Reproductive Technology &
Global Beef Production:
Why U.S. Producers Need to Pay Attention
JOPLIN, Mo. (Sept. 1, 2011) — As producers of beef, the U.S. beef industry has long been the world leader. However, Ky Pohler says he fears U.S. beef producers are at risk of losing their competitive edge. A graduate student of animal science at the University of Missouri (MU), Pohler spoke during the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) conference in Joplin, offering evidence that other countries are seeking a bigger share of the global beef market. He said Brazil’s beef industry, in particular, has its eye on the international market for high-quality beef, whcih the United States has dominated.
Pohler shared from the experience he and fellow graduate student Daniel Mallory gained while serving internships in Brazil, which has an estimated 76 million beef cows. He explained how two companies are driving increased adoption of reproductive technologies to hasten genetic improvement in Brazilian herds, as well as finishing and marketing techniques for increasing high-quality beef production and sales. Pohler said the predominate Nellore (a Bos indicus breed) cattle, which are well-suited to a tropical climate, are increasingly being crossed with Angus to increase both production volume and beef quality.
“There has been a nearly 40% increase in semen sales during the last 10 years,” said Pohler, noting how, contrary to the United States, beef operations lead dairies in adoption of synchronized artificial insemination (AI). “Roughly 7% to 12% of beef cows are bred by AI. That’s over twice the total number of cows inseminated in the U.S.”
Pohler said Brazilian producers increasingly recognize AI and embryo transfer as tools for quickly and efficiently improving genetics. Fixed-time AI (FTAI) is favored for increasing the efficiency of AI. Brazilians have also been aggressive in the use of ultrasound for pregnancy diagnosis.
Helping drive adoption of reproductive technologies is Lageado Agricultural Consulting Ltd., a company that provides consultation, technical and management services to producers in eight Brazilian states. During the 2010-2011 breeding season, Lageado is expected to inseminate more than 100,000 cows.
Additionally, said Pohler, the Marfrig Group (Brazil’s third-largest food-processing company) has developed a certification program to encourage and coordinate production and marketing of high-quality beef supplies from Angus and Angus-cross cattle.
Pohler called the Brazilian beef industry’s heavy investment in the adoption of reproductive and genetic technologies representative of the challenge U.S. producers face from major global competitors.
“From my generation’s point of view,” Pohler warned, “U.S. producers have to adopt technologies that are already on the shelf, and stack those technologies to increase productivity and efficiency, or risk losing their position as the global leader in production of high-quality beef.”
Pohler spoke during Thursday's ARSBC session focused on current topics in reproductive management. Visit the Newsroom at www.appliedreprostrategies.com to view the PowerPoint slides and proceedings paper submitted by Pohler to accompany his presentation. Audio of the presentation will be available soon.
Comprehensive coverage of the symposium is available online at www.appliedreprostrategies.com. Compiled by Angus Productions Inc. (API), the site is made possible through sponsorship by the Beef Reproductive Task Force, SEK Genetics, and liveauctions.tv. Coverage includes summaries of the speaker presentations, PowerPoints, proceedings and audio.
Editor's Note: This article was written under contract or by staff of Angus Productions Inc. (API), which claims copyright to this article. It may not be published or redistributed without the express permission of API, publisher of the Angus Journal, Angus Beef Bulletin, Angus e-List and Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA. To request reprint permission and guidelines, contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at 816-383-5270.