KDA Billy Brown


(Conrad) Good morning and welcome to Farm Factor on AGam in Kansas. I’m your host, Conrad Kabus. The Kansas Department of Agriculture has found that Uruguay and Argentina have some of the same opportunities as Kansas agriculture. Billy Brown of the KDA recently led cattlemen to explore Argentina and Uruguay in an effort to research and develop new markets for Kansas beef genetics. (Billy) Well, we’ve heard great things about the Argentina and Uruguay beef market and the industry in general and it’s one that mirrors a lot of the same type of production systems that we try to utilize here in the United States. And we wanted to take a look at what it might be like to get some of our genetics into their herds down in Argentina and Uruguay, so we did a market assessment mission to those two countries. And what we found is that their production system is fairly similar. They like livestock that are similar to what we have here in the United States in terms of British breeds, Angus, Hereford and the major caveat or difference between those two would be that we do more of a grain fed system here in the U.S. compared to more of a grass based system in Argentina and Uruguay. But none the less, they have similar outlooks on what they’re looking for in their livestock and I think our genetics would match up really well with helping them get more elite genetics into their herds. (Conrad) Identifying Argentina and Uruguay as two countries with opportunities to expand beef exports and enhance marketing for U.S. beef genetics, the team visited each countries’ breed association headquarters, five ranches and two bull sales. Almost 90 percent of the cattle raised in Argentina are Angus. (Billy) Well, I think it has an opportunity to increase market potential for the state of Kansas. We just pulled some numbers yesterday that demonstrate that Argentina and Uruguay really doesn’t buy a whole lot of U.S. agricultural products as it is, zero dollars in 2013 for Uruguay and about $200,000 dollars in 2013 for Argentina. So, we have a great opportunity to access a market that maybe potentially hasn’t been utilized to its full capability in the past. (Conrad) While in Argentina, the team visited Angus and Hereford ranches to access how Kansas genetics could assist around the globe. Uruguay is home to approximately 12 million head of cattle. Fifty percent are Herefords. Twenty-five percent are Angus and the remaining 25 percent consist of other breeds. The cattle industry in Uruguay is very progressive and open to the use of U.S. genetics. Cattle in both Argentina and Uruguay are smaller in statue than that of the average American breed. The producers appreciate a more condensed built which more fits their management style and environment. (Billy) Well I think the U.S. has always been very competitive when it comes to our agricultural exports. And I don’t think that’s any different from what Kansas is doing now. When we traveled down there, there is some influence from the U.S. already, but the key is making sure that Kansas gets a foot in the door. And developing relationships with their producers and with our beef producers as well so that they know where they can turn to find that excellent genetics that they need to take the next step to improve their herd. So, we’re doing some great things. It’s a long process that really comes down to relationships and telling our story of what we’ve done well here and how that will compliment what they’re trying to do in their own country.

(Conrad) Good morning and welcome to Farm Factor on AGam in Kansas. I’m your host, Conrad Kabus. Improving and expanding the Costa Rican beef industry while increasing the opportunities for sales of the U.S. and specifically Kansas beef genetics is the goal of the Kansas Department of Agriculture. (Billy) Well, in 2011 a group from KDA, the Montana Department of Agriculture and the American International Charolais Association visited Costa Rica to collaborate with some of their researchers and extension in Costa Rica to look at the possibility of increasing their beef production capabilities but at the same time working with some of our beef producers to increase and enhance market opportunities to selling their genetics to Costa Rica. So, we have a project going on in Costa Rica right now where we are breeding Roman cows to Charolais and Red Angus bulls from the United States. And with the increase opportunity of getting better carcass quality for their animals down there, increasing their efficiency as well. Our overall hope is that the project will be able to demonstrate the positive benefits of using U.S. genetics and Kansas genetics for increasing their productivity. (Conrad) This multi-year program has facilitated the use of U.S. Charolais and Red Angus semen for artificial insemination of Costa Rica Brahman and Nelore cattle. (Billy) Well I think we’re gonna see a lot of interest in what we’re doing down there from the standpoint of how we’re going to be able to promote our genetics. Obviously this is a pretty cool project because we’re going to be able to see the progress of these calves from birth when we get weaning weights all the way through slaughter to when we get the opportunity to see their carcass quality data. And the improvement of that carcass quality when we put those bulls onto the Brahman based cows. So from that standpoint it really isn’t different from what a lot of breeds have done in the southern U.S. with creating beef masters or Braford cattle or anything like that. But from this standpoint, it’s going to reiterate that type of production system can be utilized in other parts of the world as well, which is very beneficial for our Kansas producers if we’re able to ship more genetic material to Costa Rica. (Conrad) Kansas cattlemen participated in a field day in January with Costa Rican cattlemen where they were able to visually compare the difference between the cross breed calves and native calves. (Billy) Well, in Costa Rica they utilize more of a grass based system than they do here in the United States and in Kansas. And their production system, obviously without grain, takes a lot longer for them to accomplish the task of getting an animal to market weight, compared to what it does here in the United States. So, I think this project really has an opportunity to be able to reduce that time from pasture to plate which has a great impact not only on our environment but the profitability of our ranchers in Costa Rica and in Kansas.

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