle closed 1.850 cents per pound higher at 107.525 cents, and above the 10-day moving average of 106.125 cents. August ended 0.925 cent higher at 104.300 cents.

Packer bids for slaughter-ready, or cash, cattle in the U.S. Plains were $119 to $122 per cwt against up to $128 asking prices. On Wednesday, a small number of cash cattle in Nebraska brought $119 to $121.

Last week’s overall cash cattle trade in the Plains was $118 to $128 per cwt.

Bullish futures investors were encouraged by the resumption of higher wholesale beef prices amid spring grilling and ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Lighter weekly cattle weights suggest feedlots are actively moving animals to market on schedule, or current, to avoid them backing up amid forecasts for increased supplies ahead, they said.

“Our cattle are extremely current. So we’re holding out for steady-or-better prices than last week,” a Plains feedlot source said.

Technical buying and higher live cattle futures rallied CME’s feeder cattle contracts.

May closed 1.450 cents per pound higher at 138.600 cents. 

Hogs Close Mostly Higher

Firmer cash and wholesale pork prices and short-covering landed most CME lean hogs months in bullish trading territory, traders said.

Some investors bought deferred months and sold May ahead of its expiration on Monday, they added. CME May closed 0.450 cent per pound lower at 65.475 cents. Most actively traded June ended up 0.750 cent at 77.325 cents. July closed 0.475 cent higher at 78.075 cents, and above the 20-day moving average of 77.825. A few packers have enough hogs for the rest of the week, but others need hogs for next week while taking advantage of their profitable margins and improved pork demand, a trader said.

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Georgia cattle auction summary – High Plains Journal

The summary of livestock auctions in Georgia for the week ending April 13 totaled 8,514 head selling, compared to 8,395 head a week ago and 9,950 head last year, according to the USDA-Georgia Department of Agriculture Market News, Thomasville, Georgia.

Compared to a week ago, slaughter cows were selling steady to $1 higher, slaughter bulls were selling mostly steady. Feeder steers and feeder heifers were selling steady to $3 higher. Feeder bulls were selling steady to $2 higher, steer calves, bull calves and heifer calves were trading steady to $3 higher, replacement cows were selling steady to $2 higher. The offering included 16% steers slaughter cows, 3% slaughter bulls, 12% feeders over 600 pounds, 60% feeders under 600 pounds, 9% feeder cows, 11% feeder steers, 30% feeder heifers and 31% feeder bulls.

Slaughter cows: Breakers 75 to 80% lean, 1160 to 1395 lbs., 54.00 to 60.00 (57.03); 1100 to 1375 lbs., 61.00 to 65.00 (62.63) high dressing; 1205 to 1390 lbs., 52.00 to 54.00 (53.33) low dressing; 1400 to 1860 lbs., 54.00 to 60.00 (56.32); 1400 to 1750 lbs., 62.00 to 66.00 (64.12) high dressing; 1450 to 1750 lbs., 52.00 to 54.00 (52.48) low dressing. Boners 80 to 85% lean, 905 to 1385 lbs., 58.00 to 65.00 (61.41); 915 to 1360 lbs., 67.00 to 71.00 (68.58) high dressing; 995 to 1370 lbs., 50.00 to 57.00 (54.17) low dressing; 1400 to 1880 lbs., 58.00 to 65.00 (60.62); 1415 to 1730 lbs., 50.00 to 57.00 (54.77) low dressing. Lean 85 to 90% lean, 800 to 1395 lbs., 51.00 to 58.00 (54.34); 890 to 1185 lbs., 59.00 to 63.00 (60.36) high dressing; 800 to 1280 lbs., 42.00 to 49.00 (46.07) low dressing.

Slaughter bulls: Yield grade 1, 1050 to 1490 lbs., 82.00 to 89.00 (84.99); 1000 to 1425 lbs., 89.00 to 94.00 (91.09) high dressing; 1000 to 1480 lbs., 73.00 to 80.00 (76.69) low dressing; 1510 to 2205 lbs., 82.00 to 89.00 (85.53); 1515 to 1970 lbs., 91.00 to 95.00 (92.95) high dressing; 1500 to 2200 lbs., 73.00 to 80.00 (76.70) low dressing.

