Cattle producers now have a new tool in their “resource toolbox.” Oklahoma State University Extension animal scientists have launched a new educational Web site designed to be a “one-stop” shopping destination for Oklahoma beef cattle producers.

Cattle producers now have a new tool in their “resource toolbox.” Oklahoma State University Extension animal scientists have launched a new educational Web site designed to be a “one-stop” shopping destination for Oklahoma beef cattle producers. The Web site is and contains access to many useful pieces of information for cow/calf operators, stocker producers and feedlot managers.

One of the first features producers will notice as they view the Web site is the Calendar of Events. This listing of upcoming educational events for beef producers will include links to the registration forms and agendas for these programs. Producers will also have easy access to “live” and “feeder” cattle futures markets.

Downloadable record forms for Beef Quality Assurance record-keeping, Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) affidavits, and OSU decision-making software can also be found on this Web site. The left-hand menu allows producers to choose specific topics that would be helpful to them. For example, a “cow/calf producer” could click on that link, then scroll down the menu items to “nutrition” and find fact sheets about feeding ideas for beef cows.

One of the most useful features of the Web site is the “search” box found at the top of the main page. For instance, a producer wishing to learn more about “nitrate toxicity” could type those words in the search box and find a listing of all the items related to that topic found within the OSU Beef Extension publications.

Producers that need more personal assistance may want to click on the “Contact Us” button to locate a County Extension office near them. Cattle producers will want to check out the Web site often to stay up-to-date with changes in the calendar and new educational materials being added.

Add the Web site to your “Bookmarks” for ready access to a great deal of valuable information. (Source: Glenn Selk, OSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist)

Markets Look Forward to 2009

2008 has been a challenging and rather exasperating year for cattle producers and nearly everyone else in the economy. Profitability was scarce for most sectors of the cattle industry as input prices and output price limited returns. The first half of the year was mostly characterized by sharply higher input prices as feed, energy and fertilizer prices all soared to record levels driven by growing demand and uncertainty. The second half of the year saw the precipitous drop of the U.S. economy led by the collapse of the artificially inflated home mortgage sector and the resulting domino effect on general consumer spending and business retrenchment. For cattle producers, the positive effect of decreasing input prices late in the year was equaled or exceeded by the decrease in output prices and the collapse of the Feeder and Live cattle futures prices.

It seems that most everyone is ready to close the books on 2008 and move on to a new year. Consumer holiday spending will be the final measure of just how bad a year 2008 was. While there is no guarantee that 2009 will be better, there are some positive signs for the economy and for the cattle industry. It appears that the stock market has stabilized into a trading range, albeit a wide one due to volatility. This at least provides a base from which to launch economic recovery. The Federal Reserve has pumped tremendous amounts of money into the economy, so far with little effect. The increase in the money supply has been matched by a decrease in the rate of money turnover in the economy as lenders have been reluctant to lend and consumers and businesses are reluctant to borrow. Eventually, this decreased velocity of money should return to more normal levels and the economy will be poised for a big economic stimulus.

Likewise there are a number of positive cattle market factors that will set the stage for 2009 markets. Tight feeder and fed cattle supplies will help support cattle prices, especially in the first half of the year. Decreased beef production along with reductions in pork and poultry production will support the meat complex in 2009. Uncertainty and risk will continue with many markets expected to remain volatile but, baring a new round of macroeconomic weakness, consumer demand should stabilize and offer some chance for profitable margins for beef sectors. Beef trade is expected to continue as a positive factor but exchange rate volatility contributes to the uncertainty of beef product and by-product trade. 2009 will be a new year and hopefully it will bring a new perspective as markets move forward and past the rollercoaster ride that was much of 2008.  (Source: Derrell Peel, OSU Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist)

Food for Thought: Why are a “wise man” and a “wise guy” opposites?