Date of Graduation

8-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural Economics (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

Advisor

Michael P. Popp

Committee Member

Lawton L. Nalley

Second Committee Member

Kenneth P. Coffey

Keywords

Social sciences; Health and environmental sciences; Breed; Cow-calf; Greenhouse gases; Sires

Abstract

This research looks at impacts of changing sires, and thus bull genetics, on cow-calf operations of varying land and herd sizes in the state of Arkansas. A 2012 Across-Breed EPD table, adjusted to the Angus breed, was used to estimate breed sire effects on birth weight and weaning weight of the herd's offspring (Kuehn and Thallman 2012a). Together with modified animal performance, the use of 2012 and most recent five- and ten- year Arkansas state average prices, allowed the evaluation of changing herd sires by accounting for breed type and hide color differences in prices. Using a spreadsheet tool that tracks operation-specific details of cow-calf operations, side by side comparisons of herd sire breed with respect to sale price, birth and weaning weight and attendant feed and birthing difficulty related costs could be translated to changes in net returns for the entire operation as well as on a per cow basis. From these breed

related estimates of net returns, breakeven price premiums or discounts a producer would pay for the new bull compared to the existing bull could be determined. In addition to evaluating economic implications of bull genetics, the spreadsheet model also tracks the operation's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with changes in cattle weights and days on feed. The analysis thus highlights situations where herd sire selection could be both profitable and mitigate GHG emissions as opposed to only profitable or only GHG friendly. For analysis, a baseline farm was established. This baseline farm consisted of a medium-sized operation that had 60 hay acres,180 pasture acres, 45 commercial white cows, and two Angus bulls. Given this baseline scenario, it is shown that an operator could have the greatest increase in profits and greatest decrease in GHG emissions by switching to a Simmental bull. Choice of bull genetics is highly dependent on the operation and the baseline breed of cows used for analysis. This result validates the

concept of using a reasonably comprehensive model of a cow-calf operation for this type of analysis.

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