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.
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.
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.
In abnormal situations, like with the packing plant closure we’re currently dealing with, pork producers may need to “hold” their pigs past normal marketing dates in order for other processing options to open up. We can accomplish that in two ways: altering internal barn environment and changing diets.
Feed costs in dairy diets typically make up half or more of the input expenses of a ration. Thus, it is imperative to keep a handle on input costs by comparing ingredients on an apples-to-apples basis when looking for cost-effective diet solutions.
The disruptions in the beef processing sector caused by COVID-19 continue to interfere with the orderly marketing of finished cattle. While we all hope that the situation is resolved quickly, the reality is that because the shipment of so many harvest-ready cattle has been delayed, there will be increased numbers of heavier cattle on feed for the foreseeable future.
Recently, the South Dakota Grassland Coalition and SDSU Extension held workshops across the State focused on sharing information from experienced livestock producers who have switched to a calving date more in sync with nature.