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OSU Extension - Fairfield County

831 College Ave., Suite D, Lancaster, OH 43130

Phone: 740.653.5419

and the

OSU Extension BEEF Team

BEEF Cattle questions may be directed to the OSU Extension BEEF Team through Stephen Boyles or Stan Smith, Editor

Previous issues of the BEEF Cattle letter

Issue # 304

August 28, 2002



WE HAVE FEED!!! - Stan Smith, PA, Fairfield County OSU Extension

OSU Extension Beef Team members have received many calls and inquiries in recent weeks regarding the feed supply situation for Ohio's beef cattle. The responses are much the same as they were during the drought in 1999, and other years - we have many alternatives to consider, choose the most affordable one that best fits your situation. While most of this information has been published in this and other publications over the past 8 weeks or so, I think it merits repeating one more time with this issue of the BEEF Cattle letter being dedicated to taking another look some of these feed alternatives.

In Ohio, we are blessed with an abundant acreage of crops - both grain and forage. Even in areas suffering severe drought over the last half of this summer, there is harvestable crop. It may not all be in the form or volume that we're accustomed to, but there is crop, which in turn equals feed. In addition, we have many processors that make crop by-products available to those innovative enough to utilize them. WE HAVE FEED - it just may not be in the form we've always used.

The unique thing about a cow is that when fed correctly, she can utilize for feed almost anything that can be burned with a match. This means many affordable alternatives exist for Ohio cattlemen. The most obvious one that merits consideration is corn - the grain, the stover, and/or the whole plant! As one travels around Ohio, there is no feed stuff more abundant - or possibly wasted - than corn. First, it's not too late to harvest silage. If harvest for grain is the first choice, see Steve Leorch's article below on how best to utilize this still relatively inexpensive source of energy as cow feed. And, once it's harvested for grain, corn stover makes excellent feed - either as grazed residue or baled for later use. Find a new Extension fact sheet on grazing corn stalks at: http://ohioline.osu.edu/anr-fact/0010.html

After corn or soybeans are harvested, consider planting a forage that will grow in cool weather such as oats or cerial rye for fall and early winter pasture. Find more details in Maximizing Fall and Winter Grazing of Beef Cows at: http://ohioline.osu.edu/b872/index.html

If finding supplemental protein or energy sources is your greatest concern, we have several millers and processors in Ohio that can help solve this concern too. Some of the alternatives available in Ohio include wet brewers grain, wheat midds, soyhulls, corn gluten, dried distillers grain, and screenings from seed and grain handlers. Check with your feed suppliers - my guess is you'll be surprised by what all is available out there.

For more ideas on utilizing alternative feeds, or creating fall forages, visit the Library links at the OSU Extension Beef (http://beef.osu.edu) and Forage (http://forages.osu.edu) Teams' web sites. And, carefully consider the feed options that are discussed throughout this issue of the BEEF Cattle letter. One thing I know for certain - the $100+/ton hay that I'm hearing about is best utilized by highly efficient dairy animals, or 4 legged pets.





An Alternative to Hay for Brood Cows - Corn! - Steve Loerch, Professor, Animal Sciences, OARDC, The Ohio State University

Much of the US and Canada is struggling with drought conditions and feed shortages that result from extended dry weather. Recently, the OSU Extension Beef Team received a call from a Nebraska rancher looking for an opportunity east of the Mississippi to market half of his 800 head cow herd due to feed shortage. Also, I've been made aware that Alberta will be moving up to 500,000 cows out of the Province for similar reasons this fall - mostly in boxes.

Many Ohio cattlemen are experiencing similar concerns this year. However, unlike some other parts of the country, here in Ohio we have an affordable alternative feeding strategy to wintering cows on hay. At our OARDC research facilities we have had great success limit-feeding brood cows a corn based diet during the winter.

My recommendation to Ohio cattlemen experiencing forage shortages (based on 14 years of feeding corn based diets to cows in the winter), is to feed whole shelled corn at 1% of the cows body weight, feed 5 lbs of forage, and feed a "feedlot type" supplement to meet protein, vitamin, and mineral needs. The corn intake must be adjusted upward as energy requirements increase (ie, last third of gestation, lactation, or due to cold). The purpose of the forage is to give the cows something to chew on (all the usual feedlot type reasons; stimulate rumination, prevent ruminitis, keep cows on feed, etc.). Although I have newer tried straw, my recommendation is that forage quality is a non-issue. They will eat everything you put in front of them in this limit feeding system. A low cost, poor quality forage is ideal.

