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Articles from 2020 In November


Giving Tuesday agricultural edition

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From Thanksgiving to Black Friday to Shop Small Saturday to Cyber Monday, the last week in November typically ushers in busy times for family celebrations, holiday shopping and small business owners working long hours to serve their customers and provide for their families.

And while the coronavirus pandemic may have changed some of our traditions this year, as we celebrate the start of the final month of 2020, I want to encourage everyone to kick it off with a generous and giving heart.

The first day of December is typically reserved for a special holiday — Giving Tuesday — and today, I want to highlight some of my favorite agricultural non-profit organizations that I love to support!

You’ve likely heard me sing their praises before, but I’m going to include some old favorites as well as some new finds that BEEF Daily readers suggested to me on social media.

More now than ever before, Americans need to come together to support one another, and finding an organization, group or service project that is making communities brighter, safer and happier places is a great way to prepare for the holiday season.

So, with the help of readers, here is my list of organizations to consider supporting this year. Some of them have state affiliates that collaborate with the national organizations, as well, so if you want to keep your dollars local, keep that in mind. Please, add your own suggestions in the comment section below. Thanks for your help!

1. All-American Beef Battalion

Say “thank you” to our service men and women with a steak!

2. Cowboys Who Care Foundation

Purchase a custom cowboy hat for a child to wear as they go through chemotherapy treatments.

3. Snack Pak 4 Kids

Ensure that food insecure children have protein-rich snacks to eat after school and on weekends.

4. Stockyards Ag Experience

Promote agricultural literacy with this hands-on learning center in Sioux Falls, S.D.

5. National Ag In The Classroom

Give teachers books, lesson plans and activities to teach their students where their food comes from.

6. Feeding America

Help fill food pantries across the United States.

7. Ground Works

Here’s another agricultural literacy group engaging the public in lessons about food production.

8. South Dakota Cattlemen’s Foundation

Buy beef for food pantries, provide scholarships for ranch kids, host agricultural education events and support community engagement opportunities that connect consumers with producers.

9. Magnolia Junior Swine Circuit

Encourage youth of Mississippi to participate in swine shows and educational opportunities, while enhancing show ring skills and knowledge of their 4-H and FFA projects.

10. McCrossan Boys Ranch

Support at-risk teens at the McCrossan Boys Ranch, which offers a safe refuge and therapeutic, Christ-based programs centered around ranch life.

11. Ag Ed On The Move

Check out this program that offers resources and educational tools about agriculture and food production!

12. Animal Ag Alliance

Protect your right to own animals and eat meat with the Alliance!

13. Protect The Harvest

Protect the Harvest works to protect the agriculture way of life including farming, ranching, land use, and animal ownership.

14. The Calvary Group

Protecting property rights, animal ownership and American liberties, the Calvary Group is an outstanding organization to support!

15. American Meat Science Association

Support students in the field of meat science!

16. NAFB

This farm broadcasting group offers scholarships and internships to support students who are studying and working in the field of agricultural communications.

17. North Dakota Stockmen's Foundation

This organization works to fufill important beef-related promotion, research, scholarship, leadership and building objectives and to leave behind a legacy for future generations.

18. Beef Counts

This organization works to fight hunger in Idaho and Washington.

19. Agri-Safe Network

Created by rural nurses to help support and improve the health, wellness and safety of farmesr and ranchers.

20. Ranchlands Foundation

Promote the conservation of ranch lands and the American ranching legacy with this non-profit.

21.  American Agri-Women Foundation

Promote agricultural education and leadership with this organization.

22. American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture

With a great collection of children’s books, resources, lesson plans and activities, this group offers a wealth of information for teachers, parents and students.

23. Annie's Project

This organizations helps support farm and ranch women in their roles as business owners, managers, family members, transition planners, etc.

24. Great American Milk Drive

Deliver fresh milk to food banks and help food insecure kids get the nutrients they need to thrive!

25. American National CattleWomen

These women in agriculture work tirelessly to promote beef and boost demand!

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.

 

Rebalancing beef industry leverage

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“Packing capacity expansion must play a role in rebalancing cattle supplies if the U.S. hopes to maintain or increase herd size over the long term,” says Dustin Aherin, an animal protein analyst with Rabobank’s RaboResearch.

