Cattle in feedlot
A BETTER RETURN: Cow-calf producers who want to learn more about improving the financial return from their enterprise are invited to attend one of a series of strategy-focused workshops to be held in Iowa. The first meeting is Dec. 14 at Mapleton in western Iowa.

How to improve profit margins in cow-calf operations

Iowa cow-calf producers are invited to attend one of a series of meetings related to feeding and marketing.

Cow-calf producers who want to learn more about improving the return from their enterprise are invited to a strategy-focused workshop hosted by the Iowa Beef Center and Iowa State University Extension in Mapleton on December 14. ISU Extension beef program specialist Beth Doran says this meeting is the first in a statewide series set for this winter, and will include a variety of topics that relate to feeding and marketing.

Producers are urged to attend a meeting that will be held closest to their location. Contact your county ISU Extension office to find out when and where the meeting will be held that is near you.

“At the December 14 meeting, ISU cow-calf specialist Patrick Gunn will share information on the feed side of your operation, including grazing harvest crop residue, cover crops and alternative feeds,” Doran says. “He’ll also talk about controlling feed waste, formulating balanced rations and winter feed supplementation.”

Looking at long-term strategies to improve revenue
Gunn and Doran will present research investigating factors affecting feeder calf price and how changes in marketing timing may affect revenue. They also will discuss other long-term strategies that improve revenue such as changes in the breeding program and how to shorten the calving season.

“Annual cow costs are projected to be in excess of $800, and up to 45% higher than in 2010 before drought conditions impacted the U.S.,” Gunn says. “Because winter feed costs represent one of, if not the largest cost, reducing feed cost while maintaining cow productivity is key to achieving good returns.”

Deciding when and how to market your calves is crucial
“The other side of the balance sheet involves careful marketing to improve revenue,” Doran says. “Currently, calf prices are roughly 50% to 60% of prices in 2014, so deciding when and how to market the calves will be critical.”

The first meeting in this series is December 14 in western Iowa. The program will be held at St. John’s United Methodist Church at 212 South 7th St., in Mapleton, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you preregister by Dec. 9 you can pay $20 per person at the door and reserve your spot for lunch at the meeting. Walk-in registration on December 14 is $25 per person and there’s no guarantee for your noon meal. To preregister call the Monona County Extension office at 712-423-2175 or send an email to [email protected] or [email protected].

TAGS: Extension
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