NCERA087: Beef-Cow-Calf Nutrition and Management Committee (new project)
Statement of Issues and JustificationOne-third of the 33.06 million beef cows in the United States are located in the 12 states comprising the North Central Region. Adding the additional 2.06 million, 0.64 million, 0.71 and 0.76 million cows found in Oklahoma, Colorado, Virginia, and Wyoming respectively, almost 46% of the beef cows and beef cow operations in the United States are present in states with representation on the NCR-87 Cow-Calf Management and Nutrition Committee. Beef cows are particularly well suited to profitability utilizing not only high quality pasture and hay crop forages, grown as part of sustainable cropping systems in the North Central Region but they also effectively utilize crop residues, grain processing byproducts, and feed grains, which may be in abundance in the North Central Region. The rapid expansion of the ethanol industry in the northern plains states (SD, NE, ND) has dramatically increased availability of ethanol byproducts in those areas. In fact, these three states account for approximately 26 to 28% of the ethanol production capacity in the United States (Renewable Fuels Association, 2005; Iowa Department of Agriculture, 2004). Pasture values increased 7 to 9% from 2003 to 2004 for ND, SD, and Nebraska (ND Agricultural Statistics, 2004). In many cases, summer grazing costs are as great, or greater than winter feeding costs. Byproduct feeds may be a more economical and sustainable source of nutrients than rangeland forage in situations where pasture forage is expensive.
Inefficiencies in reproductive and health management of calves, heifers, and cows also limit profitability of cow-calf enterprises. These inefficiencies may result from excessive or inadequate investments in management tools and/or improper application of management practices. In the next stage of the cattle cycle, prices for feeder calves will be likely be below the breakeven for many cow-calf producers, particularly in situations where the unit cost of production is high due to either low production costs, high input costs, or a combination of both.
The original NCR-87 justification statement included the objective of "the development of nutritional and management data which permit economic evaluation of systems by simulation models." During the last renewal period, the committee published refereed journal articles on managing the two-year-old beef cow as well as an invited manuscript in the Journal of Animal Science which details recommendations on using the 1996 NRC Beef Cattle Requirements computer model for grazing beef cows. In addition, the committee has sponsored symposia at the Midwest Section of the American Society of Animal Science meetings on topics related to management of the two-year-old beef cow, management for improved carcass quality, and the use of the 1996 NRC Beef Cattle Requirements computer model.
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