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Cutting the Costs of Wintering, Growing & Finishing Cattle Scott Kronberg USDA-ARSNorthern Great Plains Research Lab Mandan, ND.

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Presentation on theme: "Cutting the Costs of Wintering, Growing & Finishing Cattle Scott Kronberg USDA-ARSNorthern Great Plains Research Lab Mandan, ND."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cutting the Costs of Wintering, Growing & Finishing Cattle Scott Kronberg USDA-ARSNorthern Great Plains Research Lab Mandan, ND

2 Most cattle producers are short on time and money. So why do they spend so much time and money to harvest, haul, and store feed then spend more time and money to feed cattle? Some spend more time and money to build and repair pens and scrape, haul and spread manure. Some spend more time and money to build and repair pens and scrape, haul and spread manure.

3 Cattle have free time and don’t need money. So why not let them hustle more of their feed rather than provide it to them? So why not let them hustle more of their feed rather than provide it to them?

4 Ideal Feed for Low Cost Cattle Growing & Finishing Perennial forage (grass or legume) that is not seeded, fertilized or sprayed with herbicides yearly to maintain its productivity and that cattle can gain 2 – 3 lbs. per day while grazing it. Perennial forage (grass or legume) that is not seeded, fertilized or sprayed with herbicides yearly to maintain its productivity and that cattle can gain 2 – 3 lbs. per day while grazing it.

5 Ideal Feed for Low Cost Cattle Growing & Finishing In winter, perennial grasses (smooth brome, western wheatgrass, etc.) that was mature when winter began will likely provide enough energy but a little protein supplementation will likely be needed for bred (2 nd or 3 rd trimester) cows. In winter, perennial grasses (smooth brome, western wheatgrass, etc.) that was mature when winter began will likely provide enough energy but a little protein supplementation will likely be needed for bred (2 nd or 3 rd trimester) cows. In summer, immature perennial grass &/or legumes should be sufficient for good productivity of lactating cows and calves, and gains of 2 – 3 lbs. per day for yearlings. In summer, immature perennial grass &/or legumes should be sufficient for good productivity of lactating cows and calves, and gains of 2 – 3 lbs. per day for yearlings.

6 Ideal Feed for Low Cost Cattle Growing and Finishing Drawbacks of growing yearlings fast while grazing high quality perennial forage: Drawbacks of growing yearlings fast while grazing high quality perennial forage: this is only possible during the growing season so the cattle production cycle has to coincide with it, andthis is only possible during the growing season so the cattle production cycle has to coincide with it, and challenging to use this strategy for the whole summer in the central and western Dakotas with less-than-ideal rainfall.challenging to use this strategy for the whole summer in the central and western Dakotas with less-than-ideal rainfall.

7 Ideal Location for Wintering or Growing & Finishing Cattle Pasture or field with wind breaks or other protection from high wind where their manure can be recycled without hauling and spreading. Pasture or field with wind breaks or other protection from high wind where their manure can be recycled without hauling and spreading. Cost to move manure: ($30 per load of tons plus $1 per mile after the first mile – custom rate). Cost to move manure: ($30 per load of tons plus $1 per mile after the first mile – custom rate).

8 More Plant Protein may be Utilized by Cattle if Plants are Grazed 90% of nitrogen in live alfalfa is true protein, but only 75% of nitrogen in alfalfa hay is true protein and only 45% of alfalfa haylage is true protein (the rest is NPN) 90% of nitrogen in live alfalfa is true protein, but only 75% of nitrogen in alfalfa hay is true protein and only 45% of alfalfa haylage is true protein (the rest is NPN) Non-protein nitrogen (NPN) breaks down rapidly in the rumen and much of it is absorbed as ammonia and excreted as urea in urine. Non-protein nitrogen (NPN) breaks down rapidly in the rumen and much of it is absorbed as ammonia and excreted as urea in urine.

9 Probably Next Best Feed for Low Cost Cattle Growing and Finishing Annual forages that are grown using no-till techniques and in rotation to reduce fertilizer needs and are then grazed by cattle (yearlings gaining 2–3 lbs. per day). Annual forages that are grown using no-till techniques and in rotation to reduce fertilizer needs and are then grazed by cattle (yearlings gaining 2–3 lbs. per day). Pros: lots of high quality forage to graze in good rainfall years. Pros: lots of high quality forage to graze in good rainfall years. Cons: Annual costs for seed, fertilizer, herbicide, fuel, labor, etc. and these costs are harder to justify with low rainfall. Cons: Annual costs for seed, fertilizer, herbicide, fuel, labor, etc. and these costs are harder to justify with low rainfall.