Our data show that you can winter gestating cows on about 14 lbs of corn, 4 lbs of roughage, and a supplement with no negative effects on performance. If corn is priced at $2.50/bu, the break even value for hay would be about $50/ton.

You will find more details on my recommendation for feeding corn to cows on the web at http://beef.osu.edu/library/limitfed.html

Cattlemen can also limit feed corn for replacement heifers using a similar procedure. If hay is scarce or expensive, cattlemen can grow cattle on a corn based diet using a limit feeding system. The amount of corn you feed them would be determined by your target rate of gain. In a situation when raising replacement heifers, I would recommend gains of about 1.5 to 2 lbs/day. To achieve these gains feed the following:

1.7% of calf body weight as concentrate (whole shelled corn plus a feedlot supplement according to bag instructions) plus 2 lb/head/day of hay

For example: If your calves average 400 lbs, feed 6.3 lbs of whole shelled corn +.5 lbs of commercial 50% protein supplement + 2lbs of hay

If your calves average 500 lbs, feed 8 lbs of whole shelled corn +.5 lbs of commercial 50% protein supplement + 2lbs of hay

If your calves average 600 lbs, feed 9.7 lbs of whole shelled corn +.5 lbs of commercial 50% protein supplement + 2lbs of hay

If your calves average 700 lbs, feed 11.4 lbs of whole shelled corn +.5 lbs of commercial 50% protein supplement+ 2lbs of hay

It will be an advantage if you have enough bunk space for all calves to eat at once. Adjust grain intake every 2 weeks based on expected increase in body weight at your target ADG (21-28 lbs gain every 14 days for 1.5-2 lb/d ADG).This means every 14 days, increase corn Intake by about .4lbs/head.





Commodity Feeds May Keep Cow-Calf Operations Going - John B. Hall, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, VA Tech

The continued drought, limited hay supplies, and rising corn prices will make feeding the cowherd through the fall and winter a challenge. However, the continuing liquidation of cows in the West and movement of heifers into feedlots indicate that producers that can hold on to their herds will be rewarded with better calf prices in 2003 and 2004. The cowherd needs to be maintained with economical feedstuffs for the next 6 to 8 months.

Commodity feeds such as brewer's grains, corn gluten feed or soy hulls can offer economical options for cow-calf producers. These products are excellent cattle feed, but vary greatly in price, water content and nutrients. Because of this tremendous variability in several factors it is often difficult to compare different commodity feeds. Producers need to be careful to compare commodity feeds on an equal basis. The value of commodity feeds need to be on: Amount of dry matter, Cost per pounds of nutrients, Animal intake factors, Handling and storage considerations.

The first step is to obtain a nutrient analysis of the commodity from the supplier. This should include dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), and total digestible nutrients (TDN). Information on mineral content is also helpful to the extension professionals or nutritionists that will help producers design a feeding program. Sometimes estimates of energy content or TDN are not given in the standard analysis instead fiber content will be listed. Because of the variable nature of some commodities estimates of TDN from fiber may not be entirely accurate. Ask for a minimum TDN level to be specified.

Secondly, compare commodities on a dry matter basis. Commodity feeds range from 79% water for wet brewer's grains to 10% water (90% DM) for corn gluten feed. To compare the price of commodities on a DM basis use the following formula:

Cost per ton on DM basis = Cost per ton as delivered (% DM/100)

For example, a producer can buy wet brewer's grains for $25 per ton delivered or dry corn gluten feed for $100 per ton delivered. Which is the better buy on a dry basis?

Cost of wet brewer's grain on a DM basis = $ 25 (21/100) = $25 .21 = $ 119.05

Cost of corn gluten on a DM basis = $ 100 (90/100) = $100 .9 = $111.11

In this case, corn gluten would be the better buy costing $ 8 less per ton than wet brewer's grain on a DM basis. But feeds need to supply nutrients not just dry matter.

Energy is the nutrient that is most needed by the cowherd after water. So, to supply energy to the cowherd is the main reason producers buy supplemental feeds. In addition, most commodity feeds contain levels of crude protein above the requirements of the cow, so for all practical purposes most commodity feeds are equal to each other in terms of protein. Simply comparing the cost of feeds on a DM basis would not be a fair comparison. Producers need to compare feeds on TDN content of the dry feed (DM basis). To do this, divide the cost of the feed on a DM basis by the % TDN of the feed (DM basis) as in the following formula:

Cost per ton of TDN (energy) = Cost per ton on a DM basis (% TDN/100)

Using the same feeds from the above example, wet brewer's grains contain 85% TDN whereas dry corn gluten feed contains 80% TDN. Which is the better buy on a dry basis?

Cost of wet brewer's grain per ton of TDN=$119.05 (85/100) = $119.05 .85 = $140.06

Cost of corn gluten per ton of TDN = $ 111.11 (80/100) = $111.11 .8 = $ 138.89

Because of the energy level of the brewer's grains these two feed are less than $2.00 per ton difference on an energy basis. However, all commodity feeds are variable in their nutrient content even from load to load from the same plant. If the brewer's grains in the above example were only 70% TDN, then the cost per ton of energy would be over $170.00. Over a $30 difference between the two feeds. The bottom line is test the feeds and buy them based on a dry energy basis.

Three, animal intake and digestion factors also must be considered. Brewer's grains are very high in water content and young cattle are not physically able to eat enough brewer's grains to meet their needs. Even for cows, very wet commodities should not make up more than 50 to 70% of the diet.

Fiber is also a very important consideration. Cows need sufficient fiber to keep the rumen working properly. Commodities such as soyhulls and corn gluten contain high levels of easily digestible fiber, so they can be fed as a high percentage of the diet. In comparison, brewer's grains, hominy and snack food by-products are lower in fiber, so producers need to be careful when feeding these commodities not to feed too much. In most cases, cows will still need 5 to 10 lbs of hay per day.

The true digestibility for some commodity feeds may be less than indicated by nutrient analysis. Research from NC State indicates that the performance of young growing cattle was only 84% to 88% of predicted performance when corn gluten was the primary energy supplement. Similarly, performance of calves fed brewer's grains was only 90% to 95% of expected gains. Producers need to keep these considerations in mind when selecting different commodity feeds.

Finally, transportation and storage of commodities may dictate which feeds can be used by a particular operation. Wet feeds have a very short storage life during warm weather, some only a few days. Large amounts of wet commodity feeds may not work for smaller operations, while large operations may need deliveries 2 to 3 times per week. Also, commodities can be bulky and not flow well in traditional grain storage structures and handling equipment. Often a bunker or covered commodity shed is needed. Visit with other producers that are using the commodity feed you are interested in to get information about storage and handling.

Commodity feeds will probably keep many operations in business this year. A careful comparison of these feeds on a dry nutrient basis with consideration to storage and handling is important. Work with your extension animal science agent or nutritionist on a feeding program for your herd. Tests for prussic acid are available through the state diagnostic labs or other laboratories. Forages should contain less than 50mg% on a dry basis to be safe to feed. Pasture samples need to be taken fresh and frozen. Remember summer annuals may also be high in nitrates. For more information on prussic acid poisoning in livestock or sampling procedures contact your county extension agent.





Byproduct Feeds can be Self Fed to Backgrounding Calves - Mark Wahlberg, Extension Animal Scientist, 4-H Livestock, VA Tech

Backgrounding calves prior to them entering feedlots is a sound management practice. Extra pounds are put on the calves during an efficient stage of their life, they become adapted to feed, water, confinement conditions, and they overcome weaning and health challenges. Traditionally, cattle are managed to gain at moderate rates with diets having fairly high forage levels. Certain byproduct feeds are available which have had the starch removed, leaving behind a highly digestible material that consists mostly of fiber. These feeds, including soy hulls, corn gluten feed, and wheat middlings, were investigated in a couple of studies recently reported by the researchers.

A group of North Dakota scientists used crossbred heifers starting at 620 pounds in a backgrounding study. One ration consisted of a Total Mixed Ration (TMR) containing 48% grass hay, 48% wheat middlings, and 4% supplement. This was compared to a group offered self fed chopped hay in a fence line bunk and wheat middlings (consisting of 93.2% wheat midds and 6.8% supplement) available at all times in a portable creep feeder. Supplements were formulated such that the total diet had a Calcium:Phosphorous ration of 1.5:1.

The TMR group consumed 9.25 pounds of hay and 9.44 pounds of wheat midds, with a total feed intake of 18.9 pounds. They gained 1.88 pounds per day. The self fed group ate 9.54 pounds of hay and 8.6 pounds of wheat midds, with total feed intake of 18.7 pounds. Their Average Daily Gain was 1.77 pounds.

