Half of nation’s cattle come from smaller operations

US - Half of nation’s cattle come from smaller operations
calendar icon 3 July 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
These small herds raise almost half of beef animals in the United States, said David Whitson, University of Missouri Extension agriculture business specialist in Neosho.

Small beef herds work well for people with a few acres of pasture. Most operations are either part of a larger crop farm or smaller acreage where operators are retired or have off-farm jobs, he said.

Well-managed small herds can supplement family income. Many such herds begin as part of an FFA or 4-H project.

Whitson said he knows people moving to Southwest Missouri who have little or no recent experience in cattle production who want to raise cattle.

A small herd of cows may be less costly than owning a bass boat or a set of golf clubs and related equipment, he said.

Superior genetics can help cover costs or turn a profit. This can be achieved by learning about proven performance traits, buying predictable performance bulls or using artificial insemination, Whitson said.

Genetics that lead to calving ease also help the part-time operator who may not always be present at calving time, he said.

Cattlemen also can produce calves with more growth and weaning weight to get more pounds of beef to sell. A set of farm scales may be beneficial to reach such a goal, he said.

Pasture improvement with improved species of grass or legumes and a managed rotational grazing program are tools to keep production costs low and get better use of available acres, he said.

Source: Joplin Globe
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