As part of the United States Beef Sustainability Program, a nationwide characterization of regional beef production practices was conducted. Data on cattle production practices were gathered through voluntary surveys and on-site visits in the Northeast and Southeast, the last of 7 cattle-producing regions studied. Participating farms and ranches (n = 817) represented 1.2 and 1.0% of beef cows in the Northeast and Southeast, respectively. Responses from finishing operations (n = 55) represented 4 and 23% of cattle fed in the Northeast and Southeast, respectively. Herd sizes reported were larger in the Southeast than in the Northeast; however, stocking rates were similar. Cow-to-bull ratios were slightly greater in the Southeast, and the proportions of replacement heifers were comparable in both regions. Supplemental feed production and indoor housing were more prevalent in the Northeast compared with the warmer Southeast, where longer grazing periods were possible. Fewer feedlots were reported in the Southeast, with most being backgrounding facilities. Finishing on grass was more common in the east than in other regions. Feed intake estimated by survey respondents was comparable across regions, but relatively more silage was fed in the Northeast, whereas hay was dominant in the Southeast. Cropland producing cattle feed received most of the manure in both regions, although 25% was composted and sold in the Northeast. Labor, equipment, and energy use information was also gathered from the various operation types. The data collected help guide the development of representative production systems used in the life cycle assessment of beef.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology