Feed Lot

JUN 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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years later the same number of people are devoted to those tasks. Larger equipment is purchased that can do the job faster and yet the hours that have been saved are not allocated to other duties. To maximize your labor reduc- tion strategies, look first at direct labor costs such as health insur - ance, company vehicle allocations, Worker's Compensation, the num- ber of employees allocated to each area of the feed yard, individual employee efficiency, etc. Review every individual cost associated with your labor force. Next, look in the areas where you have made investments in technology and confirm that you have reallocated that labor to more appropriate duties. Finally, look at new tech- nologies that c a n r e d u c e your total la- bor needs. Can you do more with fewer employees in some areas by implementing some new technology or u p d a t i n g c u r r e n t technologies? Every time that you reduce the number of employees, you reduce the expense in time and dollars of the following items and activities: • Less time spent recruiting, inter- viewing, hiring and developing employees. NY PRODUCER OF A COMMODITY knows that keeping costs low is essential to maxi- mizing profits. Labor costs continue to climb and though we are always looking at ways to re- duce Worker's Comp, health in- surance and other costs, it is still essential to take a long-term look at ways to not only reduce costs per employee but also reduce the number of employees needed to get the job done. The number of workers required for agricultural production has been cut in half in the last 50 years. Technological improvements are the main reason for these labor sav- ings and this trend will continue. Some ag industries are using, or will soon be using, new technolo- gies that have significant long-term labor savings: • Drones that will be launched in swarms to identify and kill individual weeds using the best herbicide for that plant. • Driverless feed trucks and ma- nure spreaders. • Robotic milking machines in dairies that can reduce labor by 10% to 29% . • Drones that find, move and count cattle. • Robotic truck washes. Gaining the full benefit from the investment in new technology requires keen management. Some managers have made significant investments in labor-saving equip- ment, but then don't follow through by reducing their total hours of labor devoted to that task. Many software programs have saved on data collection, a n a l y s i s a n d accuracy, but months and MANAGEMENT REDUCING TOTAL LABOR COSTS BY DON TYLER A 24 FEED•LOT June 2018

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