Last year’s packing plant fire in Kansas, and then the pandemic, magnified the imbalance between growing cattle supplies and depleted packing capacity, which began years ago.

Aherin estimates annual fed cattle slaughter capacity declined by 2 million head between 2008 and 2019. Much of it occurred during the last decade, in the wake of significant beef cow herd liquidation spawned by widespread, prolonged drought.

For perspective, the nation’s beef cow herd of 32.7 million head as of Jan. 1, 2006, declined 3.75 million head (−11.46%) to 28.96 million as of Jan. 1, 2014, according to USDA Cattle reports. From then until Jan. 1, 2019, it grew by 2.73 million head (+9.44%) to 31.69 million head.

That was still 1.01 million head less (−3.1%) than 2006. Rabobank estimates the current cyclical nadir to near 30.5 million head in 2022.

Total cattle inventories paint a similar picture, declining 8.10 million head (−8.41%) from Jan. 1, 2006, to the same time in 2014. From then until Jan. 1, 2019, total inventory grew by 6.56 million to 94.8 million head (+7.44%). That was still 1.54 million head less (−1.59%) than in 2006.

Packing plants closed

As Aherin explains, “The drought-induced cow herd contraction and resulting decline in fed cattle availability in the early to mid-2010s drove the most inefficient packing plants out of business, as competition for limited cattle supplies drove cattle prices to record levels.

“The remaining plants are those that have best managed operating costs through optimal geographic location, supply chain relationships and economies of scale.”

Along the way, packer profitability increased. Rather than the often misused and misunderstood gross packer margins bandied about by the press, Aherin dug deeper to estimate annual beef operating income per head.

The average was −$10 per head from 2002 to 2014, and more than $100 per head since then. He provides in-depth analysis in his recently released special report, “The Case for Capacity.”

“The relationship between the live fed steer price and beef cutout price (the live-to-cutout price ratio) offers a reasonable proxy for beef industry leverage,” Aherin says. “From 2002 to 2019, the monthly average five-market fed steer price [FOB], minus drop credit, averaged 55% of the monthly average Comprehensive Boxed Beef Cutout price.”

There’s plenty of year-over-year difference. In 2014, for instance, Aherin says the live-to-cutout price ratio (LCPR) was 58% to 59%, more favorable for producers. Last year, it was approximately 49%, less favorable for producers.

That’s when fed steers averaged about $117 per cwt. Had the LCPR been more in line with the average (54% to 55%), he says fed steers would have averaged around $125.

More daily capacity needed

Aherin estimates the industry needs to increase daily fed cattle packing capacity by 5,000 to 6,000 head in order to achieve the long- run average LCPR of 55%.

At that level, he says historical equilibrium between fed cattle supplies and packing capacity could be achieved and still allow for positive packer margins without a sharp contraction in cattle numbers.

Whether it’s cattle or natural gas, Aherin explains price signals in commodity markets, responding to imbalances, spawn production and price cycles through overexpansion and overcontraction.

“If any two inputs in the beef production equation are unbalanced, either the limiting input has to expand or the surplus input has to contract,” he says. “For example, beef packing capacity [facilities, labor, technology] expands or cattle numbers decline. Often, cattle numbers are the most responsive to imbalance.”

Expansion takes time, money

“Right now, we have a combination of packer profitability, the best beef export access we’ve ever had and growing demand to provide the best opportunity we’ve had for expansion in decades. If we’re going to capitalize on growing global protein demand, now is the time to do it,” Aherin says.

There are several new or expanded packing facilities in progress currently. Combined, it appears they might add 1,000 head or so to daily capacity. More will have to come from new construction, or massaging more capacity from existing facilities.

“Technological advancement poses the most viable option for capacity expansion in existing plants, while 1,000- to 2,000-head plants with product differentiation and strong vertical relationships offer the greatest opportunity for new construction,” he says.

New capacity construction by either existing packing entities or new players represents an enormous economic roll of the dice.

According to Aherin, industry sources estimate new packing construction costs $100 million to $120 million for every 1,000 head of daily capacity.

