Proceedings

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2008
Wednesday, January 23rd
12:00 AM

Lease Termination and Other Legal Considerations for Lease

Roger A. McEowen, Iowa State University

12:00 AM

The lease contract is an important part of a good leasing arrangement. Seek the advice and counsel of your attorney for answers to specific questions in your arrangement. While oral leases for a term not exceeding one year are enforceable in Iowa, it is recommended that leases be in writing.

Saturday, February 23rd
12:00 AM

Cowherd Feeding Options To Minimize Cost

Rick Rasby, University of Nebraska

12:00 AM

Feed costs make up over half the costs of producing a weaned calf. Financial information from Nebraska’s IRM program indicates that there is a tremendous variation in feed costs from one operation to another. Average feed cost per calf weaned was $175 with a range of $112 to $230 for a difference of $118 per cow. When operating and ownership costs are added to feed costs, breakeven price needed per pound of calf weaned was low as $.65/lb. to as high as $1.07/lb. In a six year summary of Iowa records, those producers in the top on-third for profitability, sold 121 more pounds of calf per cow, had a 3.7% higher calf crop weaned; yet accomplished this at an annual feed cost that was $40 less per cow. In a dated summary of the IRM herds in Colorado it showed that the average cost of maintaining a cow was $324, but that range was from $239 to $386, or a difference of $147 per cow. Thus, it’s fairly apparent that one of the keys is annual feed costs. Maybe the actually feed cost isn’t that important in this information, but the range in costs should be of concern to producers.

Dare to be Different

Henry Langstraat Jr.

12:00 AM

Dare to be different. I have chosen this title for the presentation because our cow-calf operation though similar to a lot of cow-calf operations, has some aspects about it that are quite a bit different. To begin with, I was 32 years old before I ever lived on a farm. I graduated from Oskaloosa High School in 1957 and went to work for a construction crew as a laborer, and continued in the construction world for 40 years until I semiretired in 1998. I married my wife in 1960, and like so many middle-class families dreamed of having a place of our own in the country. Ten years later with a family a 3 little girls, we purchased a very poor, run-down, neglected 160 acre pasture farm in the Otley area. We went to the sale barn and bought 13 Hereford range cows that were definitely someone’s culls. Looking back, we refer to them as the 13 Herefords from hell. To say that we knew nothing about farming or livestock would be the biggest understatement in time since Noah looked at the sky and said, “It looks like it could rain.” But, by reading everything we could get our hands on, going to field days, seminars, asking a lot of dumb questions and making a lot of mistakes and taking some huge risks, we slowly grew our management abilities along with our expanding cattle operation.

Grazing Management of Beef Cows to Limit Non-point Source Pollution of Streams in Midwestern Pastures

James R. Russell, Iowa State University
Mathew M. Haan, Iowa State University
Douglas A. Bear, Iowa State University

12:00 AM

In 2006, the Iowa DNR identified 336 impaired water bodies in Iowa. The majority of these impairments are associated with elevated nutrient, sediment, or bacterial loads in streams and lakes. Poorly managed grazing of beef cattle in riparian areas may contribute to a reduction in quality of Midwest surface waters. However, research has shown that management practices that alter the timing, frequency, duration, and timing of grazing can reduce the impact of cattle on water sources.

Growing Your Livestock Farm Responsibly and Successfully

Megan Ritter, Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers

12:00 AM

The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) was founded in May 2004 by the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Poultry Association and Iowa Soybean Association.

Improving Pasture Productivity through Forage Management

David Otte, Green Valley Seeds, LLC

12:00 AM

I must confess that putting these thoughts and ideas onto paper is more difficult then just opening my mouth and letting those same thoughts roll out. When I began rotational grazing in 1992, I realized there was a lot I didn’t know. Today I realize that there is even more I don’t know. My management decisions reflect the thought process that I have developed through reading, attending conferences, participating in pasture walks, and trial and error. Without a doubt, the most valuable tool in my possession is the knowledge that I have acquired. Limited time and resources, higher land prices, lower cattle prices, all of these influence the decisions I make. As land prices increase, my carrying capacities must increase and my cost per head must decrease. It will be tough to remain in the cattle business at the ratio of 1 cow/calf pair for every 3 acres; how much nicer it would be to achieve 1 cow/calf pair for every 1.5 acre. So let’s take a look at various aspects that can perhaps move us in this direction.

