CattleFax Predicts Large Supply and Strong Demand in 2018

CattleFax celebrated its 50th anniversary during the popular CattleFax Outlook Session at the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. CattleFax Senior Analyst Kevin Good highlighted the industry’s profitability during 2017 and said the trend looks to continue into 2018.

CattleFax analysts told the audience U.S beef cow inventory increased 2.8 million head in four years, and an additional 200,000-400,000 head are expected to be added to the herd over the next few years. Good said there are growing supplies of protein coming to market during the year ahead, including large supplies of competing proteins, which will weigh on all beef prices.

“We have a bigger supply of all proteins ahead in 2018. For the past year we were very fortunate to have solid export volume,” said Good. “We are forecasting trade to increase year-over-year in 2018, but still, the rate of production is out-pacing the rate of exports.”

Although beef production is expected to increase to 27.5 billion pounds during 2018, Good said current consumer demand is expected to remain good and potentially increase as retail prices moderate. He said CattleFax is predicting beef to remain a strong competitor against other proteins.

“Demand is robust on all fronts. Domestically, retail demand is increasing and beef is being featured more in the consumer markets,” said Good. “The retail and foodservice industries are doing very well and the solid economy in the United States is one of the main drivers as unemployment rates continue to decline and per capita income rises.”

Good said even though beef demand is high, leverage will continue to be a challenge for the feedlot and packing segments as shackle space becomes increasingly constrained by rising slaughter rates. With the growth in production, Good said he anticipates lower, but still profitable price levels for the cow-calf segment, while feeders and backgrounders will see their margins narrow.

Input costs are expected to remain manageable, with grain prices expected to remain steady. According to CattleFax, yields will drive corn prices in 2018-19 marketing year with no significant changes anticipated in acreage or demand. Futures corn prices are projected to range from $3.25 to $3.95 per bushel as supplies remain adequate. With more livestock to feed in 2018 and the smallest acreage on record in 2017, CattleFax predicts hay prices will increase $10-$15 per ton with additional weather-related price risks.

Drought conditions have been spreading across the United States since last winter with the Southwest being impacted the most. Art Douglas, professor emeritus, Creighton University, predicts a possible transition from La Niña conditions to a weaker El Niño by summer. U.S. weather patterns over the next three months will be dictated by La Niña. However, equatorial warming could shift drought patterns across North America by late spring and summer.

During the session, CattleFax analysts predicted fed cattle prices lower than prior year levels, averaging $115 per hundredweight (cwt.). Good said fed cattle prices are likely to face resistance near the $130 level, with downside risk in the upper $90 range. He predicted bargaining position will continue to favor cattle processors and retailers, with profit margins at or above 2017 levels.

CattleFax projected 750-pound steers will average $1 lower than 2017 levels at $145/cwt., with a range from the upper $120s to $160/cwt. Meanwhile, U.S. average 550-pound steer calves will see a trading range from $170/cwt. at the spring high to an average price in the upper $130s, during the fall marketing season. For the full year, calf prices are expected to average $158/cwt.

To see more from the CattleFax Outlook Session or to become a member, visit www.cattlefax.com.

Beef Cattle Water Requirements Changing With Summer Heat

Dr. Rachel Endecott, MSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist

Of the six classes of nutrients — carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, and water — water is the most often overlooked, yet the most critical. Cattle performance can be affected by water intake.

Water requirements are a bit of a moving target, as feeds contain water and the metabolism of certain nutrients in the body produces water. This means that not all the water needs must be supplied as drinking water. High moisture feeds such as silages or pasture have increased water content, while harvested forages such as hay and straw contain little water. Cattle water needs are influenced by temperature, physiological stage, and weight (Table 1).

Endecott requirements of range livestock

Water intake increases dramatically at high temperatures; in fact, water requirements double between 50° and 95° F!  Table 2 illustrates the daily water requirements in gallons per 100 pounds of body weight for cattle at 90° F. This implies that a spring calving cow-calf pair would require 28 gallons of water for a 1400-lb cow plus an additional  7-9 gallons for a 350-450-lb calf (some of this increased calf water requirement can be met by milk intake).

Endecott water requirements cattle temperature

Providing unlimited access to clean, fresh water will ensure cattle performance is not negatively impacted; this goal becomes even more critical with increasing temperatures.

