Cattle producers attending the 92nd Annual North Dakota Stockmen’s Association Convention learned from experts at North Dakota State University about the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. This year, one challenge has been drought, which has kept the crew at the North Dakota Veterinary Diagnostic Lab busy. “The most critical issues we’ve been seeing are related to water, both poor water quality and blue-green algae blooms,” said Brett Webb, lab director. “A couple other issues are related to toxicity in forages. Drought stress has brought in quite a few cases of high nitrates and occasional cyanide toxicity.” On stop number two was all about beef quality and yield grading at the NDSU Meats Lab. According to Animal Science Department Associate Professor Rob Maddock, that ultimately determines overall carcass value. Based off the current live cattle price, producers in the room were given a wholesale meat value and packer margins, which ranged anywhere from $750-to-$1,050. “Processing speeds at packing facilities are moving slow right now. That means there are fewer cattle moving through the line, and that’s what’s driving the large margins.” The final stop on the tour was the Commodity Trading Room at Barry Hall at the downtown Fargo campus. Listen to the story.