Burke Teichert, former general manager with Deseret Ranches

Expect more consolidation

"I believe there will be continued consolidation in the U.S. beef industry. Cow numbers will not increase fast enough to keep all feedlots and packing plants open. I predict some movement of packers and feeders out of Texas because of the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer and the cost of shipping corn out of the Corn Belt.

"Ranches with full-time operators will get larger and fewer. Economies of size are very important on ranches with fewer than 2,000 cows. There will still be many small part-time operators, but I predict some consolidation among smaller ranches as well.

"There will be more separation of ownership and management of larger ranches. Ownership may continue to consist of several founding family members, with a single family member — or someone else — managing.

Burke Teichert"In addition, we can expect much more sophistication in the use of DNA technology for animal improvement. We’ll also discover unintended and unpredicted consequences.

"There will be a growing tendency to move acres between cash crops and pasture in response to the relative prices of corn and cattle.

"And I think there will an increased value for cull cows. This is due to changes in consumer preferences for hamburger that happen because of the price of other cuts of beef and ease of use. This could change a number of things back on the ranch, including herd turnover rate and the willingness to cull poor-producing cows."


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