50 years of Pharmaceutical Technology and Its Impact On The Beef We Provide To Consumers
AUTHORS Thomas E. Elam, Ph.D. Rodney L. Preston, Ph.D.
Technology Is a Key Factor in Keeping Beef Competitive in theConsumer’s Food Basket THEME
PHARMACEUTICALTECHNOLOGY Applied to the beef industry over the past 55 years is one of the major contributors to providing the consumer with affordable and wholesome beef
None of these technologies alone is solely responsible But, together, they have revolutionized the U.S. beef production system
DOMESTIC BEEF PRODUCTION/HEAD, TOTAL JAN. 1 CATTLE HERD 1955-2003 Actual, 2004-2005 Forecast 2011 Actual = 289 Lbs. 2011 Trend = 262 Lbs. +119% improvement!
CARCASS BEEF POUNDS/HEAD ANDHARVEST/HEAD OF JAN. 1 TOTAL INVENTORY 2011 +50% increase in carcass weight +36% increase in head harvested per head inventory
WHICH HAS ALLOWED US TO… • More than double total beef production • From about the same herd size as in 1955 • Reduce real consumer beef prices • Reduce our impact on the environment • And increase the quality of beef by grain feeding a higher proportion of cattle
WHAT IF TECHNOLOGY WERE FROZEN IN 1955? • Lower beef production/consumption • Higher cost/pound of beef produced • Higher cattle/beef prices • Larger cattle herd, but lower beef production • Greater environmental impact • More waste produced • More land needed for pasture and feed • Higher retail price/pound of beef • Greater market share for alternative meats
200183million cattle would need • About 500 million additional acres (at current stocking rates) • That is more than the combined area of: • Texas • Arizona • NM • Kansas • Colorado • Clearly, this amount of additional land would be expensive, and entail environmental consequences • Unrealistic? Brazil is the same size as the U.S., produces beef at about our 1955 level, uses 190 million head, and has cleared rain forest for pasture
SOURCES OF TECHNOLOGY CHANGE • Animal Health; Pharmaceuticals • Genetics • Nutrition & management • Grain yields & feed costs
PHARMACEUTICALTECHNOLOGY • Antibiotics • Implants • Ionophores • Repartitioning agents • Parasiticides • Vaccines • Estrus regulation
ESTIMATES OF PERFORMANCE GAINS FROM KEY PHARMACEUTICAL TECHNOLOGIES Beta agonists yield ~15-25 pounds of added carcass weight on same days and feed.
GENETICS • Beef cattle genetics is a mixed bag • Small frame (1950) vs. large frame • English vs. exotic breeds • Dairy genetics has greatly increased milk production/cow; fewer dairy cows • Quantitative genetic measures (EPD) and gene marker technology will identify gene combinations for improved growth, efficiency & eating qualities of beef
NUTRITION • Research has defined the nutrient requirements of cattle (NRC) • Feeding for optimum breeding performance in large frame cattle • Pasture & stocker cattle supplemented to maximize roughage utilization • Predicted gains, efficiency and final weight of feedlot cattle facilitate break-evens & hedging to lock in profit
GRAIN (CORN) YIELDS While not exactly beef technology, corn yields and relative price have had a major influence on the U.S. beef production system, beef technology application, and the cost of beef to the consumer
BEEF QUALITY • USDA grades are the industry’s standard of quality measurement • For several reasons, their relation to the eating quality of beef is marginal • Little change in grain-fed beef quality over last 50 years • No strong relation between use of pharmaceutical technologies and fed beef quality • Overall beef quality has increased due to higher proportion of grain-fed beef
CONCLUSIONS • Over the past 55 years, efficiency of U.S. beef production has improved over 100% • Several technologies have played important roles in efficiency gains • Without these improvements, environmental impact would be greater • Pharmaceutical technologies are an integral part of the efficiency improvement • Technology has kept beef competitive in the consumer’s food basket • By helping to increase cattle feeding, technology has improved beef quality