Proud to be a part of Montana ranching | Contest Winner

kayla lasalleLast month, we hosted a contest to find out why folks are proud to be a part of our Montana ranching communities and received some great feedback! We’re proud to announce that Kayla LaSalle, a Stockgrowers member and student at MSU-Northern in Havre, is our contest winner! Kayla will receive a copy of the first book in our Montana Family Ranching Series, Big Sky Boots.

Want to share why you’re proud to be a part of your Montana ranching communities? Send us an email or connect with us on social media!

Thank you Kayla for sharing why you’re proud to be a part of our Montana ranching communities and being an inspiration to many people!


I am proud to be a part of Montana ranching because I know it is something that will be carried on for generations with my family and to be farming and ranching is a way of life.

Another reason I am proud to be a part of ranching in Montana is that I get to experience a relationship with my horse that is difficult to explain, but she becomes my legs when I need her to help me see and go where I want to on the amazing land that we have. I have also come to understand what it means to work hard and what responsibility is.

A third reason that I am proud to be a part of Montana ranching is that I have an appreciation and understanding of where our food comes from being raised on a farm/ranch before it is sent out to the supermarkets for consumers to eat.

I am proud to be a part of Montana ranching is, even though times are changing with technology, farmers/ranchers are integrating it into their daily lives to continue to do their work efficiently and effectively! No matter what it is still a way of life!

Finally, I also am proud to be a part of Montana ranching because I love learning about the industry and I get to see amazing sunrises and sunsets without the views of city streetlights and skyscrapers blocking my view!

That is why I love Montana ranching!

By: Kayla LaSalle, Havre, MT

20 Montana Ranches Needed for 2015 Summer Research Project

Agri-Best Feeds is looking to work in conjunction with the Growth Through Agriculture Program sponsored by the Montana Department of Agriculture to do a summer research project on ranches throughout Montana evaluating the economic benefit of increased average daily gain on either calves or yearlings by feeding SweetPro and Redmond salt.

This project looks to work with approximately 20 ranches in different areas across Montana. Each ranch will put 75 to 200 head per ranch on the feeding program and compare the average daily gain to a contemporary group (same sex calves, similar genetics, range, water, etc.) of cattle on the rancher’s mineral and salt program. Each ranch will work with the researchers to put the protocols into place for around a 180 to 205 day trial that will look to run from calving to weaning for the cow/calf operation and the summer grazing period for a yearling operation.

Historically Agri-Best has seen and increase in average daily gains up to 4/10 of a pound utilizing SweetPro and Redmond salt compared to simply grazing with a good mineral program. The day cost for this program ranges from $0.42 to $0.48 per pair (or yearling) but the increased weight gain pays for all of the vitamin, mineral, protein, and energy needs of the cow, calf, and calf in gestation plus puts more dollars in the producer’s pockets and all on less grass.

For the summer research project, the selected ranches will pay $0.12 per pair (yearlings per head) per day for the animals on trial to participate in the program as a replacement value to their current salt and mineral program as well as supplying their normal mineral and salt for the control group. Agri-Best Feeds will carry the remaining cost of the program and deliver product into the ranch as well as working with the rancher on managing the feeding program. At the end of the trial period, the average gain increase will be multiplied by the contracted calf/yearling price and the proceeds split 50/50 between the rancher and Agri-Best Feeds. For example, a 4/10 pound average daily gain increase on $2.00 calves would produce an additional $.80 per day that would be split equally between the rancher and Agri-Best Feeds. The $.40/head on 100 head for 180 days would give the rancher an additional profit of $72/head or $7,200.

Other areas that this research project will evaluate are conception rates, forage usage, body condition, weaning ease and growth, and overall herd health.

Requirements to Participate in the 2015 Summer Feeding Research Project include:

  1. The management ability and commitment to follow the research protocol
  2. Enough cattle (pairs or yearlings – min of 100 head with 50 on trial/50 control) of:
    • Similar genetics
    • Same age (focusing on first and second calf heifers for the target of the bulk of the study)
    • Same sex on calves/yearings
  3. Same/similar range conditions (forage type, quality, quantity, etc.)
  4. Same/similar water (quality, availability, etc.)

The Growth through Agriculture Program seeks to add value to Montana’s agricultural products and have the prospects to create and/or retain jobs in Montana by funding projects that meet their criteria through grants and loans. Agri-Best Feeds, 2010 MSU College of Business State Farm Montana Family Business of the Year, seeks to equip farmers and ranchers to maximize land and livestock by distributing unique high performing products.

If you are interested in more information about this research project or to receive an application to participate in this research call 866 601-6646 and ask for Scott Anderson or email scott@agribestfeeds.com.

