June 27, 2022

Beef industry continues to evolve: Rancher looks to future

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The beef cattle industry is continuing to evolve as technology changes.

Lee Leachman, founder of Leachman Cattle in Colorado, has seen changes on the farm firsthand.

“We’re in this traditional business of raising bulls, but what’s cool is that technology is starting to significantly impact the way we’re raising cattle,” he said.

“We’re all about measuring and evaluating beef cattle and trying to select them using big data to be more profitable.”

Leachman talked about the past, present and future of beef cattle during a webcast hosted by Charleston Orwig.

“My grandfather would select cattle that won at the show, and that’s how they marketed them,” Leachman said. “With my father’s generation, we were still very visually oriented, but we started to weigh and measure animals.

“Now we’re into genomics, simulation models, coordinated supply chains and specific optimization of traits depending on particular needs. Things have really come a long way, and there are interesting things on the horizon, as well.”

Top takeaways from the webinar:

1. Genomics, simulation models and trait evaluations are a few of the technologies advancing livestock industries.

2. By 2004, Leachman Cattle had begun selecting bulls for calf profitability, helping to form a new mindset of how to assess bulls.

3. The entire food supply faces challenges in reducing greenhouse gases, but an opportunity to reduce methane output arrives when animal feed conversion improves. Genetics are they key to unlocking further significant progress.

4. Commodity industries struggle to quickly adapt to consumer demands, but coordinated supply chains have an opportunity to satisfy consumers consistently. Integration in the supply chain allows for increased responsiveness to evolving markets.

5. Shifting quickly to a largely virtual model helped Leachman have a very successful sales and auction season, despite the inability for many to participate in person. It’s just one example of how agriculture is using technology to continue to produce.

View the complete webinar at www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLxAB1vv1vM.

Learn more about Leachman Cattle at www.leachman.com. Learn more about Charleston Orwig at www.charlestonorwig.com.