Dec. 9, 2019
Beef exports struggling and imports steady so far in 2019
Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist
Beef exports were down 9.0 percent in October compared to last year, contributing to a 4.2 percent year over year decrease in beef exports for the first ten months of 2019. This follows three years of double-digit year over year growth in total beef exports in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Beef exports are down for the year to date in four of the top five U.S. beef export markets. Total beef imports were up 2.7 percent year over year in October and are up 0.7 percent for the year to date.
Beef exports to Japan, the largest U.S. beef export destination, were down 23.5 percent in October and are down 10.6 percent year over year so far in 2019. The U.S. has been at a significant tariff disadvantage in Japan after withdrawing from the TPP agreement. The impacts of the CP-TPP, which took effect this year without the U.S. have become increasingly apparent in recent months as beef exports to Japan have decreased year over year for the last eight months. The bilateral trade deal between the U.S. and Japan, recently ratified in Japan, is scheduled to begin in 2020 and will hopefully, erase most of the tariff disadvantage the U.S. currently faces and will stop the erosion of beef market share in Japan. Japan represents 26.7 percent of U.S. beef exports for the year to date in 2019.
South Korea is the second largest beef exports market and is up 7.4 percent thus far in 2019, but was down 1.2 percent in October compared to one year ago. South Korea accounts for 22.8 percent of total U.S. beef exports thus far in 2019.
Mexico is the third largest beef export market and also the third largest source of U.S. beef imports. Beef exports to Mexico were down 11.5 percent in October and are down 3.5 percent for the year to date. Mexico accounts for 14.3 percent of beef exports thus far in 2019. Beef imports from Mexico were up 19.6 percent year over year in October and are up 14.1 percent for the year to date in 2019. Mexico accounts for 18.7 percent of U.S. beef imports so far this year.
Canada is the fourth largest U.S. beef export market and is currently the largest beef import market. Beef exports to Canada were down 4.5 percent in October compared to last year and are down 11.3 percent thus far in 2019. Canada represents 8.8 percent of beef exports thus far in 2019. Beef imports from Canada were up 8.9 percent in October and are up 8.0 percent year over year for the first ten months of the year. Beef imports from Canada are 27.7 percent of total beef imports for the year to date.
Hong Kong is the fifth largest beef export market, down 11.1 percent year over year in October and is down 27.5 percent thus far in 2019. Hong Kong represents 6.9 percent of total beef exports in 2019. Close behind Hong Kong is Taiwan where beef exports were down 8.7 percent in October but up 7.8 percent for the year to date. Taiwan is the sixth largest beef export market for U.S. beef and accounts for 6.5 percent of year to date exports. Beef exports to the top six markets represent 86.1 percent of total beef exports through October in 2019.
Australia is the second largest beef import source for the U.S. with imports down 7.1 percent in October and up 4.1 percent for the year to date. Australia accounts for 23.1 percent to beef imports thus far in 2019. New Zealand is the fourth largest beef import market for the U.S. with October imports down 37.9 percent and year to date imports down 28.8 percent. New Zealand represents 14.5 percent of total beef imports. The top four beef import sources account for 84 percent of total imports with Nicaragua adding another 5.5 percent and Brazil adding 5.2 percent.
Breeding cows and heifers on wheat pasture
By Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension animal scientist
Southern plains producers with cow-calf operations may be looking to wheat pasture this winter as much of the winter feed supply. Some producers may have questions about the utilization of wheat pasture for growing replacement heifers or cows before, during, and after the spring breeding season. Anecdotal reports of unsatisfactory breeding performance have surfaced when replacement heifers have been exposed to bulls or AI while grazing wheat forages. Therefore, an Oklahoma State University study (http://afs.okstate.edu/research/reports/2009/page) was conducted to compare reproductive performance of heifers grazing wheat pasture before, and during breeding, with heifers grazing wheat pasture until approximately 3 weeks before breeding.
In each of two years, 40 spring born Angus and Angus crossbred heifers were placed on wheat pasture in December and randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups in mid- March. Group one (Wheat Pasture; n=20) remained on wheat pasture (mean crude protein = 26.6 %) through estrus synchronization and fixed-time AI. Group two (Dry Lot; n=20) was placed in drylot and had free choice access to a corn-based growing ration (11.1% crude protein) through estrus synchronization and fixed time AI. The heifers were inseminated on about April 5 both years. Heifers were exposed to fertile bulls starting 10 days after fixed time AI for 45 more days. Fixed time AI conception was determined at 32 days after AI by ultrasonography.
The percentage of heifers cycling at the start of estrous synchronization was 75% and 55% for Wheat Pasture and Dry Lot, respectively. Weights of Dry Lot heifers were slightly heavier than Wheat Pasture heifers (897 vs. 867 pounds) at the time of AI but were similar at ultrasound (917 vs. 910 pounds). Conception rate to fixed time AI was similar for Wheat Pasture (54%) and Dry Lot (43%) and final pregnancy rate was similar for Wheat Pasture (98%) and Dry Lot (88%). Reproductive performance of heifers grazing wheat pasture during estrus synchronization and Fixed time AI was similar to heifers consuming a corn-based growing diet. Source: Bryant and co-workers. 2011. February issue. The Professional Animal Scientist. Most Oklahoma spring calving operations will begin the breeding season a little later in April when the wheat plant will be even more mature and lower in protein content.
Kansas State University looked at grazing wheat pasture, before and during breeding with first and second calf cows. They compared the fixed time AI and final pregnancy rates for cows on wheat with cows on native rangeland. Five years of data were summarized in the 2011 KSU Cattlemen’s Day Report. The AI pregnancy rates were 51.7% and 57.7% for wheat pasture and rangeland, respectively. The final pregnancy rates after a natural breeding clean up breeding season were very similar at 94.4% and 95.9%, respectively. They concluded: “This trial showed no evidence that the high protein diet of wheat pasture reduces pregnancy rate of beef cows. However, because timing of the breeding season remained constant, protein content of the diet may have moderated prior to breeding.” Source: Johnson, S.K. 2011 KSU Cattlemen’s Day Summary.
Cow-Calf Corner is a weekly newsletter by the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Agency.