Cowchip - May 2018

Tammy Trahan, Granger, Andrew L.  |  6/19/2018 1:19:46 PM

May 8, 2018




17Deadline for baler twine orders

17Ryegrass and Clover seed deposits due

17Montana Trip deposit due


16Vermilion Parish Cattlemen’s Barbecue, 6:00 p.m., Woodman of the World Building, Abbeville


Your association continues to make every effort to reduce your cost of doing business. We are once again going to offer a bulk twine program.This is the seventh year for this program and it has resulted in several dollars per roll advantage previously.

We are taking orders for sesil and biodegradable twine.Due to the poly twine being sold on a per roll basis and sesil being sold as a bundle of two rolls, we will do business on a per roll basis for the sake of consistency.Remember this when making your deposit.

In addition, the board would like to offer net wrap.Make sure to include the size and brand that you prefer on your order blank.Because specifications are so variable, we may not be able to solicit bids.If we are unable to get bids, your deposit will be returned to you.If interested please fill out the form below and return it with a deposit of $5.00 per roll of twine and/or a $25.00 per roll of net wrapMake checks payable to VPCA.Once the amount needed is determined we will take bids from local vendors and price will be established.

Call 898-4335 if you have any questions.



It is time to take orders for ryegrass seed.This is the 38th year we have booked bulk ryegrass seed.The program continues to allow for price advantages to participants.

Due to high nitrogen fertilizer costs and the benefits of clover, the Cattlemen’s board voted to offer Durana White Clover Seed to producers.Durana is more productive than LAS-1 and more persistent than ladino type clovers like Osceola.White Clover comes in 25 lb. bags so you must order in 25 lb. increments.Seeding rates are 3 lbs./acre in a mixture with ryegrass or 5 lbs./acre if planted alone.For a deposit of $10.00

Seeding rates are 3 lbs./acre in a mixture with ryegrass or 5 lbs./acre if planted alone.For a deposit of $10.00

per 25 lbs. of clover seed you will be guaranteed that amount and for a deposit of $5 per 100 pounds of ryegrass seed, you will be guaranteed that amount.All seed not booked will be available on a first come, first served basis; however, this will be a very limited amount.If you want seed through the program, then you should put a deposit on the amount you desire.

Please indicate which variety you prefer on the order blank.Be aware that Prine or Nelson Tetraploid is generally 10¢/lb. more than Gulf.Prices are not final at this time.We will accept bids on Prine and Nelson Tetraploid and accept the lowest bid on either of them.Performance on these two are similar.

Last year those who booked seed with us paid .57/lb. for Gulf and .68/lb. for Prine and $133.25/25 lbs. for Durana White Clover.

If you wish to be guaranteed ryegrass seed and/or clover in this year’s program, then fill out the form enclosed and send it to Andrew Granger, 1105 W. Port St., Abbeville, LA 70510 along with a check made payable to the Vermilion Cattlemen's Association and in the amount needed to guaran­tee your seed.Deposits are due by May 17th.Deposits will be non-refundable after July 15th.


Many of you have heard of the plans to take a Cattlemen’s Tour of Ranches to Montana.Those plans are coming together.

Here are the current plans:

Dates – July 18-25, 2018

Total Cost - $1,250.00/person (double occupancy)

Points of Interest – Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park

Ranches to be visited – Midland Bull Test Station, Two Dot Ranch grass fed beef, Apex Angus

Ranch, DeBruycker Charolais Ranch, Dean Peterson Cow Calf and Sheep Ranch, Leachman Bulls.

We will fly from Lafayette to Denver then take a chartered bus for the tour, then fly back from Denver.Cost includes transportation and lodging.An Additional $35.00/person for entry into the parks will be required.

To gauge interest and protect the Association, a $900.00 non-refundable deposit per person is required.The deposit is due Thursday, May 17th.A minimum of 20 persons are required to make the trip possible.The remainder will be due July 1st.If you have any questions feel free to give me a call at 296-6852.


Animal ID has been discussed for many years, first in the early 90’s because of the reported cases of Mad Cow Disease, Bovine Spongiform Encepalopathy (BSE).After 9/11 the threat of bioterrorism, foot and mouth disease and anthrax, caused the desire to identify cattle and follow individuals through the marketing chain to grow.Animal ID is first and foremost a disease control tool.Tracing sick animals back to their area of origin quicker is critical to control large scale disease outbreaks.However, animal ID can provide marketing advantages.

