Brester, Gary W.

January, 2019

By: Brester, Gary W.; Atwood, Joseph; Watts, Myles J.; Kawalski, Anita
Over 90% of U.S. corn and soybeans are planted with genetically modified (GM) seed varieties. We use a flexible, nonlinear functional form to investigate yield differences for corn, soybeans, and wheat between the United States and the European Union (which bans the use of GM technologies). U.S. corn and soybean yields increased relative to EU yields since the introduction of GM technologies. EU wheat yields (for which GM technologies are not commercially available in either region) continue to increase relative to the United States. Thus, the EU ban on GM technologies has likely increased the difference between corn and soybean yields between the two regions.

January, 2016

By: Bekkerman, Anton; Brester, Gary W.; Taylor, Mykel
While nearly instantaneous commodity futures price information provides price forecasts for national markets, many market participants are interested in forecasts of local cash prices. Expected basis estimates are often used to convert futures prices into local price forecasts. This study considers basis patterns in the northern U.S. hard red spring and hard red winter wheat markets. Using data on basis values across 215 grain-handling facilities, we empirically test the forecasting capabilities of numerous basis models. Contrary to basis models developed for other U.S. regions, we show that recent futures prices, protein content, and harvest information are more important for accurate basis forecasts than historical basis averages. The preferred basis models are used to develop an automated web-based basis forecasting tool, available at http : //

August, 2009

By: Brester, Gary W.; Marsh, John M.; Atwood, Joseph A.
Conventional wisdom appears to support the thesis that declines in USDA’s farmer’s share-of-the-retail-dollar (FS) statistics are indicators of low returns to agricultural production. We estimate changes in cattle and hog FS statistics and their relationship with producer surplus (PS) for changes in various exogenous factors. The method accounts for correlations among structural parameter estimates while simulating multivariate distributions of joint parameter realizations. The simulations indicate that relationships between FS and PS depend on the source of exogenous shocks. The lack of informational content in FS statistics suggests these data should not be used for policy purposes.

December, 2008

By: Vanek, Joseph K.; Watts, Myles J.; Brester, Gary W.
A lack of high-quality beef has been cited as one of the primary factors for the 50% decline in beef demand from the mid-1970s to the last 1990s. Cattle producers argue that appropriate price premiums are not sufficient to encourage the production of high-quality cattle. Although some improvement in carcass quality can be made by the cattle feeding and processing sectors, substantial improvements in quality must include genetic progress. A hedonic analysis of four major U.S. beef seedstock producers indicates that bull purchasers place relatively high values on a bull’s ability to produce progeny with improved carcass-quality traits.

December, 2006

By: Brester, Gary W.
The value, relevance, and efficacy of conducting and publishing research has been widely debated throughout the agricultural economics profession. On the one hand, some argue that the research process creates little value and directly competes with teaching/outreach output. On the other hand, others argue that research provides answers to important questions, improves human capital, and complements teaching/outreach activities. I argue that the research and publishing process develops human capital, improves the quality of teaching/outreach, reduces bias, generates new ideas, improves societal welfare, creates innovation, and is essential for public policy debate.

August, 2004

By: Brester, Gary W.; Marsh, John M.; Atwood, Joseph A.
Concerns about the negative effects of U.S. meat and livestock imports on domestic livestock prices have increased interest in country-of origin labeling (COOL) legislation. An equilibrium displacement model is used to estimate short-run and long-run changes in equilibrium prices and quantities of meat and livestock in the beef, pork, and poultry sectors resulting from the implementation of COOL. Retail beef and pork demand would have to experience a one-time, permanent increase of 4.05% and 4.45%, respectively, so that feeder cattle and hog producers do not lose producer surplus over a 10-year period.

April, 2004

By: Marsh, John M.; Brester, Gary W.
An econometric model is used to estimate real wholesale-retail marketing margins for beef and pork. From 1970 to 1998, these margins increased by 27% and 149%, while farm-wholesale margins declined. Wholesale-retail (WR) marketing margin increases have caused livestock producers to focus on the retail sector as a contributor to declining real livestock prices. Increases in WR margins may be related to increased demand and costs of value-added food products/services as well as increased market concentration in the retail grocery sector. Results indicate that retail factors, and to a lesser extent meat processing factors, significantly increased WR margins and decreased livestock prices.

December, 2001

By: Brester, Gary W.; Marsh, John M.
Real livestock prices and farm-wholesale marketing margins have steadily declined over the past 20 years. Studies examining the causes of these declines have generally failed to account directly for technological change in livestock production and red meat slaughtering. We estimate reduced-form models for beef and pork farm-wholesale marketing margins and cattle and hog prices that include specific measures of technological change. Empirical results indicate cost savings generated by improved meat packing technologies have reduced real margins and positively influenced real cattle and hog prices. However, technological change embodied in cattle production weights has led to substantial declines in real slaughter cattle prices. Nonetheless, the net effect of improved meat packing technology has been to increase cattle price by $1.75/cwt and reduce the farm-wholesale beef marketing margin by 22.8 cents/lb.

July, 1997

By: Brester, Gary W.; Wohlgenant, Michael K.
The GATT/Uruguay Round trade negotiations have resulted in a multilateral relaxation of beef trade restrictions. A linear elasticity model of the U.S. beef industry is developed using log differentials equations. Beef consumption, production, and trade are disaggregated into appropriate ground and table cut components. The model predicts that GATT/Uruguay Round will cause asymmetric effects on ground and table cut beef consumers. In general, fed cattle and cow/calf producers will benefit from trade liberalization because of increases in fed and feeder cattle prices. However, nonfed cattle price will decrease.