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Articles from 2011 In February

2011 Fencing Guide

View the 2011 Fencing guide as a PDF

What’s New In Fencing For 2011?
Welcome to this special fencing issue of BEEF Industry Express. Produced by Penton Media and the sales team at BEEF, the BEEF Fencing Guide is an annual directory of fencing products and the latest in fencing product introductions. Take a look at the following information provided by fencing product manufacturers. For more information on the products, contact the companies or visit the company websites.

Check out even more beef industry news online at the BEEF website at

Gap Zapper Electric Cattle Guard

The GAP ZAPPER ELECTRIC CATTLE GUARD delivers an electric shock to keep your livestock where you want them. The GAP ZAPPER can be permanent or portable, installs in minutes, withstands all rubber-tired traffic, and is available in 6’, 12’, 14’, 16’ and 20’ sizes, as well as a 4’ x 40’ mat for pivotal irrigation systems.

For more information, call 573-756-2050 or visit

Gripple Wire Joining
Gripple is an all-in-one wire joiner and tensioner, eliminating the need for ratchet strainers and come-alongs. Gripple joins, repairs, and tensions wire fencing, and can be re-tensioned as needed. Also try the Gripple T-Clip, the revolutionary way to start or terminate a fence, and Gripple Anchoring Kits for end posts.

For more information, visit

Red Brand Fence

Since 1889, American-made Red Brand has been standing guard protecting farms, ranches and valuable livestock. Industry leading strength and durability combine to stand up to harsh weather and heavy pressure. That’s why five generations of farmers and ranchers have depended on Red Brand for reliability and value. Rest easy knowing your herd is safe and secure.

For more information, visit

Post Driver

The revolutionary patented, pneumatic air-powered Man Saver Post Driver eliminates the back breaking job of hand driving posts. It’s an excellent, affordable alternative to bulky hydraulic or back breaking manual post drivers. This lightweight, portable post driver is ideal for ranches. Proud to be made in America.

For more information, call 800-980-7599 or visit

Fence Planner

Try our state of the art Fence Planner! Just visit Plan an electric fence in minutes and get the entire electric fence system delivered right to your door. Buy on-line or print out and take to your local fence retailer. Use satellite technology to plan an accurate fence on your property! Hassle Free!

For more information,


Pipe and Steel

GoBob Pipe and Steel has the best prices and selection of fencing materials you will find anywhere. Our Hay Conserver Feeders are guaranteed to make you an extra $100 profit per head. GoBob Red Rhino trailers are the best trailers built, period. Everyone knows GoBob has the best prices.

For more information, visit

Powder River Fencing

Powder River is the leader in livestock working equipment. Since 1938 we have been providing quality livestock working equipment including a full range of gates, panels, cattle guards, fencing, working systems and squeeze chutes. Nothing beats the durability and value of Powder River.

For more information, visit

Electric Fence Charger

Parmak, the world’s oldest name in electric fencing & largest selling brand offers the new MARK 7 fence charger. The Mark 7 is low impedance and is AC operated on 110-120 voltages. Designed specifically for large pastures to operate on single or multi-wire high tensile fences. The Mark 7 features advanced built-in computer controlled circuitry with a state-of-the-art digital meter that shows the voltage on the fence at all times. It is UL listed and ideal for controlled grazing of livestock and predator control. The Mark 7 charges up to 30 miles of fence.

For more information, call 1-800-662-1038 or visit


SPEEDRITE 63000RS / STAFIX M63RS, World’s MOST POWERFUL ENERGIZERS. 63 Joules of output power (97 Joules stored). 220 volt AC unit. Remote control (included) allows energizer to be turned on/off anywhere along the fence line. Cyclic Wave technology for a cleaner, more efficient pulse. Bi-polar technology for maximum performance in dry soils. Up to 390 miles/4,000 acres of fence. 2 year warranty including lightning.

For more information, visit or

Flexible Post

The Pivotal Post from Pivotal Fencing Systems makes cross-fencing center pivots possible without building gates or letting wires down to allow the sprinkler to pass through fences. See the Pivotal Post in action at and select the link “Watch the Pivotal Fencing System in Action.”

For more information, call 970-848-5500 or visit

Electric Fence Wire, Tape & Rope
Baygard by Parmak, the leading brand in temporary fencing offers a complete line of heavy duty 1/4” electric fence rope, polywire and polytape in 1/2”, 7/8” or 1 1/2” widths. Available in black/yellow or all white. Ideal for temporary pastures and rotational grazing. Superior strength and conductivity. Excellent weathering with five (5) year warranty.

For more information, call 1-800-662-1038 or visit

Digital Volt Meter w/ Ground Peg

Twin Mountain’s new Digital Volt Meter with Ground Peg is the perfect tool to measure just how well your electric fence is performing. The DVM-G is equipped with a hot and ground lead wire that easily connects to the corresponding wires and the digital screen provides easy and accurate viewing of the energizer voltage output.

For more information, call 800-527-0990 or visit

Weighing In On Cattle And Grains Market Outlook

img_2360.JPG The cow-calf sector is gearing up for profits in 2011, with economists predicting high prices as the year progresses. This is great news for anyone in the business, but many know the trend can change in an instant. Donald Guthmiller, South Dakota Extension marketing and farm management educator, weighs in on the cattle and grain market outlook for the upcoming year.

“Currently, we have the lowest cow numbers since 1958. In 2011, many of you are already calving. If you are keeping heifers back this year, how long will it be until they are productive? It’s going to take three or four years before we start to see an expansion in our nation’s cowherd. The million-dollar question is, will the cowherd grow or will it continue to slide?" ask Guthmiller.

According to the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC), the U.S. lost 500,000 cows in 2010. Looking at Jan. 1, 2011 compared to Jan. 1, 2010, beef replacement heifer numbers are down over 5%. Feeder calves were down by 938,000 head in the U.S. in 2010.

With a healthy, growing export market and higher prices, cattlemen should be sitting pretty this fall; however, escalating input costs will have an impact on producer profits.

“To give you an idea for what to expect for feed costs this fall -- there are already offers to pay $5/bu. for new corn crop this fall. We know that when looking at feeding calves this fall, it’s the margin not the price level that’s most important. I predict background and feeding to be profitable in 2011. There will be some great opportunities for producers to graze yearlings, where the cost of gain is cheaper. Corn is still up in the air. Watch the March planting intentions report that comes out for a better idea of what you might be paying," says Guthmiller.

Of course, the beef industry wouldn’t survive without consumers enjoying steak at restaurants or buying beef at the grocery store.

“Cattle prices will continue to depend on beef demand. Prices have been good, but how high can they go before the consumer starts backing away to different protein options?” asks Guthmiller.

Certainly, interpreting market signals isn’t easy, but if producers keep an eye on cattle inventories, corn prices, U.S. and world economies and consumer demand, it will make the hard questions a little bit easier to answer in 2011. How do you interpret the market signals? What steps are you taking to capture these high prices?

For additional reading, here's what CattleFax sees in the near and long-term for the U.S. beef industry.

Pasture Planning Is Key To Profitability

At the end of January, I taught a session about evaluating hay quality and use of hay in beef cattle rations at a local beef school, writes Rory Lewandowski, Athens County, IA, Extension educator.

Farmers had submitted samples of their hay, mostly first cutting, for lab quality analysis before the meeting. At the meeting, we were able to do some physical evaluation of hay samples and then compare that type of judging to lab quality results.

This was interesting, but the real value happened when the lab quality results were used to balance a ration for the nutrient requirements of a late-gestation and early-lactation cow.

None of the first cutting samples submitted for analysis could meet the nutrient needs of cows in late gestation, and energy was consistently deficient.

To read the entire article, link here.

Busy Lifestyles One Factor In Beef Demand Decline

The cattle industry can trace many of its woes to declining beef demand, says a Purdue University researcher.

Beef demand is half what it was in 1980, and consumers continue to turn away from it despite some recovery in 2004, James Mintert told the recent International Livestock Congress held in Denver.

Researchers used 1980 as a base year, setting the demand index at 100.

“The beef demand index captures the impact of quantity and changes in price after that price has been adjusted for inflation,” says Mintert.

A change in the domestic market occurred around 1980, resulting in a steady decline in demand at the retail level.

To read the entire article, link here.

Board Would Set Poultry, Livestock Care Rules

Maryland's poultry and livestock farmers -- largely exempt from the state's animal cruelty rules -- support creating an advisory board to set formal animal-care guidelines.

Virtually the entire Eastern Shore delegation is sponsoring legislation that would create a Maryland Livestock and Poultry Care Advisory Board. The 15-member board would consist of a Department of Agriculture appointee, a veterinarian specializing in farm animals, a Maryland Farm Bureau representative, animal workers, and poultry and livestock appointees.

"It provides protection for those already doing the proper care, and if someone is doing something bad, there will be standards to judge it," says delegate Charles Otto, R-38A-Somerset, a lead sponsor of the House bill.

To read the entire article, link here.

USDA Predicts No Relief From Rising Food Prices

This year’s attendance for the USDA’s annual Outlook Forum has attracted a much larger than normal crowd of farmers and agricultural commodities traders, bringing to light the growing importance of rising food prices worldwide. According to The Financial Times, more than 2,000 delegates heard Joseph Glauber, USDA’s chief economist, say that the grains markets’ tightness will likely extend into 2012.

During his annual outlook, Glauber said the U.S. “corn market will continue to be tight” next year, wheat “will tighten further,” and soy beans “remain tight as well.” As a result, the cost of food – already at an all-time nominal high at a wholesale level – will increase. In 2011, consumer prices for food are expected to rise to between 3% and 4% in the U.S., and possibly more in the latter half of the year, ending a tame period at the supermarket, USDA forecasts.

USDA predicts current high prices will cause farmers to sow 9.8 million more acres with crop seeds this year, bringing total planted acreage to 255 million acres for the eight major field crops. As the most widely grown crop, corn will likely be planted on 92 million acres, an increase of 3.8 million acres from 2010.

To read the entire article, link here.

29th National Beef Cook-Off® Seeks America's Winning Recipes

This year, the 29th National Beef Cook Off®, funded in part by the beef checkoff, is kicking off a recipe contest for everyday home cooks and entertaining enthusiasts nationwide.

From now through April 30, consumers can submit their best beef recipes online at for a chance to win $25,000 cash and a trip to the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show in Washington, D.C.

“Rather than hosting a cooking competition, this year, we are conducting a national search to find the best beef recipes home cooks have to offer,” says Sherry Hill, Cook-Off Program Manager. “We’re excited to offer four unique contest categories that demonstrate beef’s versatility and encourage creativity with a variety of ingredients, cuts and preparation methods.”

Great taste, ease of preparation, originality and use of broadly appealing ingredients are a winning combination for recipe entries.

To learn more about the cook-off, link here.

Libyan Unrest Meets The U.S. Cattle Industry

I’m sure most readers would consider the political unrest occurring in Libya today to be as disconnected from the U.S. cattle industry as any two events could be. In actuality, however, the situation illustrates just how interconnected we have become via the global economy. The uncertainty has caused oil prices to surge into the $120/barrel range, and the specter of $4/gal. gasoline threatens an already extremely weak economic recovery.

In the past, higher energy prices would have been only a concern relative to the overall economy and its negative effect on beef demand. But, today, we also must factor in the effect of higher corn prices, as corn has become as much an energy product as a feed product.

Most would agree that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is a relic who needs replacing. But the sad reality is there is good reason to believe – from a U.S. security and strategic perspective – that the power void created with his ouster might be filled with something even worse.

I’ve read several reports contending that the expected move from dictatorship toward democracy was only possible via the Internet and the free flow of ideas. I’d be among the first to argue that the discovery of truth is much easier in an era like today when information is more readily available, but we’ve also seen the opposite occur.

The Internet and a wide array of information sources, which theoretically should increase transparency and exposure to ideas, has at times resulted in the cultivation of ideas that don’t stand up to scrutiny. For instance, the Internet has provided ideologues and those predisposed to believe certain things the opportunity to ignore mainstream media outlets. Thus, individuals can bolster their false world views by electing to gather their information from sources with no allegiance to actual facts.

I read a report this week where Gadhafi is blaming the uprising in Libya on al-Qaeda operatives who gave young people hallucinogenic pills in order to get them to revolt. You have to laugh at such a charge, but such statements still work in today’s world.

