WACO — Cattle producers should know what they’re raising before they’re disappointed, warns Oklahoma State University beef cattle specialist Dr. Robert Kropp.
The Stillwater-based specialist was referring to the growing trend of selling cattle on a grid system where premiums are paid for animals on the carcass rail meeting specific yield and grade criteria. Misunderstandings occur when producers aren’t paid what they think their cattle are worth.
Kropp is one of several cattle experts scheduled to speak during the Blacklands Income Growth conference here Jan. 12-13.
Kropp will be looking into his crystal ball when he leads off the B.I.G. conference beef session with “The Beef Industry in 2004: Will You Be There?” His talk is set for 9-11:30 a.m. on Jan. 12 at the Waco Convention Center.
“It’s really anybody’s guess at this point as to just what will happen going into the next century,” said Kropp. “I do suspect there will be a steady increase in grid or alliance value-added styles of fat cattle marketing. There are already 37 value-added programs in place now. But, beware, don’t enter into this type marketing lightly. Those who do are disappointed. The price incentives are just not there unless the target specifications are met.
“Producers contemplating these marketing tools should nominate a handful of animals to the Ranch to Rail or similar program if they have not already done so. If their cattle perform poorly, it’s better to find out with five head than with 200.
“If genetic changes are needed, it generally takes two to three years to make them in a herd,” he continued. “Setting up a sound breeding strategy is hard when prices are low and drought has taken most of the range, but a producer’s future economic survival in the beef industry may depend on it.
“I really feel the next century’s successful cattlemen will be those who can readily provide a desirable, predictably uniform animal at minimum cost.”
Kropp is scheduled to be joined by two other cattle experts to round out the B.I.G. conference’s beef session. The two and their topics are: “The Diminishing Beef Demand,” by Richard Wortham of Texas Beef Industry Council in Austin and “The Beef Referendum: Future of Texas Beef,” by Jim Williams of the V-8 Brahman Ranch in Wharton.
The B.I.G. conference also includes session on cotton, grains, forage, horticulture and horses. A family forum session is also scheduled. The B.I.G. 34-county region includes Bastrop, Bell, Bosque, Burleson, Caldwell, Collin, Coryell, Dallas, Delta, Denton, Dewitt, Ellis, Falls, Fannin, Fayette, Gonzales, Grayson, Guadalupe, Hill, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Lamar, Lavaca, Lee, Limestone, McLennan, Milam, Navarro, Rockwall, Tarrant, Travis, Washington and Williamson counties.
For more information on the B.I.G. conference or Extension programs in general, those in the B.I.G. 34-county region should contact the local county Extension office. Outside the B.I.G. area, call Ronald Woolley at (254) 968-4144, or visit the B.I.G. web site at http://stephenville.tamu.edu/BIG.