Between construction, obtaining permits and all of the rest, he says building a new plant would take a couple of years. If you made that decision today, he explains it would mean opening the new plant in the midst of the next cyclical trough in cattle supplies.

So, rather than building new packing plants, per se, Aherin thinks it mostly likely that any new construction by existing packers will come in the form of secondary plants, such as a fabrication facility to serve an existing packing plant, opening up more room for cattle harvest in the packing plant.

In the meantime, he sees existing facilities carving out increased expansion with technology, increased efficiency, cost reduction  — and down the road, with broader use of automation.

“While increased automation in carcass breakdown and fabrication is certainly a long-term goal, improved production-line data collection and machine monitoring have the most near-term promise,” Aherin says.

“Increased real-time production-line monitoring will help identify choke points and inefficiencies while preventing breakdown and introduction of foreign material.”

Building on brands

That means new construction is most likely for those 1,000- to 2,000-head plants Aherin mentioned. Think here in terms of facilities built to serve specific branded beef markets, capitalizing on the growing host of differentiated attributes consumers seek.

Before 2010, Aherin says branded loads rarely accounted for more than 10% of the weekly comprehensive boxed beef cutout volume. Since 2018, branded product routinely accounts for more than 20% of weekly loads.

Keep in mind, much of that growth came via brands marketing consistent consumer eating satisfaction to wholesalers and the hotel-restaurant-institution industry (HRI).

“How soon will major restaurants and retailers start requiring product that meets specific standards — regarding not only eating quality, but production practice verification and traceability?” Aherin wonders.

“When it comes to program cattle, I would not overlook the major food companies focused on sustainability, traceability and verifying production practices. They’re doing that, not only because consumers want it but because their investors want it as well.”

If the U.S. can achieve the level of packing capacity suggested by Aherin’s analysis, he says profitability will be more evenly distributed throughout the cattle and beef supply chains.

“More balanced profitability will prevent the U.S. beef industry from shrinking and place it in a better position to capitalize on growing global protein demand,” Aherin says.

“Simultaneously, improved profitability and industry stability allow for more outward, consumer-oriented focus and investment, which is critical for the U.S. beef industry’s long-term success.”

Farm Progress America, November 30, 2020

Max Armstrong shares that corn growers have been at odds with EPA. Corn growers and a coalition of ethanol producers recently went to court to push the agency to act on a 2016 court order regarding renewable fuel use. Max shares more details on the court motion filed by these groups.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: Joe Readle/Getting Images News

This Week in Agribusiness, Nov. 28, 2020

Max and Mike talk about what farmers are thankful for this year, as well as tax planning strategies.

Matt Roberts, The Kernmantle Group, joins Mike to talk about grain markets, including ethanol, China's corn crop and imports, impact of the U.S. dollar, interest rates.

Mike talks to Chad Colby about some tech gift ideas, including a tripod, paint markers and a Bluetooth radio and a new drone.

Jamie Johansen reports from Wisconsin about cranberries and harvest.

Max shares a visit with Randy Bodine, Auburn, Alabama, talking about old International Harvester equipment, including a cotton picker.

Collin Miller, Pivot Bio, talks to Max about plant and yield differences when using Pivot Bio Proven.

Greg Soulje is in with the weather forecast for the week, and the upcoming month.

What's in Max's Tractor Shed? A 1947 Allis-Chalmers WD.

Mark Stock shares what's coming to the block for Big Iron Auctions.

The FFA Chapter Tribute continues to spotlight the national officer team, as Mike talks to Artha Jonassaint, VP of the southern region.

Orion thanks farmers, ranchers and food producers across the nation.

Enjoy a look at the Great Plains Terra Max tillage implement, featured at FPVX (www.fpvexp.com).

 

This Week in Agribusiness features market news, ag technology, weather and farm management and equipment information and opinions. This leading ag news program airs weekly on RFD-TV, and can be found each week on FarmProgress.com

2020 action item: Strategic planning for the ranch

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We have one month left in 2020, and for some, this has been a year to innovate, pivot, connect, serve, grow and thrive. For others, this has been a year of great challenges, setbacks, uncertainty, stress, anxiety, financial strain and hanging on for dear life just trying to survive.

