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Our own worst enemy?

Jalopy

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I read this in the Stockmans Grazier Blog and thought it was food for thought and debate. I have not really decided if I can agree totally with the premise. However if grain prIces stay at record levels maybe heading back to more moderate sized cattle that finish sooner is an option. What do others think?


What Happend To The Cattle Cycle? E-mail
Tuesday, 06 January 2009

Whatever happened to the old reliable cattle cycle? Larger cattle is what happened. Every year since 1970, we have harvested one million fewer head of cattle and yet every year our national beef production has increased. There are now 500,000 fewer cattle producers than there were 20 years ago as well. The shift to large frame, late maturing bulls by American seedstock producers has created an industry that needs far fewer ranchers, bulls and seedstock producers. A shift back to moderate sized, early maturing cattle genetics could reverse this sad self-liquidation trend while making cattle much more grass-friendly and efficient.
 

john250

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The pounds we sell are what counts. I don't sell any by the head.
If my calves are heavier than they were in 1970, I don't need to sell as many head.
I'd look for other measures, like feed conversion. If the bigger cattle are less efficient, that is a problem. Just being bigger isn't necessarily the problem.
 

Jalopy

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We don't sell by the head either. The point I got from the article is that large framed heavy cattle take more grain to get a good finished product as opposed to a more moderate framed animal that would finish at the same grade around an estimated 1000 pounds as opposed to 1200-1300#. If that is the case then with the higher grain prices we are pushing our industry into a hole by continuing with the large cattle. I am not a total proponent of grass finished beef but if we can finish a moderate framed beef animal on fewer pounds of grain then the net money would be higher per animal. I realize that different portions of the industry and the world are dictated by environment as to what they produce, it's just a thought to consider for the entire industry. Thanks for commenting.
 

john250

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I'm looking for the cows and bulls which give a moderate carcass, myself.
Smaller, earlier finishing at a high marbling score.
The local meat market sells sides and they find a smaller carcass easier to sell. It is a smaller check for the customer.
 

Jogeephus

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Not wanting to argue, I'd just like to pose some food for thought. In the seventies, people bought roasts and other large cuts quite frequently. Now, people cook differently. Could this not have something to do with this? Afterall, you wouldn't want a roast made out of an old dairy cow whereas it really wouldn't matter in the case of cheap hamburger. Also, in the seventies, I doubt many people would have tolerated the amount of fat they stick in hamburger today nor the amount of ice they are allowed to use as filler. Could this not skew some numbers? Just some thoughts.

Edit; and the wet aging process. Ever seen how much water is poured out of one of the bags? This is counted as weight isn't it?
 

Oldtimer

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Jalopy":13kuzc58 said:
I read this in the Stockmans Grazier Blog and thought it was food for thought and debate. I have not really decided if I can agree totally with the premise. However if grain prIces stay at record levels maybe heading back to more moderate sized cattle that finish sooner is an option. What do others think?


What Happend To The Cattle Cycle? E-mail
Tuesday, 06 January 2009

Whatever happened to the old reliable cattle cycle? Larger cattle is what happened. Every year since 1970, we have harvested one million fewer head of cattle and yet every year our national beef production has increased. There are now 500,000 fewer cattle producers than there were 20 years ago as well. The shift to large frame, late maturing bulls by American seedstock producers has created an industry that needs far fewer ranchers, bulls and seedstock producers. A shift back to moderate sized, early maturing cattle genetics could reverse this sad self-liquidation trend while making cattle much more grass-friendly and efficient.

I'm a big believer in "true" moderate sized cattle- and those genetics that can finish faster on either grass and/or the feedlot..

But don't forget AFTA, NAFTA, and all the so called "Free" Trade agreements that have brought in a considerable amount of imported beef and cattle- which have then been allowed to be passed off as USA beef- allowing the multinational Packers to shop around and manipulate the prices they will/are then paying for US cattle/beef... :(

This became very apparent with the record high US cattle prices that were seen during the time period the Canadian border was closed to cattle/beef imports because of their BSE problem..
 

brandonm_13

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I think we'll see more moderate sized cattle because of all the health issues in our food today. People are being forced to become more food conscience whether they want to or not. I also think that for most of us that raise beef and try to keep expenses as low as possible, people are getting away from grain feeding because of the high prices we've seen in the last few years.
 

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