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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Season of Calving, Weaning Strategies, and Retained Ownership Effects on Economic Profitability

Authors
item Kruse, R - MSU, BOZEMAN
item Grings, Elaine
item Phillips, William
item Tess, M - MSU, BOZEMAN

Submitted to: Research Update for Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: June 30, 2005
Publication Date: July 15, 2005
Repository URL: http://www.ars.usda.gov/npa/ftkeogh
Citation: Kruse, R.E., Grings, E.E., Phillips, W.A., Tess, M.W. 2005. Season of calving, weaning strategies, and retained ownership effects on economic profitability. Research Update for Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory. p. 34-36.

Interpretive Summary: This research evaluated the impact of season of calving, weaning strategy, post-weaning management of replacement heifers, and retained ownership on enterprise profitability. Seasons of calving evaluated were late winter (Feb), early spring (Apr), and late spring (Jun). Feb and Apr calves were weaned at 6- and 8-mo of age; Jun calves were weaned at 4- and 6-mo of age. Post-weaning management of replacement heifer strategies included one treatment intended to allow heifers to grow at a constant rate from weaning to breeding and the second intended to minimize harvested feed inputs. The retained ownership options included backgrounding in El Reno, OK and backgrounding in Miles City, MT utilizing two different diets. The data utilized were collected during a 3-yr study conducted at the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory near Miles City, MT. Production systems were modeled to characterize each possible combination of factors. Economic performance of each system based on animal performance and variable cost inputs. Point estimates of animal performance were used regardless of statistical significance. Systems were analyzed at each level of production (cow-calf, backgrounding, and finishing). There was no difference between systems utilizing the different post-weaning management of replacement heifer treatments. For cow-calf enterprises selling calves at weaning, the Jun late weaned yielded higher ranch gross margin (RGM = gross revenue minus variable costs) than all other systems, and the Apr early-weaned system was lowest. All other systems were not statistically different. When steer calves were backgrounded after weaning, few differences were found among possible backgrounding scenarios, and Jun calving remained superior to other seasons.

Technical Abstract: Production data from a 3-yr study conducted at Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory near Miles City, MT were utilized to evaluate impacts of season of calving (SOC), weaning strategy (W), post-weaning management of replacement heifers (PWM), and retained ownership of steer calves (RO) on enterprise profitability. The SOC evaluated were late winter (Feb), early spring (Apr), and late spring (Jun). The Feb and Apr calves were weaned at 6 and 8 mo of age; Jun calves were weaned at 4 and 6 mo of age. The PWM strategies included one treatment intended to allow heifers to grow at a constant rate from weaning to breeding and the second intended to minimize harvested feed inputs. The RO options included backgrounding in El Reno, OK and backgrounding in Miles City, MT utilizing two different diets. Production systems were modeled to characterize each possible combination of factors. Economic performance of each system was based on animal performance and variable input costs. Data were analyzed at each level of production (cow-calf and backgrounding) with system and year included in the model. There were no differences between systems utilizing different PWM. For cow-calf enterprises selling calves at weaning, Jun systems yielded higher ranch gross margin (RGM = gross revenue minus variable costs) than all other systems, and were statistically higher than Apr early-weaned system (P<0.05). When steer calves were backgrounded after weaning, systems utilizing Jun calving yielded a significantly higher gross margin than those utilizing Feb or Apr. There were no differences between backgrounding treatments within calving season. The SOC had larger impact than W, PWM, and RO on the enterprise profitability. Our results suggest that, in systems managed similarly to those modeled here, feed costs and time of marketing may have important effects on profitability.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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