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Bulletin P

Abstract

Beef cows, grass and roughage are a, natural combination. They fit together. No smart farmer thinks of raising beef cattle unless he has considerable pasture and roughage. Most range men and even some Iowa farmers with mainly one product to use—grass—have little choice as to means and methods. With them it is either beef cattle or sheep. But most Iowa farmers have several alternatives as to what they may do with their land and crops—even their grass.

It is small wonder, therefore, that interest in beef cattle and numbers of beef cows in Iowa fluctuate. Numbers kept have been affected in confusing ways sometimes, by such things as relative returns compared with other available enterprises, prices of feeder cattle, change in land use, and by feed supply, labor and income situations.

High feeder cattle prices stimulate interest in cattle raising in Iowa. High prices for grain, hogs and dairy products tend to increase crop acres, cut grass and roughage production and pull in the opposite direction. Good farm income and labor shortage induce some farmers to look for less intensive enterprises and consider beef production. Uncertainty as to future price trends and expectation of lower prices cause many to want to “play it safe” with cows rather than invest in feeder cattle.

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