The beef cattle industry continues to be a changing environment full of challenges and opportunities. Cattle producers face increasing demands for quality and consistent cattle and beef products while facing increasing production costs.

This combination of demands looks to re-shape beef cattle production in the coming years. The 56th Annual Beef Cattle Short Course looks to address the issues of production management, profitability, and opportunities for quality strategies. The event will be held at the Hilton Conference Center in Gainesville.

The 2007 Short Course kicks off on Wednesday afternoon May 2 with a session identifying aspects affecting enterprise profitability. The program starts with the annual market outlook for the beef cattle industry. The market outlook is paired with an assessment of risk management and the cost of production for beef enterprises.

The Wednesday afternoon program includes a discussion of international competition and opportunities for quality beef led by Clint Peck of BEEF Magazine. Persistently infected BVD is a current issue in the beef industry and is addressed during the afternoon program.

The afternoon program concludes with an opportunity for the participants to interact and exchange information during the evening reception and Allied Trade Show.

Identifying the aspects of quality is the theme for the program on Thursday. The day starts with a review of the 2005 Beef Quality Audit as it relates to cow-calf production. This assessment is a key tool to benchmarking the progress of production in the beef cattle industry.

An interesting assessment of the relationships that contribute to the Choice-Select spread continues the theme of quality beef production. The morning concludes with an examination of the factors that affect cattle performance and grade. The morning promises to be an informative and valuable program to improve the quality of beef production.

The afternoon program continues the assessment of quality in beef cattle. Live cattle, carcass, and beef production evaluation demonstrations will be utilized to emphasize the need for quality beef cattle production.

The annual Cattlemen's Steak-Out on Thursday provides an event for all participants to enjoy a prime rib dinner and time for conversation and relaxation.

On Friday, the program splits into two sessions to identify opportunities in Florida production. The first session looks to examine the utilization of Bos indicus cattle in Florida beef enterprises. This session will span the cow herd, growth and feed efficiency, and carcass traits and merit.

The second session on Friday morning will address forage management for Florida pastures. Pasture management topics will include the cost of pasture establishment, selection and use of cool season forages, and weed control.

The 2007 Beef Cattle Short Course promises to continue the tradition of being the best educational event for cattle producers in the Southeast. The spectrum of topics related to the production, profitability, and quality of beef cattle should provide something for every beef cattle producer.

For information contact the UF Department of Animal Sciences at P.O. Box 110910, Gainesville, Fla. 32611-0910 or call 1-352-392-1981.