Feeder steers: Medium and large frame 1, 350 to 390 lbs., 172.00 to 178.00 (173.74); 400 to 445 lbs., 162.00 to 170.00 (164.64); 450 to 490 lbs., 156.00 to 165.00 (160.68); 500 to 548 lbs., 147.00 to 156.00 (152.60); 550 to 595 lbs., 142.00 to 150.00 (144.85); 600 to 645 lbs., 137.00 to 143.00 (139.93); 650 to 690 lbs., 129.00 to 135.00 (130.61); 710 to 740 lbs., 122.00 to 129.00 (125.76); 755 to 799 lbs., 120.00 to 124.00 (121.98). Medium and large frame 2, 300 to 349 lbs., 170.00 to 175.00 (172.52); 355 to 385 lbs., 163.00 to 170.00 (167.64); 400 to 445 lbs., 156.00 to 163.00 (160.44); 455 to 495 lbs., 149.00 to 155.00 (152.72); 500 to 545 lbs., 140.00 to 150.00 (145.90); 550 to 596 lbs., 133.00 to 140.00 (135.13); 605 to 645 lbs., 130.00 to 135.00 (133.02); 652 to 680 lbs., 120.00 to 126.00 (123.80). Medium and large frame 3, 305 to 340 lbs., 160.00 to 168.00 (166.54); 355 to 396 lbs., 157.00 to 162.00 (159.09); 450 to 495 lbs., 140.00 to 148.00 (143.70); 510 to 540 lbs., 130.00 to 137.00 (134.30); 600 to 640 lbs., 120.00 to 129.00 (124.30).

Feeder heifers: Medium and large frame 1, 210 to 245 lbs., 155.00 to 160.00 (157.69); 255 to 290 lbs., 150.00 to 156.00 (153.80); 300 to 345 lbs., 147.00 to 152.00 (150.02); 355 to 398 lbs., 142.00 to 150.00 (146.06); 400 to 449 lbs., 138.00 to 145.00 (141.62); 450 to 495 lbs., 132.00 to 140.00 (134.66); 500 to 548 lbs., 128.00 to 135.00 (131.20); 550 to 595 lbs., 124.00 to 130.00 (126.73); 600 to 645 lbs., 120.00 to 126.00 (122.60); 650 to 699 lbs., 115.00 to 120.00 (117.56); 700 to 745 lbs., 114.00 to 118.00 (116.88). Medium and large frame 2, 255 to 295 lbs., 144.00 to 150.00 (146.91); 301 to 345 lbs., 139.00 to 147.00 (142.89); 350 to 395 lbs., 136.00 to 142.00 (138.83); 400 to 445 lbs., 130.00 to 139.00 (133.35); 450 to 495 lbs., 125.00 to 131.00 (128.10); 500 to 545 lbs., 122.00 to 128.00 (125.39); 550 to 595 lbs., 120.00 to 125.00 (121.67); 600 to 645 lbs., 112.00 to 120.00 (116.81); 660 to 680 lbs., 111.00 to 115.00 (113.47); 755 to 790 lbs., 100.00 to 106.00 (103.86). Medium and large frame 3, 255 to 295 lbs., 137.00 to 145.00 (141.10); 350 to 398 lbs., 125.00 to 135.00 (130.62); 400 to 445 lbs., 122.00 to 127.00 (124.72); 455 to 495 lbs., 116.00 to 125.00 (120.46); 500 to 545 lbs., 112.00 to 119.00 (116.86); 555 to 590 lbs., 110.00 to 115.00 (112.79); 600 to 645 lbs., 104.00 to 110.00 (107.72); 650 to 695 lbs., 100.00 to 105.00 (102.56).

