Denver – Cattlemen and women from around the country gathered in Colorado Springs to attend “Sizing up Profit,” the Commercial Cattlemen’s Symposium that kicked off the 64th annual National Red Angus Convention. More than 200 cattlemen and women heard the latest data and trends from industry leaders and stakeholders regarding cow size and efficiency, sustainability, cattle health concerns and the export market. The symposium also featured a producer panel that addressed challenges and opportunities facing all commercial producers. Brian Allmer of BARN Media served as emcee for the day.
Dr. David Lalman, professor and beef cattle extension specialist at Oklahoma State University, opened the session with a highly valuable discussion on cow size in the beef industry and the importance of utilizing available resources efficiently. Dr. Lalman encouraged producers to conduct feed and forage intake testing to ensure that cattle are energetically efficient and predicted that the industry will see health and fertility improvements through genetic advancements.
Steve Wooten of Beatty Canyon Ranch shared with attendees the importance of a sustainable beef supply and the development of the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. Wooten sits on the board of directors for the USRSB and updated the audience on the most recent beef sustainability research and its implementation into building a more sustainable beef supply moving forward.
During the afternoon session, Dr. Tim Holt, assistant professor of clinical sciences at Colorado State University, captivated attendees with thorough explanations of brisket disease and its relation to cow size, particularly those cattle living at higher elevations. Dr. Holt utilized numerous visual aids to exercise his points, including life-size respiratory organs modeled from cows afflicted with brisket disease.
Dr. Holt explained the physiology behind congestive heart failure and hypoxia and said, “That is why we do pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP) testing in cattle that live above 5,000 to 6,000 feet.” Additionally, Holt encouraged producers who live in high-altitude areas to conduct PAP tests, since brisket disease can be a hereditary condition. Dr. Holt emphatically said, “We are genetically building animals that are outgrowing their cardiovascular systems. We need to select animals with bigger lungs to withstand higher altitudes.”
Paul Clayton, Senior Vice President for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, shared his insight on recent developments in foreign export markets for U.S. beef, including China. Clayton said that the current trade agreement underwent extensive negotiations in order to open the Chinese market to U.S. beef after being shutout for 13 years; he also discussed the glaring differences between beef markets in countries like China, Brazil and Japan to those of Pakistan, Nigeria and Indonesia.
Rounding out the symposium was a well-received producer panel featuring CJ Blew, Eric Christensen and John Price who discussed challenges and opportunities facing today’s cattlemen and women. Topics of discussion included barriers to entry, dependable labor and leadership, and generational dynamics.
The Commercial Cattlemen’s Syposium was the kick-off event of the 2017 National Red Angus Convention, held Sept. 13-15 in Colorado Spring, Colorado.
The Red Angus Association of America serves the beef industry by enhancing and promoting the competitive advantages of Red Angus and Red Angus-influenced cattle. The RAAA provides commercial producers with the most objectively described cattle in the industry by seeking and implementing new technologies based on sound, scientific principles that measure traits of economic importance. For more information, visit www.RedAngus.org.