NCERA218: Beef-Cow-Calf Nutrition and Management Committee
Statement of Issues and JustificationStatement of Issue(s) and Justification:
Of the 36.8 million beef cows and replacement heifers in the United States, 32.4% are located in the states comprising the North Central Region (NASS, 2010). Adding the additional 5.3 million cows and heifers found in Colorado, Wyoming, Louisiana, Florida, and Virginia, 46.9% of the beef cows and heifers in the United States are present in states with representation on the NCERA-087 Cow-Calf Nutrition and Management Committee (NASS, 2010). Beef cows are particularly well suited to profitably utilizing not only high quality pasture and hay crop forages, grown as part of sustainable cropping systems, but also crop residues, grain processing byproducts, and feed grains, typically found in abundance in the North Central Region. The 12 states that comprise the North Central Region also represent the top 12 states for fuel ethanol production account for over 90% of the fuel ethanol produced in the US (Nebraska Energy Office, 2010). While the transportation, storage, and utilization of ethanol byproducts in cow-calf production systems has recently received attention from the research community, as technology in the ethanol industry continues to evolve, the byproduct streams will as well. Alterations in the nutrient composition of these feeds can have profound effects on the health and productivity of beef cattle.
The cost of grazing lands across the North Central region continues to escalate and erode profitability. For example, from 2005 to 2009, the value of pastureland in South Dakota increased by 59.6% and 65.1% for native and tame pastures, respectively (Janssen and Pfleuger, 2009). In many cases, summer grazing costs are as great, or greater, than winter feeding costs. Including byproduct feeds and alternative forages in production systems may provide for more economical and sustainable sources of nutrients than rangeland forage in situations where pasture has become cost prohibitive.
Inefficiencies in reproductive and health management of calves, heifers, and cows also limit profitability of cow-calf enterprises. These inefficiencies may result from excessive or inadequate investments in management tools and/or improper application of management practices. In the next stage of the cattle cycle, prices for feeder calves will be likely be below the breakeven for many cow-calf producers, particularly in situations where the unit cost of production is high due to either low production costs, high input costs, or a combination of both.
Janssen, L., and B. Pflueger. 2009. Agricultural Land Market Trends 1991-2009. South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service C275.
National Agricultural Statistics Service. 2010. Cattle. Agricultural Statistics Board, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Available at: http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/nass/Catt//2010s/2010/Catt-01-29-2010.pdf.
Nebraska Energy Office. 2010. Ethanol Facilities Capacity by State and Plant. Available at: http://www.neo.ne.gov/statshtml/122.htm.
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