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Steps to Improve Cow Herd Efficiency

Author: Kristy

By: Katie Allen, K-State Research & Extension News

Business owners are often challenged to find time to sit down, analyze data, and strategize to make their business more profitable and successful. A beef cow/calf operation is one such business, and improving feed efficiency is a main profit-driver.

Bob Weaber, beef breeding, genetics and cow/calf specialist for K-State Research and Extension, said feed efficiency is converting pounds of feed resources, whether that is a concentrated diet in a feedlot or a diet of range and pasture forage, into pounds of calf gain.

“Feed costs are associated with about 60 to 70 percent of total beef production costs,” Weaber said. “A large chunk of those are realized in a feedlot, but it’s also important to think about feed efficiency on the cow side.”

Fed cattle only account for 30 percent of the total calories consumed in the entire beef sector, he said. Ignoring the cow/calf side of the beef production system, which consumes the remaining 70 percent of the total calories, means producers are missing a great opportunity to not only change feed costs, but also improve efficiency, sustainability and the impact of the beef production system on the environment. READ MORE

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