Feed Lot

AUG 2018

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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12 FEED•LOT August 2018 Determining value of grass for grazing becomes more complex. "In Nebraska it used to be about $ 20 per pair, then during the drought of 2011-12 it jumped to $60 per pair. Now it's about $50," he says. "If I estimate what that pair eats in terms of TDN, at $ 50 per pair per month, it's about 9 cents per pound of TDN, which is more than the cost of corn silage and distill- ers grains. However, if it's $30 per pair, that would be 5 cents per pound of TDN. When we try to compare grazing versus confine- ment feeding we have to consider the cost of grass, and whether it includes management of the cattle," says Klopfenstein. What kind of performance you get on grass is another variable. "If you are not getting above 1½ pounds gain per day, grass becomes more costly in terms of profit. You are paying the same for the grass whether the cattle are gaining one or two pounds per day." FL money one year and not another. "We did our study over two years, comparing groups of back- grounding calves, then did an eco- nomic analysis. One year it was more profitable to have them in the feedlot, and the other year it was a lot more profitable to have them grazing." Nutritional variability in pasture must be considered. "When we feed cattle in the dry-lot, we know ex- actly what they are getting (quality, and quantity). We can control these factors. When they are grazing, you don't know how much they are eat- ing, nor the nutritional value of the forage. Feedlot studies are easier to do," he says. "We figure 35 cents per day per animal for yardage in confinement, on average, to have the facility and do the feeding, haul out manure, etc. It costs more to care for them," says Klopfenstein. "We figure 10 cents per day per animal grazing—for monitoring them, supplying salt/mineral, mov- ing temporary hot wire, etc. There's a difference of 25 cents per day, but it may vary. How intensive is the grazing and how much labor does it entail? If we assume 25 cents difference, the cost of feed in the dry-lot would have to be less than the cost of pasture. I calculated the cost of different feed ingredients, based on TDN (energy) value of the feed—the cost per pound of TDN," he explains. "Corn silage is about 8 cents per pound of TDN, as economical as any harvested forage. Crop residue becomes more expensive because it doesn't have as much energy," he says. "Distillers grains have more en- ergy than silage or corn residue; it only costs about 7 cents per pound of TDN. Feeding some combination of silage and distillers grains would be a little less than 8 cents per pound of TDN," he says. STOCKER SPECIAL Regional Options... from previous page Rotator® Technology for Pivot Irrigation Mitigate Dust & Cool the Herd with Nelson Big Gun® Sprinklers, Control Valves & TWIG® Wireless Controls nelsonirrigation.com / Tel: +1 509.525.7660 Automation The Original Big Gun® Sprinkler

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