In an effort to better understand a dynamic sector of the beef cattle business, BEEF conducted a survey of stocker trends back in 2007. The results of that study showed that although the stocker business is transient in nature, more liquid, easier to enter and exit, once pasture has grown or is leased, the only way to dilute costs is with more days and more pounds grown on it. That may explain why grazing period and desired selling weight rank ahead of desired profit in determining ownership length in a set of calves. And, although the study shared a lot of information about the stocker business, BEEF is polling readers to get a better grasp on current stocker trends, specifically on the procurement of calves preferred for the stocker operation.
First, here are some interesting statistics to consider from the first-ever National Stocker Survey conducted by BEEF magazine and Kansas State University in 2007:
- Only 17.2% of stocker producers in the U.S. are defined by the survey as "pure" stocker operators, those involved exclusively in that segment of the cattle business.
- The largest segment (64.6%) is represented by cow-calf producers who are also stocker operators.
- 10.6% are termed whole-cycle stockers, producers who are involved in multiple segments, from cow-calf to feeding.
- 4.8% of those surveyed are feedlot operators who also run stockers or background cattle.
Have you stockered cattle in the past? Are you currently running stocker cattle? What are the factors that will prompt you to participate or not participate this year? If you are currently running stocker cattle, what’s changed for you in the last year or so?
And while you’re at it, how about participating in our exclusive poll at beefmagazine.com? The question is: “In the last year, have you procured more direct-source, non-commingled calves for your stocker operation than normal?”