Jan. 15, 2018
China not a factor in U.S. beef exports… yet
by Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist
The latest beef trade data for November shows continued improvement in beef exports. November beef exports were 260.7 million pounds, up 2.7 percent over exports in November 2016. Beef exports have increased year over year each month in 2017 for the first eleven months of the year. For the year to date, beef exports are up 13 percent over one year ago.
Beef exports to the five major destinations are each up for the year to date. Exports to Japan are up 27.6 percent year over year. Japan is the largest U.S. beef export market and accounts for 29.5 percent of total exports for the year to date. Second largest is South Korea, up 6.1 percent through November and representing 16.6 percent of total exports. Mexico is the third largest beef export market, up 7.5 percent for the year to date and accounting for 14.7 percent of beef exports. An 11.1 percent year over year increase in beef exports to Hong Kong makes it the fourth largest export market, slightly larger than number five Canada. Hong Kong accounts for 11.1 percent of beef exports, with Canada at 10.9 percent. These five markets represent 82.8 percent of total beef exports for the first eleven months of 2017.
There is much interest in the market potential for U.S. beef in China since access was achieved in 2017. Monthly beef exports to China are still very small but appear to be growing sporadically. In November, beef exports to China were 1.97 million pounds, making China the tenth largest U.S. beef export market. This level was slightly less than beef exports to the Philippines and represented 0.75 percent of total November beef exports.
USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service has projected that China will import 2.26 billion pounds of beef in 2018. At the current level, U.S. beef exports to China would represent roughly one percent of Chinese beef imports. If the U.S. were to increase beef exports to China tenfold to a ten percent market share, it would make China the fifth largest beef market for beef exports and add roughly ten percent to total U.S. beef exports. However, growth this rapid seems unlikely in 2018. Such a level may be more feasible in three to five years. Still, it is difficult to anticipate how markets will evolve and growth could happen more quickly than is apparent now.
Total U.S. beef exports are projected to increase another 2.5 to 3.5 percent year over year in 2018 to a new record level. This is expected to include some growth in exports to China but the total contribution of beef exports to China is likely to remain limited in the near term. Longer term, there is great potential for U.S. beef in China.
When to intervene and assist a cow or heifer in labor
by Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension animal scientist
Before the spring calving season commences, now is the time to put together and post a protocol for family members and hired employees to follow when they find a cow or heifer starting in the process of calving. An issue facing the rancher at calving time, is the amount of time heifers or cows are allowed to be in labor before assistance is given. Traditional textbooks, fact sheets, and magazine articles stated that “Stage II” of labor lasted from 2 to 4 hours.
“Stage II” is defined as that portion of the birthing process from the first appearance of the water bag until the baby calf is delivered. Research data from Oklahoma State University and the USDA experiment station at Miles City, Montana, clearly show that Stage II is much shorter, lasting approximately 60 minutes in first-calf heifers, and 30 minutes or less in mature cows.
Table 1. Research Results of Length of Stage II of Parturition
|Source||No. of Animals||Length of Stage II|
|USDA (Doornbos, et al.1984. JAS:59:1)||24 mature cows||22.5 min.|
|USDA (Doornbos, et al.1984. JAS:59:1)||32 first calf heifers||54.1 min.|
|Oklahoma State Univ.
(Putnam, et al. 1985. Therio:24:385)
|32 first calf heifers||55.0 min.|
In these studies, heifers that were in stage II of labor much more than one hour or cows that were in stage II much more than 30 minutes definitely needed assistance. Research information also shows that calves from prolonged deliveries are weaker and more disease prone, even if born alive. In addition, cows or heifers with prolonged deliveries return to heat later and are less likely to be bred for the next calf crop. Consequently, a good rule of thumb: “If the heifer is not making significant progress 1 hour after the water bag or feet appear, examine the heifer to see if you can provide assistance. Mature cows should be watched for only 30 minutes before a rectal exam is conducted.” Make certain the cervix is completely dilated before pulling on the chains. If you cannot safely deliver the calf yourself at this time, call your local large animal veterinarian immediately.
Most ranches develop heifers fully and use calving ease bulls to prevent calving difficulties. However, a few difficult births are going to occur each calving season. Using the concept of evening feeding to get more heifers calving in daylight, and giving assistance early will save a few more calves, and result in healthier more productive two-year-old cows to rebreed next year.
Cow-Calf Corner is a newsletter from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Agency.