Feeder bulls: Medium and large frame 1, 255 to 295 lbs., 179.00 to 185.00 (181.09); 300 to 345 lbs., 172.00 to 180.00 (175.10); 350 to 395 lbs., 165.00 to 175.00 (169.05); 400 to 445 lbs., 157.00 to 165.00 (160.47); 450 to 495 lbs., 150.00 to 160.00 (154.56); 500 to 545 lbs., 140.00 to 150.00 (145.35); 550 to 599 lbs., 134.00 to 142.00 (137.89); 600 to 645 lbs., 132.00 to 135.00 (133.13). Medium and large frame 2, 250 to 295 lbs., 167.00 to 177.00 (173.08); 300 to 345 lbs., 162.00 to 170.00 (166.11); 355 to 395 lbs., 155.00 to 165.00 (159.46); 400 to 445 lbs., 147.00 to 157.00 (152.00); 455 to 497 lbs., 140.00 to 150.00 (144.36); 500 to 546 lbs., 132.00 to 140.00 (135.93); 550 to 595 lbs., 126.00 to 135.00 (130.11); 600 to 648 lbs., 120.00 to 128.00 (123.56); 650 to 695 lbs., 112.00 to 120.00 (116.43); 700 to 745 lbs., 110.00 to 115.00 (112.98); 755 to 795 lbs., 107.00 to 112.00 (109.19). Medium and large frame 3, 255 to 295 lbs., 155.00 to 165.00 (159.90); 300 to 345 lbs., 148.00 to 157.00 (152.83); 355 to 395 lbs., 142.00 to 150.00 (147.29); 400 to 445 lbs., 137.00 to 145.00 (141.04); 450 to 498 lbs., 130.00 to 140.00 (134.54); 500 to 545 lbs., 124.00 to 132.00 (128.50); 555 to 598 lbs., 120.00 to 126.00 (123.04); 600 to 645 lbs., 110.00 to 120.00 (114.93); 705 to 745 lbs., 103.00 to 110.00 (107.07).

Bred cows: Medium and large frame 1 to 2, per head, 905 to 1055 lbs., 7 to 9 months bred 1025.00 to 1125.00 (1071.17); 1140 to 1190 lbs., 4 to 6 months bred 1000.00 to 1225.00 (1113.28); 1430 to 1465 lbs., 7 to 9 months bred 1050.00 to 1300.00 (1149.70). Medium and large frame 2 to 3, per head, 915 to 1010 lbs., 1 to 3 months bred 600.00 to 800.00 (684.41); 960 to 1090 lbs., 4 to 6 months bred 700.00 to 975.00 (829.76); 900 to 1050 lbs., 7 to 9 months bred 800.00 to 1050.00 (909.42); 1130 to 1190 lbs., 1 to 3 months bred 750.00 to 825.00 (788.47); 1100 to 1180 lbs., 4 to 6 months bred 675.00 to 925.00 (813.58); 1100 to 1195 lbs., 7 to 9 months bred 775.00 to 1075.00 (914.42); 1225 to 1285 lbs., 4 to 6 months bred 825.00 to 1100.00 (939.08); 1210 to 1295 lbs., 7 to 9 months bred 775.00 to 900.00 (839.62); 1315 to 1320 lbs., 4 to 6 months bred 700.00 to 840.00 (770.13); 1330 to 1395 lbs., 7 to 9 months bred 800.00 to 975.00 (885.41).

Pairs: Medium and large frame 1 to 2, 1150 to 1180 lbs., 1375.00 to 1450.00 (1412.02); 1250 to 1290 lbs., 1250.00 to 1325.00 (1274.87); 1300 to 1495 lbs., 1250.00 to 1500.00 (1358.35); 1500 to 1685 lbs., 1250.00 to 1550.00 (1376.37). Medium and large frame 2 to 3, 1000 to 1020 lbs., 880.00 to 1000.00 (919.90); 1100 to 1150 lbs., 610.00 to 825.00 (715.11); 1205 to 1295 lbs., 1000.00 to 1200.00 (1086.48); 1310 to 1495 lbs., 1000.00 to 1200.00 (1101.81).

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Cattle rescued from barn fire – KCRG

DELHI, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) — A Delhi man had to evacuate his cattle barn during a fire Tuesday night. Multiple fire departments were called to 2403 Omega Road around 10 p.m.

Larry Shover, the homeowner, says he believes the fire started in his shop building and then quickly spread. He says the buildings are likely a total loss.

Shover said thinks he was able to safely get all of his cattle out of the barn in time.

Authorities have not determined how the fire started.