The researchers reported no digestive upsets or other major health problems.

Dr. Matt Poore at North Carolina State University investigated 3 different byproduct feeds offered in self feeders to calves with a beginning weight of 510 pounds. A control group received free choice hay plus a high calcium mineral supplement. Other groups received increasing amounts of grain byproducts for one week, then all they would consume of self fed byproducts for the balance of the 84 day trial. Chopped hay was available to the calves in a feed bunk as well. Byproducts used were soy hulls, corn gluten feed, and wheat middlings. None of the byproducts were pelleted. Results of the trial are in the table below.

Hay Intake Lb Total Intake Lb Supplement Intake, Lb ADG Lb
Hay Only 12.70 12.81 0.11 1.39
Soy Hull 4.08 23.35 19.27 3.31
Corn Gluten Feed 6.68 20.35 13.67 2.93
Wheat Midds 4.32 16.93 12.61 2.23

There were no health problems with the cattle for any reason. The self feeder was cleaned often and spoiled feed was discarded. Dr. Poore repeated this work last winter (Unpublished) and again saw extremely high intakes and gains by cattle that were self fed these 3 supplements.

I would recommend a few cautionary management practices for producers who wish to self feed cattle using one of these high fiber byproduct feeds. Because of the risk of bloat it would be wise to use a free-choice mineral that contains an ionophore, either Bovatec or Rumensin. Again, with bloat risk a real possibility, do not let hay run out. Make sure that cattle have access to pretty good quality hay all the time. The key point is to make sure cattle have adequate fiber intake, and hay or pasture can be used to provide this fiber. Although a producer may not experience the high intake and high rate of gain seen in this North Carolina trial, cattle will still gain fairly quickly, and get pretty fleshy. Consequently, producers may want to use this program for a shorter period of time (6 to 8 weeks) rather than the 12 weeks in this trial. However, this would appear to be an excellent feeding program to prepare cattle for the feedlot.

Self feeding of high fiber byproducts is a very labor-efficient way to background cattle. Dry hay or pasture of at least medium quality must be available to the calves at all times. Supplements must contain a high calcium level, and ionophores are recommended. Management of the self feeder to keep feed clean and dry to entice cattle to eat at high rates will generate fast and efficient gains.

References:

Gilbery, TC, GP Lardy, ML Bauer, B Kreft, and J Dhuyvetter. 2000. Self-fed Wheat Middlings in backgrounding diets for beef heifers. North Dakota Beef Cattle and Range Research Report, p 25-26.

Poore, MH. 2002. Self-feeding byproduct commodities to beef calves. J. Anim Sci. Vol 80, Suppl 2, p 20.





Making Quality Corn Silage in 2002 - Mark Wahlberg, Extension Animal Scientist, 4-H Livestock, VA Tech

Corn silage can be a great feed, especially for growing cattle and lactating cows and ewes. It can also be a feed with various quality problems. The difference is when it is cut and how it is stored.

Storage: Corn silage must be stored in air-tight conditions to minimize spoilage. Anywhere that air contacts the surface of silage it deteriorates. Two critical steps in the process accomplish air-tight storage. One of those is to store silage in a structure that excludes as much air as possible. Upright silos must be free of cracks or other leaks. They should have a roof on top. Horizontal silos, often called bunker silos, are going to have a lot of exposure to the air just by their design. The main way to reduce this is to have the silo in a long, narrow shape with a narrow face exposed to the air. Silos that are very wide expose a lot more silage to the air. Silage removal should be planned so that a minimum of 6 inches of material is removed from the exposed surface every day during the feeding season.

The second critical step in excluding air from the silage is proper packing. With upright silos this is accomplished simply by the weight of the material itself. Packed corn silage typically weighs around 40 pounds per cubic foot, so a lot of weight is applied to the silage in a silo that is 40 to 70 feet tall. The weight of material in a horizontal silo is not adequate to pack the pile tightly. This is accomplished by driving over the pile with a tractor to compress the material as it is being layered into the silo. Wheel tractors exert more weight per square foot than do crawler tractors, so they do a better job of packing. Packing a horizontal silo can be dangerous, due to the risk of rollover of the tractor. Be very cautious and do not allow inexperienced drivers to do this task. Corn silage can also be stored in silage bags, which do a great job of excluding air and preserving the silage well.

