Proceedings

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2009
Saturday, February 28th
12:00 AM

Animal Rights: Addressing the Concerns

Elizabeth L. Walker, Missouri State University

12:00 AM

In the US today, less than 2% of the population is actively engaged in agriculture. As a result, the American public may have lost its basic understanding of how food is produced, transported, manufactured, and delivered to their grocery stores. In my college classes, non‐ agricultural students have expressed shock when they learned that “dairy bulls do not produce milk” and have asked me “why do you use sale barns” and “do you put in bleach to make cow’s milk white?” I teach agricultural courses at Missouri State University, in Springfield, MO, located in an area that is 2nd in the nation in cow/calf production. If college age students in Springfield are this naive as to agricultural production, then one has to wonder how out of touch the rest of society is.

Beef Outlook in Uncertain Times

Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University
John D. Lawrence, Iowa State University

12:00 AM

Forecasting beef and cattle markets by definition deals with the unknown, but conditions at the start of 2009 are more uncertain than usual. Typically, economists assume that demand is relatively stable from year to year and supply is the primary source of forecast error. However, as we have seen in recent months, both supply and demand are in play and many of the historic relationships used in predicting the future may not hold water in volatile markets. Following a lengthy discussion about the factors that impact the cattle market and how they have changed, we will provide our outlook for prices in 2009 and beyond and strategies for managers in uncertain times.

Distillers’ Grains for Cows: Boon or Bust?

Daryl R. Strohbehn, Iowa State University

12:00 AM

The United States’, and especially Iowa’s, ethanol industry has increased dramatically resulting in millions of tons of the distillers grains co-products produced annually. For every one bushel of corn processed there is a yield of about 2.8 gallons of ethanol and about 17 to 18 pounds of distillers’ grains (DGs) on a dry basis. Although one cannot be certain of future markets, it appears that large quantities of DGs will be available to the livestock industry for many years. Will the DGs remain the same? No, as we speak many ethanol plants are changing their manufacturing techniques, extracting corn oil and other by-products, which change the nutrient content and density of the DGs.

Ethanol 101

Chuck Crabtree, Indian Hills Community College

12:00 AM

This presentation is intended to provide an overview of how ethanol is produced in a dry-mill corn ethanol plant by walking through each of the process components.

Finding, Adding and Marketing the Value of Beef

Brantley Ivey, River Ridge Land and Cattle Company, LLC

12:00 AM

There are a variety of third party verification programs and USDA certification programs within the beef industry that will enable producers to add a label to their animal that will hopefully add value to their overall operation. Programs such as “Organic” and Non Hormone treated cattle for the European Union, and Source and Age Verified, to name a few, do add value to the end product. The overall goal of course is to add value to the product you are trying to sell, and not necessarily to add value, but to find a premium for your animals to capture the best price you possibly can. Therefore there must be a customer on the other side of the gate that is willing to pay more for the value added end product than they would for regular commodity beef. This is a thought process that is driven by the changing demand of the Global, American, and you might say local consumer. The thought process is then a catalyst for new management schemes related to capitalizing on the phantom consumer that will pay more if we do more. Owners and managers are constantly trying to find new and innovative ways to increase the profitability of their operations and often times find that the added effort is not worth the value added in the end. However; there is indeed a growing population that is willing to pay extra for a product that they feel good about buying.

Forage Production Efficiency Factors

Don Ball, Auburn University

12:00 AM

The areas of adaptation of individual forage crop species differ greatly, the soils and sites available for forage production vary greatly (often even on a given farm), various species and classes of livestock are produced on different farms, and producers have widely differing resources and objectives. As a result, no two forage/livestock operations are exactly alike, and there is no one specific “correct” forage program. However, there are several key factors or concepts that have general application with regard to cost efficiency, and these will be the focus of this paper. These factors have always been important, but they loom as being even more important than ever in these days of high production inputs.

Improving the Aesthetic and Environmental Quality of Your Farmstead by Landscaping

Gary Twedt, Iowa State Horticultural Society

12:00 AM

This presentation will review some basic landscape design principles, plant material selection, and benefits of landscaped windbreaks/vegetative barriers for your farmstead from a previous talk at the 2008 Cornbelt Cow/Calf Conference. This talk will also delve further into the aesthetic and living quality issues; with the addition of enhanced air quality improvement by planting a landscaped vegetative buffer on a farmstead or animal confinement area. There will be illustrations and examples for each topic.

Past Cow-Calf Production Trends—Can They Tell Us Our Future?

Daryl R. Strohbehn, Iowa State University

12:00 AM

There have been large changes take place in Iowa cow-calf production in the past and it is safe to assume there will be more changes coming down the road for all of us to deal with. Big changes in the past have left major impacts on this industry and we can certainly learn from them if we keep an open mind and reflect on how current situations might leave a similar impact on us down the road. This writing will try to discuss these in a short succinct manner, but in no particular order.

Remodeling Your Production System

Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University
John D. Lawrence, Iowa State University

12:00 AM

Production systems developed and optimized with $1.25/lb calves, $2/bu corn, $40/ton hay, $30/acre pasture rents and $150/ton nitrogen need to be re-evaluated in the light of higher input costs and cheaper calves. Economic returns to cowherds depend on both revenue and costs. Both of these depend on your production system and most if not all the pieces interact within the system of production, marketing and management. Following an overview of the economic implications of changing market conditions, we discuss a few of the critical factors that producers should evaluate and before deciding to remodel their system.