What is in this article?:
- U.S. Beef Herd Is Mostly Black But Changing Slightly
- Value-based marketing
- Information is important
An exclusive BEEF survey indicates that while the trend for the cowherd to be straightbred and black continues, the genetic makeup of the nation’s cowherd is changing ever so slightly.
Some of the incentive to change cowherd genetics may come from the lure of various value-based marketing programs. In this year’s survey, 31.9% of respondents say they are involved in value-based marketing, while 68.1% are not. Regarding types of value-based programs, preconditioning, and source and age verification, are the most prevalent. In fact, in a dead heat for the top spot, 73.3% of respondents who participate in value-based marketing say they provide information on calf age, and the exact same number say they precondition their calves. Source of origin at 67.3% and country of origin at 55.8% were next, followed by implant-free at 49% (Figure 4).
Of those who do take part in a value-based marketing program, 17.7% say they’ve changed the breed of bull they purchased in the last five years, while 82.3% did not. What’s more, 13.4% say they changed seedstock suppliers in the past five years in order to participate in a specific value-added program. That’s up slightly from 2010, when 11.5% of respondents said they changed seedstock suppliers so they could participate in a specific value-added program.
And buying and owning the bull battery is still the most common way of acquiring bulls. Readers report that 79% of the bulls in the pasture are purchased and only 1.6% are leased. However, readers say 19.7% of the bulls are home-raised. Of the bulls that were purchased, 47% of readers say they bought from seedstock suppliers they’ve dealt with for more than five years. Meanwhile, 30.7% say they have dealt with their current seedstock supplier for 3-5 years, and 22.4% say they bought bulls from a seedstock breeder they dealt with for the first time. Just over half, at 50.8%, say they buy at private treaty, while 46.1% buy at live auction and 3.1% buy via video auctions.
Among commercial cow-calf operators responding to the survey, 45.2% use artificial insemination (AI). Of those using AI, 71% say they use the technology to breed both mature cows and heifers, while 24% use AI primarily on heifers, and 4.8% use it primarily on cows.
And those who use AI appear to rely on it heavily, with 37% reporting use of AI on 81%-100% of their cows and heifers. On the other end of the spectrum, 23% say they AI 0%-20% of their herd, followed by 16.1% who AI from 21%-40% of the herd (Figure 5).