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Where's the BEEF?

Colonel’s Blog, Earthdate 1 March 2024…

Hey Y’all!

Good evening and happy Fast-Jet Friday from Air2Ground Farms! The fast jet today is the Mighty-Mighty F-15E Strike Eagle. The first pic is a Lakenheath jet flying low in Wales, the bottom jet is from Seymour Johnson and is executing a maximum performance climb immediately after takeoff. The top pic is our bull and below that is the entire flerd enjoying some hay. The pic of just some grass is…well…just some grass, but if you look really close, you can start to see some GREEN! We finally had to put up some sheep nets to keep the sheep from going under the barbed wire fence to get to the new green shoots of grass. They couldn’t resist the green on the other side of the fence so we had to add more barrier to keep them contained. We plan to “work” them a week from today and upon completion move them into a paddock where they will stay the entire lambing season. We just need them to stay put for another week. The chickens have really started laying. We are up to 3 dozen eggs per day. That’s less than half where we will be in a few weeks but when we’re used to getting a half dozen, it looks like a lot. The hogs are still growing and really look nice. The guardian dogs are all doing well and Lucy and Tozer continue to roam and keep the farm safe from the neighbor dogs and coyotes. All in all, the farm is doing very well!

The United States has less cattle in pastures than we have had in over 70 years. The livestock report at the end of 2023 showed historically low numbers of cattle, while there is a 2% increase in the feedlots from last year. How did we get to that weird situation? This is the result of farmers and ranchers selling off their heifers with their steers. Let me describe the perfect storm. War in the Ukraine caused grain and fertilizer prices to go up. Drought caused pastures to thin. As fertilizer prices went up, hay prices went up…and after the drought, hay prices went up even more. Pasture grass thin, hay and grain prices soaring, farmers and ranchers took advantage of high prices for stockers at the livestock markets. And when they did, they really took advantage and sold replacement heifers with the steers. That was probably a great business decision as the price to keep them was high and the price to sell them was also high, both driving farmers and ranchers to sell. That leads to the increase in cattle at the feedlots and the decrease of cattle on pasture. BUT, it also leads to a situation where there could be a shortage of beef because the heifers will be food instead of mothers. If you check the beef futures, the prices go up for as far out as they predict. Where does that leave us, or what does it matter to our small beef operation? We had long discussions regarding selling some of our steers last summer. We could have made enough to pay for the hay this winter. We decided that the security of beef in the pasture was of more benefit to our family (not necessarily our business) than to pay for the hay. So, they are still here, eating the hay we paid for from the family accounts. We hope we made the right decision, even for the business, in the long run. We just don’t want to be in the position of asking “Where’s the BEEF?”

Check out the Dust’er Mud podcast from Thursday where we chatted with the revolutionaries behind the Little Farm Store, which delivers the farmers market to your door! Oh, and they sell Air2Ground Farms' meats too!

Today’s Video is a fun video of us grilling a WHOLE chicken and then discussing how to turn a low-carb meal into a keto meal…No, low carb does not always equal keto.


Psycho & Shelley

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Great topic and discussion! I think sometimes the better payoff comes from long term availability and consistency in your market. You chose to hold on to your future production instead of selling now. It will likely be harder and cost more in the future to buy the animals in the future because of the shortage created. I have a buddy who turns cattle pretty quickly when he can make some money but we were talking today about our market strategy being different in our goals. He’s looking for the quick turn while looking to have consistent availability of good beef in the now and in the future.

I’m on the wagering side that you’ve done it the right way!

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