Every cattleman is in marketing
By Lacey Newlin, High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal
Mar 11, 2019
Breedlove Professor of Agribusiness and Extension Livestock Specialist Derrell Peel says cattlemen are always responding either consciously or subconsciously to market signals related to how they use resources to raise their product.
“In the business school they teach the importance of marketing the right product, at the right place, at the right time and to the right consumer,” Peel said. “If you’re in the stocker business or higher, you’re also part of that marketing system. Cattlemen are a part of what I believe to be the most complex set of markets on the planet.”
Peel says as soon as a producer leaves the cow-calf sector where he is harvesting grass from a primary production standpoint, he is involved in marketing. Those cattle are still being raised and brought through the stocker phase and finished in the feedlot while being moved around the country.
“We’re changing the timing of those animals in terms of when they’re going to hit the market,” Peel said. “Just think for a second about the big picture of the ability of any consumer in this country to walk into a grocery store any day of the year and find fresh meat. If you think about that coming from calves that are born once a year, it’s a remarkable process that this industry accomplishes collectively to make sure we spread out and have fresh meat year-round.”
However, Peel says key challenges exist for multi-sector production and marketing across various segments in the cattle industry.
“There’s really two basic levels of challenges that I can identify,” Peel explained. “First, we need to make sure we have the right incentives for each sector to be doing what’s best for the whole industry. As this industry tries to get more and more efficient, we’re trying to bridge that gap and get to a point where we can get the incentives at the individual sector levels to align with the industry. Second, because of the multiple sectors, there can be a certain level of antagonism and tradeoff between various sectors. As a broad example, things that sometimes have production value, don’t necessarily have the best carcass value.”
Peel says the cattle industry also needs to start viewing the cow-calf, stocker and feedlots phases as one business and part of the same production phases.
“This industry just has one job ultimately, and that is to get animals ready for slaughter in a way so that they have carcass traits that meet the demands of the marketplace.”
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