As the impacts of long-running drought continue to plague the cattle business, industry leaders are looking for opportunities to adapt. The expanding production of dairy-beef cross calves is one such notion that has been gaining traction, and new research is slated to begin this summer to dig deeper.
“Because of drought, beef cow numbers are hitting a critical low population and that is going to affect the number of calves,” said Dr. Paul Beck, associate professor and extension specialist for beef nutrition at Oklahoma State University (OSU). “So, a lot of the empty pen space is going to be made up of the beef and dairy crossbreds coming out of these dairies.”
Beck leads a team of graduate student researchers who, in partnership with Buffalo Feeders and MasterHand Milling, will be conducting trials this summer to evaluate the grazing and feedyard performance of dairy-cross cattle against traditional beef calves.
Dairy-cross calves have represented a growing portion of the beef market in recent years as dairy operators look for a more profitable outlet for their bull calves, said Ally Grote, a member of the graduate research team.