Stage of Harvest: The proper stage to harvest corn for silage is somewhat of a compromise. The proper stage to harvest is determined mostly by the stage of maturity of the corn plant. Highest dry matter digestibility occurs when the silage is from 30 to 40% dry matter. Silage that is wetter than this has excessive runoff and seepage, which carries important nutrients with it. Silage over 40% dry matter does not pack well, thus more likely to have air pockets, resulting in mold growth and heating.

The best guide to plant moisture content is the stage of development of the grain. When you cut through a kernel of corn, from top to bottom, you will see a line between where the liquid, or milk, is still visible and where the dry starchy material has formed. The location of this milk line in the kernel is a good guide to plant maturity. The desired stage is having the milk line about 1/2 of the way down the kernel. This corresponds to about 35% dry matter in the whole-plant silage. If the milk line is closer to the top of the kernel (less starch visible), the plant is wetter. As more starch and less milk is visible in the grain, the milk line moves closer to the tip of the kernel (where it attaches to the cob). When there is no milk line visible the dry matter content is about 40%. Once a black line is visible at the tip of the kernel, no more starch will develop and the plant simply gets drier as the leaves die.

Drought Stricken Corn: Drought and heat can seriously impair growth of the corn plant. Often the development of a good ear is diminished, or even nonexistent. The only way to salvage anything useable from this kind of crop is to harvest it as silage and feed it to livestock. Surprisingly, the feed value of silage from this kind of corn is quite high. The energy content of drought-affected corn with little or no grain content is only slightly less than that of normal corn, and the protein content is often just a little higher. The big difference is the reduced yield. So don't consider silage from drought stricken corn to be inferior. It has high feed value, and should be harvested, stored, and fed with the same care you would give to a normal corn crop.

Nitrate Risk: Corn is normally fertilized with a fairly high amount of nitrogen. When corn has adequate moisture and proper temperature, it uses the nitrogen for rapid growth and development. However, when affected by drought, it may still take up some nitrogen (in the form of nitrate), but not use that nitrate for plant tissue growth, especially grain development. Thus, the nitrate accumulates in the plant. If livestock consume a feed with high nitrate, it can cause a toxicity that results in reduced feed intake, abortions, and death. Nitrate level is highest in corn just after a rain following a drought. It takes a few days for the plant to metabolize the nitrate it takes up following the rain.

If conditions exist where you expect nitrate to be a possible problem, then sample the feed and get it analyzed for nitrate content. Many feed labs, including the lab at Virginia Tech, will do this analysis and promptly provide the results. Contact your Extension office for information on taking and submitting samples.

Nitrate in the feed at up to 0.5% of the dry matter is considered safe to feed. At more than 1.5% of the dry matter it can be fatal. During the ensiling process anywhere from 30-50% of the nitrate is converted to other nitrogen compounds, thus reducing the nitrate content towards a safer level. If corn with an elevated nitrate level is chopped and put in the silo, then a follow-up sample should be taken several weeks afterwards to check for the nitrate level in the fully fermented silage.

It is fairly easy to make good corn silage. Once the crop is planted and growing, the key decision is timing of the harvest. Cutting corn for silage when it is around 35% dry matter, corresponding to the 1/2 milk line stage of maturity, results in a highly digestible feed material. After proper packing and storage, and developing a balanced ration using corn silage as a key ingredient, high animal performance should result.





Grazing Alfalfa in the Fall - Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

Grazing alfalfa in the fall is of interest because of its high quality and the fact that making hay is difficult this time of year. Producers must weigh the opportunity for gain with fall grazed alfalfa against the risk of subsequent stand injury. Anytime alfalfa is defoliated in the fall there is increased risk of winter injury. How much risk is dependent on many variables.

Physiologically, alfalfa needs a fall rest period to accumulate carbohydrate and energy reserves for the winter. Complete defoliation during the critical fall period (mid September to a killing frost) interrupts this process and can be very harmful to the stand. Grazing can be controlled so alfalfa plants are grazed lightly, which should allow photosynthesis and energy reserve accumulation to continue. Some studies have demonstrated that light fall grazing is less harmful than complete defoliation.

If grazing alfalfa during the fall, make sure that at least 8 inches of active growth remains at all times. To accomplish this, rotate animals more frequently or reduce stocking rates. With top grazing, animals will be consuming lush, high quality forage. Precautions against bloat are even more important than when the whole plant is grazed.

