UACES Facebook Beef Cattle in Arkansas | Arkansas beef cattle resources

Beef Production in Arkansas

According to the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, there were approximately 23,442 farms with 822,222 cows and heifers that have calves. The average herd size is 35 head with 80 percent of the farms having less than 50 head. About 97 percent of the beef cattle farms are family owned and operated.

Two and in some areas three years of drought has taken its toll on Arkansas' cattle industry but the industry bounced back. All cattle and calves in Arkansas as of January 1, 2014 totaled 1.64 million head, up 25% from January 1, 2013. The calf crop for the full year of 2014 was 730,000 head, down 3% from last year. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 870,000 head, were unchanged from January 1, 2014; beef cows, at 863,000 head were unchanged. All heifers weighing 500 pounds and over were up 3% to 141,000 head. Steers were up 10% at 130,000 head; bulls were unchanged at 55,000 head, and calves weighing less than 500 pounds were up 6% to 380,000 head.

Beef cattle producers who are applying Extension recommended management practices have improved beef cattle efficiency and profits. The Animal Science section uses a number of activities to educate beef cattle producers about cost-effective management practices. Educational activities include county programs, field days, electronic news articles, beef/forage field days, demonstrations, ration balancing, 300 Day of Grazing Program, Animal Science Blog and just to name a few.

Beef Cattle Grazing Brassica

Beef Cattle & Forage Conferences

Information including promotional material, agenda, registration, and directions to upcoming conferences and videos, fact sheets, and presentations from previous conferences.

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Baldy with calf

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA)

Cattlemen and the beef they produce enjoy a safe and wholesome image. With increasing competition for the consumer's protein dollar, tremendous opportunity exists for continued improvement upon that image.  

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Breeding and Genetics/Selection

Improving production efficiency and product desirability through each segment of the beef cattle industry rests with purebred breeders and commercial cattle producers.  They determine the matings that produce beef and replenish breeding stock. 

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beef cattle reprod


Generally success or failure in the cow/calf business depends to a large extent upon doing the right things at the right times. This is especially true when it comes to beef cattle reproduction management. Reproduction is the single most important factor in a cow/calf operation. After all, you can't sell calves if you don't produce them.

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Herd Health

A herd health management plan is vital to profitable beef production. Some producers,  however, do not vaccinate until they experience a loss. The investment in disease prevention is less than the cost of disease treatment. Don't wait until a disease outbreak occurs before implementing a sound herd health program. For cattle to reach their performance potential, they must be healthy.  

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Nutrition and Feeding

Because feed costs are the major cost of producing beef, using feeds most efficiently is of prime importance in determining profits. Rations must be properly balanced so that feeds are used efficiently and cattle remain healthy. Ration balancing and understanding proper nutrition is an important management tool the producer can use to maximize profits.

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