Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Riley, John Michael

Committee Member

Coatney, Kalyn

Committee Member

Little, Randall D.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Agricultural Economics

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Agricultural Economics


Beef cattle production in the southeastern United States differs in size, practice, and production type from other U.S. regions. Smaller, cow-calf type operations dominate in this region because the climate, forage availability, and other land use practices of farmers make this type of cattle operation more ideal for the Southeast. This research summarizes the current practices and characteristics that define the Southeastern cow-calf operation of today’s market and operating environment; it also examines the factors that influence the variability of beef production in these operations. Results indicate the following major points: 1.) 53.0% of respondents with commercial cows have fewer than 50 head. 2.) Weaning weight and its variability tend to increase as calves get older. 3.) Calves on seedstock operations wean heavier than those typical of cow-calf operations. 4.) Operators that are more financially invested in their operation seem to be more attentive to outcomes of their production process.