Got Spuds?

From time to time the subject of feeding potatoes to cattle comes up.

“Whole potatoes have about the nutrient equivalent of barley grain,” says Chuck Hurst, ruminant nutritionist, Nutritech Inc., Carmen, ID. Nutritionally, 5 lbs. of potatoes equals 1 lb. of barley.

“But, you will severely decrease the digestion of fiber, making what hay you're feeding less valuable by about 20%,” adds Hurst. He gives some other bits of advice for ranchers or feeders who want to try this unique feed source.

  • Because of the water content of potatoes (78-82%), processing of any kind is not affordable.

  • Young stock should not be fed whole potatoes because of choking.

“You should start feeding the whole potatoes at only 1-2 lbs. per head per day until they get used to them; then increase to 20-30 lbs. per day,” explains Hurst.

Potatoes can cause bloat if fed too much too fast.

“All in all, you would probably be best to buy a little more hay and add Rumensin or Bovatec to your supplement.”
Nevada Extension Coffee Shop

Imports And Exports

Even with the increase in beef exports, the U.S. increased the net import of beef last year because imports of beef were up 5.5%.

Australia — our largest supplier of beef imports — showed an 18% increase in its exports to the U.S., while New Zealand increased its beef shipments to the U.S. by 14% in 2000 compared to 1999.

Mexico increased its feeder cattle exports to U.S. by 27% last year compared to 12 months earlier.

Total live cattle imports were up 12%, but the number of cattle from Canada weighing more than 700 lbs. — which are probably fed cattle — were down a couple of percent.

U.S. exports of live cattle to Canada and Mexico were up 46% in 2000 compared to 1999 and amounted to more than 481,000 head. U.S. shipments of live cattle to Mexico were up 26%, and to Canada the gains were more than 57%. Most U.S. exports to these two countries were probably feeder cattle as well as breeding stock.
Livestock Marketing Information Center

Texas Feedyard Facts

The average capacity of a Texas feedyard is about 27,500 head. This size feedyard will produce about 55,000 fed cattle annually, worth more that $42.4 million.

  • A 27,500-head feedyard will buy around 105,000 tons of corn and grain sorghum each year. It takes nearly 34,300 acres of farmland to produce the grain required by this feedyard.

  • To haul grain and cattle, a typical feedyard will require nearly 6,900 semi trucks a year. That means about 19 trucks a day roll in and out of a single feedyard.

  • The average-size feedyard will employ 27 people with an annual payroll of more than $550,000.

  • The 55,000 fed cattle produced in an average feedyard equate to 32.7 million lbs. of beef. At average consumption, this feedyard produces enough beef to feed 474,165 people for a year.
    Texas Cattle Feeders Association

Compiled by Clint Peck, BEEF Associate Editor. Contributions welcome: 406/896-9068, 406/896-9068 (fax),