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Y. Hata, Kunoa Cattle Company team up to launch local beef line – Thegardenisland.com

PUHI — The locally grown and produced beef is finally here.

During a recent invitation-only launch event at the Grove Farm Company, it was announced that Y. Hata, a locally owned and Hawaii-
based broadline food service wholesale distributor, was selected to support the recently honored Mana Up awardee Kunoa Cattle Company in launching its local beef production line on Kauai.

“We are pleased to announce the launch of a trilateral partnership to support the local community and create food sustainability on Kauai,” said Kurt Osaki, a Y. Hata brand and marketing consultant.

Kunoa Cattle Company is a Kauai-based ranch with the state’s largest USDA-inspected harvesting facility located on Oahu. The term “kunoa” translates to “stand free.” The company was also named “Best New Business” in 2017 by the Pacific Edge magazine, and was a selection in Mana Up’s inaugural cohort of 10 businesses.

Bob Farias, a Kunoa co-founder, said Kunoa currently ranches about 2,000 head of cattle on about 4,000 acres of land on Kauai and Oahu. He is a third generation rancher who combines progressive grazing practices with Hawaii’s paniolo traditions as a steward of the land.

“We have great ranchers,” Farias said. “Nearly all of the beef consumed in Hawaii is imported. But there was no way to finance the processing plant we needed to get our beef to the next level of delivery. No one wanted to own a processing plant. All that existed were slaughter houses which was limited in what we could do. That’s when we met Jack Beuttell who brought a business sense to the industry.”

The goal of the arrangement is to elevate food sustainability, not just on Kauai, but potentially for the state by being the leader in best practices for ranching, harvesting, processing and distribution in Hawaii, and beyond, said Jim Cremins, the Y. Hata chief of operations.

“We deal with Y. Hata a lot,” Farias said. “They really first heard about Kunoa through our Beef Bars. In the first four months, they couldn’t keep enough of it. The Kunoa Beef Bar with original seasonings is made with 100 percent Hawaii-
raised beef, spending their entire life in Hawaii with no added hormones, or antibiotics, ever.”

Kunoa Cattle Company incorporates a sustainable systems approach to its business that incorporates holistic planned grazing, animal welfare technology, renewable energy, and nose-to-tail whole animal utilization. Kunoa models produce a high quality, healthier, and consistent product for the consumer.

“This is fantastic,” said Michael Young, executive chef for the Sheraton Kauai Resort. “We currently have a locally produced beef supplier, but this is a great option to have. It’s exciting to see another outfit filling the need for locally produced beef.”

Russell Hata, president and CEO of Y. Hata, said for the past 105 years, Y. Hata has dedicated its business to serve the people of Hawaii, and to be the distributor of choice by offering the best food service solutions and value to its customers.

“We are excited about the partnership with Kunoa because we share similar values and common goals,” Hata said. “Kunoa Cattle Company has made an impressive commitment. We are selling his mission, and this is exciting to see the island take another step in food sustainability.”

Beuttell, a co-founder and CEO of Kunoa Cattle Company, also was pleased.

“Partnerships and collaborations are what will move us from net food importers to net food exporters,” Beuttell said. “Hawaii has amazing natural resources and talent to produce world-class food products. We’re excited to team up with Y. Hata to show the globe that Hawaii can produce beef worth writing home about.”

•••

Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com

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Commonsense Cattle Handling – Agriculture.com

A decade ago, Ron Gill learned firsthand how cattle handling could affect the well-being of livestock.

At the time, the Gill family – Ron, wife Debbie, and brother Richard – had as one of the ranch enterprises a business of preconditioning calves. The calves were acquired at sale barns and delivered to receiving lots at one of the ranches that was then a part of Gill Cattle Company in north-central Texas.

Because of respiratory disease, the Gills were treating 20% of the cattle. Illness turned chronic in 1.6% of the calves, and the death loss was 2.7%.The 60-day average daily gain was 2.6 pounds per head.

“I knew we could do better,” says Gill, a livestock specialist for Texas AgriLife Extension.

Simple Changes Make Big Impact

They decided to change the way they handled the cattle, to see whether or not it would make a difference in health.