Improving Your Cattle Risk Management Skills Using BeefBasis.com

James Mintert, Kansas State University
Brett Crosby, Custom Ag Solutions

12:00 AM

Effective risk management requires knowledge of the relationship between local cash market prices and futures market prices, known as the basis. BeefBasis.com is a new web site designed to help feeder cattle buyers and sellers more accurately, and more easily, project basis for a specific set of cattle than they have been able to do in the past. More accurate basis forecasts means feeder cattle buyers and sellers will be able to more accurately assess pricing opportunities afforded them by the futures market, and this in turn means they will be able to manage market risk more effectively.

Iowa Fence Law

Roger A. McEowen, Iowa State University

12:00 AM

Issues involving partition fences are the cause of many disputes between Iowa landowners. Partition fences mark property boundaries between adjacent landowners. Iowa has numerous statutes which govern fencing matters. This article addresses the major areas of contention.

Opportunities and Challenges for Cow/Calf Producers

Rick Rasby, University of Nebraska

12:00 AM

The cow/calf enterprise has been a profitable enterprise over the last few years. Weaned calf prices have been unprecedented. It wasn’t that long ago that 500 pound calves sold for $60 per hundred-weight. For the last 4 years, 500 pound calves brought over $125 per hundred-weight. These high calf prices helped cow/calf producers reduce some debt and “heal-up” from times when the cow/calf enterprise was not very profitable. Estimated returns for a cow/calf enterprise reached a record $150/head in 2004 and remained over $100/head in 2005. Since then, returns have been under $50/head, with expectations for further declines in profitability. The cattle industry is a cyclic industry. The national beef cow herd inventory expands and contracts. When beef cow inventory is low, calf supply is low, and calf prices are high. When calf prices are high, beef cow inventory grows, causing an increase in feeder calf supply, consequently price of calves decreases. The cattle cycle has typically been about ten years. The current cycle began in 2004 following the longest cattle cycle in history (14 years due to a long liquidation phase). There appear to be a number of items currently impacting beef industry. Producers need to prepare and position themselves to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves that will have a positive impact on their cow/calf enterprise. Following are items that I think could potentially impact the cow/calf enterprise. Some of the items will pose challenges, but often with every challenge there is an opportunity that could enhance profit potential for the cow/calf enterprise.

Recent Developments in Beef Cattle Improvement

Dorian J. Garrick, Iowa State University

12:00 AM

Profit from cattle enterprises is influenced by the value of sale animals, less the costs of their production. Ever-changing production and economic circumstances provide both threats and opportunities to cow-calf producers, bull breeders and feedlotters. Feeding strategies and other aspects of management typically require continuous between- and within-year modification in order to optimize margins. Responses to such management changes typically occur immediately. In contrast, genetic improvement is a long-term exercise with within-breed changes from selection seldom exceeding 1-2% per year. During favorable periods in the cow-calf economy, producers may feel that there is little need for genetic improvement. Then, during economic downturns, producers may feel they can’t afford to invest in genetic improvement. Both these behaviors lead to suboptimal rates of genetic improvement.

The Future of the Round Baler in Harvesting Crop Residue

Holly Padgett, John Deere
Doug Heinje, John Deere

12:00 AM

Let’s look at a brief history of harvesting corn stalks and what factors drove the demand for this practice.

Top Ten Agricultural Law Developments of 2007

Roger A. McEowen, Iowa State University

12:00 AM

We begin 2008 with our annual look at the most significant agricultural law developments of the previous year. Legal issues continue to be at the forefront of developments that are shaping the present and future of American agriculture, and it is very likely that the involvement of the legal system in agriculture will continue to grow. The following is my list of what I view as the top ten agricultural law developments of 2007 based on their impact (or potential impact) on U.S. agricultural producers and the sector as a whole.