Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Excessive Heat Taking it Toll in South Dakota Feedyards

Read article here...

More to come...

Feedyard losses mounting....

This Week In Cattle

I had a guy ask me yesterday about whether he should background his calves this fall and try to hedge a profit in now while prices are still really high. First, I congratulated this guy for having the foresight to think about how he was going to market calves before October 15.

Not that he isn’t a good thinker, because he is, but I have never known him to give too much thought to the most critical management function he can perform for himself and his business before fall.

The second thing I responded with was: “Never, never, never short an inflationary market…ever”

By “inflationary” I mean a commodity market that is going up in value because the value of the currency that supports said value is going down. Which is what we are seeing right now in the US and around the world.

By “short” I mean use a short hedge that requires you to pay margin calls when the market moves up. Not that I expect this market to go a lot higher and not that I expect it to go lower, I don’t know what to expect and frankly, it doesn’t matter what I think.

What matters and I can tell you this from some very hard-earned experience, is that there is nothing to be gained from trying to short inflationary patterns with a short-hedge. You will run up potentially massive margin calls and could potentially bankrupt yourself in the process.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Heat Stress in South Dakota Feedyards Will be a Major Issue Next Week

Although temperatures will only be in the low to mid-90's, high relative humidity and low winds speeds are the major threats to penned cattle.

The real issue will be high nighttime temps and high humidity will not allow stressed cattle to cool off overnight, therefore cattle cannot handle the heat of the next day.

Heat stress can't be completely avoided but a little management can go a long ways towards keeping cattle cooler and maintaining feed intake.

The biggest thing cattlemen can do is help cattle cool off at night by sprinkling the mounds in dirt pens with water in the evening to give cattle a cool place to lie down and dissipate body heat. Nothing you can do is more important than that.

Cattlemen will also have to regularly monitor cattle disposition during the day and make judgement calls on whether cattle need cool water sprayed directly on them to dissipate body heat.

Dr. Ben Holland, South Dakota State University (SDSU) Feedlot Specialist said, “Cattlemen need to start planning to keep cattle cool before the heat arrives, once cattle get hot, it’s too late to prevent problems.”

Dr. Holland also recommended acclimating cattle to being sprayed with water now, while is cool, so they don’t panic when you try to spray them when it is hot and unnecessarily generate more body heat.

Dr. Kelly Bruns, SDSU Professor of Animal Science said, “Cattlemen need to start preparing for the heat today by figuring out what auxillary water sources are available if cattle need extra water to drink and how is water going to be delivered to sprinkle pen mounds and cattle. He added, “whether you need to work with the local fire department or borrow a water truck to carry water, this needs to be figured out before Saturday evening when it is likely that cattle will start showing signs of stress in some areas.

Although some cloud cover and isolated thunderstorms are forecasted for Sunday, many areas will be hot and sunny most of the day and cattle could really start to suffer on Monday and Tuesday.

Thank you, have a great day, and good luck!!