Introduction to Livestock Industries

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Overview of livestock industries, including cattle, hogs, sheep, poultry, and horses. Part 1 of 2.

Overview of livestock industries, including cattle, hogs, sheep, poultry, and horses. Part 1 of 2.

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  • For this class, poultry included. USDA typically separates poultry out. Horses questionable as to where they fit. Are they agriculture? Other species? Bison, ostriches, emus, etc.
  • Do dairy and beef cattle belong to the same genus and species? Yes.
  • Why emphasize milking ability of cows for beef? Milking ability of cow affects weaning weight of calf How do we measure fertility? Calf crop, age at puberty, generation interval, etc. Are there concerns about selecting for traits such as polledness or color pattern? Other traits can be “concentrated” if they are linked. Example: dwarfism in Polled Hereford cattle.
  • Cow-Calf: 16 states have 75% of brood cow numbers in US Commercial producers: crossbreds to maximize heterosis for beef production Purebreds to provide genetics to enable production of a superior product. Known “gene carriers” among purebred bulls
  • Cheap feed source Renewable resource? Add “cheap” gain to cattle
  • Finished: of sufficient fat content to produce tender, juicy, flavorful meat. Feeding endpoint. Retained ownership: cow-calf producer hires contract feeder to feed cattle to slaughter weight, then sells fed cattle to packers. Contract feeding in areas where LOTS of grain (Midwest—TX, KS, etc.)
  • Puberty correlated w/breed. Larger breeds, later maturity Age at weaning affected by available feed resources, cow health, etc. Want heifers to calve first time as 2-year-olds.
  • Horizontal integration: pass products from one company to another to produce final product. More than one entity controls inputs from conception to consumption. NCBA: Umbrella organization for state producer groups. Voice for beef producers in Washington, provides consumers info, etc. Beef check-off: per-head assessment to promote beef, do research, and to educate the public about beef
  • Carousel milker unit. Note cleanliness of area. Also, note height of milkers to height of worker.
  • Milk check-off funds: Milk Jug 1% milk as part of McDonald’s Happy Meals. Got Milk? ad campaign Cal Ripken, Daisy Fuentes, Williams (tennis star) sisters, etc.
  • Milk grades “control” what milk used for. Grade A fluid milk (consumption). Grade B processing to other products.
  • Fancy birds for show VERY minimal part of poultry industry. Birds have the best feed:gain ratio of any animal we deal with. LT 2:1 feed:gain.
  • 2005: approximately 100,000 ostriches processed
  • Chicken, major part of remarks Broiler producers originally byproduct of egg production. “Cull” egg layers. Seedstock producers within each category of production. “Company” breeds
  • Precocious young: no maternal rearing required Hatcheries: temp and humidity controlled environment Broilers harvest weight: ~5 lbs. Harvest age VERY genetics dependent!


  • 1. The Livestock & Poultry Industries-I Lecture 4 Fall 2006 Elaine Bailey ELB, ANSC 101 1
  • 2. What are domestic “livestock” species?Cattle (beef & dairy)PoultrySwineSheepHorsesOthers? ELB, ANSC 101 2
  • 3. TerminologyFood animalsRecreational agricultureVertically integrated businessHorizontally integrated businessDual purpose animals ELB, ANSC 101 3
  • 4. Cattle Beef Dairy Dual purpose PURPOSE different Two species exist  Bos taurus  Bos indicus ELB, ANSC 101 4
  • 5. Bos taurus vs. Bos indicus ELB, ANSC 101 5
  • 6. What traits do we want to emphasize?Beef Dairy Growth rate  Milk production Feed efficiency  Fertility (feed:gain)  Temperament Milking ability of cows?  Milk composition Fertility  Polledness? Temperament  Color pattern? Polledness? Color pattern? ELB, ANSC 101 6
  • 7. Phases of Beef Production Cow-Calf  Forage abundant (TX, MO, OK)  Commercial producers  Seedstock (Purebred) producers ELB, ANSC 101 7
  • 8. Phase II Beef ProductionStocker-Yearling Intermediary step Emphasis on frame growth Replacement heifers Utilize crop residue* Photo Courtesy, Purdue University ELB, ANSC 101 8
  • 9. Phase III Beef Production Feedlot (Finishing)  Grain (concentrate) ration  Rapid growth  Harvest at 1000-1300 pounds+  What is “finished?”USDA Economic Research Service Photo ELB, ANSC 101 9
  • 10. Cattle tidbitsAge at puberty: 12-15 months*Age at weaning 5-7 monthsGestation length: 283 daysGoal: breed heifers at 15 months of age ELB, ANSC 101 10
  • 11. Beef IndustryVarious “phases”Horizontal integrationVery little vertical integrationNCBA (National Cattlemen’s BeefAssociation)Beef check-off ELB, ANSC 101 11
  • 12. The Dairy IndustryMilk & dairy productsSecondary product: beefProduction, processing, distribution ofmilkLABOR: 2 or 3 milkings/day typicalFacility cost, capital investment ELB, ANSC 101 12
  • 13. ELB, ANSC 101 13
  • 14. Dairy Industry Shift from smaller to larger farms Marketing genetics vs. marketing milk Little vertical integration National Milk Producers Federation Milk check-off ELB, ANSC 101 14
  • 15. Milk MarketingCooperativeMid-Atlantic MilkMarketingAssociationProcessing*Grades of milk ELB, ANSC 101 15
  • 16. The Poultry Industry Dual purpose: meat and eggs Other poultry products? Chicken, turkey, duck, goose . . . ? Feed efficiency and growth rate! ELB, ANSC 101 16
  • 17. Growth and Feed Efficiency ELB, ANSC 101 17
  • 18. More birdsRatites Flat, “raft-like” keel bones Include Camelus struthio (ostrich), Dromaius novaehollandiae (emu), as well as cassowary and rhea 1995, 1,200 ostriches “processed” in US 1998, 100,000 ostriches processed in US 2006? Adapted from ELB, ANSC 101 Doerr, 2000 18
  • 19. Ostriches Meat Oil, feathers, leather Large capital outlay for upstart Markets? Nutrition research: Dr. Roselina Angel ELB, ANSC 101 19
  • 20. The Poultry IndustryVertically integratedEgg producers(breeders)Broiler producers(breeders)Perdue Farms, MDHolly FarmsBreeds of lessimportance ELB, ANSC 101 20
  • 21. Chicken TidbitsHatch time: ~21 daysPrecocious youngHens begin to lay ~18 weeks of ageBroilers reach harvest weight 4-6weeks* ELB, ANSC 101 21
  • 22. ELB, ANSC 101 22
  • 23. Industry Highlights of 20 years Check-off programs to promote products? Inexpensive meat: chicken Poultry production vertically integrated Competition to improve efficiency ELB, ANSC 101 23
  • 24. Next Time . . .Delving deeper into the livestockindustrySheepHogsHorses ELB, ANSC 101 24