Examining the Capacity of Nebraska Rangelands for Cattle Production

Examining the Capacity of Nebraska Rangelands for Cattle Production

This week's Cornhusker Economics is written by Katie Cumming and Jay Parsons, both in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Walter Schacht, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, and Brian Baskerville, USDA-NRCS.

According to the 2017 United States Department of Agriculture National Agriculture Statistics Service report (USDA-NASS 2017), Nebraska is ranked first in the United States for both cattle on feed and for beef slaughtering capacity. It ranks number two in all cattle and calves while ranking number four in the number of beef cows. Beef production has a $12.1 billion impact annually to the Nebraska economy, including $6.5 billion in direct sales (Nebraska Beef Cattle Facts 2016).

Given the above information, a research question was motivated to evaluate the forage production of Nebraska’s perennial grazing land systems and its potential to increase cow/calf production in Nebraska. Until now, this type of research to perform a gap analysis of the forage supply and demand from perennial grazing lands on a statewide basis had not been conducted.

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