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TheBeefSite Newsletter - 01 May 2013

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Wednesday 1st May 2013.
Michael Priestley - Editor

Michael Priestley

Alternative Systems to Offer Respite From Grain Market Volatility

The Outlook for the American feed lot industry is bearish with demand limiting fed prices and uncertainties over grain supply hugely affecting market confidence.

But developing consumer appetite for alternatively produced beef, whether pasture reared or organically fed, could offer premium prices to struggling cattlemen whilst reducing linkage between farm gross margins and the flux of the grain markets.

According to a USDA report, feeding cattle grain is the cheapest method of production but changes are afoot. 

Alternative beef rearing systems currently account for three per cent of the market. This, the USDA predict, will increase 20 per cent annually, potentially doubling over the next five years.

Reasons for the predicted shift away from grain-fed beef are changing fashions and consumer tastes. Different varieties have their own marketing attributes such as finish, land usage or labelling considerations such as ‘natural’ or ‘certified organic’.

Complex arguments over sustainability can arise from benchmarking different production systems against each other. Greenhouse Gas emissions and cropping land usage are some of the hot topics discussed in the report.

While much of the pros and cons depend on individual consideration, the USDA clearly state that well-marbled meat results from cattle being fed grain. Grass fed beef has a whiter fat and a stronger flavour with carcasses being leaner overall.

While changes in demand patterns are occurring, there are also considerable changes to the feedlot herd as cattlemen try and recover from the 2012 drought. Heifer numbers for example have seen a pronounced decrease this year.

Last month’s cattle on feed report posted the lowest heifer share (35.5 per cent) for any April since 2006. This is testament to the herd rebuilding process, which has resulted in a 7.6 per cent drop in heifer placements on figures from April 2012.

However, analysts are suggesting that lower heifer placements are not resulting in foregone profit. For 2013 the average five area weekly average for fed steers has come in at a ‘disappointing’ $125.87.

Weather concerns are sparking corn price debates and this, analysts say, is causing concern in the feeder markets.

John Anderson, Deputy Chief Economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation said this is causing increasing pessimism in the fed cattle industry with last week’s futures not seeing a 2013 contract above $127 to start the week.

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TheBeefSite Book Focus

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This Week's Articles and Analysis

Why Do the Heifers Get to Decide Who Breeds the Cows?
Beef farming in Ohio is made up of many 'small' farmers, according to John Grimes, Extension Beef Coordinator at Ohio State University who says this means bull selection is dominated by one thing - ease of calving.

Alternative Beef Production Systems: Issues and Implications
Changing consumer demands are supporting alternative beef rearing methods which is challenging grain-fed systems as alternative systems attract premiums.

Effects of Grazing Novel Endophyte-infected Fescue Following Grazing Endophyte-infected Fescue on Steer Performance.
Important studies into Fescue toxicosis have revealed that pasture renovation could lead to reductions in cases.

Efficacy of the SRP ® Vaccine and/or low dose Bovamine® Against Fecal Shedding of E. coli O157:H7 in a Randomized Trial of Commercial Feedlot Cattle
Vaccine/microbial combinations that combine limited bacterial iron up-take and probiotic effects can reduce E.Coli shedding in a feedlot environment, according to David G.Renter, Kansas State University.

No Rise in Risk Found with Visual-only Post-mortem Meat Inspection
A qualitative risk assessment carried out for the British Food Standards Agency to establish if post-mortem visual inspection of red meat (except pigs) and large game alone represents an increased risk to public health, as well as to animal health and welfare established a low or very low risk factor.

Company News

Novus's Thad Simons Receives 2013 Agribusiness Leader of the Year Award
US - The National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) has named Thad Simons, President and CEO of Novus International, Inc., 2013 Agribusiness Leader of the Year.
Market Reports

QMS (Quality Meat Scotland) - April 2013
USDA Livestock Slaughter - April 2013
Irish CSO - Livestock Slaughterings March 2013
UK Total Income from Farming 2012 - 1st Estimate

Global Beef Industry News

   United Kingdom

CAP Budget Cuts Require Rethink of Spending
Roslin Study Shows How Salmonella Colonises the Gut
Feed to Be Assessed As Green House Gas Solution
Consumer Appetite for Fresh Beef and Lamb Increases
Processed Meals Give Way to Fresh Beef and Lamb
Importance of Farm Assurance Status Increasing
LMC: Better Prices Available For In spec Steers and Heifers
New Grassland Recommend List Announced
Farmers Given Advice on Straw Buying
2012 Weather Dents Farming’s Bottom Line

   United States

Livestock Producers Should Expect Bright Future
CME: Futures Post Big Gains in Expectation of Grilling Weather, Wednesday
New Report Assesses Food Safety Risks in Foods
Market Sales of Cattle, Hogs Up in 2012
Pressure Not Letting Up on Feeder Cattle Market
Weekly Cattle Outlook: Heifers Down to 35 per cent of Feedlot Share
CME: Futures Rebound to Bring Three Week Highs, Friday
CME: Notable Reductions Seen in Pork, Beef and Poultry Outputs
New Bill Opens Way for Migrant Workers
TPP Offers Opportunities for Agriculture
CME: Spring and Summer Futures Dip Amongst Corn Concerns
How Large Does the Corn Crop Need to Be?
CME: Higher Beef Prices Expected
Pressure Not letting Up on Feeder Cattle Market
CME: April Futures Close Higher, Tuesday


Mexican Beef Trade Routes to Russia Still Open
Mexico Facing Severe Drought Again in 2013

   Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Update: Vets Issue Fly Warning After 1000 Cattle Die


Forage and Transportation Aid Applications Extended
CME: Canadian Packing Plant Closure Limiting US Slaughter
Cattlemen Resume Call for Beef Irradiation

   Russian Federation

Kaluga Region Living Up to Beef Potential

   European Union

CAP Agreement Expected in June
VION Splits Food and Ingredients Sectors
EFSA Reports on Safety, Efficacy of Fumaric Acid in Feed


Deformed Calf Steps Up Schmallenberg Surveillance


Livestock Farmers Receive Assistance from African Development Bank
OIE: Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia Outbreak in Zambia


Food Prices Remain Stable
Sino-French Agreement on Meat and Agricultural Exports

   Hong Kong

Beef Prices Rising in Hong Kong


Dry Spell Prompts Calls For Policy Upheaval


Celebrating World Veterinary Day
Strategically De-worm to Limit Parasite Burden
G-8 Members Agreed to New Alliance for Food Security, Nutrition Initiative


Food Security Policies See Upturn in Production


The Drost Project - A Visual Guide to Porcine, Pig Reproduction.
Biomin - Mycotoxins
Animalia 2013



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