Don’t Skimp on Technology
Mark Werner, Livestock Production Specialist, Purina Animal Nutrition
Just because cattle are netting less incoming to your operation than they were at a year ago doesn’t warrant cutting out every input that we must purchase from an outside source. Just because feed is “cheap” right now, doesn’t mean that we can forget about performance. In fact, when margins are as tight as they are, utilizing technology can be the difference in making a profit on a group of cattle vs. selling them at a loss.
Feeding an ionophore (Rumensin or Bovatec) can aid in increasing your feed efficiency on many stages of cattle from calves to mature cows. Another benefit to using ionophores is they are a proven coccidiostat when fed at effective levels to control the shedding and spread of coccidiosis in your herd. This means you finish cattle sooner to a goal end weight, or put more weight on them with the same amount of feed in a set feeding period.
Growth implants are a science that should not be over looked. There are multiple implant options available to you depending on the age, size, type and diet of your cattle. Implants aid in driving feed consumption, feed conversion, and body composition of your cattle. Take the time to learn about implants. Consult with your vet, pharmaceutical reps, as well as your All American Co-op beef consultants to determine an implant protocol to best fit your feeding operation.
Optaflexx is another technology that we can’t forget about during the last 28 to 45 days of finishing cattle. This ractopamine product can help aid in the animal efficiently converting energy into lean gains. This happens instead of laying on excess back fat which ultimately can lead to increased hot carcass yields (muscle weighs more than fat).
Marketing is not a technology that directly effects your cattle but can have the biggest effect on your bottom line of. If you are not comfortable with the subject of marketing or risk management of your operation, start asking questions and find out what has or has not worked for others. Hedging cattle, forward selling cattle, grid marketing, or niche marketing are all options for marketing cattle, but please understand what you are getting yourself into. If a niche market if purchasing cattle at a $7.00/cwt premium over the open market, that is great. Keep in mind, if it takes you 60 days longer to feed those cattle to a set market weight because of the limited acceptance of technology; your added feed, labor, yardage, and decreased efficiency to meet those standards may offset any premium being paid in the end.
These technologies and practices need to be considered when looking at your overall efficiency and bottom line. To ensure that you are not leaving excess money on the table at the time of the sale of your cattle, consider these factors as well as any others you feel are pertinent to your operation. Contact Stacy Hoffman or myself to assist you in evaluating your current program and help you understand the value of these technologies and practices and how they will benefit your operation.