In promoting their agendas, leaders often attempt to exploit the prejudices of others. We see it in our U.S. political discourse where class warfare is employed to divert attention from real issues. In our industry, we’ve seen a tremendous push by some to blame domestic agricultural production woes on a packer conspiracy that also involves a corporate agriculture and global trade conspiracy.

In fact, these conspiracy theories carry far more weight than Gadhafi’s hallucinogenic pill accusations because they actually revolve around some basic facts. For instance, it’s true that we’ve traditionally had a very segmented and predatory business in U.S. beef production. When packers were making good money, it was usually because they had the leverage and ample supplies, which wasn’t good news for the feeding segment. When feeders and stockers were making money, the cow-calf guys weren’t, and vice versa.

The current market situation is a dramatic anomaly, however, in that all segments are making money. That’s because demand has outstripped declining supplies caused by several major disruptions to the marketplace, which caused the industry to contract sharply. Eventually, equilibrium will be reestablished and we will once again all be at breakeven levels and prospering at the expense of other segments.

It’s in our nature to want to believe that any hardship is the result of others’ machinations. Of course, greed is inherent in human nature, so it’s not difficult to believably invoke the occasional wrong actions of others in validating a grander, all-encompassing conspiracy.

Some of us want to believe that the futures market, packers, corporate feeders, multi-national corporations, global trade and the like are responsible for any lack of profitability. But they don’t stop to ask why the economists from land-grant universities and other institutions have reached other conclusions, or why the largest producer groups are opposed to their solutions.

The great dichotomy of our times is that, while we have more access to information than ever before, we also have the ability to disregard any information that doesn’t support our particular world view. It’s why at the same time that we’ve seen the fall of the Iron Curtain and democracy movements spring up across the Middle East, we have seen the rise of radical Islam and the flourishing of radical hate and activist groups.

For those who truly seek the truth, it’s almost impossible to hide the truth. Folks like Gadhafi force you to draw one of two conclusions – do they truly believe the distortions they are spreading, or do they just believe that the end justifies the means?

Stupid, Maybe; Crazy, No

Chalk me up as one of those who didn’t get overly excited about the dust regulations that the Environmental Protection Agency proposed under the Clean Air Act. I know that the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) worked feverishly on this issue for quite some time and warned us all about the difficulties this measure could create for rural America.

And it wasn’t that I didn’t believe NCBA, but I certainly never took the time to call my legislators either. It all seemed so absurd to me. I just couldn’t fathom how – with all the real issues we have to deal with in this country – that discing a field or hauling cows down a gravel road would be something anyone could consider a health risk.

Yes, the proposed regulations seem ludicrous to people like us who understand life in rural America. However, the people dreaming up these types of regulations aren’t stupid; they just feel they’re doing the right thing by protecting us from ourselves.

It may seem to those of us who operate in the country that these people are crazy, but it’s a grave mistake to think that way. These folks are uninformed and don’t know it; that’s a far more dangerous situation than simply being crazy, especially when they have the power to act on their ideas.

Pat Your Back, But Don’t Get Comfortable

Everyone’s reveling these days in the record feeder and bred-heifer prices, and healthy bull sale averages. And it’s understandable that we should feel pretty good about life at this time.

But one of the folks I consider to be a true marketing machine said something to me today that I found interesting. His point was that while the next several years look to be outstanding from a beef-industry perspective, those who are benefitting are those who have survived some pretty tough times. His logic was that these operators were good in the bad times, so they could be great in the good times.

Sometimes in a commodity business we lose that perspective and somehow feel that the times like we will face in the coming 3-4 years are something akin to just good fortune. Certainly, we all can tell stories about the guy who made $300/head the first time he fed cattle or $600/round on his first try at speculating on bred heifers. But, for the most part, those who are enjoying the record prices of today are those who had the fortitude or wherewithal to survive in some considerably leaner times.

For the most part, those reaping the benefits today paid a price to get here. And as many of you can testify, that price was pretty steep at times.

My friend then followed up with some cautionary advice. He said that when times are good, as they are today, that’s when we’re most vulnerable. That’s because there’s a tendency to coast and not make the necessary investments in the future. I think the analogy he used was that there’s a tendency to read and believe one’s own press clippings.

So while we can be glad about what seems to lie ahead in the short term, be sure to maintain your long-term vision. The good times won’t last forever.