It had been their practice to vaccinate calves upon arrival. “Instead, we put newly arrived calves in a receiving pen,” says Gill. “Of course, they’d be excited and run around. Our goal was to calm them down.”

Standing or moving quietly in the pen with the calves, a handler would let the calves pass by. At first, the calves would rush. After 30 to 45 minutes of the handler’s quiet presence and slow movement, the calves stopped rushing and began walking calmly past the handler.

“We could just see them relax,” says Gill.

The calves then went to a pen with feed and water. Processing occurred the next day. Afterward, handlers quieted the calves, again by letting them pass by a person in the pen.

“Just doing those simple things made all the difference in the world,” says Gill.

Rate of gain increased to 2.9 pounds per head per day. Treatment rate for respiratory disease was reduced to 5%, and the death loss dropped to 0.7%. No cattle became chronically sick.

Calming the calves upon arrival seemed to give the animals the confidence needed to begin eating, rather than staying off feed.

“When stressed, cattle don’t eat and they get sick, because they’re not getting the energy needed to fuel their immune systems,” says Gill.

The improved health of the calves as a result of better handling shows, of course, how significantly human behavior can impact the well-being of livestock. The experience affirmed for the Gills that they were on the right track with the changes they were also making in their handling of cows.

“I was fortunate to grow up around some great stockmen, but I have also studied handling clinician Bud Williams. As a result, we began to make subtle changes in the way we worked cattle in the corrals,” says Gill. “For starters, we made sure there was no yelling, no whips, and very little noise while we were working cattle.”

They also began paying more attention to each person’s physical position relative to that of the cattle.

“You have to be in the right position to set cattle up to go where you want them to go before you apply pressure,” says Gill, now a cattle-handling clinician himself. “Creating and managing movement is the key to the low-stress handling of cattle.” Direction of desired travel determines the right position for the handler, who gets the cattle to go in the right direction by moving in and out of an animal’s flight zone and past their point of balance.

The flight zone is the animal’s radius of perceived safety, and the range of the radius varies by individual animal. When a handler steps near or into this zone, the animal begins to move or turn, depending upon the handler’s position relative to the animal’s point of balance.

The point of balance varies, too, by individual animal. In general, the animal expresses the balance point when the handler passes its shoulder. A handler’s stance to the side and slightly behind this point will cause the animal to move.

If the handler stands at a sharp angle toward the rear of the animal, this position could potentially stop forward movement. If the handler steps into the blind spot directly behind an animal, it may turn toward the rear in order to see more clearly what is behind.

“Cattle can be easily controlled from the front if they are not afraid of a human,” says Gill. “Working from the front helps keep cattle from wanting to turn back in an effort to keep you in their line of sight. By moving in and out of the flight zone and point of balance, cattle can be easily drawn forward and past you to get them to go where you need them to go.”

Ways To Change

As Gill works with cattle producers to help improve their handling skills, he suggests making the following five changes.

Adopt an open attitude. “Assess what happens when you handle cattle and embrace the idea that there could be a better way to do things,” he notes. “People often become so steeped in tradition that they resist change.”

Spend time with cattle. Spending time out in the pasture acclimating cattle to your presence pays off. “You have to teach, condition, and prepare cattle for working,” says Gill.

Observe behavior. A study of livestock reveals flight zone and point of balance. “It is the responsibility of each handler to be able to read and to determine where these points are on each animal,” he says.

Apply pressure at the right time. If cattle are set up to go where you want them to go and you’re in the right position, the time is right for applying pressure. 

“Low-stress livestock handling is not about handling cattle with no pressure,” says Gill. “In fact, you might have to apply a lot of pressure, as long as it’s at the right time.”

This could be especially true in the case of handling unusually quiet cattle with a small flight zone.

Fix problem areas. “Think about where you have trouble getting cattle to do something,” he says. “Figure out why they don’t want to go in a certain direction. It could be, for instance, because of poor lighting or something in the design of the facilities that needs changing. Figure out what’s causing the problem. More often than not, it comes back to the improper location of people.”

Rating Cattle

Classifying how your cattle behave can help you determine whether their bad attitude was a one-time occurrence or if the animal needs to be monitored further for possible culling.

