Arizona Cattle

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The State of Arizona in 1970 created the Arizona Beef Council to establish a program to develop and maintain state, national, and foreign markets for Arizona beef and beef products. The Arizona Beef Council is funded by the Beef Checkoff.

Arizona's ranchers are continually challenged to produce high quality beef. With pressure from foreign markets many cow-calf operators were getting less money for the animals they sold. They seemed to be losing repeat customers. Very few Arizona cow-calf producers fed their calves to market size in feedyards and didn't have any production records on them and really did not know what kind of animal they were producing. Data was needed to show buyers in order to get better prices. They also needed this data in order to improve the quality of next year's calf crop.

Since 1997 the Arizona Ranch to Rail program provides data collected at the feedlot and packing plant. Producers send from 5 to 20 calves to Benedict Feedlot where their records are carefully monitored. At the packing plant data is collected on muscling, grade and other quality characteristics. "Carcass data includes their yield grades, their rib-eye measurements, the amount of muscling that the cattle have," Bob Grumbles of Mohave County says. "They're able to see what changes they may need to make in their production systems. Because many of the animal deficits are directly tied back to genetics most typically ranchers will make changes in their tie bull selection. "That's the one thing that they can change very quickly and very easily that can impact major changes in their herds," he says.

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