Beef Briefs: June 2013

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In case you missed it…

… Get the latest updates by “friending” MyBeefCheckoff on Facebook or following @MyBeefCheckoff on Twitter.

… Your beef checkoff will be represented at the Livestock Marketing Association meeting June 13-16 in Montgomery, Ala.

… The 2013 Cattle Industry Summer Conference is August 7-10 at the Hyatt Regency in Denver, Colo. Registration is now open.

Protein Summit

Nutrition scientists and protein thought leaders from around the world will meet at the Protein Summit 2.0 on October 2-3 in Washington D.C. This Summit is an evolution of the original checkoff-funded Protein Summit held in 2007 with the goal to review scientifically valid approaches to defining the optimal amount of protein needed to improve public health. Click here for additional fact sheets and executive summaries from the human nutrition program area.

Analyzing Beef Flavor 

A recent three-day checkoff-funded Sensory Analysis of Beef Flavor workshop at Kansas State University drew participants from across the U.S., as well as Canada and Europe, to learn about the Beef Flavor Lexicon. The participants, including sensory scientists, professors and graduate students, trained on sampling for beef flavor attributes, then participated in a beef taste panel to identify various cuts of beef. The effort is part of the checkoff’s priority on beef flavor, including research approved for FY2013 to identify and fill in research and knowledge voids.

Honing in on Consumer Habits 

Ground beef is the mainstay of consumers’ weekday dinner meals, and more consumers say they eat ground beef vs. chicken breasts during the week – that is, except for Millennials. Those are findings of a recent checkoff-funded study that analyzed in-home protein consumption and looked at beef vs. chicken in terms of frequency of consumption, as well as what consumers eat for typical weekday dinners vs. weekend and special-occasion meals, where consumers shop for beef and how much they spend on meat and beef. Further findings indicate that steaks rule the special-occasion meals, chosen far more often than ground beef and all types of chicken for those meals – that is, except for Millennials. Millennial respondents in the study showed different consumption patterns from others, as well as different shopping and spending habits when it comes to meat protein. These types of research results are critical in planning checkoff programs, key audiences, and successful promotional tactics. Click here to see the executive summary of this study.

Beta-agonists and Cattle: How Targeted Use Results in Leaner Beef

Myth: Beta-agonists cause cattle to grow unnaturally large and are bad for my health.

The Facts: Beta-agonists are animal feed ingredients that help cattle make the most of the food they eat resulting in more lean muscle instead of fat. They have been proven safe for cattle and humans.

Cattle farmers use them in targeted ways, only adding small amounts to the animals’ feed at a specific time in their lives. They are metabolized quickly by cattle so they are not stored in the body over time. Beta-agonists are approved for use in the United States, Canada, Australia and two dozen other countries across the developed world.

Get the top five facts behind beta-agonists in cattle:

1. What are beta-agonists and what do they do? A beta-agonist is simply a feed ingredient given to some cattle to help the animals make the most of the food they eat (ractopamine and zilpaterol are examples of beta agonists approved for use in cattle). When cattle are young, they use their food to build muscle, but as they age they begin to instead put on more fat. Beta-agonists help cattle maintain their natural muscle-building ability, resulting in the leaner beef that consumers demand.

Read the full story from FactsAboutBeef here.

Beef herd expansion focuses on 2015

The USDA Cattle Inventory Report based on January 1 head counts showed that U.S. cattle producers are transitioning to cow herd expansion, and current fundamentals suggest 2015 is the target for the first year of significant growth in the U.S. cow-calf base.

Drought is still a reality for many cow-calf producers, but historically strong margins in the cow-calf segment are encouraging ranchers to transition away from contraction as much as weather allows. Cow herd liquidation is slowing and beef replacement heifer numbers are increasing.

Read the full story in the checkoff’s Beef Issues Quarterly e-newsletter.


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