Feed Lot

APR-MAY 2017

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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business. To help young producers develop a In North Dakota, the cattle feed- ing business is growing. Many producers entering or ex- panding cattle feeding operations are inspired by young folks, a great sign, according to John Dhuyvetter, Extension Livestock Specialist with North Dakota State University's North Central Re- search Extension Center, who says adding a feedyard of the 1,000-head type is often the expan- sion an operation needs to provide income for a second family. New, younger producers are interested in cattle, and NRCS programs like EQIP help overcome the begin- ner's lack of capital. To help those young producers, North Dakota State offers a Feed- lot School each January, a two-day conference aimed at beginning cat- tlemen. "We have 25 slots and they fill quickly," says Dhuyvetter, a pre- senter at this year's event. His "Budgets for Different Production Scenarios" presentation walks the feedlot producer through the cal- culations needed for a profitable venture. "They're young, just start- ing to fill their role in generational turn-over, and the gender break- down is about 50-50. It's our goal to give them the information and discipline to make decisions." Younger producers are looking at many options beyond the tradi- tional feedyard. Custom feeding fits some scenarios. Heifer devel- opment is popular, as is back- grounding, and finishing cull cows. All types of cattle feeding require exact budgeting in an in-exact budget, Dhuyvetter breaks expenses down to three main items: cattle, feed, and yardage. "First you have to buy the cattle, enough to keep the pens full, and at a price where they can be sold for a profit," says Dhuyvetter. That's, of course, not as easy as it sounds. Dhuyvetter says each pro- ducer must develop his or her own strategy. Some will buy misman- aged cattle at the bottom of the market, that maybe haven't been preconditioned or well fed, and make the added effort to bring them up to a productive level. While others will buy top-of-the- line genetics to score on the grid. Either way, he says it helps to hedge or explore contracting deals to lock in prices. That's not to say every asset has a set price. Dhuyvetter also stress- es the feedlot owner and manager need a good relationship with the local veterinarian to develop re- ceiving and treatment protocols, as well as feed rations. "Feed is the biggest single cost," says Dhuyvetter. In North Dakota, 14 FEED•LOT  April/May 2017 FEEDYARD BUDGETING: Start with the Basics...Start with a Plan FEEDLOT FOCUS By TERRI QUECK-MATZIE

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