Why Let Native Grasses Dictate Herd Expansion?

ANALYSIS - America's beef cow herd expansion plans demand greater output from its cow/calf sector, but will erosion of rangelands and native grasses stymie development?
calendar icon 13 February 2015
clock icon 1 minute read

Conventional cow/calf rearing on vast expanses of land may have two alternatives - raising calves in feedlot and barn environments.

These more confined systems are "very price competitive" with conventional cow/calf rearing, Rabobank beef economist Don Close told TheCattleSite.

Discussing the findings of a Rabobank AgriFinance report into the economics of confined and semi-confined calf rearing, Mr Close said producers had some alternatives to look at in beef herd expansion. 

Setting up the premise for the study, Mr Close asked: "If we are going to see the rate of recovery and growth in the cow herd that's needed, and its becoming increasingly competitive to do on native grass, what are the viable production alternatives?" 

He added: "We looked at putting cows and calves in conventional feedyards and spacing with roughly three feet per cow/calf unit," said Mr Close. "The other model was a linear slant or hooped barn building that could probably go in a Corn Belt setting."

Alluding to the recent USDA Cattle Report, he described the beef outlook as "incredibly bright" and that there was "ample opportunity" for growth in the industry.

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Michael Priestley

Michael Priestley
News Team - Editor

Mainly production and market stories on ruminants sector. Works closely with sustainability consultants at FAI Farms

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