Feedlot size can affect cattle grades
By Miranda Reiman, CAB information specialist
Farm & Ranch Guide
Feedlot sizes have been steadily increasing, while quality grades of cattle continue to drop.
“We think that’s more than a coincidence,” says Larry Corah, Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) vice president. “Larger feedlots face a number of challenges that contribute to this decrease in quality grades.”
More than 50 percent of today’s cattle are fed at yards with more than 32,000-head capacity. Data from CAB’s Feedlot Licensing Program shows yards larger than 20,000 head have a 41 percent lower Certified Angus Beef brand acceptance rate than the average of their counterparts. They also drop 17 to 20 points in the number of cattle grading Choice or higher.
“We recognize that some of the difference could be due to feedlot location, as most of the larger yards have access to Southern-type cattle,” says Mark McCully, director of supply development for CAB. “But cattle that find their way into our dataset tend to be of similar quality.”