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Optimize your resources to increase profitability

By Cargill Animal Nutrition’s Beef Technical Team 

A primary goal of any business is to be profitable. However it is difficult to assess the profitability of a business without reasonable estimates of income over expenses. 

More specifically, if costs are underestimated or inaccurately captured, it’s hard to tell if a year was actually profitable. For example, missing feed costs by $50 per head could be the difference between profit or loss. This is less than 20 extra days of winter feed cost, and this is where budgets and planning on historical averages become extremely important.  

The two biggest operating expenses on a cow-calf operation are feed resources (including land) and herd replacements. These two things can be interconnected, particularly if cows get too thin prior to the breeding season. Allowing cows to fall behind just one body condition score prior to calving can significantly reduce pregnancy rates, thus drastically increasing your replacement cost.  

Avoid this culling expense with good nutrition management. Align your forage base with a cow’s nutrient requirements in a comprehensive nutrition program. To prevent decreases in body condition through calving, know what you will need from a feed-resource perspective.  

Whether you use hay, grain, byproducts or supplements, have your feedstuffs sampled for nutrient content so you know the gaps in your nutrition program. Forage analysis may seem like an expense, but it can pay dividends when it comes to formulating a balanced diet with the correct nutrients, ensuring you aren’t over- or underfeeding your cows. 

Don’t let the things out of your control cause you to forget that your main focus has to be profitability. 

Editor’s Note: To read the full article on optimizing resources to increase profitability, click here