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Fed Cattle Recap | Cash prices continue uptrend


The cash market for fed cattle continued its April bounce for the week ending April 20, notching a $2 per cwt jump on average for the Five Area region. There was some difference North to South, and overall prices have rebounded nicely the past several weeks.

The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 257,427 head, compared with about 231,157 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 112,499 head, compared with about 68,097 head the previous week.

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 71,000 head this week. The packers have 305,000 head for April and 183,000 head lined up for May.

National cash sales this week included 31,758 head of 15- to 30-day delivery and about 11,700 head the previous week. 

Now looking at prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending April 20 for the Five Area region was $128.42 per cwt, compared with $126.19 the previous week, which was $2.23 higher for the week.

The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $207.76 per cwt, compared with $204.91 the previous week, which was $2.85 higher.

The Five Area weighted average formula price was $200.52, compared with $202.33 the previous week, making it $1.81 lower.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 641,000 head and that compares with 627,000 head the same week last year. During the last five weeks, harvest has been 91,000 head higher than last year.

The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending April 6 was 865 pounds, exactly the same as the previous week. Carcass weights are still running lower; weights were 872 pounds the same week last year, also the same as the previous week.                         

The Choice-Select spread was $13.16 on Friday, compared with $7.73 the previous week and an $11.85 spread last year.  


Farm Progress America, April 23, 2019

Max Armstrong shares more insight from David Hightower who talked about changes in Asia including meat consumption. Hightower also shared that there is a resurgence in biofuels in China, including use of 350 million bushels of corn; and growing demand for biodiesel could change use of palm oil. And that could impact the soybean oil market.

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.

Meet your ideal ranch spouse with these tips


My husband Tyler and I will celebrate nine years of marriage this fall. We met when we both competed on South Dakota State University’s meats judging team, and hours spent judging ribeyes and traveling to packing plants across the country allowed us to become great friends before we ever started dating.

Looking back, as a young, single girl in college with hopes of returning home to the family cattle business, I was looking for specific traits in a future mate. I wanted someone who was honest, loyal, hard-working, goal-oriented and kind. I preferred someone who grew up in the church and in agriculture, someone who shared similar values and life experiences as myself.

In turn, I tried to have those same qualities — to be the kind of person who someone else would want to share their life with. If I could work on being the best possible version of myself, I would likely attract the type of man who would make a great husband, father and partner in life.

Thankfully, God made it possible for our paths to cross, and the rest is history. Today, we enjoy the life we have built on our family’s cattle ranch — raising our three young children who will one day grow up and be looking for the characteristics and values in partners that we model to them today.

Now before I lose readers for this being a sappy post, I promise you there is value to writing about relationships and marriages as part of a ranch business management strategy.

We’ve all seen the farming couples who have struggled.

Perhaps the wife didn’t grow up in the country, and the sometimes harsh reality of farm life proved to be more than she bargained for, leaving her depressed and lonely.

Maybe one spouse is a saver and one is a spender, and the “high-maintenance” spouse favors vacations, new cars and other fun lifestyle expenditures, leaving the agricultural enterprise vulnerable.

Then there are personality clashes. For example, I believe birth order can dictate personality traits and how you look at and handle life. This can impact a marriage if communication styles and personality traits don’t mesh.

And there’s being on and staying on the same page as your spouse. Do you both have the same goals when thinking about growing a family, being in business, planning for retirement, how you’ll spend your free time, etc.? If not, this can cause stress in the marriage.

What I’m trying to say is choosing a spouse is more important than any other thing you’ll invest into the ranching enterprise.

I often reference the work of Elaine Froese, a Canadian farm wife and life coach who focuses on these types of topics. Recently, Froese wrote a blog post titled, “Finding a life mate,” where she offered tips for single farmers who are looking for a mate.

Ranching can be isolating, and unless you meet a spouse in high school or college before heading back home to the farm, it can be difficult to find someone to share your life with when you’re spending your days working from dawn until dusk.

Froese suggests single ranchers focus on being a compatible mate first in order to attract a compatible mate to bring home to the operation.

