Farm Eye for the City Guy: Cattle Industry

PELION (WACH)â??Cattle in South Carolina is big business, to the tune of $177 million each year, making it the top 6 commodity in the Palmetto State, according to representatives from Lexington County Farm-City.

As a year-round commodity, Explore says that beef provides 10 essential nutrients per three ounce serving. Additionally, that same serving has 144 calories, 4 grams of fat, and evidence shows that beef will help maintain health and fuel activity.

In addition to being a staple of back-yard BBQs, there are many other uses of cattle by-products. In fact, cattle parts are used in

· The production of medicine

· Antifreeze

· Shampoo

· instrument strings

· vitamin capsules

· film

· airplane lubricants

Cattle also shows up in many other food products, including marshmallows, ice cream, and chewing gum.

For JD Kneece and the Delano Kneece Farm, cattle are a major part of the success of their farming operation. On 1,600 acres in Pelion, in addition to collards, peanuts, and cotton, they maintain 300 head of cattle. The heifers, although Black Angus, wonâ??t end up as the â??guest of honorâ?? at a tailgate outside Williams Brice. These ladies live their days at the farm and give birth to the bulls that are shipped to Kansas, and eventually, around the world.

The heifers are artificially inseminated, and begin the 273 day gestation period. After birth, the calves stay with their mother for 210 days, at which time they begin the regimen of ensuring that the bull will continue to grow, and reach its potential weight, health, and of course, value.

Kneece says that the challenge fighting inflation and the rising cost of production is to get â??more beef on the hoof,â?? through the use of genetics, technology, and diet. Building a better mouse trap, or bigger cow, as it were, is the name of the game to continue the sustainability of the industry, while keeping the costs affordable for consumers.

By maximizing the use of specific grains and diets, his heifers are about double the weight of a â??regular commercial cow,â?? according to Kneece. The science of the beef industry doesnâ??t stop at the relative size of the heifers. Using data from the mothers, Kneece can predict the size, quality of meat, and even the bulls future demeanor, all before its born.

Education about the world of agriculture is the mission of Lexington Farm-City, which was created in 1996. The group, among other programs like providing scholarships to FFA students, works to create an understanding of the balance between consumers and the producers of things we consume.

Tyler Ryan

explores the world of farming and agriculture with his Farm Eye for the City Guy series. You can check out other Farm Eye adventures HERE.