COLUMBIA, Mo. – The U.S. cow herd is growing after decades of decline. That means more beef supply. Traditional supply-and-demand law says beef prices will drop.

After recent years of record high cattle prices, herd owners need not panic.

A Sept. 15 field day at Spickard, Mo., a University of Missouri beef economist will tell a new view of beef supply and demand.

Scott Brown in a recent study found that not all beef is priced alike. Quality beef calves draw higher prices at packing plants.

Also, his study shows buyers of USDA grade prime and high choice beef are not likely to shift to other meats as prices rise at the grocery store. In the past, as beef prices went up consumers switched to pork or chicken. That is changing.

Brown will speak at the MU Thompson Farm, the research center that since 1996 has shown producers how to improve herd genetics to consistently produce prime and choice beef.

The field day covers genetics, fixed-time artificial insemination, nutrition and much more. Rod Geisert, superintendent and MU professor of reproduction physiology, emcees the program.

Thompson Farm research led to creation of the MU Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program. That led to improved quality beef from steer mates to the heifers. Now those steers are sought by feedlot buyers. Also, more herd owners retain ownership of calves going to a feedlot.

From the feedlots, owners gain feedback on their calves. Also, calf owners gain packer premiums paid for quality beef.

Brown helps in developing a database that tracks Show-Me-Select calves.

Jared Decker, MU Extension beef geneticist, will tell of new research based on DNA mapping of all animals in the Thompson herd.

Field day registration opens at 8:30 a.m. Talks start at 9 a.m. Lunch is provided. Afternoon tours will show cattle and timber-stand improvement.

The MU farm, part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition, is in Grundy County, northwest of Trenton, Mo. It is west of Spickard off Highway 65 at the end of Highway C. For more information, go to or call 660-485-6576.

Exhibits will be shown at breaks.

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