Her tips include:

  1. Know your love language
  2. Listen and communicate
  3. Cherish relationships and special occasions
  4. Balance work and family time
  5. Have strong self-esteem
  6. Collaborate on conflict issues
  7. Have a business mindset
  8. Be a lifelong learner
  9. Develop a support system outside of the marriage
  10. Know money doesn’t buy happiness

You can read her tips in full by clicking here.

Froese writes, “Finding and choosing a mate is a really big deal, and not many farmers want to talk that openly about it. My question is, ‘how attractive are you?’ You’ll spend lots of money on researching equipment or crop inputs, but what time, energy, and focus are you spending on making yourself a great person to be committed to?”

What else would you add to the list? What advice would you give to single ranchers who are seeking a spouse? Share with me at [email protected]

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

MIDDAY Midwest Digest, April 22, 2019

Today is Earth Day, but for most farmers, every day is Earth Day.

Kraft-Heinz is getting new leadership.

It's the final week to comment on the E15 proposal. 

Farmers are straining to get in the field, but rain is preventing planting right now in the Upper Midwest. And growers are reminded to not plant before it's time to prevent compaction, among other things.


Photo: tuu Sitthikorn/Getty Images

Tunisia will allow U.S. beef, poultry, egg imports

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The U.S. and Tunisia have finalized U.S. export certificates to allow imports of U.S. beef, poultry, and egg products into Tunisia, a country in North Africa bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

“President Trump continues to prioritize the opening of new markets for U.S. agricultural products, and we welcome Tunisia’s agreement to begin imports of U.S. beef, poultry, and egg products,” said U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. “New access to the Tunisian market is an important step in ensuring that American farmers and ranchers can continue to expand their exports of U.S. agricultural products.”

“I'm convinced that when the Tunisians get a taste of U.S. beef, poultry, and eggs, they're going to want more,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “While we continue to supply Tunisia’s domestic animal proteins sector with quality U.S. grains and oilseeds, I have no doubt that U.S. beef, poultry, and eggs will only help increase competitiveness and consumer choice within Tunisia.”

In 2018, U.S. exports of agricultural products to Tunisia exceeded $264 million. Over 90% of exports were corn, soybeans, or corn and soy products.  Initial estimates are that Tunisia would import annually $5 million to $10 million of beef, poultry, and egg products from the United States, with additional growth over time.

Key Tunisian exports include textiles and apparel, food products, petroleum products and chemicals, according to the Central Intelligence Agency. The EU is its main economic partner. The country is seeking increased foreign investment.

More details on requirements for exporting to Tunisia are available from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Export Library.

Source: USDA, 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.

MORNING Midwest Digest, April 22, 2019

Today is Earth Day, celebrated in 192 countries around the world.

An Ohio man allegedly used an iguana as a weapon and is in court today.

Will Congress do something about disaster aid for farmers now that they're back from Easter break?

Presidentail candidates may be doing things a little unusual during this campaign.

A Chicago woman delivered her baby on the way to the hospital, making a pitstop at a fire station for help.

Photo: Handini_Atmodiwiryo/Getty Images


Farm Progress America, April 22, 2019

Max Armstrong shares more insight on the reports from China in the swine herd there – African Swine Fever. The disease is not a human threat but may have caused the death of thousands of hogs in the country. Max offers some insight on the story from market analysts who offer a wide range look at the challenge including how the crisis is changing the Chinese diet.

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: Carstsen Koall/iStock/Getty Images Plus

This Week in Agribusiness, April 20, 2019

Segment 1

Max Armstrong and Chad Colby talk about the extensive flood damage and flood recovery in Nebraska and the Midwest.

David Hightower, The Hightower Report, joins them to offer insight about markets and trade.

Segment 2

David Hightower is back and continues his market talk.

Chad Colby and Matt Foes, Illinois farmer, share which tech works on Foes’ farm, as well as his on-farm trials.

Segment 3

Check out some stock dogs working in Missouri.

Russell Nemetz checks in to share the new changes in goat and sheep production.

Segment 4

Orion Samuelson visited with a dairyman in Arizona about sheep cheese production. Paul Rovey shares an update on his sheep operation.