Tips for Cattle Vaccination Programs | 10 Things To Know

By Rachel Endecott, MSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist

Rachel Endecott, Montana State University Extension Beef Cattle SpecialistAs fall work starts to wind down, thoughts might turn to preparing for the next year of production and all the supplies that come with it. Vaccines are an important part of a herd health program, and this piece will cover some background and considerations about vaccines and beef cattle production. This overview is not meant to recommend vaccination programs, but will provide definitions of terminology and suggestions for effective vaccination.

Just what is a vaccine, anyway? One technical definition is a “suspension of attenuated or killed microorganisms or the antigenic proteins derived from them.” Let’s take that piece-by-piece: in this case, the suspension is a liquid that contains particles (microorganisms or proteins from them) that are mixed with the liquid but are not dissolved in it.

Attenuated means altered, usually in a way that makes something less severe—modified-live vaccines contain attenuated microorganisms. Killed vaccines contain killed microorganisms. Antigenic means that a substance causes an immune response—vaccines with this formulation contain a protein from the microorganism that is source of the immune response.

Successful vaccination depends on three critical factors: an effective vaccine, a functioning immune system, and administration of the vaccine before exposure to the disease. A vaccine may be ineffective if it is mishandled, if a booster is required but not given, or because of antigenic differences between the vaccine and field strains of the microorganism to which an animal is exposed.

An animal’s immune system may be unresponsive to vaccination because of age—a young calf’s immune system might not be fully functional at the time of vaccination, or antibodies from maternal colostrum still present in the calf inactivated the vaccine. Inadequate nutrition may also cause an animal’s immune system to be unresponsive to vaccination. Two other reasons for vaccine failure include that the animal was incubating the disease when vaccinated and that the duration of immunity after vaccination was inadequate.

Some tips for effective vaccination include:

  1. Read and follow label directions. If you are unsure, consult your veterinarian or call the vaccine company directly before using the product.
  2. Follow proper Beef Quality Assurance guidelines.
  3. Sterilize equipment between uses. Modified-live vaccines are sensitive to disinfectants, so do not use chemical disinfectants in syringes or needles for MLV use.
  4. Refrigerate and store vaccines as directed on the label. Be sure appropriate temperatures for the vaccine are maintained when they are away from the refrigerator.
  5. Keep vaccines out of sunlight, even when in the syringe.
  6. Mark syringes to avoid mixing or incorrect dosage.
  7. Mix only enough vaccine to be used in one hour or less.
  8. Choose correct needles for the job, and replace often.
  9. Keep records of vaccinations used.
  10. Good sanitation, management and nutritional practices are necessary to achieve the best results from vaccination programs.

Concerns When Feeding Sprouted Grain to Cattle

megan van emon msu extension beef specialistBy Megan Van Emon, MSU Extension Beef Specialist

Summer in Montana has been a wild ride. Because of the weather, grain harvest was delayed in many areas, and some barley and wheat have sprouted in the seed heads.  These sprouted grains, although not suitable for traditional markets, can be used as a feedstuff for livestock.

Based on the research, sprouted grains have similar feed value to non-sprouted grains.  Daily gains and feed efficiency in the feedlot are similar between cattle consuming non-sprouted or sprouted grains.  However, due to the high starch content of wheat and barley, feeding below 20% of the total ration on a dry matter basis is recommended to minimize incidences of acidosis.  For the greatest benefit of feeding wheat and barley, either sprouted or not, the kernels should be rolled or cracked, and should never be self-fed or used for creep feeding. Fine grinding of wheat and barley should be avoided.

grain cattle ranch feeding montanaMajor areas of concern when feeding sprouted grains are proper storage and the potential development of mold and mycotoxins.  Proper storage of the sprouted grains is crucial to maintaining quality and limiting mold growth.  If moisture levels are less than 13 percent, it can be stored as you would ordinarily store grain. When determining moisture levels of a field, make sure multiple samples are collected.  Moisture content may vary across the field depending on topography and wind, which would cause uneven drying the sprouted grain.  If moisture levels are greater than 13%, ensiling may be a better option for storage.  Sprouted grains can be ensiled in silos, bunkers, or storage bags.  Whole grain does not pack well, so rolling or cracking of the grain should be done prior to ensiling.  Sprouted grains, such as barley and wheat, can be layered with corn silage during silage packing to ensile the sprouted grain.

