Livestock analysts at the University of Nebraska estimate that Nebraska could be on its way to displace Texas as the largest cattle-feeding state in the U.S. And part of the reason for Nebraska growth in cattle feeding numbers is the availability of distillers grains, according to an article in the Lincoln Journal-Star (http://bit.ly/…).
In a 50-page report, the UNL research team stated, "If the current five-year trend continues for the next five to seven years, Nebraska will lead the U.S. in number of cattle on feed."
The ethanol industry is much more widely established in Nebraska than Texas. Distillers grain from Nebraska's two dozen ethanol plants are supplying many cattle feeders with a widely-used feed ingredient. Other factors in Nebraska growing numbers are the proximity of beef-processing plants and corn stockpiles in Nebraska, as well as closing of a major processing plant in and a multi-year drought in Texas.
Drought has decreased Nebraska's beef cow numbers by about 79,000 head, but that loss is still small compared to a decrease in Texas of 550,000 head.
The future will depend on economics, the authors said. Cattle numbers will gravitate to areas producers can find the cheapest cost of gain. Right, now, that happens to be shifting northward.
Cheryl Anderson can be reached at Cheryl.email@example.com.
© Copyright 2013 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.