Nov. 14, 2016
Fewer cattle imports in 2016
by Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock marketing specialist
Total cattle imports from Canada and Mexico are down 19.8 percent year over year for the first ten months of the year including a 13.9 percent decrease from Canada and 24.3 percent fewer cattle from Mexico compared to one year ago. Total cattle imports for the year to date include slaughter cattle which are up 10.9 percent through September. Slaughter cattle account for 31.5 percent of total cattle imports so far in 2016, up from 22.7 percent of total imports for the same period last year. Virtually all slaughter cattle imports are from Canada and include slaughter steers and heifers, up 37.7 percent year over year through September and slaughter cows and bulls, down 5.1 percent from last year. For the year to date, fed cattle account for 58.7 percent of total slaughter cattle imports compared to 49.5 percent one year. Fed cattle imports through September include a 62.1 percent year over year increase in slaughter heifers and a 22.8 percent year over year increase in slaughter steer imports. The sharp increase in slaughter heifer imports from Canada this year means that slaughter heifers account for 44.5 percent of total fed cattle imports compared to 37.8 percent of the total for the year to date last year. Increased imports of slaughter steers and heifers in 2016 follows as a result of the 31.7 percent annual decrease in feeder cattle imported from Canada in 2015.
In 2016, feeder cattle imports from Canada are down 42.7 percent through September compared to the same period last year. The total includes a 36.6 percent decrease in feeder heifer imports and a 46.3 decrease in feeder steer imports. Unlike 2015, the decrease in feeder cattle moving to the U.S. from Canada has not been offset with increased feedlot production in Canada. Cattle on feed in the major cattle feeding regions of Alberta and Saskatchewan were down 17.7 percent in October compared to last year and feedlot placements from May through September were down 21.1 percent compared to the same period one year earlier. This follows the September announcement that the largest cattle feeding operation in Canada (located in Alberta) is not placing additional cattle and will close in early 2017. It appears that a significant number of Canadian feeder cattle may yet be in the country and will likely come to the U.S. at some point.
Cattle imports from Mexico, virtually all feeder cattle, are down 24.3 percent for the year to date through September compared to 2015. This total includes a 43.3 percent year over year reduction in feeder heifer imports and a 21.6 percent decrease in steer imports for the year to date. Fewer cattle imports from Mexico reflect, in part, the increased demand for feeder cattle in Mexico as a result of significant expansion in feedlot and packing capacity in recent months. However, in additional to market price adjustments in all North American markets recently, the sharp drop in the value of the Mexican Peso since the election may stimulate more Mexican feeder cattle exports to the U.S. than would have otherwise occurred.
Dynamic market conditions can have a major impact on cattle flows in the short term but the longer term structural changes suggest fewer feeder cattle will be imported from Mexico along with fewer fed cattle from Canada. This will be partially offset by more Canadian feeder cattle moving to the U.S.
Observe bulls closely as the fall breeding season begins
by Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension animal scientist
Fall-calving cow herds will soon be entering the breeding season. By now the bulls should have passed a breeding soundness exam and have been found to be free of Trichomaniasis. (If this has not been done, visit with your large animal veterinarian today.) Breeding soundness exams, however, do not detect low libido bulls.
A good manager keeps an eye on his bulls during the breeding season to make sure that they are getting the cows bred. Occasionally a bull that has passed a breeding soundness exam may have difficulty serving cows in heat, especially after heavy service. Inability to complete normal service and low fertility are more prevalent and therefore more detrimental, than is low libido (failure to seek out and detect cows in heat) to calf crop percent. Such problems can best be detected by observing bulls while they work. Therefore producers should (if at all possible) watch bulls breed cows during the first part of each breeding season. If problems are apparent, the bull can be replaced while salvaging the remainder of the breeding season and next year’s calf crop. Likewise a small proportion of bulls can wear out from heavy service and lose interest. These, too, will need to be replaced. The greater the number of cows allotted to each bull in the breeding pasture the more critical it is that every bull be ready to work every day of the breeding season.
Injuries to bulls during the breeding season are relatively common. When a bull becomes lame or incapable of breeding, because of an injury to his reproductive tract, he needs to be removed from the breeding pasture and replaced with another bull.
Cow-Calf Corner is a weekly newsletter distributed by the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Agency.
Nov. 14, 2016