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11 Comparison of Wintering Cows on Hay in Pens vs. Grazing Swathed Annuals Corn, oat/pea and triticale/sweetclover were grown in rotation using no-till techniques. Corn, oat/pea and triticale/sweetclover were grown in rotation using no-till techniques. Swaths of whole corn or the residue (straw and chaff) of oat/pea or triticale were offered to the cows using electric fencing to provide them new feed each day. Swaths of whole corn or the residue (straw and chaff) of oat/pea or triticale were offered to the cows using electric fencing to provide them new feed each day. During cold weather, a supplement of oat, pea and triticale grain was offered to the cows grazing swaths. During cold weather, a supplement of oat, pea and triticale grain was offered to the cows grazing swaths. Winter swath grazing had no adverse impact on middle-aged Hereford cows in their 2 nd trimester of gestation during the trial in respect to their weight changes, body condition scores and reproductive performance. Winter swath grazing had no adverse impact on middle-aged Hereford cows in their 2 nd trimester of gestation during the trial in respect to their weight changes, body condition scores and reproductive performance. Averaged over 3 years, it cost 49¢/cow/day to feed them with the swaths and supplement versus 73¢/cow/day to feed them grass hay. Averaged over 3 years, it cost 49¢/cow/day to feed them with the swaths and supplement versus 73¢/cow/day to feed them grass hay. Although cattle can graze swaths through up to 20” of snow, it may be necessary to drive on swaths if they are coated in ice. Although cattle can graze swaths through up to 20” of snow, it may be necessary to drive on swaths if they are coated in ice.

12 Comparison of Growing Cattle on Pastures or Fields vs. in Pens Assume $1.00/head/day cost for 2.5 lbs/day ADG in feedlot ($0.40/lb gained) Assume $1.00/head/day cost for 2.5 lbs/day ADG in feedlot ($0.40/lb gained) Need to cover costs for: Need to cover costs for: labor to feed & manage cattlelabor to feed & manage cattle feedlot pensfeedlot pens feed wagon (probably)feed wagon (probably) feed storage & processingfeed storage & processing manure hauling & spreadingmanure hauling & spreading

13 Assumptions for Comparison Producer has large tractor and no-till drill and is now trying to decide how to grow the yearling cattle he or she owns. Producer has large tractor and no-till drill and is now trying to decide how to grow the yearling cattle he or she owns. Producer has perennial grass pasture that can be used or leased for grazing. Producer has perennial grass pasture that can be used or leased for grazing. Producer has cropland that can be used or leased to grow annuals or alfalfa. Producer has cropland that can be used or leased to grow annuals or alfalfa.

14 Growing while Grazing Grass Cost: Cost: Land cost = $15/acreLand cost = $15/acre Total cost = $15/acreTotal cost = $15/acre Gross Return: Gross Return: 4.76 acres/steer (stocking rate)4.76 acres/steer (stocking rate) 105 days grazing x 2 lbs/day = 210 lbs gained/steer105 days grazing x 2 lbs/day = 210 lbs gained/steer 210 lbs x $1.01/lb for 1000 lb steer = $212.10/4.76 ac or $44.56/acre210 lbs x $1.01/lb for 1000 lb steer = $212.10/4.76 ac or $44.56/acre 210 lbs/4.76 acre = lbs/acre210 lbs/4.76 acre = lbs/acre Cost per lb of gain: Cost per lb of gain: $15/acre ÷ lbs/acre = $0.34/lb gained$15/acre ÷ lbs/acre = $0.34/lb gained

15 Growing while Grazing Alfalfa Costs: Costs: Seed = $28/acre ÷ 5 years (life of stand) = $5.60/acre/yearSeed = $28/acre ÷ 5 years (life of stand) = $5.60/acre/year Herbicide = $4.50/acre (spraydown) ÷ 5 yrs = $0.90/ac/yrHerbicide = $4.50/acre (spraydown) ÷ 5 yrs = $0.90/ac/yr Fertilizer = $17/acre (100 lbs/ac 11-52) ÷ 5 yrs = $3.40/ac/yrFertilizer = $17/acre (100 lbs/ac 11-52) ÷ 5 yrs = $3.40/ac/yr Fuel cost = $29/acre (to seed & spray) ÷5 yrs = $5.80/ac/yrFuel cost = $29/acre (to seed & spray) ÷5 yrs = $5.80/ac/yr Land cost = $25/acre/yearLand cost = $25/acre/year Total cost = $40.70/acre/yearTotal cost = $40.70/acre/year Gross Return: Gross Return: 1 acre/steer (stocking rate)1 acre/steer (stocking rate) 90 days of grazing x 2 lbs/day = 180 lbs90 days of grazing x 2 lbs/day = 180 lbs 180 lbs x $1.01/lb for 1000 lb steer = $181.80/acre/year180 lbs x $1.01/lb for 1000 lb steer = $181.80/acre/year Cost per lb of gain: Cost per lb of gain: $38.10/acre ÷180 lbs/acre = $0.21/lb gained$38.10/acre ÷180 lbs/acre = $0.21/lb gained

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17 Preventing Bloat and Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency with Condensed Tannin Condensed tannins are naturally occurring chemicals in many plants including the skins of grapes, which give red wine the red color and the astringent taste. Condensed tannins are naturally occurring chemicals in many plants including the skins of grapes, which give red wine the red color and the astringent taste. Forages like birdsfoot trefoil that contain condensed tannins don’t cause bloat. Forages like birdsfoot trefoil that contain condensed tannins don’t cause bloat. We’re evaluating the possibility of putting small amounts of condensed tannin in stock water to allow cattle to graze alfalfa without bloating and to reduce their urine urea excretion. We’re evaluating the possibility of putting small amounts of condensed tannin in stock water to allow cattle to graze alfalfa without bloating and to reduce their urine urea excretion.

