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Rounding up the 2012 cattle convention
The 800-pound gorilla in the cattle barn is this one: Is there a place for the cattle industry in the new 21st-century energy-based agriculture? Is the slide in cattle numbers and beef producers irreversible? Will we continue to bleed pasture acres until the only cattlemen left produce for Asian consumers?
Those are just a few of the issues examined during this week's Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Agriculture.com reporters Gene Johnston and Ashlie Kolb hit meetings and trade show to check in on the mood of cattle producers and how they feel looking ahead to their industry's future.
Cattle prices have gone through the stratosphere in recent weeks, to over $1.20 a pound liveweight for market steers. Never fear, farmers and ranchers will find things to worry about. But at least they worry with a smile on their faces.
There are reasons why cattle aren't as efficient at feed conversion compared to those other species. But a bigger issue is that in the cattle industry, we haven't selected hard for feed efficiency, like they have with chickens and pigs.
Four grazing specialists fielded questions from a packed room of farmers and ranchers at a Cattle Convention luncheon this week to address questions about improving grazing management and doing a better job of monitoring pasture performance.
A new loader tractor from CAT, manure fertilizer additives and a new way to stay in touch with the cattle industry are just a few of the new products on display at the 2012 Cattle Industry Convention.
If you could buy a new herd bull that would "fix" your cow herd in one of these areas, which would you most desire? None other holds a candle, economically speaking, to the bull that can solve your herd health problems.
A genetic marker program has been introduced for the masses. You can have young heifers and bulls tested for the two most important economic traits.