BEEF SPECIES SYMPOSIUM: Economic considerations related to U.S. beef herd expansion
Significant attention perpetually surrounds possible changes in breeding herd inventories in the U.S. beef cattle industry. This article outlines economic considerations of U.S. herd expansion. Factors restricting expansion include land availability, increasing production efficiency, operator demographics, capital requirements, and commodity price volatility. Several offsetting factors support herd expansion including unprecedented cow–calf returns, ongoing global beef demand growth, and timing within the current cattle cycle. In addition to these industry-wide factors, several important variations in individual ranch considerations are outlined. The authors’ expectations on future herd dynamics are provided, highlighting broader implications for individual operations, industry leaders, and the entire beef-cattle supply chain. The substantial economic impact and importance of the cow–calf sector warrants broader appreciation of these economic factors impacting herd expansion. The future size of the U.S. cattle industry is determined by the individual decisions of over 70,000 cattle owners, making this issue worthy of review by all industry stakeholders.
This article is from Journal of Animal Science 93 (2015): 4227, doi: 10.2527/jas2014-8473. Posted with permission.