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Feeder Cattle Outlook: Feeder cattle selling steadily

Compared to last week, feeder cattle and calves sold steady to mostly 5.00 lower to start the week, after cattle futures last Friday declined sharply with near limit losses on the feeder cattle contracts. Market watchers were also disappointed by limited cash trade and lower prices paid on fed cattle as weekly slaughter was very light at 502,000 head. Momentum redeveloped across the live and feeder cattle futures to start the week and gained ground until this Friday’s collapse.


Cattle Outlook: Beef prices up in March

The average price of fresh beef in grocery stores was a record $6.079 per pound during March. That was up 6.2 cents from the previous record set the month before.

Retail prices for choice beef averaged $6.282 per pound during March. That was up 1.2 cents from February, up 56.2 cents compared to March 2014, but 5.1 cents below the record set in January. Ground beef prices averaged $4.20 per pound in March, down 3.8 cents from the month before.


Soy complex softens as weekend nears

Rainy weather may have affected corn futures. The corn market seemingly had few reasons to rally Friday, especially with the stock market diving and the U.S. dollar rebounding. The yellow grain may simply have reacted to firm soy and wheat quotes, but one also has to wonder if the early strength reflected ongoing planting delays and forecasts for wet, cool weather into early May. May corn futures rose 3.5 cents to $3.7975/bushel in late Friday action, while December added 3.0 to $4.0325.


Corn and Soybean Market Update: Acres and inventories

The United States Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) recently released two highly anticipated reports for the crop sector one week ago, on Tuesday, March 31. The first was the annual Prospective Plantings report, which highlights crop producer's intentions on acreage allocations. The second was the quarterly Grain Stocks report.


Projected commodity prices impact farms margins and rent

For all farm types, including livestock fruit, vegetables and field crops, net farm income dropped drastically over the past two years with a 16.3 percent drop in 2014 and 31.8 percent drop forecasted for 2015. This comes heals of a 128 percent increase during the five year period ending in 2013, which recorded near record levels at $128 billion according to the USDA 2015 Farm Sector Income Forecast. With this volatility in the marketplace, farms need to adjust spending patterns to reflect their ability to generate a positive net margin in their overall production system.


Ladies and Livestock book makes the perfect gift for Mom

Mother’s Day is just around the corner – May 10. Have you selected your gift for mom yet? If you are like most of us, mom is a champion who takes care of everyone in the family and worries about herself later. This year, as you are trying to find that gift that will let mom take a few moments to enjoy herself, consider an iBook that she can appreciate with a good cup of coffee.

Ag Policy

House votes to repeal the death tax

The House voted 240 to 179 on April 16 for full repeal of the death tax, a tax that is threatening the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers across the country. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Philip Ellis said H.R 1105 Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015 is commonsense legislation necessary for rural America.

Cattle Feeding

Efficient use of feed resources

Efficient use of feed resources in beef production is important on several fronts. Feed costs represent the largest of the cost of production items, ranging from 50-60% of cow-calf costs to 70-80% of feedlot production costs. Beef cow record summaries have typically shown that herds with the lowest feed costs tend to be in the high third in profitability.


Costs and returns for Illinois beef producers in 2013

Total economic costs in 2013 for Illinois beef feeding enterprises exceeded total returns by $15.60 per 100 pounds of beef produced on beef feeding farms enrolled in Illinois Farm Business Farm Management (see Figure 1). The 2013 returns were higher than the 2012 returns, where total costs exceeded total returns by $21.24 per 100 pounds produced.


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