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Should We Use Smaller Frame Cattle for the Freezer Beef Business?

By Dr. Andrew Griffith

If a person knows they can sell every animal as a freezer beef then smaller frame cattle have the benefit of finishing at a lighter weight, more quickly than larger frame cattle, and at a lower cost than larger frame cattle. Thus, there can be some efficiencies in feeding smaller frame cattle if all cattle are sold as freezer beef.

The other side of the coin is when not all cattle are sold as freezer beef and have to be sold through the traditional market. Small frame cattle will be heavily discounted in the traditional market, which in many cases is a loss to the producer.

An alternative strategy would be to manage a herd of moderate frame cattle that produce calves that will finish between 1,100 and 1,250 pounds. In this scenario, producers can benefit from feeding and finishing animals that will still finish fairly quickly, but the producer also has an animal that can fit the traditional production system.

It is a balancing act that will take effort, but it provides multiple outlets for the calf crop.

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