An Analysis of Producing and Direct Marketing Pasture-finished Beef

1996 Annual Report for FNC96-154

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 1996: $5,912.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2000
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Thomas Wrchota
Cattleana Ranch

An Analysis of Producing and Direct Marketing Pasture-finished Beef


"Many university studies have shown that big and small ranchers who retain ownership of their calves through salughter make money seven to eight years out of 10. So why don't all producers retain their animals? Cash flows and risk managment factors come into play. The longer one retains cattle ownership, the more one takes on risk. In order to encourage additional small ranchers to retain their livestock through finishing (hedging is not often practical), there has to be reasonable expectations of higher financial returns on the part of the operator. Lowering feed costs through mangement-intensive grazing practices and direct retail sales of beef could be an answer."

Objectives: To conduct a comprehensive marketing analysis comparing pasture-finished Galloway beef, pasture/grain-finished Galloway beef and "store-bought beef." All Galloway beef will be hormone-free and direct marketed. Customers are sent a survey that allows them to score tenderness, juiciness, falvor and overall accptance. Customers are also asked to comment on packaging and size of cuts.

Results: Early survey data indicates excellent consumer acceptance. Comments from customers have resulted in tailoring portion-size of selected cuts. Early cost analysis revealed total average costs of saleable products at $2.40 per pound.