Beef Cattle Industry Essay

2827 words - 12 pages

The commercial beef cattle industry is one of the strongest agricultural industries in the United States of America. Since the late fifteenth century, cattle have dominated the North American continent, especially the United States. Much has changed, however, since their first arrival to America. Breeds have evolved and practices have improved. Possibly one of the only things that has not changed is the hard work, time, and effort that the American farmers and ranchers spend each day tending to their herds. There is around 89.3 million head of cattle in America and about 315.1 million people. That means that for approximately every four people in the United States, there is one beef ...view middle of the document...

There are many different aspects of beef production, and they all require some type of equipment.
It is common for beef industry producers to specialize in a certain production aspect. Each of the different segments are managed and marketed differently. One type of beef producers is called a seedstock producer. They are also known as purebred or registered breeders. These are specialized cow-calf producers with a focus and responsibility to breed genetics that will contribute to a gain in profit for the industry. These breeders typically focus on a certain breed of cattle such as Simmental, Angus, or Brangus. Seedstock breeders make a profit by selling genetic information, breeding bulls, breeding heifers, cows, semen, and embryos to other breeders and commercial cow-calf producers. The top producing seed stock operation in the country is Express Ranches, owned by Robert A. Funk and operated by CEO, Jarold Callahan. Express Ranches has 5,930 total marketings, and runs cattle on ten different ranches consisting of 2,000,000 acres of land in the states of Oklahoma and New Mexico. The second highest seedstock operation, Gardiner Angus Ranch, comes out of Kansas with 3,350 total marketings. This company is owned by the Gardiner Family and operated by CEO, Henry Gardiner, they run cattle on one ranch consisting of 49,000 acres (www.beefusa.org).
Although the same aspect of production, the commercial cow-calf segment entails many different philosophies and marketing plans. These commercial producers maintain cowherds and raise calves each year from birth to weaning. The calves are then sold to backgrounders; these calves are a commercial cow-calf producer’s main source of revenue. Producers tend to keep their top end of heifer calves to put back into their herd; these heifers are known as “replacement heifers.” Nearly seventy-five percent of these operations have fewer than fifty head of cows, but approximately one-half of the cows are in herds of greater than one hundred head. However, several studies demonstrate that there is a greater return per head as cowherds increase toward one thousand head (Field, Thomas G.). The top ranking cow-calf operation, Deseret Cattle & Citrus is located in St. Cloud, Florida. It is owned by Farmland Reserves, Inc. and operated by CEO, K. Erik Jaconsen. This company runs 42,000 head of cows on one ranch, consisting of 295,000 acres (www.beefusa.org). They breed Simbrah, Braford, and Brangus Angus cattle.
Commercial cow-calf producers sell their calves to a yearling stocker operation, also known as a backgrounder. This segment of production adds weight to calves after they are weaned, but before they are sent to feedlots. Calves that are weaned at heavier weights sometimes skip this stage of production. Backgrounders usually feed cattle forage products; such as, hay and silage. It is not uncommon for backgrounders to graze the calves on pasture ground. Once the calves have grown to weights...

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