Feed Lot

APR-MAY 2017

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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notification of that changing, but he is looking down the road at changes that may come. He can't buck consumer trends. "If the day comes when I can't s ell to Tyson, we'll just have to look f or different markets," says Wim- mer. "We won't quit raising Hol- steins. There will just be one less player in the game." He sold to oth- ers before Tyson became his neigh- bor and is confident "some com- petitor will pick them up." He's quick to note "probably cheaper." Wimmer's optimism stems from the U.S. cattle herd numbers, still small in comparison to herd num- bers of a decade or two ago. Things are shifting. But it will still require cattle with a dairy in- fluence to meet domestic and ex- port demand. "Someone will feed them," says Wimmer, "but they will have to do profitably." Every link of the beef production chain needs its profit, and Good says the change in Tyson's buying practices could open up opportuni- ties for regional packing plants. "These cattle will remain part of the picture and someone will need t o harvest them," says Good, who s ays he has seen interest grow in the Eastern Corn Belt, and expects California and Arizona with their heavy dairy numbers to respond. Dairy cattle do have a consumer market. "If you take a Holstein calf at 300 pounds and feed it out on corn for a year, there is nothing bet- ter to eat," says Wimmer. Dairy cattle tend to grade a high- er percentage of Choice and Prime than the beef category, according to Good. Their disadvantage is in dressing percentage, and a smaller and flatter ribeye and loin. "If you've eaten at a steakhouse that features an 8 or 10 ounce rib- eye, you've probably eaten a Hol- stein," adds Wimmer Not only have dairy cattle found a home in the domestic market, but they fit the demands of many ex- port markets as well. "We're going to see continued demand for more branded prod- u ct," says Good, "and that is going t o continue to influence some buy- ers. But dairy cattle will still be part of the picture." Although, he adds, that picture could change. To stay competitive, he sees dairy calf producers using more sexed semen and more beef semen in their breeding strategies. He also expects to see more mega dairies increase vertical integra- tion by retaining ownership. The summation, according to Wimmer, lands on the bottom line, and he still sees one for his Hol- steins. "There's still a profit oppor- tunity there. It might be with a new buyer after a different end product. But there will still be a market and plants that want them." FL FEED•LOT  April/May 2017 7

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