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Missouri Making Many Cows

28 August 2008

US - With the rising costs of pasture, feed and fuel, production costs in the beef industry are well above previous years. "Total cow/calf operating costs are expected to be more than $800 per cow this year, an increase greater than 25 percent since 2005," said a University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist.

While costs have increased, calf prices have declined since a peak in 2005, said David Hoffman. "Beef producers are facing a challenge to find ways to remain profitable in light of the current increase in input costs of raising cattle," hesaid.

"Making adjustments to current operations will be necessary, but finding the right adjustment will take some time and work. For example, if weaning weight is increased, what will it cost? If feeding practices are changed, how will it affect reproduction? To determine impact, producers will need good records and information in order to make informed decisions."

One tool to help producers track this type of information is the Integrated Resource Management Redbook, a pocket-size book for recording calving activity, herd health, pasture usage, cattle inventory and other data. The Redbook has several pages to help summarize the data on a whole-herd basis. This data, combined with financial records, allows producers to calculate cost of production on a per-unit basis.

If you would like to receive an IRM Redbook for next year, contact your local MU Extension office.

"Cow/calf producers are facing the challenge of rising input costs after a few years of profitability," Hoffman said. "Producers who take the time to calculate whole-herd performance and unit cost of production will be in a better position to make good, sound management decisions."

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