Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 12.0 million head on Jan. 1, 2020. The inventory was 2% above Jan. 1, 2019, USDA NASS reported on Friday.
The inventory included 7.37 million steers and steer calves, up 1% from the previous year. This group accounted for 62% of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.59 million head, up 4% from 2019.
Placements in feedlots during December totaled 1.83 million head, 3% above 2019. Net placements were 1.76 million head. During December, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 465,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 455,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 413,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 295,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 95,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 105,000 head.
Marketings of fed cattle during December totaled 1.83 million head, 5% above 2018.
Other disappearance totaled 67,000 head during December, 11% below 2018.
On Feed Jan. 1
Placed in December
Marketed in December
Jerry Stowell, Country Futures, calls the report neutral.
A $10,000 reward is being offered by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for intentionally locking a small herd of cattle into a corral, causing death by starvation of all but one of the herd. The event occurred on or around the first week of Dec. 2019 in the Tule Spring area.
Sheriff Kerry Lee reported less than half a dozen cattle were locked into a fenced watering spring the first part of December and left unattended.
The rancher in the area, the Virgin River Valley north of Mesquite in the southeastern corner of Lincoln County, was unaware of this and did not make the discovery until the heavy snows had melted and poor road conditions improved enough to allow access.
All but one of the cattle had starved to death, Lee said. “The rancher feels this was a criminal act and done intentionally. So we are trying to gather any information from the public as to what they might know or might have seen.”
The story broke on the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page Jan. 6, and Lee said, “Within 30 minutes, we began receiving calls providing us with a few leads and some useful information. We are following up on those leads now, but as of yet, have developed no suspects.”
Lee noted the rancher, who was not named, is willing to put up a $10,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the criminals.
He thought the act might be prosecuted as destroying someone’s private property, cruelty to animals or several other categories it might fit under, “but it was definitely a criminal act.”
If you have any information or trail camera footage of vehicles in that area, please contact Sheriff Lee directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone the department dispatch center at (775) 962-5151, open 24/7.
A year and half ago, Gerri Schumacher decided to take the knowledge she has gained during 40 years of ranching and start a cattle consulting business — STR Cattle Consulting & Services.
The name of the business came from the initials of her family’s ranch 3 miles north of Hays — Schumacher Trust Ranch — which Gerri, 57, still manages.
“I live, drink, eat, sleep cattle,” Schumacher said. “You’ll see that very readily on my social media pages. Some people have all family on there. Mine’s cows.
“I love the cattle industry so much, there is no greater joy for me than to pass on the knowledge that I’ve learned. I want to help somebody else.”
In 1960, Mel Schumacher, Gerri’s father, and his brother started raising pure bred Charolais. Today the ranch still specializes in purebreds with an average of 175 head in the operation. Mel, 87, still works on the ranch and he and Gerri’s mother live right next door to Gerri.
“There is something about that father-daughter bond,” she said as she started to tear up. “You just can’t beat it.”
Gerri started in the bull pens when she was 17, and had to earn her way in a male-dominated profession.
“I could tell you stories that would make you laugh,” she said. “I guarantee that people who didn’t know me when I was younger and they’d come to the door and ask to buy bulls, Mom would say I’ll send Gerri out. They were not expecting a 5-foot-2 female to come out and sell them bulls.”
Running the ranch, Gerri regularly received questions from cattle buyers and fellow ranchers. She said she saw the consulting business as a way to help people.
“That’s what this service is—a hands-on, knowledge-based service,” she said.
What it comes down to is increasing profitability, she said.
Schumacher customizes her services around her customers’ cattle programs. However, she breaks down those services into seven main areas.
Herd evaluation and improvement
Social media videos and bulletins
Purebred consulting and sale representation
Herd replacement, heifer or bull selection
Schumacher said she serves new, green inexperienced producers or hobbyists, but also more experienced ranchers who might want help with research or promotion.
“What I tell people with this business is that you can have one head or tens of thousands, everybody’s got questions somewhere along the line,” she said.
She said she takes calls almost 24 hours/ seven days a week on a variety of topics. A rancher might have a calf that is not nursing or bull that is not breeding. Schumacher offers a retainer service in which she will answer these basic questions and give advice.
“People can literally call me from their pen, their pasture and it is really, really handy,” she said.
Other basic questions she might receive are ” ‘What type of cattle are best for my area?’ or ‘I have an orphan calf. What should I feed it?’
“I am going to give the tips and tools that have worked for me,” she said.
Schumacher said she does not seek to replace a rancher’s vet or nutritionist, who are experts in their fields. She said she does refer ranchers to those sources, when she feels it’s appropriate.
Schumacher will help buyers select heifers or bulls or help them with what to look for from their own herd in selecting a replacement bull or heifer.
Although Schumacher has experience in commercial operations and other breeds, she has special expertise in Charolais and Red Angus as those are the breeds her family raise on their ranch outside of Hays.
She works with ranchers to refine their cattle programs, which is essentially their business plan for their herd.
“I tell people my way or my program is not the only way,” she said. “Ask as many questions as you can, and then you use what is going to work for you in your program.”
Schumacher works through social media as well as produces 30- to 60-second video spots to promote cattle sales as part of her consulting business. She is working on promotion for a sale for a rancher in Montana right now.
