UC educates the public on beef production cycles
By Mike Hsu, UCANR Senior Public Information Representative
The pandemic has drawn more people to nearby parks and public lands for hiking, biking and other recreational activities. In areas like East Bay State Parks – a San Francisco Bay Area park system totaling more than 120,000 acres where about 65% of the land is grazed by cattle – visitors can see goats, sheep and, most likely, cattle.
These encounters with animals (or their manure) represent a great opportunity for members of the public to learn more about agriculture and the ecological benefits of rangelands, according to Larry Forero, livestock and natural resources advisor at Cooperative Extension of the CPU.
“In addition to supporting the rearing of meat and other by-products, rangelands provide a variety of ecosystem services, including vegetation and watershed management, fuel control and, increasingly, habitat management for rare and endangered species, ”said Forero, noting that work routes cover about 40% of California’s land area.
As cattle grazing (mainly by beef cattle) is a significant part of land use in the state, Forero – along with fellow UCCE advisers Sheila Barry and Stephanie Larson – recently wrote a post on UC agriculture and natural resources summarizing the mechanisms of beef production.
“Beef Cattle on California Annual Grasslands: Production Cycle and Economics,” published in October and available for free download from the UC ANR Catalog, describes the seasonal phases of beef production and the factors that affect financial calculations and decisions. management of breeders.
“This concise publication reviews annual inventory flows and the timing of operations and provides tables for estimating costs, return to cash and gross income under various scenarios,” Forero said.
Covering care practices, infrastructure needs, pasture management and economics, Forero said the publication offers a succinct overview of beef cattle production and range use for land managers. , policymakers and park interpreters (such as tour guides and guides) who also educate visitors. that the interested public.
“Even though only a relatively small percentage of visitors to the park are interested, you still reach a lot of people with a document like this,” Forero explained.
He said he hopes the park’s signage and QR codes will direct visitors to the publication for more information on livestock and their seasonal movements.
“People often wonder where the cattle go when they leave the park and when they come back,” said co-author Sheila Barry. “Cattle can go to the grass or feedlots in other places in California or even out of state.”
But, as this new publication from UC ANR explains, the cattle rearing cycle begins again.
“There will be more cattle next fall, I promise,” Barry said.