I know most of us are anxious to say good riddance to 2020 — call it a wash and start fresh in 2021. However, before you throw in the towel on a tumultuous year, here’s one to-do item that’s absolutely worth your attention.

Creating a strong vision for the ranch or agricultural enterprise can be a challenge with so many moving parts. With great volatility in the markets, unpredictable weather patterns, huge capital risk and the always-changing dynamics of working alongside family, sticking to a plan seems to be a moving target.

What’s more, life’s day-to-day challenges and stressors can cause us to lose sight of our overall goals.

To truly have a strategic plan in place for the family business, all parties must be on the same page with a clearly communicated vision and well-defined roles for each family member to play in achieving that vision.

Sounds like a lofty task, right? And how many of us actually get around to creating and writing down a vision for the future?

While this may seem like the year to avoid conflict or tricky conversations, I urge you to dive right into this discussion with everyone involved in the family business. That’s exactly what I will tell attendees at this week’s KRose Marketing CattlemanU Virtual Webinar, where I will be speaking on this topic, so it’s fitting that we address it here on the blog, as well.

Without question, we have faced unprecedented challenges in 2020. Whether you thrived or survived through it, I think we need to be asking ourselves this important question — how do I insulate the ranch and protect my family for when the next disaster strikes?

You know you need a plan, but how do you get started in creating one that all parties have readily available to use as a blueprint for operations? South Dakota State University (SDSU) makes this task a little bit easier with their resource titled, “Strategic and Scenario Planning in Ranching: Managing Risk in Dynamic Times.”

This 45-page resource packet walks you through each step in creating the vision, determining strategies to achieve that vision, planning for various scenarios and how you’ll respond to them in the future, putting the plan into action, measuring success and working alongside family members in the agricultural enterprise to achieve shared goals.

Created by SDSU’s Extension Service and the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, this guide is great for families that are ready to strategically prepare for the future.

Here is an excerpt from the guide: “Without a step-by-step (strategic) plan and a chosen destination (or vision), it is virtually impossible to get where we want to go. Operating a ranch without a strategic plan is akin to traveling without a road map.

"Consider the parallel: Just as a trip itinerary includes a starting point and a destination, a strategic plan requires an assessment of current conditions and a vision of a desired future. inventory is to determine both ‘where you are’ and ‘where you are going.’”

Reference the planning guide here, and don’t let 2020 pass you by without a strategic plan and vision in place to get 2021 off to a good start. We have one month left of this crazy year; let’s try to make the most of it!

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.

Cattle versus the Dow-Jones

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Watch each Friday for Doug Ferguson's Market Intel blog on Beef Producer and BEEF magazine.

Tuesday I was driving home from an auction listening to the radio when I heard the Dow-Jones average broke 30,000 points for the first time ever. This got me curious to compare my plan on saving for my daughter’s education to a more conventional way. Some of you already know when she was born I went and bought her some flyweight heifers and have been trading for the last nine years building up her numbers. I have nicknamed this the “Cattle 529 plan.”

The original group cost me a little over $3,000. I traded these five head for a while, taking the profits out to repay the loan I gave her. After I got my original money out I started reinvesting the profits into expanding the numbers. With the conventional savings plans in which parents invest every month, they don’t get that investment money back.

Whether with conventional methods of saving or my way there is a snowball effect. Conventionally there is compound interest, and using my way we reinvest profits to buy more cattle. The big difference is when the Dow tanks, that investment loses value that will have to be regained when the market goes back up. When trading feeder cattle we trade based off relationships between weights. This year was a great example of doing that, because some of our best trades were done on market lows, allowing us to expand her numbers in a big way. In full disclosure I did sign her up for CFAP money and invested that into buying more cattle for her. That is an advantage the Cattle 529 plan had that the conventional way didn’t.

So here’s how the two compare. If I’d taken the original money and invested the conventional way, without adding any more money to it, the value would be $15,500 today. The value of cattle she has in inventory is $38,000. Remember we took the original money out, and have only reinvested profits so the cattle deal has a much better snowball effect.