Japan required age verification for several years after BSE was reported in North America.Those that used animal ID and that were able to source and age verify their cattle gained a 10-15 cent per pound price advantage for several years.Japan has since relaxed their age requirements and this price advantage has disappeared.Trade agreements with China have source verification requirements.So, some ranchers may once again gain a price advantage from animal ID.In addition, more and more domestic consumers of beef are inquiring about the sources of the food they eat.Many want to know where their food comes from and how it was raised.Some cattle producers have been successful in gaining greater profit by filling this demand.

The question is are the advantages of individual animal identification worth the costs?In addition to marketing advantages and disease control, animal traceability can result in increased consumer confidence and can identify and reward quality and efficiency in cattle.The major cost would be maintaining the records needed and certification of identified cows and calves.

There is a cost of not adopting an Animal ID system.Of the top 12 countries that export beef, eight have adopted an animal ID and traceability system.Only the United States, India, Paraguay and Belarus do not have a system.Argentina, Brazil, Canada and Australia all have one.They have gained market share over the U.S. because of it. Export markets add significantly to the domestic price of cattle.Traceability is becoming a norm in the global market.A study conducted by World Perspectives and commissioned by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association came to the conclusion that while the cost is significant it is not overwhelming.And the hardest thing to overcome is the politics not the cost.Things like privacy issues and whether or not the government would subsidize the program are political issues that will arise.

Finally, the question of having a mandatory or voluntary system must be decided.While most would want a voluntary system, to be successful in a world market a high adoption rate would be required.Perhaps in addition to marketing advantages a government subsidy would provide the incentives necessary to get a large voluntary adoption.

In short, there is little doubt that sooner or later our cattle will be individually identified but there is much to be considered and accomplished before we see it.An appreciation of the potential value by cattle ranchers is an important first step.


It’s dry.Pastures, especially behind ryegrass, are suffering.It may be time to make some decisions before calf weaning weight and calving intervals are significantly affected.The best way to determine if you’ve reached critical point is to condition score your cows.If herd average is below five, then you need to take action.Some of you have already begun to flush pastures.If you have this capability, then it is probably your cheapest alternative.Some nitrogen fertilizer applied pre-flood can make forage available quicker, increase nutrient content and limit the number of acres flushed.Rice bran is fairly cheap right now, $125/ton bulk, but it’s not readily available. Six pounds of rice bran and 12 pounds of average quality hay/head/day can help to maintain cows nursing calves.Make sure to make a high calcium mineral available whenever you use rice bran.Three or four pounds of high quality range cubes and 15 pounds of hay can also be used.

The cows will continue to get some nutrients from the pasture.When we get adequate rains and grass begins to get ahead of the cattle, then feeding should be discontinued.

Weaning heavier calves or calves from thinner cows may also be considered.It may be better to sell lighter calves this year than no calf next year.If the drought persists, reduction of stocking rate through culling is a last resort.

The following is what condition score 4 and 5 cattle look like.When cattle get much below a condition score of 5, reproductive performance and milk production begin to decline.


U.S. Federally Inspected (FI) cow slaughter cow slaughter has been running above a year ago, with both beef and dairy components increasing. Year-to-date (through the week ending April 13th), daily average FI cow slaughter was up 7% from a year ago with beef and dairy cow components up 10% and 5%, respectively. Nationally, cow slaughter levels are expected to remain above 2017’s until midsummer, and maybe longer.

Even with increased harvest levels, the Cutter cow cutout value has been above 2017’s. That wholesale carcass equivalent value is calculated weekly by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Typically, the wholesale value would increase seasonally, brought on by higher demand for ground beef. However, that wholesale value has been flat all year and has had a limiting effect on cull cow prices.

USDA-AMS, under the mandatory livestock reporting program, compiles from packers a national weekly direct cow and bull report on negotiated dressed prices (delivered to plant), it also contains a regional breakdown. The national average cull cow price so far this year has been below 2017’s. Yearto-date (16-weeks), the average heavy carcass (500-pounds and heavier) price has been $125.66 per cwt., that is down $3.83 (3.0%) from a year earlier. The price of lighter carcasses (400- to-500-pound) also has declined, slipping $4.19 per cwt. (-3.3%). Imports of slaughter cows, too, have been below a year ago contributing to this puzzle.

