Nov. 4, 2019
Holiday beef demand kicks in
By Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist
Boxed beef prices increased about ten percent over the month of October into early November. This increase was significantly higher than the normal seasonal bump of less than two percent from October to November. Choice boxed beef cutout is currently up nearly seven percent year over year. In total, beef demand is made up of many different beef products which have very distinct seasonal price patterns.
As grilling season wanes after Labor Day, some steak items, such as strip loins, tend to decline and this has continued into November with wholesale strip loin prices dropping about six percent in the past month. However, strip loin prices are currently up over six percent from one year ago. Another part of the loin, the tenderloin, has a very different seasonal price pattern. Colder weather into the end of the year typically supports restaurant steak demand resulting in higher tenderloin prices through the fourth quarter of the year. This fall, wholesale tenderloin prices increased faster and more dramatically than usual, jumping by 38 percent in October. Overall loin primal prices increased over 11 percent in the past month and are currently up 10 percent year over year.
Ribeye prices typically have a sharp and pronounced seasonal peak in November based on holiday demand for Prime Rib. This year the price increase started early with October wholesale ribeye prices up over 18 percent in the past month. Wholesale Choice ribeye prices touched $10/lb. last week, the first time since mid-2017. Rib primal prices have increased nearly 13 percent in the past month and are currently 4 percent higher year over year.
Both chuck and round products tend to increase seasonally from August into September with the prospect of fall weather boosting demand for roasts and stews. End meat primal prices are generally flat through September and October and slightly weaker to finish the year. October was a mixed bag for chuck products with shoulder clod prices higher despite lower top blade (source of Flat Iron steaks) prices. Several chuck products have become very popular export items and seasonal patterns for these cuts have been changing in recent years. Demand for the clod (Petite) tender continues very strong with prices up over 25 percent in the past month. Wholesale chuck roll prices were higher seasonally; up 12 percent in the past month. Overall chuck primal values were up over seven percent in the past month and are currently nearly six percent higher year over year.
Round products displayed similar variability with top round and outside rounds moving higher in October and bottom round and eye of round prices lower. Wholesale round primal values moved nearly five percent higher in October and are currently about 4 percent higher year over year.
There is a supply component impacting wholesale beef markets as well with lower Choice grading percentages since late May. The reduction in Choice beef supply relative to Select has resulted in a counter-seasonally high Choice-Select price spread since the summer. Strong demand and tighter Choice beef supplies both are contributing to sharply higher Choice beef product prices in the fourth quarter.
How much hay will a cow consume?
By Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension animal scientist
October snowfall in several Oklahoma counties has served as a reminder that hay feeding season is already upon some cow-calf operations and will arrive for most of Oklahoma soon.
Estimating forage usage by cows is an important part of the task of calculating winter feed needs. Hay or standing forage intake must be estimated in order to make the calculations. Forage quality will be a determining factor in the amount of forage consumed. Higher quality forages contain larger concentrations of important nutrients so animals consuming these forages should be more likely to meet their nutrient needs from the forages. Also, cows can consume a larger quantity of higher quality forages.
Higher quality forages are fermented more rapidly in the rumen leaving a void that the animal can re-fill with additional forage. Consequently, forage intake increases. For example, low quality forages (below about 6% crude protein) will be consumed at about 1.5% of body weight (on a dry matter basis) per day. Higher quality grass hays (above 8% crude protein) may be consumed at about 2.0% of body weight. Excellent forages, such as good alfalfa, silages, or green pasture may be consumed at the rate of 2.5% dry matter of body weight per day. The combination of increased nutrient content AND increased forage intake makes high quality forage very valuable to the animal and the producer. With these intake estimates, now producers can calculate the estimated amounts of hay that need to be available.
Using an example of 1200 pound pregnant spring-calving cows, lets assume that the grass hay quality is good and tested 8% crude protein. Cows will voluntarily consume 2.0% of body weight or 24 pounds per day. The 24 pounds is based on 100% dry matter. Grass hays will often be 7 to 10% moisture. If we assume that the hay is 92% dry matter or 8% moisture, then the cows will consume about 26 pounds per day on an “as-fed basis.” Unfortunately, we also have to consider hay wastage when feeding big round bales. Hay wastage is difficult to estimate, but generally has been found to be from 6% to 20% (or more). For this example, lets assume 15% hay wastage. This means that approximately 30 pounds of grass hay must be hauled to the pasture for each cow each day that hay is expected to be the primary ingredient in the diet.
After calving and during early lactation, the cow may weigh 100 pounds less, but will be able to consume about 2.6% of her body weight (100% dry matter) in hay. This would translate into 36 pounds of “as-fed” hay per cow per day necessary to be hauled to the pasture. This again assumes 15% hay wastage. Accurate knowledge of average cow size in your herd as well as the average weight of your big round bales becomes necessary to predict hay needs and hay feeding strategies.
Big round hay bales will vary in weight. Diameter and length of the bale, density of the bale, type of hay, and moisture content all will greatly influence weight of the bale. Weighing a pickup or trailer with and without a bale may be the best method to estimate bale weights.
Utilizing the standing forage in native and bermudagrass pastures to supply much of the forage needs during fall and early winter months will reduce hay feeding. An appropriate supplementation program will help the cows digest the lower quality roughage in standing forage. When standing forage is in short supply or covered by snow and ice, hay will become the primary source of feed. The number of days that hay feeding is necessary is hard to predict going into the winter months. Looking back at previous years’ records may be the best source of information to help make that determination.