Cattle Feeders Bottom Line

(Bob) Corn may be king, but forages could make or break a cattle feeder’s bottom line this year. (Erickson) The total feed needs to get a steer to market is still eighty-five percent forage because there’s a cow somewhere that’s being fed a forage-based diet. That calf is on that cow for seven months, and now all the calves at weaning go straight into a feedlot system. And so, the beef industry’s complex is entirely dependent upon forages, and frankly, it’s what makes the beef industry the beef industry, the ruminant, they can use those forages very efficiently. (Bob) All feed input prices have changed dramatically. Erickson says it’s time to go back and crunch some numbers. (Erickson) Now, forages are critical, so the decisions we make on what kind of energy content those forages have, what the cost per unit of energy is, and how we manage those forages to get the best production makes it even more important. (Bob) Grain prices are down but the same can’t be said for grass and forage. A five-state, upper Midwest survey shows pasture rates more than doubled in just five years, to $60 per animal-unit-month. (Erickson) I’m very concerned on what our pasture prices are and what our cost, let’s say we were going to graze those with stocker cattle, our cost of gain or cost per unit of pound gained isn’t competitive on that type of pasture cost or that system as it would be if we penned them up and fed them a high-grain diet. So, we’ve got some adjustments, I think, coming in the next few years in the beef industry on sorting out where’s the best or optimum place to put on weight. (Bob) The animal scientist says producers should move from pricing feedstuffs from a protein basis to an energy basis. He spoke as part of the Feeding Quality Forum this summer. I’m Bob Cervera.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.