To maximize energy reserves in alfalfa, allow a fall rest period and only graze alfalfa after mid to late October. Better yet, wait until after a killing frost. A killing frost for alfalfa is 25 F for several hours, and often for two consecutive nights. But late fall grazing is not without risk. Removal of plant cover by close grazing can dramatically increase the risk of plant heaving in late winter on heavy soils. Leave at least six inches of stubble going into the winter.

Anytime alfalfa is grazed, and especially during the fall, make sure soils are dry and firm. Grazing alfalfa when soils are soft and wet is a sure recipe for severe damage to crowns and subsequent stand loss over the winter.

Frosted and frozen alfalfa does not contain toxic compounds. It is likely, however, that a slightly higher potential for bloat exists for one or two days after a frost or freeze. The safest management is to wait a few days before grazing after a killing freeze, when the forage begins to dry. Always use good bloat management practices whenever alfalfa is being grazed.





Prussic Acid Poisoning Could be a Problem in Late Summer and Early Fall - John B. Hall, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, VA Tech

Members of the sorghum family such as grain sorghum, forage sorghum, sudex, Sudangrass and Johnsongrass may produce high level of prussic acid during times of stress. Wild cherry, choke cherry, peach, apple and elderberry trees can also form prussic acid. Prussic acid also known as hydrogen cyanide is extremely toxic to mammals in high amounts. This cyanide compound quickly inhibits the animal's ability to use oxygen and death occurs in a matter of minutes to hours.

The plants mentioned above produce sugars in the leaves and stems, which contain the cyanide ion. Drought stressed plants produce high levels of these sugars. When the plant is damaged or chewed these sugar combine with other enzymes in the plant to produce prussic acid. Normally, plant growth keeps the concentration of these sugars low enough that the animal can detoxify the prussic acid. However, concentrations of prussic acid reach toxic levels in drought stressed, frost damaged, or storm damaged plants.

To avoid prussic acid poisoning, producers should not graze cattle on drought stressed or frosted forages from the sorghum family. Additionally, cattle should be kept away from wilted cherry leaves from newly cut or storm damaged trees. The prussic acid danger in forages is reduced after several weeks of significant regrowth following a drought or one to two weeks following a killing frost. Dried cherry leaves do not pose a danger. Also, prussic acid content of the forage can be reduced by 50% through the hay curing or ensiling process. So making hay or silage from these crops may be the best option.

Tests for prussic acid are available through the state diagnostic labs or other laboratories. Forages should contain less than 50mg% on a dry basis to be safe to feed. Pasture samples need to be taken fresh and frozen. Remember summer annuals may also be high in nitrates. For more information on prussic acid poisoning in livestock or sampling procedures contact your county extension agent.





Weekly Purcell Agricultural Commodity Market Report for August 27, 2002
Wayne D. Purcell, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech
http://www.ext.vt.edu/news/periodicals/purcell/

Cutout values for the lighter Choice boxed beef are at $113.44 in Tuesday morning activity, and that continues to show improvement from about the $108 level of several days back when we appeared to be putting in a short-term bottom. Although the spread is not wide by historical standards, the Choice values are also rallying relative to the Select, and that is suggesting that we may be getting past some of the problems with heavy weight cattle in the feedyards. We are up only about $1 across the past five trading days, but the movement is in the right direction, and that appears to be supporting a $64 cash cattle market early in the week in very limited trade, and we may see $65 again before the week is out. With the October live cattle contract trading just above $67, we are now $2 off the highs that we saw in the futures this month and appear to be heading toward a cash-futures convergence as we move out toward October somewhere in the mid-$60s. I had suggested that rallies up toward that high around $69 should be sold, and I would hold those short hedge positions until we see whether or not this market will be able to find some improvement in short-term fundamentals, put a bottom in place, and start to climb to somewhat better price levels. I don't see any evidence of that so far and would be content to sit with short hedges in place in this market until we see some new developments.

In the feeder cattle market, we are seeing slightly better pricing performance, and that is consistent with corn coming off its highs and the modest improvement we have seen in the fed cattle. Last Thursday's close was above the July high just above $79, and then the market reversed and came back down closing well below $79 in Friday's session. I have been suggesting that producers should go ahead and forward price these fall cattle on rallies up around that $79 level, and if you did that, I think it is going to work. If you did not place short hedges, we now have a high just under $80 from last Thursday that becomes the new resistance plane. You might ratchet up your thinking a bit and sell a rally back above $79.50. I would monitor the October contract where much of the trade is in this market and sell the September and November at the same time if you need to have hedge protection in one of those months.





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