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Providing information and tools for New Mexico Agricultural Businesses from NMSU Department of Agriculture Economics and Animal Science.

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3 Ways to Preg Check Cows

Laura Mushrush, Assistant Editor, Drovers CattleNetwork

In order to run an efficient operation, cow-calf producers must know the production status of their cow herd. One basic step is pregnancy checking so the right management decisions can be made on individual cows, such as whether they get to remain in the cow herd or be culled.

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Thinking Ahead to Fall Calf Marketing

Ken Olson, South Dakota State University Extension

A first step in market planning for calves this fall is to stay on top of markets, both cash and futures. While the cash markets are important at telling you where the market has been and to compare market strength among various options, the futures market has traditionally been the best predictor of where the market has been expected to go. This means both cash and futures markets should be monitored. The futures market provides tools to consider alternative market dates and options. For example, a question to consider is whether to sell your calves at weaning or to background them until they reach a predetermined larger weight at a later date. In other words, should a person sell their 500 lb. calves at weaning in mid-October, or should they background them to 700 lb. to be sold in mid-January? Using cost and availability of feed and projected price for each weight of calves at each date, a person can calculate which option will provide the greatest net profit.

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What Ranchers Can Expect in the Cattle Markets for the Rest of 2016

Greg Henderson, Drovers

Ranchers, no longer riding the crest of a supply-starved market, cinched up early this year for the inevitable ride lower. Few, however, expected the steep price decline for all classes of cattle and the volatility that has seeped out of the trading pits in Chicago.

As with all markets, however, changes present opportunities. Nowhere is that more evident than in the cattle feeding industry. On average, feedyards lost money on every animal they shipped in 2015, and last fall those losses grew to historic proportions. The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker calculated average cash losses of nearly $700 per head for the week ending Dec. 19, 2015, with cumulative industry losses last year estimated at $3.2 billion.

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