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Cattle prices down; exports key for the future; beware toxic plants

The trade show at the Texas AampM Beef Cattle Short Course features networking among industry vendors and cattle producers
<p>The trade show at the Texas A&amp;M Beef Cattle Short Course features networking among industry vendors and cattle producers.</p>
Cattle market declines 40 percent Emerging markets key for livestock markets Beware of toxic plants during dry periods

A record number of livestock producers, 1,900, heard the latest update on the cattle market decline but some encouraging predictions about emerging markets during the annual Beef Cattle short course in College Station. Also, a new report from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension specialists cautions producers about toxic plants during a period of sparse vegetation.

Three recent reports from Texas AgriLife media services cover the short course and announce a new workshop on toxic plant management Aug. 15 in Lubbock.

Producers at the short course heard tips on how to deal with smaller profit margins and how valuable those emerging markets are going to be for future profits.

“The future is overseas,” said Buck Thomason, a Brangus producer and owner of Indian Hills Ranch in Cranfills Gap. “If we can tie those people to the education system at Texas A&M, they will always look to the U.S. and Texas specifically for the production systems, education and science we develop here.”


Cattle markets are down 40 percent; producers wonder when it hits bottom

Cattle producer had a good run for several years but, as is the case with ag commodities, all good runs tend to come to an end.

The record number of attendees at the 62nd annual Beef Cattle Short Course in College Station heard some less than optimistic news about beef market potential.

“We’ve had quite a run over the past two years with regards to high cattle prices,” said Dr. Jason Cleere, conference coordinator and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service beef cattle specialist, College Station. “Cattle prices fell considerably last fall and ranchers are concerned with where they will go in the future.”

“We’ve seen quite a slide, 40 percent, which is quite challenging,” said Gerald Sullivan, who co-owns Santa Rosa Ranch in Navasota and Crockett with his daughter, Kelley Sullivan.


Emerging markets promising for cattle producers

The future of cattle markets will be in exports, according to speakers at the recent Beef Cattle Short Course in College Station. The annual conference set an attendance record this year with 1,900 attendees. Of those, eight foreign countries were represented, indicating significant interest from foreign buyers in the U.S. cattle market and production system.

“Our international beef producers continue to have great interest in how we produce beef here in Texas, and the beef short course provides comprehensive education that no other venue can provide,” said Dr. Jason Cleere, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist and conference coordinator, College Station.

Duane Lenz, CattleFax analyst, projected growth in emerging markets over the next 10 years, which is good news for Texas beef cattle producers as well as those throughout the U.S.


Hungry livestock at risk of poisonous plants

If livestock are hungry enough, they may eat poisonous plants, says Robert Scott, AgriLife Extension agriculture and natural resources agent in Lubbock County.

Livestock producers, especially during periods of drought and poor range conditions, should be aware of the possibility and learn to identify toxic plants, Scott says.

A pasture and poison plant management workshop Aug. 15 in Lubbock will provide management recommendations.  

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