The world is changing for beef products

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I received the November issue of “Off the Hoof,” the University of Kentucky Extension Beef newsletter. In it an article by Dr. Kenny Burdine points out that these really are good times for beef producers. While prices are down from last spring, they are still high for this time of year. He projects that if weather is favorable prices next spring could be extremely favorable, much as they were last spring. The reason is that supply of cattle has fallen in many areas of the country due to drought and heavy culling of cowherds due to high cull cow prices. There may be opportunities for farmers with adequate forage supplies to keep calves over the winter to sell in the spring. Because of high feed prices, forage availability is the key to making this work. If you would like help determining if it may pay to over-winter calves, call us at the Extension office. We can get the nutrition and marketing people at UK to help determine based on the forage you have whether the calves will gain enough to profitably feed them. We have had several farmers use the UK folks to make rations based on their available feeds, and it is impressive how the total feed cost can be reduced if the right ration is used.
Also in “Off the Hoof” Dr. Roy Burris, UK Extension Beef Specialist points out that the world is changing for beef producers. He states that “in the future, cattle enterprises will not be able to compete for grain. We will have more dependence on forages and by-product feeds. Cattle cannot compete with land-lease prices, which are being paid by grain farmers, and there will be more pressure to use grain for the rapidly increasing world population. Young producers might want to background cattle on forages and by-products so that they can spend less time in feedlots. We will need to select and manage cattle so that they can produce acceptable carcasses with less grain.” Cattle and other ruminant animals such as sheep and goats, however, are valuable to the world nutrition picture as they have the ability to convert pasture and rangeland unsuitable for grain or vegetable production due to steep terrain, dry climate or poor soil, into high quality, high protein meat and dairy products. I agree with Dr. Burris that the future for beef producers is in producing high quality forages to be fed to cattle bred to produce with as little grain as possible. The future is bright for Kentucky Cattle producers as we have millions of acres of potentially high quality forage to feed.
A reminder again that the University of Kentucky is preparing to offer the Master Cattleman classes again in 2013 at a limited number of locations. They only have funds to offer five more series of classes and this may be the last time they are offered. I have had several people tell me they would like to take the classes if they are offered again, so we have requested that Marion, Nelson and Washington County be able to host the series again. So far we have had four people call and say they are interested. This may not be enough for us to be selected. If you have not completed the course and are interested in taking it please call as soon as possible so we can be selected.
A reminder that we are approaching the deadline for submitting receipts for the County Agriculture Improvement Program (CAIP) cost share. All receipts and paperwork must be received at the extension office by Dec. 14, 2012. A reminder that anyone submitting seed or lime receipts must also have a soil sample of the fields planted or lime applied. A sample from anytime this year is acceptable. If you have not sampled yet, bring your soil sample to the office as soon as possible as it may take several weeks to get results back.
The annual meeting of the Marion County Cattlemen’s Association will be held Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 at 6 p.m. in Floral Hall at the Marion County Fairgrounds. If you are not a member call or come by the extension office and we can help get you enrolled. KCA does an excellent job of representing the interests of cattle producers at the state and national level and their monthly “Cow Country News” provides many articles of interest to producers.
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