Regionally, for 500-pound and heavier carcasses, the South Central states (TX, OK, NE, KS, and CO) so far this year averaged 3.8% below 2017’s. In the eastern 26 states, which are reported as a category by AMS (from Vermont to Florida to Indiana), prices declined 5.3%. The north central region (NE, WY, MT, SD, and ND) this year’s price averaged down 2.3%, while the Midwest (MO, IA, MN, WI, IL) slipped 6.4%. In one region, slaughter cow prices have been higher year-over-year; that is the west (AZ, NV, UT, CA, ID, OR, and WA) where the rise was 6.9%. In May 2017, CS Beef completed construction and began operations of their new state-of-the-art packing plant. Clearly, competition for animals in that region has increased cull cow prices.

There are two keys to cull cow prices for the balance of this year; both are supply-related. First, low milk price is persisting and could increase slaughter even more than expected. Of course, drought conditions could expand this summer, causing more beef cows to be culled earlier than normal.


Purdue University agricultural economist Jim Mintert says cattle market prices the remainder of 2018 will be a “function of meat supplies, domestic demand, and export demand. Looking ahead to the rest of this year, the biggest driver of prices will be meat production in the U.S. and it looks like beef, pork, and chicken production will all be larger than in 2017 throughout the rest of 2018.”

He noted that USDA’s April Cattle on Feed report pegged the inventory up over 7% compared with 2017, and was the largest April on feed inventory since 2006.

"The expected rise in fed cattle marketings will help push average slaughter weights up, resulting in a larger production increase than cattle slaughter alone would suggest,” Mintert says. “Increases in both beef and dairy cow slaughter will also help push beef production higher the rest of the year. The combination of larger slaughter and heavier weights could push beef production up 6 to 8 percent over the next six months.”

Strong beef export demand helped support prices during 2018’s first quarter. Data from January-February indicates total beef exports were nearly 13 percent larger than during the first two months of 2017. Although exports to Japan and Canada were weaker than in 2017, declines in those two markets were more than offset by increases in shipments to virtually all other export destinations. Mintert says strong export demand is expected to continue, unless trade friction leads to imposition of tariffs on beef exports to key NAFTA and/or Pacific Rim destinations.

“Domestic demand for beef showed signs of strength in early 2018. Continued strong economic growth in the U.S. should be supportive of beef demand, but large competing meat supplies will provide U.S. consumers with many alternatives during the rest of 2018,” Mintert says. “For example, pork production this spring and summer could rise 4 percent above a year earlier and chicken production could increase about 2 percent compared to the same period in 2017.”

Mintert projects increasing beef production, combined with larger pork and chicken production, will exert substantial downward pressure on slaughter cattle prices the rest of the year. Compared to 2017, the April-June quarter price average for slaughter steers could decline 10 percent or more. Summer and fall quarter prices are expected to remain below a year ago as well, although the percentage decline will likely be less than 10 percent.


Andrew Granger

County Agent

Vermilion Parish

It is the policy of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, or disability.



NAME _____________________________________

ADDRESS __________________________________ CITY ___________________ ZIP _________________

PHONE ______________________________ CELL _____________________________

My roommate will be __________________________________Cost of Trip - $900.00





NAME _____________________________________

ADDRESS __________________________________ CITY ___________________ ZIP _________________

PHONE ______________________________ CELL _____________________________

I would like to order

_____ rolls of sesil twine x $5.00 = __________

_____ rolls of biodegradable baling twine x $5.00 = __________

_____ rolls of net wrap x $25.00 = _________Size __________Brand ________________________





NAME _____________________________________

ADDRESS __________________________________ CITY ___________________ ZIP _________________

PHONE ______________________________ CELL _____________________________

Amount of Ryegrass Seed _______________ x $5/cwt.

Amount of Clover Seed ____________________ x $10/25 lbs. (order only in 25 lb. increments)

Amount of Deposit = _______________

Type of ryegrass you prefer:  Prine or Nelson Tetraploid Gulf


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