1 = Docile. Gentle; handles quietly; slightly elevated respiration.

2 = More Active. Elevated respirations but settles down after joining the group once again.

3 = Constant Movement. Occasionally bumps fences and gates; only settles down after several minutes of returning to the group.

4 = Flighty. Agitated by handling and avoids handlers; bumps into gates and fences; always seems to watch handlers when approaching the group.

5 = Aggressive. Bumps gates and fences and might be willing to challenge handlers; attempts to jump fences and gates.

6 = Very Aggressive. Very aggressive toward handlers; jumps and bellows while in the chute. Exits chute frantically and may still exhibit aggressive behavior.

Learn More

Ron Gill
979/845-3579
effectivestockmanship.com

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Feral Cattle Create Crisis in SoCal – Drovers Magazine

A herd of least 150 feral cattle have become more than a nuisance in one of Southern California’s popular hiking areas. Officials and conservation agents say the cattle pose a threat to tourists and are damaging the ecosystem in the Mojave Preserve and Sand to Snow National Monument, located about two hours east of Los Angeles.

The cattle are “ripping up this monument and scaring the heck out of folks who cross paths with them,” Terry Anderson, a board member of the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep told the Los Angeles Times. “They also can transmit disease to native bighorn sheep. So, they need to be removed – and I’m all for lethal removal. They don’t belong here.”

Hikers and tourists have also become alarmed by a pack of pit bulls also in the area. Officials say the wild dogs have been killing and eating the feral cattle. The unfriendly cattle and dogs have created a crisis because visitors to the area have increased 40% last year.

The Obama Administration designated Sand to Snow as a National Monument in 2016, and visitors jumped from 90,000 to 148,000 in 2017. The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management co-manage the monument’s 154,000 acres as wilderness. Those agencies plan to send a team of federal land managers and biologists to the area in March to devise a strategy to eliminate the feral cattle and wild dogs.

Officials believe the feral cattle are descendants of herds grazing the area from as long as a century ago. Smaller numbers of the cattle roamed the rugged terrain at higher elevations. Officials believe prolonged drought forced the cattle to lower elevations beginning about four years ago. In addition to undesirable human encounters, conservationists claim the cattle are adversely affecting the California desert tortoise, arroyo toads and bighorn sheep.

“The destruction to natural habitat is widespread and heartbreaking,” Thompson told the Times. “An eradication plan can’t come soon enough.”

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Pitching a wearable to make cattle farming more sustainable, Vence raises $2.7 million – TechCrunch

A new startup called Vence from sunny San Diego is aiming to make cattle farming more sustainable with a wearable device to create virtual fences for livestock.

The company has raised $2.7 million in new funding to bring its product to market and develop new services for farmers in a round led by Eniac Ventures with participation from the venture capital arm of the Dutch investment bank, Rabobank.

Vence’s wearable, which fits over the ear of an animal, works similarly to a dog collar or other devices that are used to create virtual fences.

According to the company’s co-founder and chief executive, Frank Wooten, animals are trained to avoid a certain area using low voltage shocks or uncomfortable sounds with warning stimuli like vibrations to let the animals know when they’re approaching an area they shouldn’t be heading towards.

While it may sound cruel, Wooten says that the work is based on research done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in conjunction with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“One of the things that’s used is an upward barometer and upward threshold of any electric stimuli that is already what’s used for electric fencing, which is used throughout the world to manage cattle or any sort of livestock,” Wooten tells me.

The difference with virtual fencing is that it allows the cattle to graze more freely and in a controlled manner, which Wooten says is better for the environment.

The proper form of cattle management does some wonderful things for the planet in terms of carbon sequestration and becomes a net neutral to the environment instead of a net negative,” Wooten says. 

The result for rotationally grazing cattle is similar to the effects of rotating crops — something that was first popularized with George Washington Carver and peanut cultivation in the United States.

“What happens when you start to rotationally graze your crops is you’re not having cattle overeat in different spots,” says Wooten. “Moving cattle throughout a property at a specific pace and timing increases grass growth which enhances the soil and root structure of those grasses and shrubs. [That] allows the soil to sequester carbon while not over-polluting one area with waste from the animals.”

