Beef Cow/Calf Series
The following abstract describes a publication that is only available for purchase. A link to ordering information is on this page.
Department of Animal Sciences
The beef cow/calf herd is vital to agriculture. It converts unmerchantable resources — grass, roughages and byproducts — into an edible, marketable product: beef.
It's common to read reports from world population and food conferences predicting humans will have to give up eating meat and get their protein from grain. But there are two big reasons why the cattle industry is certain to thrive long into the future.
The first reason is an economic one. Millions of acres around the globe are too arid or rocky to grow anything but grass or trees. Ruminants such as cattle, goats and sheep are the only animals that convert the grass into a cash product, or more importantly, an edible product.
This brings up the second big reason: As soon as humans rise above a subsistence income level, most of them want meat in their diet. Although some nations and pockets of people lag economically, the world standard of living, in general, is improving. For many, the center of a meal is meat.
It's not time to start singing the blues for the beef cow or to refer to the cow producer as a vanishing breed. But times are changing fast, and beef cow/calf producers must take advantage of the educational tools and technology available to make their operations more productive and efficient. Today's cow/calf operation is a business. Its objective is to put meat on the table at a price most people can pay but still high enough for the beef producer to make a decent living and remain competitive.
The beef cow doesn't allow much profit margin. In fact, she'll lose a buck as easily as she'll make one for the novice — and sometimes even for experienced cattlemen.
This Beef Cow/Calf Series brings together the best information MU has to help cow/calf herd owners save money and improve their profit margins.
It isn't practical to lay down hard-and-fast management rules for all producers. Instead, this series will help cow/calf producers understand fundamentals of beef production and management and thereby carefully evaluate how these management strategies fit their operations. It will also help producers set realistic profit goals. The series includes the MU publications at left, which are available individually for $3 each.
- Improve the productivity and profitability of herds
- Optimize animal and forage production