How would more grow yards, as a segment of the U.S. cattle industry, affect other areas of production? Don Close, senior animal protein analyst for Rabo AgriFinance, says for most sectors, the shift would be a positive.
"They will increase competition for buying calves with conventional stockers and backgrounders," he says, adding there is an overall positive to this.
"If more grow yards free up pasture space, that could enable cow/calf producers to expand and slow increases in pasture lease rates," he says.
Here's how Close predicts more grow yards could affect the beef industry:
There would be more competition for calves more consistently year-round. This could free up pasture space, allowing for expansion.
A service that conditions calves to bunk feeding and levels out health issues would lower feedyard costs. It would also alleviate some issues with labor shortages, enable better planning for feedout and ease procurement pressures.
A likely benefit here would be an overall improvement to beef quality because of the animals being on feed and under a consistent health program longer. This also potentially reduces need for antimicrobial use and provides a larger supply of cattle to meet growing market and consumer expectations at any given time.
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