Stock Shows and the Beef Industry

18 Jan

There are some in the beef industry that are solidly against the show ring. They believe that it has had the tendency to corrupt the point of the point of the whole industry which is to produce a quality beef product for consumers. I humbly beg to differ. The show ring allows many youth the opportunity to learn the industry and livestock shows provide a basis for selection that makes for better cattle breeders in the long term. EPDs and other selection tools cannot be ignored but the task of visual selection for structural soundness, growth, fleshing ability and muscling is essential to making the right kind of cattle for the commercial industry.

The Limousin breed just wrapped up a successful NWSS which includes its annual meeting and banquet. Both the Yard and Hill shows were up in numbers and were very solid in quality. We had a very successful National Sale that averaged around $9,100, which should make it the highest averaging sale on the Stock Show grounds. My congratulations to all the winners from this past NWSS and thank you to all the Limousin exhibitors for bringing an outstanding group of cattle.

As I attend the major stock shows, it is hard not to realize that the top end of the major cattle breeds are becoming more uniform in type and kind to the point that it would be fair to say that the only difference is hide color. This is a great step for the beef industry, which has long been held back by people (judges and breeders) who select with breed character as a major factor. It is nice to see that folks have moved from the days of the right head shape or color pattern towards making the right kind of cattle for the industry. The beef industry has always had a problem competing with other proteins, chicken and pork, on a uniformity basis. The advent of seedstock producers moving toward the type of cattle that work in the commercial industry is refreshing to see and a first step toward moving the industry forward as a whole.

If more cattlemen can focus on making the easy fleshing, sound made, heavily muscled cattle that we are seeing in the winners’ circle at stock shows like the National Western, then it will be all the better for the entire beef sector.

During the NWSS, a leading geneticist made a comment that was very profound to the seedstock sector, to paraphrase, “the beef industry is driven by seedstock producer’s selection of bulls at weaning.” From what I’ve seen of the bulls brought the NWSS (the granddaddy of bull displays) this industry is headed in the right direction.


Posted by on January 18, 2012 in Uncategorized


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3 responses to “Stock Shows and the Beef Industry

  1. Andy Peterson

    January 27, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Great topic & commentary Joe! Food for your (and mine) rumination: why is there the desire to create the same product in the beef industry? Wine isn’t very homogeneous yet is quite profitable. Does uniformity of a product automatically equate to profit?

  2. chluke

    January 28, 2012 at 12:22 am

    I was thinking along similar lines. Uniformity (standardization?) makes sense in both the poultry and pork industry simply because of the fact that these animals are raised in a controlled environment – stable temperatures and fairly predictable feedstuffs. Given the wide range of environments we expose our cattle to, I’m not user how uniform we can reasonably get.

  3. ruminationsfromtheroad

    January 28, 2012 at 2:27 am

    Uniformity takes on a different aspect in the beef industry. Due to the wide variety of environments, I agree that we can’t be as uniform as chicken or pork. But the consumer of beef demands some uniformity in their eating experience.The purpose of this post was to look at how livestock evaluation across breeds is becoming more uniform so the industry is moving toward a type of cattle that are more useful in the commercial industry.

    Stay tuned. I’ll address the uniformity issue more thoroughly in the near future.


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