Tag Archives: livestock


For 37 years I’ve run 25 to 40 cows, mostly black Brangus. I’ve fed them minerals on and off, but last year I started keeping minerals out year-round. After a few months I noticed the hair along the cows’ backs turning a reddish brown tint. I was told this could be a sign of copper deficiency. What does that mean, and is it something I should be concerned about?


I have seen similar occurrences on black cattle before, but because we never observed any production issues related to it, I never really explored it further.

True copper deficiency is most common in growing animals. A change in coat color is the sign of copper deficiency that most people point to because it’s easy to see. But real copper deficiency can cause what I call “pocket book changes”.

Copper is a critical component of hemoglobin production and a properly functioning immune system. Signs of a real deficiency often include diarrhea, generalized unthriftiness, reduced weight gain or weight loss, anemia and lameness. We have documented a few incidences of copper deficiency in our area. Many of our Southeastern soils are low in copper. In the West, an excess of molybdenum often interferes with copper uptake into plants.

When I look at minerals, my concern is more focused on who made the mineral and whether or not the cows eat it. Percentages and PPMs (parts per million) mean little in the big picture, if cows do not consistently consume the right amount of mineral.

Another issue can be the form of the minerals. Often the oxide forms are not as available as other forms. Additionally, one mineral can affect the availability of another mineral. An excess of iron or molybdenum can interfere with copper and other minerals. So in my mind, the reputation of the company manufacturing the minerals is a whole lot more important to me than what the tag on the bag says. A reputable company or supplier will always stand behind their product.

I believe every farm needs a good mineral program designed for that particular operation. Some people recommend different minerals at different times of the year and for different classes of cattle, but there needs to be a complete and balanced mineral available at all times.

Work with your veterinarian, Extension agent or farm supply store to develop a mineral program that fits your farm. Unless the mineral you were using contributed to a problem you already had, I doubt using it on an occasional basis made much of a difference.

The January cattle on feed report showed an increase in cattle placed into feedlots and cattle marketed out of feedlots. The total number of cattle on feed was relatively unchanged from a year ago.

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 12.0 million head on January 1, 2021. The inventory was slightly above January 1, 2020. The inventory included 7.40 million steers and steer calves, up slightly from the previous year. This group accounted for 62 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.57 million head, down slightly from 2020.

Placements in feedlots during December totaled 1.84 million head, 1 percent above 2020. Placements were the second highest for January since the series began in 1996. Net placements were 1.78 million head. During December, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 460,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 435,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 425,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 317,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 110,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 95,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during December totaled 1.85 million head, 1 percent above 2020. Marketings were the second highest for January since the series began in 1996.


January Cattle on Feed January 2021 Est. Range of Estimates
On Feed 100.00% 99.30% 98.8%-99.9%
Placed 101.00% 97.00% 98.9%-106.5%
Marketed 101.00% 100.70% 100.3%-101.8%


Jerry Stowell with Country Futures breaks down the full report here:

Kyle Bumsted joins the Fontanelle Final Bell on Thursday to talk all aspects of the cattle market. Despite grains trying to make some gains on the day live cattle and feeder cattle futures continued higher. Bumsted points out how April live cattle have continued to test the $120 mark and have continued to steadily move higher. Calendar spreads in the live cattle though bear watching according to Bumsted with most near long term lows.

Although futures have continued higher the cash market has hit a stale mate as feeders market cattle near steady to last week. This comes as holding cattle for a better market is unprofitable given the recent rally in corn and feedstuffs. Bumsted also highlights why it may not be corn that is directly impacting the feeder cattle futures, but rather the live cattle futures.

Bumsted not only looks at the feeder cattle futures, but also looks at the cash market. Bumsted believes the volume of feeders headed to town will slow down in the coming weeks as both buyers and sellers hold off until closer to grass season. Fly weight cattle continue to be popular at feeder sales due to the multiple marketing avenues available to the buyer and less capitol required.

You can listen to the full conversation with Kyle Bumsted here: