With beef backlogged and the market in flux, Montana cattle ranchers face tough choices
May 6, 2020
The beef supply chain in the United States typically starts on a ranch like Marty Malone's, in Paradise Valley, with the birth of calves. After a summer of grazing, a cow reaches about 500 to 700 pounds. Then the cow is sold to a feedlot in the Midwest or Great Plains, where it eats feed like corn and barley to fatten up. At about 1,200 pounds and 18 months of age, it's slaughtered at a nearby packing plant. Then it's shipped to a wholesaler, who sells the meat to a restaurant or grocery store, where an end customer purchases it.
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