Due to high moisture of the sprouted grains and with cool weather conditions, mold may develop. If mold is seen on sprouted grains, it is recommended to collect multiple samples from the field. Proper drying of sprouted grains may occur on the outer edges and will be less susceptible to mold and mycotoxin production compared to the center of the field. Mold and mycotoxin levels should be assessed prior to feeding or harvesting because they can be hazardous to both humans and livestock. Barry Jacobsen, MSU Extension Plant Pathology, cautions that the dose of the mold or mycotoxin is very important when feeding potentially moldy feed. Jacobsen suggests that when submitting samples to labs, mold species and genus should be identified if possible. If mycotoxins are present in the sprouted grains at moderate levels, the sprouted grains should be combined with clean, non-moldy feed to reduce mycotoxin levels. For more, please contact your local Extension Office.

Reasons for Reproductive Failure in Cattle | 10 Things to Know

Let’s face it… Ranching is a business. To operate, a business must turn some kind of a profit. In the cattle business, reproduction is one of the most important economic traits. More important than growth, production, or carcass performance. If a cow fails to have a calf on the ground every year, something is missing.

Reproductive traits are some of the least heritable in the cow herd, meaning that we cannot rely on genetics along to improve program success. Fortunately, when there is failure in a breeding program, there are management tools we can utilize to build for success. Identifying the problems and opportunity for improvement are part of correcting the problem.

Top 10 Reasons for Reproductive Failure in Cows

She cycles like a ninja (silent heat)

Sperm and oocyte cannot meet (blocked oviducts)

Failure to launch (cystic follicle that will not ovulate)

Bad behavior (cortisol from stressed cow or bad handling)

She’s not feeling well (disease, manage that health and nutrition)

Exposure to environmental toxins

She’s too hot to handle (heat stress)

She has a mineral imbalance (pay attention to clinical and sub-clinical)

She lost her calf (embryonic or fetal loss)

She’s not eating her Wheaties (nutrition)

 Reasons Reproductive Failure Cows Bulls

Top 10 Reasons for Reproductive Failure in Bulls

Cows? What cows? (vision important to seeing estrus activity)

His penis looks strange and will not work (injury)

I’ve seen volcanoes cooler than this (heat stress, sperm quality, activity)

He’s not feeling well (disease, environmental toxins)

Scrotum looks a bit small (small testis – sperm factory)

The bull likes… Bulls? ( libido – requires observation to detect)

Shooting blanks (low sperm concentration, related to small testis or nutrition)

His sperm are weird shaped or have no tails (depleted reserves, poor morphology)

He needs a walker to get to the cows (foot and leg problems)

He carries a sign “Will breed for food” (under-fed and/or minerals)

This is just a short list of the issues we face when managing cattle and is adapted from a presentation by Dr. Neal Schrick at the University of Tennessee. More information about reproductive failure and how to manage those problems can be found from the Beef Reproduction Task Force.

What other issues when managing cattle reproductive problems do you encounter? Leave a comment below or email ryan@mtbeef.org. This is part of a month-long series of 10 Things to Know about Cattle. To read other posts in the series, click the image below.

Click this image to view all posts in the 30-day blogging series, 10 Things to Know About Cattle

Click this image to view all posts in the 30-day blogging series, 10 Things to Know About Cattle

Quality Beef from Quality Cattle Care | 10 Things To Know

Ed & David Fryer BQA at Castle Mountain RanchQuality beef comes from cattle who are well cared for and raised with a strong code of ethics and values. Ranchers providing that care are passionate and dedicated in what they do. Despite some reports from activists groups who use online forums to promote mistreatment of animals and solicit fund raising for their programs, cattle ranchers across the country devote significant time and resources to ensuring their livestock are cared for properly.

Beginning in the 1970s, cattle producers began to develop programs to evaluate, measure and ensure quality care for livestock and a safe beef supply. Today, that program has developed into the Beef Quality Assurance Program with guiding principles to establish standards for animal care.

