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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #349389

Research Project: Mitigating Emissions and Adapting Farm Systems to Climate Variability

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Title: Management characteristics of beef cattle production in the eastern United States

Author
item Asem-Hiablie, Senorpe
item Rotz, Clarence - Al
item Stout, Robert
item PLACE, SARA - National Cattlemen'S Beef Association (NCBA)

Submitted to: Professional Animal Scientist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/7/2018
Publication Date: 8/1/2018
Citation: Asem-Hiablie, S., Rotz, C.A., Stout, R.C., Place, S.E. 2018. Management characteristics of beef cattle production in the eastern United States. Professional Animal Scientist. 34(4):311-325. https://doi.org/10.15232/pas.2018-01728.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.15232/pas.2018-01728

Interpretive Summary: There is increasing demand for beef protein worldwide along with growing concern over the sustainability of production practices due to perceived air and water quality issues. As a result the U.S. beef industry initiated a comprehensive national life cycle assessment of beef production and consumption. The assessment involves the characterization of beef production systems in seven major cattle producing regions across the nation. Information on production practices of the Northeast and Southeast regions gathered through voluntary producer surveys and interviews are presented. These data are being used to characterize and evaluate representative production systems in the eastern region for assessments of region-specific environmental impacts of full cattle production systems.

Technical Abstract: As part of the United States Beef Sustainability Program, a nationwide characterization of regional beef production practices has been on-going. Data on cattle production practices were gathered through voluntary surveys and on-site visits in the Northeast and Southeast, the last 2 of 7 major cattle-producing regions being studied. Ranch responses (n = 817) represented 1.2% and 1.0% of beef cows in the Northeast and the Southeast, respectively. Feedlot responses (n = 55) represented 4.4% and 34.5% of cattle fed in the Northeast and Southeast, respectively. Ranch herd sizes were larger in the Southeast than the Northeast; however, stocking rates were similar. Cow to bull ratios were slightly higher in the Southeast, and the proportion of replacement heifers were comparable in both regions. Feed production was more prevalent in the Northeast as was indoor housing unlike the warmer Southeast where longer open grazing periods were possible. Fewer feedlots were recorded in the Southeast with the majority of these being backgrounding facilities. Finishing on grass was more common in the east than found in other regions. Feed intake was comparable across the eastern regions, but relatively more silage was fed in the Northeast while hay was dominant in the Southeast. Cropland producing cattle feed received most (70%) of the manure in both regions while 25% was composted and sold in the Northeast. Labor, equipment, and energy use information were also gathered from the various operation types. The data collected contributes to the development of representative operations in each region to produce comprehensive, national life cycle assessments beef production and consumption.