The Trouble of Seedstock in the Market

US - There is no question that the beef cattle business has undergone a very tumultuous period over the past few years.
calendar icon 7 January 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

John Grimes, OSU Extension Educator, says that significant changes within the beef industry combined with national and world economic woes have impacted every member of the entire beef production chain. 'No segment of the industry has been immune to these impacts including cow-calf producers, stocker operations, feedlots, packers, and even those involved in seedstock production', he writes.

According to statistics from the National Pedigreed Livestock Council, the twenty beef breed associations that are members of this group registered nearly 800,000 head of cattle in 2007. Not every eligible calf is registered and there are many crossbreds or hybrids utilized as seedstock in this country. The bottom line is that a relatively small portion of this country's approximately 33 million head cow herd is devoted to seedstock production. However, this small segment of production has a large impact on the overall beef industry.

Seedstock producers have the responsibility of providing the genetic material that will allow the beef industry to hopefully produce an ever-improving product for today's consumer. Technological advancements such as Expected Progeny Differences, heat synchronization programs, ultrasound measurements of carcass traits, DNA testing for various traits and genetic defects, etc. have allowed breeders to make significant progress towards improving economically important traits. This has allowed the seedstock producer to provide an animal to the commercial cow-calf segment with more background and performance than ever before.

However, producing a superior breeding animal is not enough in today's highly competitive market. Mr Grimes asks: how will you differentiate your product from other breeders like you? What services will you provide for your customers? What type of guarantee do you offer with your animals? What is your advertising program? What are your marketing options? These are a few of the tough questions facing today's seedstock producer, hes says.

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