  • WE BELIEVE production practices affect consumer acceptance of beef.
  • WE BELIEVE the BQA Program has and must continue to empower beef producers to improve the safety and wholesomeness of beef.
  • WE BELIEVE these fundamental principles are the fabricoftheBQA Program.
    1. Empowering people…because producers can make a difference.
    2. Taking responsibility…because it’s our job, not someone else’s.
    3. Working together…because product safety and wholesomeness is everyone’s business.
Beef Quality Assurance ProgramsCattle ranchers take pride in their responsibility to raising cattle, taking care of their land, and being good stewards of their resources. To suggest ranchers lack the proper values in raising safe, quality food, would be misleading. Thousands of cattle ranchers across the country participate in the Beef Quality Assurance programs which outline a Code of Cattle Care to ensure proper care and handling of livestock:
  1. Provide necessary food, water and care to protect the health and well-being of animals.
  2. Provide disease prevention practices to protect herd health, including access to veterinary care.
  3. Provide facilities that allow safe, humane, and efficient movement and/or restraint of cattle.
  4. Use appropriate methods to humanely euthanize terminally sick or injured livestock and dispose of them properly.
  5. Provide personnel with training/experience to properly handle and care for cattle.
  6. Make timely observations of cattle to ensure basic needs are being met.
  7. Minimize stress when transporting cattle.
  8. Keep updated on advancements and changes in the industry to make decisions based upon sound production practices and consideration for animal well-being.
  9. Persons who willfully mistreat animals will not be tolerated.

Want to hear from some of these ranchers? Take time to view interviews with Montana ranchers as they discuss their dedication to the livestock and the lifestyle by visiting our YouTube channel.

The Beef Quality Assurance Program outlines the minimum expectations of ranchers for cattle care and handling. To learn more about the program, visit BQA.org or contact your state’s coordinator. Learn more about Montana’s BQA program by visiting their Facebook page or by contacting Bill Pelton at (406) 671-5100 or by email at bill@billpelton.com.

What questions do you have about Beef Quality Assurance? Leave a comment below or email ryan@mtbeef.org. This is part of a month-long series of 10 Things to Know about Cattle. To read other posts in the series, click the image below.

Click this image to view all posts in the 30-day blogging series, 10 Things to Know About Cattle

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Introduction to Cattle Digestion | 10 Things To Know

Image via extension.umn.edu

Image via extension.umn.edu

Forages are the number one source of nutrition for cattle. Cattle are able to utilize a great number of forages, plants, and crop by-products as feed that humans cannot digest. They’re great recyclers and by utilizing cattle we’re able to produce food on millions of acres that otherwise wouldn’t be suitable for growing crops. Cattle are ruminants, meaning they digest feeds through microbial processes, compared to digestion through enzymes in monogastrics like horses, pigs and humans. Many scientists dedicate entire careers to the understanding of ruminant nutrition and are continually learning more about helping cattle to be more efficient and optimal producers through their diets.

Cattle have the capacity to consume 2-3% of their body weight in dry forages each day. That’s 24-36 pounds for a 1,200 lb animal. Less mature, higher quality forages will be digested more quickly and increase capacity for consumption. Lower quality feeds, high in lignin require more time for digestion and slow intake.

  1. Cattle have 1 stomach with four compartments – rumen (major digestion site), reticulum (honeycomb structure), omasum (has many folds, major site of water absorption), abomasum (true stomach, acid producing).
  2. The rumen is similar to a fermentation vat that can contain up to 50 gallons of material in adult cattle. The other stomach compartments regulate particle size. Once small enough, particles are allowed to pass from the rumen, to the other stomach compartments for continued digestion and absorption.
  3. Cattle spend about 8 hours each day “chewing the cud. They are regurgitating food boluses from the rumen and chewing up fibrous materials making them smaller for quicker digestion. This action stimulates saliva production, up to 45 gallons per day, that helps to maintain proper pH levels for rumen function.
  4. Most digestion in cattle occurs through bacteria and protozoa present in the rumen that digest feedstuffs to produce nutrients that the animal utilizes. The lining of the rumen is filled with finger-like projections called papillae that increase absorption capacity of the products of microbial digestion.
  5. Cattle are able to utilize a great number of feed sources because of the rumen microbes. Two basic groups of rumen bacteria exist to digest either structural (cellulose or hemicellulose from forages) or nonstructural (starch from grains) carbohydrates to obtain energy. Other feedstuffs broken down in the rumen include sugar, organic acids, protein or fat.
  6. Volatile Fatty Acids are the major products of rumen digestion and supply 80% of the animal’s energy requirements. The primary VFAs produced are acetic acid (60%), propionic acid (up to 20% on a high grain diet), and butyric acid (12-18%). Other products include heat, gases, amino acids and B-complex vitamins.
  7. The digestion of rumen microbes supply 60% of the animal’s protein requirement. To maintain microbial growth and function in the rumen, a minimum of only 7% crude protein from dietary intake is required. Excess protein in the diet is an inefficiency in the cattle diet and is broken down and excreted as ammonia through the urine.
  8. Fistulated cow with nutrition researcher examining rumen contents. Image via ans.iastate.edu

    Fistulated cow with nutrition researcher examining rumen contents. Image via ans.iastate.edu

    The balance of microbe populations in a proper diet keeps rumen pH in a range of 5.8 to 6.4. An abrupt change in major components of cattle diets (i.e. forages to grains), can result in excess acid production, resulting in a condition known as acidosis.  A transition period allows adjustment of rumen microbe populations and prevents this condition.

  9. Much of the information we learn about cattle digestion is learned through research using a fistula. This is a hole placed in the side of a cow where a rubber seal and plug are surgically placed. The plug can be removed and researchers can observe and sample rumen activity and contents. The fistula doesn’t harm or injure the cow and they are rarely used outside of research efforts.
What questions do you have about cattle digestion and the feeds they eat? Leave a comment below or email ryan@mtbeef.org. This is part of a month-long series of 10 Things to Know about Cattle. To read other posts in the series, click the image below.
Click this image to view all posts in the 30-day blogging series, 10 Things to Know About Cattle

Click this image to view all posts in the 30-day blogging series, 10 Things to Know About Cattle

Montana Farm and Ranch Facts | 10 Things To Know

Click this image to view all posts in the 30-day blogging series, 10 Things to Know About Cattle

Click this image to view all posts in the 30-day blogging series, 10 Things to Know About Cattle

We spend our entire lives working on ranches, going to meetings with other ranchers, and talking about the markets… with other ranchers. Sometimes it is easy to forget that many of the things we take for granted and the knowledge we see as second-nature may not always be known by someone who hasn’t been in the business very long. The ranching community is finally recognizing the fact that many customers buying our beef may not always realize these things either. That is part of our responsibility in advocacy – sharing the knowledge and information we have with those who are asking questions and seeking out answers.

During the month of November, we’ll be sharing “10 Things to Know About Cattle” as a part of Holly Spangler’s blogging challenge. Each day will be a different topic that will hopefully share some insightful information about things we encounter in the Montana ranching business. Some of it may be old hat for those of you who have been in the business a while. Hopefully, we will be sharing information for readers who are looking to learn more.

This won’t be an easy task, but we are always up for a good challenge! Have any suggestions for topics to cover? Leave your questions in the comments section below or email ryan@mtbeef.org.

Granville Stuart Montana StockgrowersIt only seems right to kick off the series with an introduction to the Montana cattle business. Here are 10 things you may or may not have known about the history of Montana farming and ranching and where we’re at today.

  1. The Montana Stockgrowers Association has been representing the interests of Montana’s ranchers since 1884. A launching effort to organize the group was by Granville Stuart leading up to the “Cowboy Legislature” of 1885 which established many laws focused on protecting cattle from predators, diseases and rustlers that were taking a toll on the early ranchers.
  2. Cattle ranching in Montana has its roots beginning in the 1850s. One of the earliest ranches was started by Conrad Kohrs. This ranch is now the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site owned by the National Park Service.
  3. Montana is home to 28,100 farm and ranch operations that cover 59,700,000 acres of land (63%  of state land area). The average size of these Montana farms and ranches is 2,125 acres.
  4. There are 93,155,800 acres of land in Montana. 32,473,220 acres, 34.86%, are public lands managed by state and federal agencies. Montana ranchers utilize much of this land through grazing leases to feed cattle during the summer months, which helps to manage wildlife habitat.
  5. Montana ranks number 10 in the country for number of cattle and calves; number 7 for the number of sheep and lambs (236.646).
  6. Cattle outnumber people in the state of Montana, 2.5:1. There are 2,550,000 head of cattle in Montana, as of January 1, 2014, and only 1,015,000 people (2013).
  7. Most cattle on Montana are on cow/calf operations. There are only 45,000 cattle on feed and 14,000 dairy cows in the state.
  8. The average Montana farmer and rancher is 58.9 years of age. 84% of primary operators are men. 45% of operators have another primary source of income, outside of farming and ranching.
  9. Agriculture is Montana’s number 1 industry, cattle being the largest commodity with $1,783,908,000 in sales. The 2012 market value of all Montana agricultural products sold was $4,230,083,000, ranking 29th in the U.S.
  10. Each year, farms and ranches contribute $3,516,180,000 to the Montana economy in purchasing power. The average annual net farm income is $41,855.

Have questions or suggested topics for this 30 day series? Leave them in the comments section below or email ryan@mtbeef.org.

Here is a list of all the bloggers participating in the challenge. Be sure to click on over and show your support for their blogging efforts too!