2020: The year of the cull cow

Cow and cattle herd

 Now is a good time for beef producers to take advantage of stronger than normal prices for culled cattle, says University of Missouri Extension agricultural business specialist Wesley Tucker.

Fat trimmings become a value-added product for hamburgers. Demand for hamburger increased during COVID-19 as more people ate at home instead of restaurants or schools.

COVID-19 led to backlogs in beef processing plants across the country. This caused producers to hold cattle longer before getting them to market. Cattle gained extra weight while held in the feedlot.

Ground beef uses trimmings to increase fat content in lean meat and improve texture and flavor. As a result, the market for culled cows is stronger at a time when it usually drops, says Tucker.

Beef tallow usually sells for 10 cents a pound, but can now be added to hamburger that sells at approximately $3 a pound.

Higher prices give producers an opportunity to clear the farm of extra cattle to feed during the winter.

To take advantage of the opportunity, do pregnancy checks on cows as soon as possible and consider early weaning to market open cull cows before prices drop.

For more guidelines on culling a cattle herd, “Culling the Commercial Cow Herd: BIF Fact Sheet” is available at THIS LINK