4 Reasons Why Increasing Weaning Weights May Not Increase Profit

I’m not suggesting that people eliminate all inputs, but low cost production models are usually more profitable than high input models. If you are Ranching For Profit you need to weigh the true value against the actual cost of inputs when deciding whether or not to use them.
Yep. As I recall, Stan Parsons used to say (tongue in cheek), the largest piece of “heavy equipment” found on the ranch should be a wheel barrow–and then only if you are a real avid “machine nut.” — jtl, 419
Dave Pratt via ranchmanagement.com

I gotta stop reading this stuff. A recent article in a self-proclaimed “progressive” magazine claimed that July deworming was an often-overlooked opportunity to increase weaning weight and therefore profit.

According to the article, deworming can increase weaning weights by at least 30 pounds at a cost of $7.85 per cow/calf pair. With a market price of $1.70 per pound, the article suggested that the extra 30 pounds of gain would be worth $51 (30 lbs. x $1.71).

This thinking is based on the same flawed paradigm that has led to the economic ruin of family ranches. There are at least four problems:

  1. The Market Price v. The Value of Gain
    The market price may have been $1.71 per pound, for a set of steers, but that doesn’t mean that the 30 pounds they may have gained due to deworming was worth $1.71 per pound. In fact, reviewing market reports for Valentine, NE in October, the value of the additional 30 pounds was between 30¢ -$1.20/pound depending on the actual weight of the animal.
    The value of gain is a much better measure of the true value of production than market price.  If you don’t know how to calculate the value of gain, watch this:
  2. The Cost of Inputting
    The cost of the input may have been $7.85 per cow, but what about the cost of the inputting? In order to drench the drench, feed the feed or implant the implant, you need labor (overhead costs) and equipment and facilities (capital expenses).
    The idea that, “I’m out there anyway,” or, “It doesn’t cost anything if I do it myself,” is a dangerous lie we’ve been telling ourselves for generations. In pushing productivity, we’ve made ranching even more capital intensive and physically exhausting.
  3. It’s Harder to Select for Low-Input Cows
    Two animals grazing side by side can have different susceptibilities to parasites. How can you ever possibly identify and select for animals that are less susceptible to parasites if we deworm all of the animals? When we support the herd with inputs, we make it impossible to select replacements from the animals that would be productive without inputs.
  4. Parasiticides Kill More Than Parasites
    Thinking that deworming only impacts worms in the cow is naive. It is well documented that some dewormers impact dung beetles and other organisms essential to effective nutrient cycling. Nutrient cycling and pasture fertility can be drastically improved when there is an active population of dung beetles and other organisms. The increase in carrying capacity due to these organisms can far exceed the value of gain realized by deworming.

I’m not suggesting that people eliminate all inputs, but low cost production models are usually more profitable than high input models. If you are Ranching For Profit you need to weigh the true value against the actual cost of inputs when deciding whether or not to use them.

A Handbook for Ranch ManagersLand & Livestock International, Inc is offering a “Free” week-long ranch management-planned grazing seminar- workshop.

What follows is a business model we have been following that has worked very well for us and for our clientele.

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualWe are seeking individual ranchers to sponsor/host workshops . The sponsor/host (and spouse or key employee) get the training at his/her ranch for no charge. This is an extra special benefit to the host as his/her land will be used for the “lab” work and hands on demonstrations. This provides a great start in the implementation of his/her program.

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewIn return, he/she takes care of the logistics involved in putting on the event. This includes arranging for the venue, booking a block of rooms for lodging, arranging for meals (if any), putting out the advertising, setting and collecting the fees and so forth.

We are then responsible for putting on the workshop.

During the interim we will each keep track of our out of pocket costs (from our end, that will be mostly travel and lodging). Then, when it is all over, we both are reimbursed our out of pocket costs and split any funds remaining 50:50.

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, click here and let us know. If the link won’t work for you, copy and paste info@landandlivestockinternational.com into your browser.

About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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1 Response to 4 Reasons Why Increasing Weaning Weights May Not Increase Profit

  1. Reblogged this on Flyover-Press.com and commented:

    Yep. As I recall, Stan Parsons used to say (tongue in cheek), the largest piece of “heavy equipment” found on the ranch should be a wheel barrow–and then only if you are a real avid “machine nut.” — jtl, 419

    Like

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