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.
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.
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.
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.
The GoGreen program was created to promote pre-marketing best management practices. Qualifying calves are recognized by the GoGREEN program tag.
Please email Michael L. Looper if you wish to receive the Animal Science E-News.
- Animal Science E-News - The Animal Science E-News transfers unbiased, research-based information to Arkansans as quickly as possible.
- Beef Cattle Research Update - The Beef Cattle Research Update is a quarterly newsletter designed to help county agents and producers stay abreast of current issues and research involving the beef cattle industry.
- Beef CHAMPS - Beef Cattle Health And Management Production Strategies is a newsletter published quarterly. Articles in Beef CHAMPS address timely beef cattle management, genetics and health topics. The production -oriented articles outline management tips, cattle selection and cully considerations, and herd health strategies for Arkansas cattlemen.
- Beef Cattle Production Tips - Beef Cattle Tips is a monthly newsletter designed to remind you of timely production practices that could benefit your operation.
Livestock and Forage Links
- Agricultural Organizations and Associations
- American Farm Bureau
- American Feed Industry Association
- American Forage and Grassland Council
- American Rabbit Breeders Association
- Arkansas Cattlemen's Association
- Arkansas Farm Bureau
- Arkansas Pork Producers Association
- Arkansas State Fair
- National Cattlemen's Beef Association
- National Pork Board
- National Pork Producers Council
- Agricultural Research Service News & Information, USDA
- Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service APHIS
- Arkansas Agricultural Statistics Service
- Arkansas State Fact Sheets, USDA/ERS
- Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy BSE, FAS/USDA
- Center for Disease Control CDC
- Food and Drug Administration
- Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Consumer Publications
- Foot and Mouth Disease, USDA
- National Agricultural Statistics Service NASS
- State of Arkansas
- US Department of Agriculture USDA
- Market Reports
- University Web Sites
- Youth Agricultural Education