The Kansas beef industry represents a major economic activity in the Kansas economy. In terms of gross cash receipts, the $4.07 billion of cattle marketings represents 58 percent of all agricultural marketings and 89 percent of livestock and poultry marketings for the most currently available year. These percentages have remained relatively stable over the past decade as crop prices and production levels in Kansas have not fluctuated very dramatically. In recent years, levels of profitability in the Kansas agricultural economy have been directly related to performance in the livestock sector.
Although the beef feedlot industry is continuing to consolidate into fewer and larger operations, the cow-calf sector remains quite dispersed. The cow herd tends to locate near the low cost forages. The larger supplies and lower prices associated with the cattle cycle point to a period in which the less efficient producers may not survive and more efficient operations will dominate the industry. While many inputs (feed, labor, utilities, trucking, etc.) will still be provided locally, less will be needed per unit of output. Because cattle production units will be larger on average than they are today, total economic activity may remain stable or increase for regions that have production units.
The beef industry is also slowly transforming from a commodity to a production orientation with increased interest in value based marketing and retained ownership. These trends will place greater value on superior cattle and on information systems that will accurately relate value through the marketing channel. New products will have to meet the requirements for fresh, processed, HRI (Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutions), retail, and international markets. As a result, the different segments of the marketing channel will communicate more closely with one another. This communication, either formal via specification contracts or informal, will coordinate to deliver cattle with specific characteristics for a given product line and synchronize production flow to more efficiently utilize processing capacity. The additional handling and processing associated with these new markets will mean additional value-added jobs in Kansas' agri- industries.
The beef industry is also quickly evolving to an integrated forage and beef system approach to production. Once the market place identifies the genetic characteristics of cattle to fill a particular market niche, the genetics will determine the needed nutrition, grazing and feeding program. Using this system approach to beef production, Kansas producers will remain competitive in the cattle industry and the global protein market. ...more
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