The Nebraska Sandhills is one of the most intact grasslands in the Great Plains of North America. The topography and soil substrate of the Sandhills has limited farming development and allowed for this region to be one of the prime native working landscapes for cattle production in the United States. While range managers use the Sandhill’s nutrient rich forage for grazing to support livestock, pride is also taken in the abundant wildlife and plant habitat this ecosystem provides.
The spring bull sale season is underway. Catalogs are being studied, EPDs and individual animal performance numbers are being compared, and choices are being made as to which bulls will be the next herd sires. One of the primary drivers in the choice of which bull will be bought is the bull’s price. The perceived breeding value and the expected value of a bull’s offspring are evaluated by the potential purchaser and compared to the bull’s price. As long as the perceived value the bull is expected to bring to the operation exceeds the bull’s cost then the bidding continues.
This article was first published by In the Cattle Markets
Trade occurs when price differences between the two locations are large enough after accounting for transportation cost, exchange rates, tariffs, etc. Exports vary throughout the year since prices reflect current and future supply and demand situations. Seasonality in cattle production, meat demand, and market disruptions are some examples of why wholesale beef prices increase and decrease within a year.
The BeefWatch Webinar Series is designed to highlight management strategies in grazing, nutrition, reproduction, and economics to increase cow/calf and stocker production efficiency and profitability. Each session will feature industry experts and plenty of opportunity to interact to get your questions answered. More information about the BeefWatch Webinar Series can be found on our webpage: https://beef.unl.edu/beefwatch-webinar-series.
For bulls coming out of the breeding season, body weight loss may have occurred, and we need to make sure that we get bulls back in condition before the next season. Also, with the weather starting to change, starting to think about how we are going to manage our breeding bulls through the winter to prepare them for the next breeding season will be important. This will be a good time to evaluate body condition and ensure that bulls have adequate protection from harsh weather.
When looking at annual cow costs and doing an economic analysis, three categories tend to make up the largest percentage of total costs: feed, labor/equipment and cow depreciation. Other expenses occur, such as breeding expense and veterinary costs, but they tend to be significantly less than the “Big Three.” To conduct an economic analysis, break the ranch into enterprises to understand where value is being created and costs are occurring. Land ownership, hay production, cow-calf and replacement heifer development are four of the major enterprises on many ranches.
A two-day workshop this February will provide hands-on learning for cow-calf producers to learn how to calculate unit cost of production (UCOP). The meeting will take place February 3 and 4 (Wednesday and Thursday) at the Niobrara Lodge, 803 E Highway 20, Valentine, NE, from 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. CST.