Rebuilding the Beef Herd

f-1 heifersAg Biz News Column
Chad Gulley
County Extension Agent –Ag/NR
Smith County


Rebuilding the Beef Herd

Drought presents unique and difficult management decisions when it comes to raising livestock.  The drought has caused many in the livestock industry to relocate or even liquidate cattle herds around Texas.  As producers begin to look to expand their cattle herds in the next several years, have a plan in place to do so correctly.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Livestock Specialists have indicated the smaller cow inventory combined with high input costs, competing uses for land, prices of competing meats, and radical changes (both domestic and export) in grain use are impacting the beef industry.   A Rebuilding the Beef Herd program is scheduled for Tuesday, November 19.

Managers should incorporate drought management into their plan.  Forage production is the basis of all livestock operations as we need to be grass producers first, livestock producers second.  As producers look to expand the cattle herds, forage management will play a huge role in the rebuilding process.  Forages may need time to rebound before re-stocking with livestock.  Drought-stricken root systems of forage varieties will need time to recover.  Many producers may be stocked at proper levels on their current operation forced by the drought conditions.

Producers need to also look at replacement options.  What type of cow best fits the new production paradigms? Producers should consider mature cattle size, environmental adaptability and market acceptance.  At the Rebuilding the Beef Herd program, cattlemen may find answers to questions such as: ‘What might I buy? Can I find them?’ and ‘How concerned should I be about health issues?’

The Rebuilding the Beef Herd program will also address flexibility and possible leasing options for livestock producers.  During the rebuilding process, it could present an opportunity for new livestock producers to get into the industry.  Land is a valuable resource and some may be looking to lease their land to keep it in the family while allowing another producer the use of the land for livestock production through a lease agreement.

The Rebuilding the Beef Herd program set for Tuesday, November 19, will address the topics that can help producers develop that plan to get back into cattle production or expansion of their cattle operation.   The program will be held at the Norman Activity Center, 526 E. Commerce St., in Jacksonville, Texas.

The general session will start at 8:30 a.m., with the following presentations, “Beef, Better — and Different — Times Ahead,”  “Forage Recovery and Pasture Restocking”, and “Evaluating Replacement Options,” all before lunch.  After lunch, the discussions will include “Flexibility in Resource Use;” “Leased Grazing—What, Why and How;” and “Can a $2,500 Cow Break Even?”

Registration is $40 for the Rebuilding the Beef Herd program.  To register call (979) 845-2604 or go to keyword: rebuilding beef.  The training is jointly sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension offices in Smith, Henderson, Rusk, Anderson, Houston, Angelina and Nacogdoches counties.

There will be 2.5 Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) credits given at the Rebuilding the Beef Herd Program.  Program presenters will include Dr. Jason Banta, Dr. Vanessa Corriher-Olson, Dr. Ron Gill, and more will be covering each of the topics for the Rebuilding the Beef Herd program.

Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.

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