April 10, 2017
More beef exports and less imports supports beef markets
by Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist
U.S. beef exports continue the 2016 trend with additional improvement so far in 2017. February total beef exports were up 19.3 percent and combine with the January total for a year to date increase of 20.1 percent year over year for the first two months of the year. This extends the annual 12.6 percent year over year increase in 2016.
Japan remains the top destination for U.S. beef exports, up 44.4 percent year over year for January and February. Beef exports to Japan represented 29.9 percent of beef exports so far this year. Japan accounted for 25.7 percent of total beef exports in 2016. South Korea is the second largest beef export market for the U.S., up 26.5 percent in the first two months of the year compared to the same period in 2016. South Korea has had a rising share of U.S. beef exports in the last four years and represented 17.8 of total beef exports in 2016.
Mexico is third largest beef export market, up 25.8 percent year over year for the year to date. Beef exports to Mexico have generally decreased in recent years but did show a year over year increase of 8.6 percent in 2016. Mexico’s share of U.S. beef exports has dropped sharply in the last few years to a 2016 level of 15.4 percent of total beef exports. Canada is the number four beef export market and is up 17.0 percent so far this year compared to the first two months of 2016. Canada’s share of beef exports has also declined some in the last five years with a 2016 share of 12.1 percent of total exports. Hong Kong has had a larger share of U.S. beef exports in the last four years but dropped from the previous year to 11.5 percent of total exports in 2016. Beef exports to Hong Kong so far in 2017 are down 23.6 percent year over year.
The top five beef export markets (Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Canada and Hong Kong) represented 83.7 percent of total beef exports in the first two months of 2017, similar to the 82.6 percent share in 2016. 2017 beef exports are up year over year to all of these markets except Hong Kong.
Beef imports are down 17.4 percent year over year in the first two months of 2017. This follows a 10.5 percent year over year decrease in 2016. Australia, historically the largest source of U.S. beef imports, is down 45.5 percent so far this year following a 39.0 percent year over year decrease in 2016. In fact, Australia is currently the fourth largest beef import source so far in 2017. Australia is in roughly the same relative position as the U.S. beef industry was in 2014/2015, with drought-reduced animal inventories restricting production and herd rebuilding further restricting beef production at the current time.
New Zealand is the largest beef import source so far in 2017 but is down 21.1 percent year over year, following a 7.3 percent year over year decrease in 2016. Mexico is the second largest beef import source thus far in 2017 and is up 37.2 percent year over year in the first two months of the year. Imports of Mexican beef have grown sharply in recent years, jumping 25.9 percent in 2016 and accounting for 16.4 percent of total beef imports. Canada is the third largest beef imports source, with year to date imports down 12.7 percent. After an annual year over year increase of 14.3 percent, Canada represented 23.8 percent of total beef imports in 2016. The top four import markets represented 85.9 percent of 2016 beef imports. Significantly smaller import shares include Brazil, which accounted for 5.1 percent of total imports along with 4.1 percent from Uruguay in 2016. Beef imports are largely driven by the demand for lean trimmings used in the ground beef market. On average, an estimated 72 percent of U.S. beef imports are lean trimmings.
Find bad udders now
by Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension Animal Scientist Professor Emeritus
Every year at “preg” checking time, ranchers evaluate cows and make decisions as which to remove from the herd. One criteria that should be examined to cull cows is udder quality. Beef cattle producers are not as likely to think about udder health and shape as are dairy producers, but this attribute affects cow productivity and should be considered.
It may be easier to be accurate in your culling decisions, if you exam the udder soundness of the cows shortly after calving when they are at the peak of lactation and the udder is as large as at any time. Take time now during the peak of lactation to write down which spring-calving cows have unsound udders. Record the cow numbers of those to be culled next fall due to unsound udders. Their heifer calves would be undesirable prospects to become replacement heifers for your herd.
The heritability estimates of udder characteristics are variable. A study done in Brahman cattle for the heritability of udder soundness indicated that progress could be made by selecting for udder soundness. They reported that 25 percent of the differences in udder soundness was due to genetics. Beef Improvement Federation Guidelines have suggested that the heritability of udder soundness in beef cattle is estimated at .16 to .22 which means that some progress can be made by selecting against unsound udders.
Recent research at Kansas State University (Bradford, 2014 KSU Cattlemen’s Day) with large numbers of Hereford data has given even greater hope that improvement in udder quality can be made. They found heritabilities of .32 for overall udder score, .31 for suspension, and .28 for teat size. Plus, genetic correlations between traits were strong (.83). This means that selection for one trait (teat size or suspension) will result in improvement in the other trait.
An experiment conducted at the OSU Range Cow Research Center near Stillwater gives some indication as to the impact of mastitis on beef cow performance. They found that cows with one or two dry quarters had calves with severely reduced weaning weights (50 – 60 pounds) compared to cows with no dry quarters. This represents a sizeable economic loss at weaning time.
An evaluation system for udder soundness has been developed and used by some breeds. Teat shape and udder suspension are the two primary characteristics evaluated. Below are drawings representing unsound udders on the left and sound udders on the right.
The first two drawings are teat shape. The very “funnel” shaped teat may have been mastitic in the past. Newborn calves will find it difficult to nurse such a teat.
Teat Shape (above) : Note the large “funnel-shaped” teats on the cow on the left. A sound udder for teat shape is on the right.
Udder Suspension (above): Weak udder suspension leads to “pendulous” broken-down udders that also are very difficult for young calves to nurse. A sound udder with a strong udder suspension is on the right.
Both cows on the left would be excellent candidates for culling at the next weaning of their calves. In addition, daughters of cows with poor udders should be expected to have less than desirable udders as well.
Click below for a video presentation of this topic, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D26ak2QxADI
April 10, 2017