May 1984 // Volume 22 // Number 3 // Research in Brief // 3RIB1

Previous Article Issue Contents Previous Article

Beef Cattle Production Practices


Boyd Rossing

"Beef Cattle Producers of the Texas Gulf Coast: Characteristics and Production Practices." Howard Ladewig and Roy Garibay. College Station: Texas A & M University, Department of Rural Sociology, 1982.

Extension education is aimed at improving practices of clientele. In Texas, over the years, information on research-based nutritional, range management, health, reproduction and growth, financial record keeping, and marketing practices has beendisseminated to beef cattle producers.

How many producers currently use such practices? What affects adoption and use of new versus traditional practices? Answers to these questions were sought in a study designed to establish a benchmark for future program planning impact evaluations.

It turned out that some practices were widely used; for example, 88%of the producers provide supplemental feedto their cattle, 87% routinely treat their cattle for external parasites, and 95% market cattle through livestock auctionbarns. Conversely, some practices are used by few producers. Only 5% use artificial insemination and only 4% use a computer.

And what are some of the reasons for this variation? Producers with higher levels of education and higher levelsof gross farm income used more production practices in some areas, particularly herd health and record keeping than those with less education and income. Those with more days of off-the-farm employment were less likely to employ range management practices.

Findings such as these lay a firm basis for program development and evaluation. They can help programmers decide where totarget educational programs. Just as important, they give clues to the farmer's situation and what affects willingness to adopt various practices. The information can help researchers focus on practices that suit special situations such as small farms or producers with significant off-the-farm employment.

Now, Texas Extension also has a benchmark for assessing the impact of future educational programming.