In all, Wooten says, it’s a net positive.

Vence devices

The technology has the backing of one of the financial services industry’s most experience agricultural investors in Rabobank — the Dutch fund that has invested billions in agricultural businesses.

“Working across the global food and agriculture sector, we recognize Vence’s value proposition for an industry that is hungry for new, dynamic solutions to traditional practices,” said Richard O’Gorman, Director of Rabo F&A Innovation Fund in a statement. “Profitability can be significantly increased in many cases by enabling faster and actionable insights in livestock and natural resource management. As global animal protein demand continues to rise, Vence’s virtual fencing solution will become central in assisting livestock farmers to continue to meet this high demand more sustainably, with better insight into animal health and welfare, but at a lower cost.”

Vence’s virtual fencing is only one aspect of the company’s business plan. While there’s a clear need for famers to better manage livestock grazing, Vence’s wearable will also provide realtime data on the health of an animal and the entire herd — all delivered via a mobile app.

Fencing is expensive and creates a source of perpetual cost and labor, and the idea of virtual fencing has been around for ~30 years, but it never made economic sense, until now,” said  Wooten, in a statement.

A former hedge fund investor and investment banker, Wooten was brought into the business through a mutual friend named Jasper Holdsworth — heir to a hundred-year-old cattle farm in New Zealand.

Holdsworth discussed the technical aspects of virtual fencing with Wooten and the financial benefits it could bring to farming and a partnership was born.

“They’ were spending in excess of $500,000 per year in fencing,” Wooten said of Holdsworth’s family farm. “He started describing this problem and he said he would be the first customer as well as help fund the business.”

With an initial customer…and strategic investor in place, finding additional capital became less difficult.

“Globally, livestock and pastureland are multi-trillion dollar assets that are currently managed with a bifurcated approach of manual labor and legacy technology, with a limited view into true real-time data,” said Vic Singh, Founding General Partner at Eniac Ventures, in a statement. “Vence has already seen immediate demand in seven countries from suppliers with over 1 million livestock, and the Eniac team is fired up to support them during this critical stage.”

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Humane Society races to shelter 300 malnourished Longhorn cattle before it gets cold – Fort Worth Star Telegram

Volunteers with the Humane Society of North Texas were working feverishly through the night on Friday to shelter at least 300 abused and malnourished Longhorn cattle before an expected cold front sweeps into Texas on Saturday.

Several cattle were found deceased as workers searched a property in Central Texas looking for strays, a Human Society official said.

The Humane Society volunteers are working in conjunction with deputies and officials from the Hill County Sheriff’s Department who are investigating the property with possible criminal charges looming in the future, said Cassie Lackey, Humane Society of North Texas spokeswoman.

It is unknown how many Longhorns had not been located or how many dead cattle may still be on the property, Lackey said.

“This is all very disturbing and unsettling,” Lackey said. “We are working against time to get these animals sheltered before the cold front comes in on Saturday.”

This is the largest seizure the Humane Society has worked on in the past two years, topping the more than 200 animals seized in one incident in 2016, Lackey said.

Lackey estimated that perhaps as many as 400 large animals would be recovered before the end of Friday night. The animals were located on property near FM 933 and County Line Road in Hill County, according to reporting by WFAA.

A hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Feb 16 to determine whether the cattle should be returned to their owner, a news release from the Humane Society of North Texas stated.

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3

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Drought lands more cattle into US feedlots than expected – Reuters

    * December placements up 0.8 pct vs year ago
    * Jan. 1 feedlot cattle at 108.3 pct of year ago
    * December marketing down 1.4 pct vs last year
    * Report mildly bearish for CME live cattle futures

