Research tackles beef systems

IOWA - One of the questions many cattle producers face is whether to remain in a traditional beef business or to switch to “natural” or organic production.
calendar icon 22 December 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
There’s no perfect answer, but Iowa State University economist John Lawrence has done some research for the Leopold Center that offers a few clues.

Speaking at a recent Leopold Center conference here, he stressed the choice still may be one of personal preference and what type of production the farmer prefers.

But, he says from an economic perspective, computer models indicate the choice more farmers are taking — “natural” or grass-fed and hormone-free — may be the least profitable of the three general options.

The reason is natural and organic systems generally produce smaller market cattle. Cattle that are given growth stimulants have larger slaughter weights.

Another problem is if farmers are still spring calving, they essentially get little growth in a grass-based system during that first winter and that adds to the cost of production.

Source: Iowa Farmer Today
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