“Maybe some people in the right areas and right forages, maybe they’ll have grass fed beef, and then in other areas, where there’s some by-product utility, there may be some specially fed cattle that’ll be fed just that local by-product that’s there that can get the job done.”
Retired beef scientist Bill Turner says it’s not likely we’ll see the basic cow/calf man integrate upwards in the beef production process, but he is going to adapt to changes within the industry.
“Fundamentally, the way I see it, we won’t be selling light weight calves. We’re going to keep them on the ranches, get them heavier, and when we do sell them, we gross more dollars, and we’ve got to do that cheaply, so if we’re going to grow a weaned calf, we’re probably going to grow him on a pasture program, or on a forage based feed.”
That will be a pretty big shift for most operations.
“Because if they say I have x number of acres, I can carry x number of cows. What this means is that they may carry less cows, so that they can take a set of calves and retain them ‘til they get to a heavier weight where they’ll be more competitive in moving into the feeding industry.”
Turner says it will be even more important for cattlemen to have an acute understanding of what goes into their enterprise.
“If you come to me and say, can you sell 800 pound calves, my answer is yes. I can show you genetically, nutritionally, I can show you how to produce great big calves. The question is, can I do it profitably? And so what happens here is, I think there’s a lot of opportunity, if we just know the parameters that are out there.”
It appears that our favorite cuts of beef may now make a few different twists on turns before they finally hit our plates.