Adding profitability through fences and a tighter calving season

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The Beef Cattle Research Council’s Future Farm scenarios has looked at the five-year financial impact of investing in rotational grazing management or tightening up the calving season.

Drawing on findings from the Canadian Cow-Calf Cost of Production Network, the scenarios exercise looked at where to invest in infrastructure to best improve profitability. For both questions — more fences or a tighter calving season — the answer on what was worthwhile was highly influenced by the existing set up and scale of the operation.

For the calving scenario, the longer and more drawn-out the existing calving season, the more profit could be gained by keeping the window to a three-cycle maximum (70 per cent calving in the first cycle, 20 per cent in the second cycle and 10 per cent in the third cycle).

The final outcomes ranged from just $5/cow improvement (measured through weaning weight increase) to $30/cow, and was achieved over five-years of breeding season and heifer management.

The grazing scenario is somewhat more complex. The scenario included purchasing temporary fencing to increase paddock number, and assumed a 10 per cent increase in feed production with rotational management.

In five years, the scenario suggests that larger herd size can better shoulder the upfront cost of the fencing system. Only half of those that participated in this simulated scenario had paid off the investment. However, for smaller operations, other considerations include the possibility of selling some of the increased forage growth as hay. Those herds with higher existing feed costs saw a faster return on investment.

Find the full report, including details on how to join the Cost of Production Network, here.

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