Backgrounding calves may be profitable option
With drought, lack of hay and volatile market prices, North Dakota cattle producers are faced with difficult choices.
One option is to add value to the calves by feeding them in North Dakota instead of selling them. To address this issue, the North Dakota State University Extension Service is holding a series of local seminars on feeding and backgrounding calves and cow feed management.
“Backgrounding calves is a margin business,” says Karl Hoppe, area Extension livestock systems specialist at the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center. “When the cost of gain is lower than the value of the gain, feeding calves works. However, feed costs are so variable in North Dakota. Freight cost becomes a huge issue, and the cost of shipping feed is figured into the cost of gain.
“With the drought, the cost of forage is quite high,” he adds. “That’s contrary to the grain prices, which are fairly low.”
John Dhuyvetter, area Extension livestock systems specialist at the NDSU North Central Research Extension Center near Minot, notes, “Rations with higher inclusions of grain or coproducts result in higher average daily gain and improved feed conversion. This might make cattle-feeding budgets profitable. It’s time to figure your costs.”
The dates, times and locations for the series of meetings are:
Oct. 10 – 10 a.m. CST, Center, Betty Hagel Memorial Civic Center
Oct. 10 – 2 p.m. MST, Medora, Chateau DeMores Interpretive Center
Oct. 10 – 7 p.m. MST, Bowman, 4-Seasons Building, Bowman County Fairgrounds
Oct. 11 – 10 a.m. CST, Linton, Courthouse auditorium
Oct. 11 – 2 p.m. CST, Ashley, Courthouse
Oct. 11 – 7 p.m. CST, Napoleon, Napoleon Livestock Auction
Oct. 12 – 9 a.m. CST, Binford, Binford Fire Hall
Oct. 12 – 2 p.m. CST, Rugby, Dakota Farms, 308 Hwy 2 S.E.
Oct. 12 – 7 p.m. CST, Minot, North Central Research Extension Center
Topics for the meetings are:
Local issues for cattle feed – local NDSU Extension agriculture and natural resources agent
Feeding calf-growing rations – Hoppe
Backgrounding calf budgets – Dhuyvetter
Cow herd feed management – Janna Kincheloe, area Extension livestock specialist, NDSU Hettinger Research Extension Center
For more information, contact Dhuyvetter at 701-857-7682 or email@example.com, Kincheloe at 701-567-4323 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Hoppe at 701-652-2951 or email@example.com, or your local Extension agent.