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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Important national survey being sent to some Oklahoma stocker cattle producers

STILLWATER, Okla. – The stocker sector is the most diverse and least understood part of the U.S. cattle industry, but some Oklahoma stocker producers will soon have the opportunity to increase awareness about the importance of their role in the beef marketplace.

“A number of Oklahoma stocker cattle producers will be receiving a survey in the next few weeks, which will provide previously unavailable information on the procurement and assembly of stocker cattle, production and management practices and variability, and marketing practices of stocker producers,” said Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension livestock marketing specialist.

Peel expressed his gratitude to producers who give up their valuable time to complete the survey and provide this essential information. “Nobody really likes filling out a survey but this one is pretty important in regards to what it means to Oklahoma’s stocker cattle industry,” he said.

OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, is conducting the first-of-its kind survey to gather information on stocker production in Oklahoma.

“With the cooperation and support of producers, this survey will provide detailed information to help researchers and industry analysts understand the vital economic role of the stocker industry and provide insight into such things as the disease threats associated with cattle movement into and out of stocker production,” Peel said.

As stocker cattle operators can readily attest, stocker or backgrounding provides vital production and marketing system values to the beef industry. Stocker production happens in a wide variety of different situations and environments in many regions of the country.

“This illustrates the critical role of the stocker sector in providing flexibility to enhance beef industry competitiveness, including adjusting production in response to feed and forage market changes, enhancing the quality of feeder cattle by adding weight and age to stocker cattle, and regulating the flow of cattle from cow-calf production to the feedlots,” Peel said.

In essence, the stocker cattle sector acts in part as an essential shock absorber for the beef industry. Unfortunately, to date little data exists to fully understand and analyze the varied activities and actions that make up the stocker sector.

“An inventory snapshot once or maybe twice a year does not capture the flow of animals through stocker production systems,” Peel said. “Additionally, we have only very coarse estimates of the movement of cattle around the country before and after stocker production.” 

Oklahoma is an important stocker production state. The January 1 inventory confirms there is a significant net inflow of stocker cattle into Oklahoma for winter grazing. Additionally, stocker production occurs year around in Oklahoma, utilizing a wide variety of native and introduced pastures, though no data are available to measure the industry other than the January inventory report.


Donald Stotts
DASNR News and Media Relations
Agricultural Communications Services
132 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-4079
Fax: 405-744-5739


Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078