An assessment of the sustainability of beef production in the Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas region requires information on their production practices. A voluntary survey was conducted for ranches and feedyards in the region along with site visits to gather information on production practices. Responses to the survey along with site visits represented 0.8% of the cows maintained and 9% of the cattle finished in the region, with a wide range in size and types of operations. Most characteristics of cow-calf and stocker ranches did not vary much across states, but there were differences in cow stocking rates and forage production from the wetter east side of the region to the drier, semiarid conditions of the west side. Average stocking rate decreased from 2.4 ha/cow (1.3 ha/ stocker) in the east to 15.7 ha/cow (4.6 ha/stocker) in the west, and more forage was harvested in the east along with greater use of fertilizers. The largest feedyards were located on the west side of the region; no other consistent differences in feedyard management were found across the region or among states. Two feedyards in central Kansas produced a major portion of their feed, whereas most of the others appeared to manage just enough cropland to dispose of feedyard runoff and minor amounts of manure. The information gathered is being used to develop representative operations for a comprehensive life-cycle assessment of the economic and environmental sustainability of beef cattle production in the region.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology