by Mario Villarino DVM, Ph.D.
The U.S. beef market is and has been for a long time, dependent of international trade. Even when we locally can see the direct impact in our economy by buying and selling cattle, the quantity produced by Texas alone cannot be supported by local consumption only. It is however, important to remember that quality and quantity does get produced locally and the tradition of beef and dairy production is part of our culture in Northeast Texas. Fluctuation of the commodity during the year allows opportunity to generate income and trade.
Just as with any other market-variable commodity, when the price of beef is low, producers tend to purchase cattle and If the condition allows it, look for a sale opportunity when beef prices increase. It is, overall, the international trade that creates national market fluctuations influenced by local markets conditions. A good example of local conditions in weather. During drought (a local environmental condition) grass and hay production gets reduced and producers tend to move cattle to prevent weight loss or deaths. Another good example is pasture damage by wild fires, or when cattle get mobilized or loss due to natural catastrophes. According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (Borror, E., TAMU beef short course, 2017) U.S. cattle prices remain higher than other major exporters, with the US leading export growth with Asia leading import growth for U.S. beef.
All Asia markets for demand of U.S. chilled beef has shown growth during 2017 (Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong). The growth of Japan market increased (+52%) recently, and Korea imported record volumes of chilled U.S. beef during May (+85%). Korea and Taiwan (26% and 39%) consume the most U.S. beef per person in the world. China, a big player in the Asia market, has been a long awaited market opportunity for U.S. beef. The Chinese beef market, currently is importing relatively small amounts of grain-fed beef, with Australia providing a big share of their beef market. Currently Australia has a record cattle number of beef aiming to Asian markets.
Currently, the U.S. Inventory is 93.6 million head with Texas leading the group with 12.3 million head. Texas beef operation numbers also lead the nation with 128,624 and 2.4 million head of cattle-on-feed. The average heard size is 40 head, with the average age of ranchers be 58 years old. 91% of the beef operations in the U.S. are family-owned and 11% are operated by woman. The impact of the beef industry for Texas is estimated at $10.5 billion dollars per year, and Texas rank 1st on beef exports (at 1.08 billion tons). The most interesting part of the current situation is international market seeking after U.S. beef and if you are a beef producer in Texas, it means the product of your farm. The beef products we produce (as a country) compete and in some instances lead international trade. Because Texas Beef is produced in small-scale operations, mostly family owned, the quality and quantity produced relies on family farms. It is important to remember that the beef industry in Texas is big in numbers, both cattle and families producing them and is also supported by many organizations and companies. As responsible members of the beef industry, it is necessary that we take care of those elements that contribute to our local industry.
Upcoming events supporting or supported by our beef industry:
- Cattlemen Classic and Ribeye Cook-off. October 6, 2017, downtown Sulphur Springs. A great opportunity to learn and enjoy the beef industry in Hopkins County. We will host a producer trade show with companies and support industry (starting at 2:00 PM) at the downtown area (free), a feature keynote speaker Trent Loos at the Courthouse (free) as part of the 2017 NETBIO producer meeting. The celebration continues with the cook-off competition, dinner (tickets available for $25 at Texas Heritage Bank and Brookshire’s in Sulphur Springs) and a free concert featuring Stoney Larue starting at 8:00 PM.
- Red Alliance Red Angus Production Sale. Registered Bulls, Females, and Commercial Red Angus. Oct 2, 2017 in the Hopkins County Civic Center. Sale starts 10 am / 150 head can be previewed on Sunday afternoon. Call John Macek @903-348-2138 for a catalog or www.redalliance.biz
- Private Applicators CEU and Hamburger Cook-Off. November 1, 2017. Join us to learn new techniques in weed management in pastures (1hr) hay production (1 hr), pond weed management (1 hr), Laws and Regulations related to use of restricted pesticides (1 hr), and protection of pollinators in agriculture (1 hr. IPM). Regional Civic Center. Call The Hopkins County Extension office at 903-885-3443 to register. Cost $30 lunch included.