The other advantage the Cattle 529 plan has is that we are running this like a business. She pays me feed and yardage. She takes the hit of death loss and things like that. She is learning marketing and stockmanship skills too. She gets the advantage of real-life skills this way

I think it’s pretty clear this week I am thankful for the cattle biz, and thankful that Bud Williams bothered to take the time and put in the effort to teach us how to do sell-buy marketing.

This week I noticed on market reports that some sales were higher this week. The auctions I went to were lower. Most of that was due to who was not there. That’s a big testament to how easily one person can affect a market.

The VOG on steers leveled off this week, and the heifer side stayed fairly steady. The market is paying us to put weight on cattle, it’s just not willing to pay a lot right now. Last week flyweights were in high demand. This week they were not: They fell in line with everything else.

Lightweight heifers are still seeing a huge roll-back, and that roll-back narrows as they get heavier. I thought for certain this would give them a huge advantage in value of gain (VOG) over steers, but when I checked the math I was surprised to see they are dead even. (I compared the VOG from 300 to 800 pounds.)

Buyers are still zeroing in on certain weights, but the weights they are targeting vary across the country. By calculating the VOG it’s easy to spot. In case you do not know how to do that, I’ll give you a quick example how to spot it while at an auction. One sale I was at this week an eight-weight steer brought the same price per pound as a six-weight steer.

This week feeder bulls were $20-25 back and southern markets were greatly undervalued once again.

Unweaned cattle were $6-9 back this week. I’m putting weaning in a separate paragraph this week because I want to make a point on this short-wean garbage again. This week I saw short wean cattle $5-13 back from bawling calves. These people may think they are adding value, or giving buyers what they want. Thing is, it’s a mess and the signal was clear this week, buyers are tired of dealing with them.

I did manage to catch a female sale this week. We reconfirmed a few things there. AI-bred heifers and fat females are in demand. Heifers also had to weigh over 1,050 pounds, or they lost the interest of dominant buyers.

There is some appreciation value to capture in breeding an open heifer, if you’re a least-cost producer. The bred heifer is the top of the bell curve right now, and then she loses $100 of value per year after that. Depreciation takes a huge bite out of females between short solid and broken mouth. Those teeth can cost $500.

Females that were due to calve after March 15 were considered late calvers, and sold just a bit over the scale to $200 back from other cows the same age.

For the most part, pairs fell in line with the bred cows. I figure the cost of the bred cow, plus her cost to carry until she has her calf, and pairs brought just a little more than that.

Pairs with big calves brought a premium. A lot of emphasis seemed to be placed on that calf. These big calves were weighed separately, so it’s easy for me to assign a value to them. The calves are not worth what they added to the pair, so the way I see it we have a really expensive open cow we need to get bred back, and run out for almost a year before she calves again.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Beef Producer or Farm Progress.

Cattle producers face decisions as drought intensifies

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Weighing winter feeding costs with potential price gains in March and April can mean tough decisions for some cattle operations during drought.

Drought conditions and a drier-than-normal winter has put cattle producers in a common dilemma – try to preserve herd size with supplemental feed or cull to stretch limited forage resources for quality cows and calves, said Jason Banta, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist, Overton,

Fall and early winter sales and culling is an annual part of raising beef cattle, Banta said, but the dry conditions will present difficult decisions for many producers around Texas.

The decision to make above-normal herd reductions is made less palatable by lower cattle prices, Banta said. But drought and an expected drier and warmer winter could necessitate decisions that will ultimately impact producers’ bottom lines.

Cow and calf prices vary by size, class and locations around the state, but overall statewide beef cattle prices are slightly lower than at this time last year, Banta said. Prices should be rebounding a bit as the industry exits a seasonal dip, but it’s time for producers to weigh potential cost-benefit scenarios associated with maintaining herd numbers through winter.

“Producers need to take a hard look at their herds,” he said. “It’s hard to feed your way out of most droughts in general, and this year is no different especially at current calf prices. Cattle prices will likely increase a little moving forward, but producers need to ask themselves if it will be enough to make up for the additional costs of feeding them until spring green-up.”

Banta said producers in drier areas of the state should consider their hay stocks and begin looking to sell older animals or cattle that might be culled for other reasons. Considering the expected winter weather, it likely makes economic sense to move some of those cattle.

It’s important for producers to inventory their available forage, whether hay bales, stockpiled pasture or other winter supplementation, and make decisions that will allow them to stretch those resources, he said.

“Some producers are and will be tempted to try and hold cattle until prices go up, because market cow prices generally do go up in March and April,” he said. “But they need to consider what it will cost in feed to hold them and whether that potential price increase is enough to offset the expense.”

Cattle producers around the state

Banta said historically, the spring price increase does not justify the expense associated with hay bales and other nutritional supplements needed to maintain body condition.

Banta said drought conditions this year were affecting producers in Central and West Texas and parts of the Panhandle and South Texas, but that water, hay and forage conditions were fair overall.  

Much of Central and East Texas produced decent amounts of hay this season and that hay production will help many producers, he said. AgriLife Extension agents in South Texas reported hay bales were fetching $50-$65 in mid-November and that producers were stocking up.

“It is pretty rough for some producers in certain parts of the state, but then you have other parts of the state that are faring better when it comes to hay production and even expectations for winter forages.”

AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:

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The 12 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Districts

CENTRAL

Temperatures were warmer than normal for this time of year. Dry conditions continued, and no measurable rainfall was recorded. Soil moisture levels were very short and continued to decline. Planting operations were at a standstill due to dry seedbeds with mid-December crop insurance deadlines looming for winter wheat. Early planted winter wheat that had emerged showed variable plant stands and were in fair to poor condition. None of the small number of other acres planted had enough moisture to germinate. Producers were considering whether to skip planting winter wheat in favor of spring-planted sorghum. The precipitation outlook over the next week was bleak. Pastures were showing drought and were going dormant. Most fieldwork and field preparation was complete or ahead of schedule. Livestock were being fed hay.   

ROLLING PLAINS

Conditions were warm, dry and windy. Winter wheat planting was wrapping up, and emerging wheat looked good. Stocker cattle were being placed on early planted wheat fields. Cattle producers continued to provide supplemental feed in areas with limited grazing.

COASTAL BEND

Conditions were hot and dry, and the 10-day forecast offered little chance of rain. Some producers were fertilizing fields. Some were using dry fertilizer with phosphorus and potassium and will come back later to add nitrogen. Winter pastures were suffering from drought stress. Further planting of winter wheat and spring wheat was expected to be delayed until December, pending moisture. Some areas have standing forage because of conservative stocking rates, but forages were not high quality, so hay feeding and protein supplementation continued. Local livestock auctions were still reporting large runs of cattle. The pecan harvest continued with good yields being reported.

EAST

Drought conditions worsened throughout much of the district. Subsoil and topsoil conditions were short. Ponds and creeks were drying out rapidly. Rainfall was needed to get winter forages going. Anderson County reported higher calf prices. Livestock were in fair to good condition with some producers providing supplementation. Wild pigs caused damage to many pastures, croplands and landscapes.  

SOUTH PLAINS

Farmers were finishing up cotton stripping. Local gins finished ginning approximately 50% of the crop. Most gins expected to complete operations by the end of December. Winter wheat emerged across much of the district but needed rainfall soon. Cattle were on supplemental feed due to bare pastures. Cattle were in good condition.

PANHANDLE

Topsoil and subsoil moisture levels were adequate to short throughout the district. Cotton conditions were good to poor with fair conditions being most prevalent around the district. Cotton harvest was coming along with average yields and some quality issues. Producers reported a good harvest week with no rain and moderate winds. Winter wheat was in fair to good condition. Sorghum harvest continued. Irrigated winter wheat was doing well, and producers were beginning to graze those pastures.  

NORTH

Topsoil moisture throughout the district was adequate to short. Light rains and cool weather helped keep soil moisture adequate, but levels were getting low. Temperatures were average for the time of year and dropped into the mid-40s throughout the reporting period. Winter pastures planted early looked great but could use rain. Later-planted winter pasture needed rain to help with some emergence and growth. Livestock were doing well. Some producers started feeding hay, while others were utilizing pastures that still had adequate forage available. Stock tanks and farm ponds began to retract. 

FAR WEST

Daytime temperatures were in the mid-80s with nighttime lows in the mid-40s. No precipitation was reported. Winds were high and created dust storms due to low soil moisture. Many counties were in extreme drought and have not received a measurable amount of rain in many weeks. Most cotton was plowed under, and what remained was in poor condition. Winter wheat was being planted but was struggling to emerge without any moisture. Some small plots of oats and winter wheat had emerged and will be used for grazing. Some bigger fields with irrigation pivots had good soil moisture and growing conditions for wheat. Pecans were medium quality with some trees producing above-average yields while others were bare. Ranchers were continuing fall calving, and cattle looked to be in good overall condition despite drier than average conditions. Hunters were visiting leases. Pima cotton harvest was completed, and upland fields were being harvested. Preliminary results indicated Pima yields were above average. Alfalfa producers were able to get a last clipping over the last few weeks due to warmer weather.

WEST CENTRAL

Very dry conditions caused wheat, oats and pastures to be poor to very poor. The district was in great need of moisture. Cotton was mostly harvested, but yields were lower due to drought. Winter wheat plantings continued and were almost complete. Many farmers and ranchers were feeding livestock with hay and protein earlier than normal. Cattle markets were steady, and the goat market was up. Stock tanks were holding steady.

SOUTHEAST

Counties reported dry conditions, but rain and a cold front were in the forecast. Soil moisture levels were adequate to very short with adequate levels being most common. Winter pastures needed rain. Soil conditions continued to decline, and Walker County reported wildland fires. Established cool-season pastures were holding, but not producing additional growth. Most producers in Grimes County were feeding hay and supplements.

SOUTHWEST

Warm, dry conditions continued. Pastures were declining with little to no moisture. Kinney County reported that wheat plantings were still delayed due to dry conditions. Livestock were in fair condition and receiving supplemental feed. Gillespie County reported sheep and goats were bringing record prices. 

SOUTH

No report.

Source: is AgriLife TODAY, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

Farm Progress America, November 27, 2020

Max Armstrong passes along some insight offered by David Kohl, emeritus professor of economics, in a recent column in Farm Futures. Kohl shares insight on different types of business operating strategies and how best to capitalize for the future. His insight covers operating styles and personality types that can impact your farm.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: Farm Futures

7 ag stories you might have missed this week - Nov. 27, 2020

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Missed some ag news this week? Here are seven stories to catch you up.

1. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union is backing Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, to be the next Agriculture Secretary. Fudge has been openly campaigning for the job and is one of the highest ranking Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee. Other people in the running for the job include former North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine. – The Hill,Farm Progress

2. President Trump pardoned a turkey named corn at the White House on Tuesday. – Politico

3. Iowa farmers planted hemp on about 680 acres this year, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture. Keeping hemp's THC – tetrahydrocannabinol – levels within the legal limit was just one of the hurdles Iowa's growers faced. About 13% of Iowa farmers' hemp fields had to be fully or partially destroyed because the THC levels in the plants exceeded the maximum allowed under state or federal laws. – Des Moines Register

4. A report finds that 1% of the world's farms operate 70% of the world's crop fields. The study is based on 17 new research papers as well as analysis of existing data and literature. – The Guardian

5. African swine fever continues to move across Europe and southeast Asia is still experiencing an outbreak, according to Dr. Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian with the National Pork Producers Council. CoBank economist Will Sawyer told Feedstuffs that ASF will likely remain an issue in China's hog industry for years. – KIWA Radio, Feedstuffs

6. Colorado rancher, strategic consultant and NCBA Cattlemen to Cattlemen TV host, Kevin Ochsner, told cattlemen gathered for a recent convention that cattle producers must determine "which path we will choose to take." Challenges ahead include plant-based and cultured proteins, trade, changing consumer preferences, sustainability and genetic editing. – BEEF

7. Researchers from Clemson University are working on projects to conserve water and save energy when it comes to irrigation. – Augusta Chronicle

And your bonus.

What does it take to get vegetables from the field?  Here's a look at harvest. – CNN Business

Farm Progress America, November 26, 2020

Max Armstrong shares insight on the one question that might be asked during Thanksgiving regarding succession. Max offers insight from a recent Timely Tips column exploring that question including insight on some key issues to consider as you work to bring in the next generation on the farm.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

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