; Facilitating Alternative Heifer Marketing Strategies in Alabama | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Facilitating Alternative Heifer Marketing Strategies in Alabama

William Kelley


In 2016, beef cattle sales in Alabama were over $450 million dollars, representing one of the largest agricultural industries in the state of Alabama. Most cattle producers in Alabama have cow-calf operations that produce calves to be sold as stockers or directly to feedlots in the Midwest. Female calves typically receive lower prices than comparable male calves (steers) when sold as feeder cattle. Marketing bred heifers could bring per-calf profits that would be close to or higher than steers in their cohort. In addition, replacement heifer prices likely do not vary as much as feeder calf prices, potentially providing insurance during beef cattle market fluctuations. Due to the lack of an established market for bred heifers in Alabama, Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) agents worked alongside producers to develop and implement an annual sale that would facilitate such a marketing strategy. The first Herdbuilder Replacement Female Sale was held in August 1998 and has continued for 19 consecutive years. Sale results data from the Herdbuilder sale from 2008-2016 was analyzed to develop a program which would help further inform current and past participants on how to improve their heifer marketing strategies. The program included classroom analysis of data, discussion with producers and Extension educators on strategies to better meet consumer demands (as indicated by the data analysis), and hands-on training on heifer selection to meet data-driven consumer expectations.