Schumacher has spent a lifetime with her family owning or renting land for their cattle operation. She works with absentee land owners who own land for investment, hunting or recreation purposes to rent that ground for ag uses.
Schumacher was a 4-H superintendent for beef for 12 years and still offers her consulting services free to 4-Hers. She returned to the show ring just this past summer.
Schumacher hopes to grow her consulting business. Until now she has relied primarily on word of mouth and social media.
However, she said the cattle industry is tight-knit — like a family.
She noted the efforts that were taken by Ellis County to help fellow farmers and ranchers in Nebraska during the flooding there.
“It is hard. I’m not going to sit here and pretend it’s an easy industry. There is a lot of mental. There is a lot of physical to farming and ranching. You live with those cattle 24-7,” she said.
When temperatures are below zero, you still have to fix fences, help birth calves or pull calves out of snow drifts.
However, Schumacher said she still receives a lot of joy from her chosen profession.
“One of things that I find the greatest joy in is when I go out and look at my cows,” she said. “Whether they are the purebred cattle in the registered herd or the commercial cows, they are all home raised. I can look at each one and say I genetically mated her for a reason. This set of cows a developed for a reason. …
“My program has worked. My thought process has worked.”
When she is stressed, she still clears her mind by driving through the pasture.
“To see that newborn calf. I know everyone will say that, but there is something about those new babies when they are bucking on a sunny day,” she said.
To contact STR, call Schumacher at 785-623-1721 or email [email protected]
A Legacy Genetics (ALG) a family-owned, innovative cattle genetics company in Texas and Oklahoma, has asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to move forward and fast track further research and development of heat and disease resistant cattle as part of the FDA’s initiative “A New Era of Smarter Food Safety. This research will be a continuation of ALG’s work with the University of Florida’s Range Cattle Research and Education Center and The University of Puerto Rico’s Department of Animal Science. ALG was founded by Michael W. Vieira, a family rancher and farmer, who has incorporated food safety into the products, services and culture of ALG, an Oklahoma-based company.
ALG has asked the FDA to further research and development and testing of the nation’s herd stock through funding of a cooperative agreement between the universities and ALG.
The Company has developed a new breed of heat-tolerant and disease resistant White Angus cattle as a result of a long-term research to develop high quality beef cattle able to adapt to hottest climates. ALG also possess the first and only homozygous “Slick” Holstein bull that is resistant to both Salmonella and E. Coli, the two most common and costly pathogens in both the livestock and food industries and the most common conditions for food recalls.
ALG is also in the forefront of combating bovine mastitis through the use of Acoustic Pulse Therapy, a natural biological process to fight infections and inflammation.
To continue this work, ALG has proposed further work with the University of Florida and the University of Puerto Rico in collaboration with the FDA to improve innovations and the “culture” of food safety in the U.S. cattle and herd industries.
Winter storm weather that disrupted Thanksgiving travel is likely to have a variety of impacts on the meat industry for several more weeks, according to Derrell Peel, livestock marketing analyst with Oklahoma State University Extension.
Peel said heavy snow and frigid temps hinder an already difficult crop harvest. He said deep snow in some areas will add delays to corn harvest and also likely reduce crop quality. On Nov. 25, 84% of corn harvest was completed, well behind the average of 96% for the date. He said corn harvest was 68% complete in South Dakota, 57% in Wisconsin, 56% in Michigan and just 30% in North Dakota. He said many of those areas were hit by significant snow and blizzard conditions in the recent storm.
Peel said extreme winter weather can reduce cattle production and increase costs for ranches and feedlots.
“Severe weather inevitably means management challenges and higher costs for producers but may also have market impacts if poor conditions are widespread enough,” Peel wrote in a new report. “The current blast of winter weather impacts a wide swath of cattle feedlots from Colorado, across parts of Nebraska and the Dakotas, part of Iowa and across Minnesota.”
Luckily, he wrote, it appears the major cattle feeding areas in Kansas and Texas missed the bulk of the storm.
“While this storm may not be widespread enough to cause noticeable fed cattle market reactions, the storm may delay cattle finishing and disrupt slaughter flows in some regions and may help ensure that the seasonal peak is in for carcass weights,” Peel wrote.
Steer and heifer carcass weights have pushed above year-ago levels the past few weeks, Peel reported. The latest steer carcass weights are at 912 pounds, compared to 900 pounds last year, and heifer carcasses are at 841 pounds, up from 836 pounds one year ago on the same date. However, for the year to date, steer carcass weights are down 3.3 pounds and heifer carcasses are down 4.4 pounds. An early storm like this may set the stage for a long period of feedlot production challenges with impacts persisting and accumulating through the winter, Peel added.
On the demand side of the market, Peel said winter storms may disrupt transportation and the flow of perishable products to markets. While people continue to eat during storms, travel and business disruptions often reduce restaurant traffic and power disruptions may also reduce meat demand from consumers.
For cattle and beef markets, Peel said winter weather may have negative impacts on both supply and demand depending on the location, severity and size of storm events. The net impact is uncertain and is often difficult to isolate in aggregate market prices. However, higher costs, lost production and reduced revenues impact the entire industry from cattle producers to beef retailers.