Yardage cost is the non-feed cost per head for every day that an animal is fed harvested feed in some form of confinement. Yardage is usually associated with calves and yearlings in the feedlot, but this concept can apply to drylotted or wintering cows as well.
When evaluating annual cow cost, feed rises to the top of the list. Feed cost is an important area to consider; however, have you evaluated the cost of incorporating replacement heifers into the cowherd?
A key advantage to using commodities that meet standard specifications and are frequently traded is that it is very easy to establish an economic value that is accepted by most users. The marketplace sets the value of corn, and other feedstuffs on a daily basis, provided those products meet some set of standard specifications.
Corn marketed at the standard moisture content of 15.5% and 56 pounds per bushel typically contains 47.3 pounds of dry matter and 8.7 pounds of water. At harvest, a producer has to decide whether to sell (or even store) his corn at ‘as is’ moisture content or mechanically dry it before taking it to the buyer.
Lots of conversations in agriculture lately focuses around labor or the lack of a labor pool of employees. This is the case not only for dairy farms, but also within the entire agriculture industry.
Custom cattle feeding can be a “win-win” strategy when done correctly. Feeding someone else’s cattle provides a method to market feedstuffs without tying up the capital required to own the livestock.
The last year was difficult to say the least, from a wet, muddy spring and late planting to an early, wet fall and difficult harvest. Unfortunately, for cow calf producers, the repercussions were seen during pregnancy detection this year, as the number of slaughter cows within the state were abundant due to open cows.
This winter it is time to study up on the Farm Bill elections and make an appointment with the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) in order to put the program in place for the farm. The deadline to make the election is March 15, 2020.
Structuring a calving program that best suites farm and ranch operations can be challenging. Of primary concern are: weather, labor, market timing, and animal health considerations, with weather possibly being the most volatile factor, as it ranges from challenging to catastrophic in some years.
A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis is something that you can sit down and complete during this first month or so of 2020 so that you can set your operation up for success as we move into the more hectic times that spring brings.