7 CALF News • February | March 2022 • have to compete to operate at their most efficient full level. “So the opportunity is for higher prices. That would suggest more returns to RO, depending on how much of the higher prices are bid into feeder cattle prices.” Ready for Risk Management The drought situation could impact feed costs as dramatically as it does the lack of forage for grazing. Corn prices, already in the $5.50 to $6.50 per bu. range, could climb. “Feed costs will play a role in profits this year. Feed cost risk management and protection is important,” Anderson says. “Careful evaluation should be made on the risk of higher prices. Typically, corn prices this high would encourage more acres and ration demand. But high fertilizer and other production costs will cut into those acres. “While a lot of acres will be planted, the yield risk due to possible drought is important. The risk of drought extending into the Corn Belt is a real one. The drought monitor map looks pretty ominous and long-term forecasts would indicate some risk.” Feedyards look for calves with strong genetics. Many can provide pastures to extend preconditioning and add pounds before they hit the bunk. Feedyards see it as another marketing opportunity and are often eager to partner with producers interested in RO. There are also opportunities to sell calves other than normal months in the fall, which can see seasonal markets that are lower for feeder cattle. Of course, producers can contact feedyards that buy their calves to learn how they perform and possibly adjust their breeding program. “However, the signals are clearer if there is a direct economic link between cost of production, the price received at slaughter and the person controlling the genetic make-up of the cattle,” according to information from Iowa State University. Those signals are clearer when cattle are sold on one of many grids, which provide carcass quality sought by packers for various retail and food service markets. Another benefit of RO is to determine if your preconditioning program is producing results. If results aren’t what are expected, feedyard operators can work with you to develop a better value-added calf program. Anderson sees optimism for higher cattle prices.“I think fed cattle will remain in the black later into 2022,” he says.“But again, I would not want to be uncovered on the feed-cost side. Careful evaluation of the profit potential and what kind of risk you can stand is needed.” Hopefully, dry weather will be replaced by spring and summer showers, which will provide producers with greater options to profit from tighter cattle supplies and strong domestic and foreign demand. And retained ownership could be an added marketing tool to get more out of your investment in better performing cattle.  3 Sizes Available! The First Hydraulic Corral and still the Largest! • Pull on highway at speed limit. • Fits through any gate your pickup will. • Stable on uneven terrain. • Permanent sheeted adjustable alley. Rawhide Portable Corral 900 NORTHWASHINGTON ST., ABILENE, KS 67410 785.263.3436 Rawhide Processor by John McDonald • Wheels on each panel and electric over hydraulic jack eliminates lifting—saves time. • Frame gates for sorting. • Transport wheels are permanent, no sliding off the axles and rolling out of the way.