    By Theopolis Waters
    CHICAGO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Ranchers sent nearly 1 percent
more cattle to U.S. feedlots in December than the same time a
year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on
Friday.
    The result topped most analysts' predictions, mainly led by
worsening drought in the U.S. southern Plains that shriveled
available winter wheat grazing pasture.
    Corn Belt states were the recipients of cattle from areas of
Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota where insufficient
moisture persists.
    "These very dry conditions that are developing in wheat
pasture country drove change in placements in November. And I
suspect we got some of that in December also," said Texas A&M
University economist David Anderson.
    Some analysts cited cheaper feed, which lowered input costs
for feedlots, as another reason behind last month's placement
uptick.
    And more heifers are entering feedyards, suggesting to
analysts that the rate of cattle herd expansion is slowing. 
    On Monday Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures
       may open lower following USDA's report, but could quickly
rebound spurred by higher-than-expected prices for market-ready,
or cash, cattle later on Friday.
    USDA's report showed December placements at 1.799 million
head, up 0.8 percent from 1.785 million a year earlier and
exceeded the average forecast of 1.730 million. 
    The government put the feedlot cattle supply as of Jan. 1 at
11.489 million head, up 8.3 percent from 10.605 million a year
ago. Analysts, on average, forecast a 7.7 percent rise.
    USDA said the number of cattle sold to packers, or
marketings, were down 1.4 percent in December from a year ago to
1.752 million head.
    Analysts had projected a 1.2 percent drop from 1.777 million
last year.
    "The big placement figure tells you that we're going to have
big numbers of cattle coming at us for the foreseeable future,"
said U.S. Commodities President Don Roose. He too alluded to the
bump in feedlot cattle placements in Corn Belt states where feed
is more plentiful.
    "You continue to be in a drought in the Southern Plains,
that continues to expand, so it no doubt is another factor that
you have to throw into the placement discussion," said Roose.

 (Reporting by Theopolis Waters in Chicago; Editing by Lisa
Shumaker)
  
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Nalivka: 2018 Beef Supply Big Picture Outlook | Agweb.com – AgWeb

USDA’s December 1 Cattle on Feed report showed a sharp increase in the number of cattle placed on feed during November – up 14% from a year earlier.  In fact, 9 of the 12 states included in the monthly survey posted double digit gains over the prior year.  Coupled with a 3% gain over the prior year for fed cattle marketed during November, the on feed inventory jumped 8% from a year earlier. 

For all of 2017, feedlot placements were up 9% from 2016, the largest annual tally since 2011.  It’s not much of a mystery why there was such a significant increase – higher fed cattle prices than expected, relatively low feed costs, and perhaps, most important, a 14% drop in the breakeven price of fed cattle marketed during 2017 compared to 2016.  These factors in concert left feedlots with an average per head feeding margin during the year of $235.  That compares to -$4 per head for 2016 and -$110 per head in 2015.   Simply put, it was a solid year for feeding margins and feedlots are motivated to continue filling feedlot capacity into 2018. 

Again, relatively low feed costs and breakeven prices are supportive to margin expectations.  Cattle inventory numbers will also increase, feeder cattle supplies will continue to increase and feeder cattle prices will be pressured lower for 2018.

We can work through the weight breakdowns of cattle placed during the month in an attempt to estimate when those cattle will be marketed, or we can suffice it to say, the placement figure serves as a pretty solid indicator of the direction of fed cattle supplies during the first half of the year. I opt for the latter, and I use the monthly feedlot data in combination with my slaughter model to develop monthly steer and heifer slaughter projections.

Aside from the distribution of cattle within each weight range, there are numerous other factors affecting the final marketing date for those cattle.  Within that steer and heifer supply, heifers are the biggest variable and are dependent upon retention. 

Along with the increased fed cattle supplies going into 2018, I expect carcass weights will increase.  They have steadily increased since hitting a low for the year in early May, and on a combined weighted average for steers and heifers, are up 74 lbs. into mid-December.  Those 74 lbs. coupled with increased cattle numbers have resulted in a notable increase in beef tonnage.

Feedlot placements will continue to trend higher.  The economic incentives for this increased supply will leave the market facing not only 5% more beef in 2018, but also nearly 4% more pork and 2% more poultry and thus, a record per capita meat supply.   Demand is the key, both domestic and global.   Maximum U.S. participation in global demand depends upon concluding bi-lateral trade agreements in Asia that represent both free and fair trade, as well as a “reworked” NAFTA agreement that is signed.

John Nalivka is president of Sterling Marketing, Inc., Vale, Oregon, and Drovers economic consultant.

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