OCR Interpretation

Montana farmer-stockman. [volume] (Great Falls, Mont.) 1947-1993, December 15, 1961, Image 8

Image and text provided by Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86075096/1961-12-15/ed-1/seq-8/

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Firm Prices for Purebred Cattle
MONTANA - WYOMING growers of
purebred cattle must be gratified over the
good prices offered for their registered
stock, both at private treaty and at auction
sales this fall. Livestock breeders are not
always so fortunate. Purebred livestock
prices can go up or down sharply within a
short period of time. It all depends on the
weather, the roads, the price of commercial
stock and perhaps even the results of last
Saturday's ball game. No one knows for
With a dry season behind them, there
was talk of depressed calf and yearling
prices early in the fall. And a possibility of
short feed supplies, this winter in certain
areas had to be considered. Purebred breed
ers approached the fall sale season with con
siderable apprehension.
But what happened? Six association
sales reported a combined average price on
222 bulls sold of $571 per head. These sales
were held in Great Falls, Chinook, Malta,
Dillon, Shelby and Billings. Last year these
same associations averaged $581 on 205
bulls, and the year before, $628 on 206
Barley Program Penalizes Montana
malting barley would be eligible for price
support if he plants barley only of an ac
ceptable malting variety and if his acreage
is not in excess of 110 per cent of the farm's
1959-60 average barley acreage.
But in order to comply with the program
a producer of barley not designated as a
malting variety has to reduce his acreage 20
per cent.
While this preferred treatment of malt
ing barley was no doubt well intentioned
and was based on the assumption that there
is a shortage of good malting barley, the
actual effect of the malting barley pref
erence is to favor the producers of malting
barley varieties to the serious disadvantage
of the producers of barley not designated as
The principal reason why the program
as now established is clearly inequitable is
that a great deal of the barley of malting
varieties goes on the market as feed barley.
It is the quality, more than the particular
variety, that is in demand by maltsters and
for which they pay a premium.
In an average year only 20 to 25 per cent
of the annual U.S. production of barley is
used by the maltsters. The remainder is used
as feed. Thus when producers of so-called
malting barley are permitted an increase
of 10 per cent in their plantings, they are
regarding the 1962 federal barley program,
it becomes clearer that the effect of the pro
gram will be to seriously penalize Montana
growers. In setting up the specifications of
the program USD A administrators assumed
that there is a shortage of malting barley
since a premium is paid for barley of that
So it was provided that a producer of
5 >
Comparatively, good quality steer calves
were selling in the neighborhood of 28 cents
at the beginning of this fall's purebred sales
season. In 1960, they were bringing about
25 cents, and in 1959, around 30 cents.
Among the many items purchased by the
rancher, there are few that offer more
value than a good registered bull in the $500
price bracket. Consider the money invested
by the breeder in his own cow herd and in
high-priced herd sires, plus his extra in
vestment in time, management and record
keeping, the cost of registration, fitting and
exhibiting. Consider also that after use the
bull still has a salvage value generally more
than half its original cost.
, It has been noticeable that the top quality
bulls selling at auction have brought strong
prices and spirited bidding. Tail end, or
poorer quality animals on the other hand,
arouse much less interest, with prices down
to their value as slaughter animals. Or, in
many casps, no bids at all.
This is a trend which is undoubtedly
good for the industry, but mighty tough on
the consignor whose cattle are of inferior
quality, or not well known nor proven, or
on the wrong end of the sale order.
actually being given acreage that is taken
away from the producers of non-designated
varieties who are required to reduce their
acreage 20 per centrin order to comply with
the program.
On the basis of figures compiled by Pro
fessor Eslick of Montana State College (see
article on P. 9 of this issue), a 20 per cent
across-the-board reduction in barley acre
age in the important 8-state area, including
Montana would result in a reduction of 2,
167,000 acres in 1962 planting,
But because of the privilege extended to
producers of malting barley there would be
a reduction of only 305,606 acres on a full
compliance basis of which 244,967, or 80
per cent, would come from Montana's acre
The permitted increase in the states
producing varieties designated as "malting"
would mean a still larger proportion of the
so-called malting barley going into the feed
market in competition with feed barley pro
duced elsewhere.
Such a seriously inequitable effect of the
1962 program clearly demands correction.
Some Montana brewers use Compana bar
ley, Montana's leading variety, for malting
purposes with very satisfactory results.
There would thus be some basis for desig
nating Compana as a malting barley for pro
gram purposes.
Unless this or some other method is util
ized by administrators at Washington to ad
just the gross inequity in the program
as now being administered and unless full
consideration is given tp properly adjusting
county production averages because of the
drought conditions which prevailed during
the base period, many Montana barley grow
ers may feel compelled to stay out of the
barley program.
=■=■ f&fhCMfA. M tiw
Provisions of the Soil Bank program
limit each producer to annual payments of
not more than $5,000. In 1957 a Colorado
farm operator purchased a 6,960 acre farm
for $139,200. He then proceeded to "cash
rent" the land to 6 other individuals who
placed 3,379 acres of the land under soil
bank contracts. The cash rent payable to the
land owner approximated the amounts pay
able under the soil bank contracts. These
contracts were for a period of 10 years and
during that time the land owner stood to
realize some $271,000. Secretary of Agricul
ture Freeman has taken the position that
such contracts constitute an evasion of the
maximum payment limitation and has
therefore cancelled them.
* * *
In making up your Christmas gift list
why not give some thought to using farm
products. Most recipients would be de
lighted to receive a good cut of meat, a
turkey, a few dozen eggs, some cheese or
any other good farm or ranch eatable. If
you and a few million other farmers and
ranchers would follow this practice, it
would put an appreciable dent in the agri
cultural surplus.
♦ ♦ *
Range improvement through reseed
ing and/or fertilization has proved profit
able to stockgrowers in numerous instances.
Mountain meadows particularly seem to re
spond well to such treatment. It is best to
experiment with a few acres before going
ahead on any large scale project of this
Wayne Bratten, president of Montana
Stockgrowers Assoication, believes that the
stability of the cattle industry is threatened
by possible arbitrary government reduction
of grazing on public lands. Bratten points
to the increasing emphasis on recreation,
wild life and urban development to the dis
advantage of grazing, forestry and mining.
* * *
Farm numbers in Canada are shrinking
faster than in the United States. Between
1951 and 1959 the number of people on
Canadian farms dropped 27 per cent. In
U.S. the reduction was 16 per cent.
* * *
The performance of universities and col
leges in producing a reservoir of brain pow-'
er and skilled manpower is a critical ele
ment in sustaining economic development
of the west, in the opinion of Governor
Albert D. Rosellini of Washington. "Cer
tainly, those of us in Government realize
that the maintenance of our educational
systems is, without doubt, our paramount
responsibility," says Rosellini.
OFFICE 414 2nd Ave. North, Great Falls, Montana *
LESTER COLE, Publisher; DON R. BOSLEY, Associate
Editor; LARRY GILL. Livestock Editor; RAY OZMON,
Field Editor; CASEY ANDERSON, Livestock Field Repre
Department Editors: AMY MARTIN, Rural Homes Depart
ment; DR. W. W. HAWKINS JR., Veterinary Department;
ARTHUR F. SHAW, Soils and Crops; RAY REIMAN. Market
Analyst; OSCAR L. MOLDENHAUER, Weather Forecast;
MONT H. SAUNDERSON, Ranch, Farm Management.
LARRY GILL. Advertising Director; EARL STEFFANI.
Local Advertising Representative.
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CHICAGO 4, Fred Tool, National Adv. Manager, 28 E.
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Montgomery Street.
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