Bir, Courtney

By: Ochs, Daniel; Wolf, Christopher A.; Widmar, Nicole J.; Bir, Courtney
Animal welfare–related production attributes are increasingly considered by U.S. consumers making food purchasing decisions and U.S. voters at the ballot box. This research considers U.S. consumer preferences for egg production attributes. The results reveal preferences for less hen stress, more natural hen behavior, and improved worker health and welfare. We propose an index combining animal welfare scores and consumer preference shares for determining preferred combinations of egg production attributes. When weighting hen housing systems by consumer preference for animal and worker welfare attributes, the preferred system is enriched colony housing, which differs from recent retailer commitments to cage-free aviaries.
By: Bir, Courtney; DeVuyst, Eric A.; Rolf, Megan; Lalman, David
This research investigates net present value–maximizing beef cow weights for U.S. Southern Plains cow–calf operations. The relationship between cow weight and calf weaning weight was estimated and weaning weights were simulated for a 15-year time period. Annual returns were computed using cow–calf revenues and production costs for cows with mature weight between 950 and 1,800 pounds. A grid search showed that optimal cow size was 950 pounds across scenarios. Selection for growth may improve feedlot profitability but has deleterious effects on cow–calf producers. Development of smaller-framed maternal lines may improve sector profits.