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19 Growing while Grazing Annuals (oat/pea then proso millet/hairy vetch) Costs: Costs: Seed = $18.00/acreSeed = $18.00/acre Herbicide = $2.70/acre (spraydown)Herbicide = $2.70/acre (spraydown) Fertilizer = $16.00/acre (100 lbs/ac 11-52)Fertilizer = $16.00/acre (100 lbs/ac 11-52) Fuel cost = $29.00/acre (to seed & spray)Fuel cost = $29.00/acre (to seed & spray) Land cost = $25.00/acreLand cost = $25.00/acre Total cost = $90.70/acreTotal cost = $90.70/acre Gross Return: Gross Return: 1 acre/steer (stocking rate)1 acre/steer (stocking rate) 90 days of grazing x 2.4 lbs/day = 216 lbs90 days of grazing x 2.4 lbs/day = 216 lbs 216 lbs x $1.01/lb for 1000 lb steer = $218.16/acre/year216 lbs x $1.01/lb for 1000 lb steer = $218.16/acre/year Cost per lb of gain: Cost per lb of gain: $90.70/acre ÷ 216 lbs/acre = $0.42/lb gained$90.70/acre ÷ 216 lbs/acre = $0.42/lb gained

20 Comparison of Different Strategies for Growing Cattle* Feedlot Feedlot Cost per lb gained - $0.40 (growing phase)Cost per lb gained - $0.40 (growing phase) Grazing perennial grass Grazing perennial grass Cost per lb gained = $0.34Cost per lb gained = $0.34 Cost per acre = $15.00Cost per acre = $15.00 Gross return per acre = $44.56Gross return per acre = $44.56 Net return per acre = $44.56 – $15.00 = $29.56Net return per acre = $44.56 – $15.00 = $29.56 Grazing alfalfa Grazing alfalfa Cost per lb gained = $0.21Cost per lb gained = $0.21 Cost per acre = $40.70Cost per acre = $40.70 Gross return per acre = $181.80Gross return per acre = $ Net return per acre = $ $40.70 = $141.10Net return per acre = $ $40.70 = $ Grazing annuals Grazing annuals Cost per lb gained = $0.42Cost per lb gained = $0.42 Cost per acre = $90.70Cost per acre = $90.70 Gross return per acre = $218.16Gross return per acre = $ Net return per acre = $ – = $127.46Net return per acre = $ – = $ *Assumes no death loss for any strategy

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22 Fattening Cattle while Grazing Corn Costs: Costs: Seed = $23/acre (RR)Seed = $23/acre (RR) Herbicide = $7.27/ac (Roundup/Sterling once, Roundup again)Herbicide = $7.27/ac (Roundup/Sterling once, Roundup again) Fertilizer = $25.50/acre (150 lbs/acre urea)Fertilizer = $25.50/acre (150 lbs/acre urea) Fuel cost = $41.73/acre (to seed & spray twice)Fuel cost = $41.73/acre (to seed & spray twice) Land cost - $26.00/acreLand cost - $26.00/acre Total cost - $123.50/acreTotal cost - $123.50/acre Gross Return: Gross Return: 0.5 acre/steer (stocking rate)0.5 acre/steer (stocking rate) 60 days of grazing x 3 lbs/day = 180 lbs/0.5 acre (or 360 lbs/acre)60 days of grazing x 3 lbs/day = 180 lbs/0.5 acre (or 360 lbs/acre) 180 lbs x $0.89/lb = $160.20/0.5 acre = $320.40/acre180 lbs x $0.89/lb = $160.20/0.5 acre = $320.40/acre Assumption: Angus or Angus/Hereford steers used that finish (Choice) at lbsAssumption: Angus or Angus/Hereford steers used that finish (Choice) at lbs Net Return: Net Return: $320.40/acre - $123.50/acre = $196.90/acre$320.40/acre - $123.50/acre = $196.90/acre Cost per lb of gain (grazing cornfield): Cost per lb of gain (grazing cornfield): $123.50/acre ÷ 360 lbs/acre = $0.34/lb gained$123.50/acre ÷ 360 lbs/acre = $0.34/lb gained Cost per lb of gain (feedlot - finishing phase): Cost per lb of gain (feedlot - finishing phase): $ $0.46/lb gained$ $0.46/lb gained

23 Questions?


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