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Improving cow-calf profit margins

By Staff | Nov 28, 2016

MAPLETON – Cow-calf producers who want to learn more about improving the return from their enterprise can attend a strategy-focused workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 14 at St. John’s United Methodist Church, 212 South Seventh St., Mapleton.

Preregister by Dec. 9 and pay $20 per person at the door. Walk-in registration is $25 per person there’s no noon meal guarantee.

The event is being hosted by the Iowa Beef Center and Iowa State University Extension. Beth Doran, an Extension beef program specialist, said this is the first in a statewide series set for this winter, and will include a variety of topics that relate to feeding and marketing.

“ISU cow-calf specialist Patrick Gunn will share information on the feed side of your operation,” Doran said, “including grazing harvest residue, cover crops and alternative feeds.

“He’ll also talk about controlling feed waste, formulating balanced rations and winter supplementation.”

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 percent higher than in 2010 before drought conditions impacted the U.S.,” Gunn said. “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.”

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

To preregister, call the Monona County Extension office at (712) 423-2175.

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