Canada Research Promises Lowered Cost Of Production
Source: Michigan State University Beef Cattle Research Update, summer 2004
Grant Lastiwka, pasture specialist at the Lacombe Research Centre in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada, recently presented an interesting review of non-conventional feeding systems for cow-calf producers in Western Canada. In this locale, the winter-feeding period may last for 160 to 200 days, similar to U.S. northern regions.
Annual feed cost per cow is about 2/3 of her total annual costs, with about 2/3 of feed cost tied to the winter feeding period. Normal grazing accounts for the other third of feed cost.
Lacombe research showed a 47% savings with swath grazing vs. a conventional winter hay-feeding system. Over a 200-day winter, the savings were $118 (CAN) cow or a drop in cost of production of 24¢/lb. for a 500-lb. calf.
The Lacombe work also showed that bale grazing can save $21/cow over a 200-day winter, reducing cost of production by 4¢/lb. for a 500-lb. calf.
Lastiwka cautions there are times and places where these alternative systems may cost more than conventional winter-feeding systems; for example, when alternative feedstuffs are cheap and grazing land ownership or rental costs are high. Consequently, there is still a place for conventional winter-feeding systems, he says.
Nevertheless, producers should continually examine and challenge traditional systems as a means of lowering costs and enhancing profitability. The grazing of banked or stockpiled forage offers an opportunity for extending the grazing season and accomplishing these goals (Lastiwka. 2004. Lacombe Research Centre. Newsletter, Vol. 8, Issue 4).
posted by Dr. Harlan Hughes 3:14 PM