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Michael Baker

Michael J. Baker

Senior Extension Associate

114 Morrison Hall
(607) 255-5923

With over 30 years of experience working at the county, regional and state level, Baker’s program has emphasized development and implementation of marketing programs for small farms typical of the northeast. For15 years he directed and led the Cornell Value Discovery Program, a feedlot and carcass evaluation program of cattle consigned from different farms. In addition to traditional performance, carcass and economic analysis, feed efficiency for individual animals was predicted based on the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System. Access to natural markets allowed for the evaluation of animal production and profitability of natural and conventional feeding and management regimens. Over 2,250 head of cattle from five states were evaluated. Establishing a value added market for finished cattle has also been a priority. Use of niche markets, co-product feeds, grass finishing and locally available Holstein steers has been evaluated. Current work is focused on training extension educators to develop feeder calf pools that will optimize feeder calf value from small herds and in the use of the FINPACK software to assist producers in analyzing their business. Research over the last two years has focused on determining retail value of finished cattle. A model has been developed to predict retail value based on basic carcass measurements. Results are shared with producers to improve their management and genetic selection. Baker and his wife, Debby have three grown children and operate a small commercial beef herd.

Research Focus

Discovering production and management systems that producers can use to help them succeed in specialty/niche markets, with special interest in grass finished and natural markets.

Outreach and Extension Focus

Providing producers, especially smaller producers with the tools needed to evaluate their production, management and marketing systems. These tools will assist them increase their competitiveness and profitability.
NY Feedlot and Carcass Value Discovery Program. Annual. Allows smaller producers to evaluate the feedlot and carcass performance of their cattle. Improvements in carcass quality and price received indicate success.
Beef Quality Assurance. Annual. Beef producers are certified in a four step process ensuring a safe, high quality beef that is free of defects. Over 50 producers certified in 2006.
Pooled Weaning and Marketing Program. Annual. Smaller beef producers co-mingle their health managed feeder calves for sale, in one location. Greatly reduces sickness, increases uniformity, and improves performance on arrival at feedlot. Producers have received premiums of $20-$40/head.
Beef Cattle Comments. Bi-monthly newsletter emailed to Cornell Cooperative Extension staff throughout NY to assist in their beef educational programs.
Hoof to Rail Program. Bi-annual seminars teaching producers to evaluate cattle, live and on the rail, for traits important in providing high quality beef. Surveys indicate increased knowledge of how finished cattle are priced.
NY Feeders Conference. Annual. Feedlot operators learn most up to date technology in feedlot nutrition, health and marketing. Surveys indicate increased knowledge.
Winter Management Meeting. Annual. Cow/calf producers learn from nationally renowned experts how to increase competitiveness and profitability

Teaching Focus

Provide students with real world experiences in beef cattle merchandising. This is accomplished through lectures from professionals directly involved in merchandising and providing students with an opportunity to design, conduct and evaluate a bred heifer sale.

Selected Publications

Journal Publications

  • Baker, M. J., Tedeschi, L., Jacimovski, G., & Furman, L. (2012). Animal performance on pastures managed at two forage heights to produce grass finished beef. Journal of Animal Science. 90:29.