Greg Soulje gives a weather update for the near-term.

Segment 5

Greg Soulje shares his extended weather forecast.

Segment 6

What’s in Max’s Tractor Shed? A 1974 Allis-Chalmers 200.

The FFA Chapter Tribute goes to Eastland FFA in Lanark, Ill.

Orion Samuelson shares his opinions on trade negotiations in Samuelson Sez.

Segment 7

Lynn Ketelsen reports about the Minnesota state legislature funding ag research.

Matt Jungmann talks about the 2019 Farm Progress Show.

Earth Day 2019: Forget cow burps; let’s talk about food waste

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Earth Day is April 22 — it’s a day to celebrate our planet and a reminder to all of us that we can do better to utilize our natural resource in hopes for a better tomorrow.

Traditionally on this day, I would write a blog post to counteract the endless narrative about how beef cattle are destroying the planet. From activists to the media to plant-based protein companies and fake meat manufacturers, the hysteria surrounding climate and sustainability has placed the blame solely on cattle. All the while largely ignoring major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions — transportation and electricity, just to name a few.

I have spent a great deal of time and energy tackling this topic over the years. I firmly believe our consumers need to know how cattle grazing is critical for our ecosystem; how cattle are able to graze cellulosic materials found on steep, hilly, rocky terrain and convert it into nutritional beef and byproducts; and how the true definition of “sustainability” is ranchers caring for the same land for more than a century and watching that land be fruitful, productive and regenerative year after year.

Yes, I’m passionate about conservation. I’m a firm believer in caring for our land today, so it can continue to serve us tomorrow and 100 years from now. To me, the American beef producer embodies what Earth Day is all about.

But that’s not what I want to talk about today.

As we celebrate Earth Day 2019, I want to talk about an issue that each and every one of us can take immediate action on — food waste.

The USDA estimates that the American consumer wastes 30-40% of the food supply. Yes, you read that right. Read it again. We waste more than one-third of the food we produce in this country.

This waste equates to 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food, according to data from USDA’s Economic Research Service.

To give you a better idea of how much is wasted each year, the EPA guesstimates 218.9 pounds of food is wasted per person annually.

On the front end, food waste is wilted lettuce in the back of the refrigerator, forgotten leftovers, oversized helpings tossed in the trash. On the back end, it’s 45 trillion gallons of water used to produce this wasted food. That’s 24% of all water used in agriculture, according to the World Resource Institute.

The USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist says this food waste is far-reaching and has tremendous impact on our nation’s food security, resource conservation and climate change.

Here’s how:

Wholesome food that could have helped feed families in need is sent to landfills.
The land, water, labor, energy and other inputs used in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, storing, and disposing of discarded food are pulled away from uses that may have been more beneficial to society – and generate impacts on the environment that may endanger the long-run health of the planet.
Food waste, which is the single largest component going into municipal landfills, quickly generates methane, helping to make landfills the third largest source of methane in the United States.

So what can we do to address this issue at home? The old adage, waste not, want not surely applies.

Healthline offers 20 practical tips for doing your part to curtail this waste.

  1. Shop smart.
  2. Store food correctly
  3. Learn to preserve
  4. Don’t be a perfectionist; eat the bruised apple
  5. Keep your fridge clutter free
  6. Save leftovers
  7. Eat the skin
  8. Eat the yolk
  9. Be a seed saver
  10. Blend it up
  11. Make homemade stock
  12. Perk up your water
  13. Keep your serving sizes in check
  14. Get friendly with your freezer
  15. Understand expiration dates
  16. Compost
  17. Pack your lunch
  18. Don’t toss the coffee grounds
  19. Get creative in the kitchen
  20. Pamper yourself with a homemade scrub

Each tip is explained in detail. You can read the entire article by clicking here. Some are far-fetched and others might be worth trying. For example, I had no idea coffee grounds could be used as plant fertilizer in the garden or as a mosquito deterrent in the yard.

This Earth Day, let’s forget the Meatless Monday banter and focus on something that would have a direct impact on our planet — reducing our food waste.

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