Meanwhile back at the ranch…

By Rayford Pullen

Our first frost of the year usually arrives in mid-November, which means forage quality will be dropping soon. How soon is soon? Around our place we figure we need to begin protein supplementation two to four weeks after our first killing freeze. I’m not really sure how quickly our grasses lose their food value after a freeze, but we like to begin feeding around December 15 and hopefully wind up about 100 days later.

Our winter-feeding program consists of supplementing with protein either liquid or dry and since we have native grasses and a conservative stocking rate, we do not feed hay except to the calves we are developing as future herd sires. With that said, our winter feed cost is usually in the $50 per head range for 100 days for cows that are going into the winter in pretty good condition.

Doing the math, you can see what you are losing on those cows that are not bred or nursing a calf, which makes it ever more imperative to identify those cows that are not paying their own way. The calves you do get to sell will have to make up the difference on those cows that are just eating and not raising a calf on an annual basis. With the current cattle market, there is not much room for error.

What affects your and my bottom line more than a good accountant? Let’s take a look at our expenses and income over the course of a year and see where we stand.
Our costs:
-Feed
-Fertilizer
-Fuel
-Leases
-Bulls
-Replacement females
-Essentials (i.e. Four-wheelers, tractors, RTVs, pickups, tractors, and other metal)
Income:
-Calves sold
-Cows sold

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