Most of our RDUSA members are familiar with Kit Pharo. He is a rancher in eastern Colorado that raises and sells breeding stock of multiple breeds and is very opinionated on just about any issue. Many of you probably get his newsletters and weekly emails. He was the featured speaker and show judge at one of our previous Devon conferences.

Live cattle are selling at record high prices now and have been for several years and most cattle experts predict that prices will be even higher in 2014. In his Winter 2014 newsletter Mr. Pharo thinks that prices may be getting too high and warns beef producers of two drastic changes he sees in the near future.

The first is that it is just a matter of time before prices collapse. In that situation he believes only low cost, low input producers will be able to survive. This of course has been a major point in his cattle management philosophy for decades.

The second problem he sees is that high priced cattle naturally cause high prices in grocery stores. He believes this is causing the beef industry to lose market share to chicken and pork because many customers are unable to pay these high prices for beef products. He states that in 1970 beef consumption per capita was 85 pounds and chicken was 40 pounds. In 2013 beef consumption had fallen to56 pounds and chicken had risen to 82 pounds. When customers are lost in the market place, it is very difficult to regain their business.

Now for his controversial solution to this problem, he thinks we must lower the price of beef in supermarkets. This can only be accomplished by lowering live cattle prices. This article can be found at www.pharocattle.com/newsletter/Winter_2014.pdf .

Mr. Pharo is of course referring to the beef industry as a whole and almost all Devon breeders cater to the grass finish market. So I wonder if this could at some point in time also apply to the grass finish market. And if so, what is the price threshold that could cause problems.

We would like to hear your comments and thoughts on these questions and other issues related to Devon cattle. You can submit your comments on the Forum page on the RDUSA website. You will need to log in with your user name and password.

Food for thought and all I ask is that you chew on it with an open mind.

Roy Doan