In my 25+ years as a consulting nutritionist, I found 2013 to be one of the most troublesome. Perhaps most troubling was that many sectors rejected scientific technologies within our beef industry.

It appears that growing actions within different production sectors of the beef industry may threaten our long-term viability. Remember the old adage, united we stand, divided we fall?

My clients are dedicated to being proactive rather than reactive when it comes to improved efficiency technologies. Many generic growth compounds will enter the market in the immediate future and we will arduously investigate these options. If beef producers’ only way to improved economics is to “save our way to profits,” we should be concerned as an industry!

Feedlot economic losses in 2013 were devastating. Past return-on-investment goals with the increased input costs of feeder cattle and feed are simply unacceptable. Beef must continue to improve efficiencies compared to other protein sources using genetic, pharmaceutical, nutritional or management advances.  

In 2013, many Midwest producers improved their finishing facilities; previously, the last big surge in building cattle housing was in 1973. A good corn crop improved our hopes for the future of the Midwest beef industry. Packer concentration and their supply “manipulation” continue to be a major concern for producers. Change is inevitable, so we had better help guide that change rather that allow it to be forced on us.