Farm Talk

Livestock

April 23, 2013

Kan. beef cattle numbers lowest since 1999

Parsons, Kansas — TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —The number of beef cattle on Kansas feedlots is at its lowest point in 14 years, thanks to an ongoing drought, and industry officials said some producers could find themselves out of business if this year continues the dry pattern.

On March 1, there were 2.05 million cattle on Kansas feedlots, which is about seven percent fewer than at the same time a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dried-up pastures and shrinking corn and soybean crops, the product of years of drought, have made it costlier to keep the cattle fed, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Conversely, the state's dairy cattle count is up slightly from last year, but milk production is down about 45 pounds per cow, the USDA said.

Scarlett Hagins, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Livestock Association, said the high cost of feeding cattle has led some producers to sell their cattle younger and to hold onto fewer heifers as breeders.

“Because of the drought they haven't been able to rebuild their herds,” she said. “They're still trying to maintain the core of their herd.”

Even if weather conditions improve and there was adequate moisture this year, rebuilding herds is not going to happen overnight, Hagins said.

Milk production in Kansas was up 3.7 percent in February to about 222 million pounds, the USDA reported.

A few dairy farms that had closed in prior years reopened recently, said Mike Bodenhausen, executive director of the Kansas Dairy Association. Most states are seeing their dairy industries shrink, he said, but Kansas is one of only a handful that are making up for lost production.

Still, times are tight for Kansas dairy farmers because feeding the cattle has become more expensive. Dairy cows typically eat a “ration” of hay, alfalfa and other ingredients that have become more scarce because of the drought, Bodenhausen said.

Beef producers can easily sell off their cows during lean times, then buy new ones or hold back more cows as breeders when conditions are right for expansion, he said, because they generally have little infrastructure.

But dairy cows are more likely to live in barns with systems to deliver water and keep the animals cool, he said. That means owners try to keep their cows producing as long as possible because even without them, it still costs money to maintain the equipment.

“You can't turn the spigot on and off real easy on a dairy cow,” he said.  £

1
Text Only
Livestock
  • Cattle markets likely topped for now

    Most of Oklahoma received rain in the past week with roughly half the state receiving one to over three inches and a few areas receiving even heavier rains that filled ponds which have been low or dry for many months.
    Forage growth, which had just begun to stall under summer heat, has picked back up.  Summer heat is forecast to return this week and, along with high humidity from recent rain, will lead to sweltering heat indices that will impact both cattle and the producers who care for them.

    July 22, 2014

  • Follow BQA guidelines when treating and selling cows

    Summer time often brings a few infectious ailments to beef cows.  Common problems include eye infections and foot rot.

    July 15, 2014

  • Mixed emotions in the beef industry

    The beef industry is experiencing a wide range of emotions at the current time.  The level of excitement is obvious as cattle and beef prices have pushed even beyond record levels of earlier this year.

    July 8, 2014

  • Heat impacts bull fertility

    Recently a producer asked about the impact that the heat of the summer of 2012 may have had on the reduced calf crop that was discovered the following spring.

    July 1, 2014

  • charolaisXheifer.jpg Summer cattle market conditions

    Summer officially started this past weekend and cattle markets so far have shown little of the seasonal pressure that has been expected.

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Monitor medicated mineral intake

    Medicated minerals are available and frequently used to help prevent the blood-born disease, anaplasmosis. A consistent and appropriate intake of the mineral is critical to a successful anaplasmosis prevention program.

    June 17, 2014

  • Should cow/calf producers lock in fall calf prices?

     In recent article, I discussed record high feeder cattle prices as well as the lack of profits for current feedlot placements. While current price levels offer little or no profit opportunity for buyers of feeder cattle, those same prices could result in record or near record profits for cow-calf producers this year.

    June 10, 2014

  • Feeder cattle markets red hot

    Widespread rains over the Memorial weekend may have curtailed holiday activities but were enthusiastically welcomed by cattle producers in the Southern Plains.

    June 3, 2014

  • Is beef herd expansion underway?

    The effects of many years of cattle herd liquidation and the inevitable decreases in beef production have become glaringly obvious in 2014. Cattle slaughter is down 6.3 percent leading to a 5.7 percent decrease in beef production so far this year.

    May 28, 2014

  • cowshotwire.jpg Record feeder prices supported by latest data

    Last week, the Oklahoma combined auction price for 450-500 lb., Med/Large, No. 1 steers was $237.27/cwt., up 46 percent from one year ago.

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content