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Reinvest in your cash cows

It continues to be good times cattle business. A colleague heard from a neighbor in eastern Wyoming that they received $1.25/lb more for their calves this year compared to last year. If you assume a 600 lb calf, that’s an additional $750 per calf! With higher than average profits and prices for replacement heifers, it only makes sense to reinvest in your cows.

We all talk a lot about hay and pasture quality and when you should consider adding protein, what trace mineral package is more advantageous in this situation versus that situation, etc. It’s all for good reason. If you refer to Tim’s blog from last week, he talked about selecting heifers that were from cows on a solid nutrition program during gestation (particularly protein) and that were born early in the calving season. Those are the kind of heifers you want to be selling. So how do we get there?

It starts with the cows. As Tim noted, the UNL research found improved heifer performance, including calving early in the season, from cows supplemented protein in the first 2/3 of gestation (190 days). Knowing how much protein your cows need is determined by getting your forages tested. Let’s use a 100 head cow herd, grazing corn stalks. They’ll be supplemented using BGF-30 for 120 days. Why BGF-30? Corn stalks are a low protein, high fiber forage. A higher level of supplemental protein, including urea, helps the rumen microbes be more efficient. BGF-30 also has a complete macro and trace mineral package which is essential for rumen function, immunity, colostrum quality, fetal growth and cow health and performance. What’s it going to cost? Let’s make a few assumptions… average of 0.75 lbs/hd/d intake and at a cost of $900/ton* for 250 lb barrels.

Herd Intake

100 hd x 0.75 lb/hd/d = 75 lb/d x 120 d = 9,000 lbs

Tons needed for 120 days

9,000 lbs/ 2000 lbs = 4.5 ton x $900/ton = $4,050 for 120 days

$4,050 to supplement 100 head on corn stalks for 120 days. Based on the extra $750 per calf we received this year, we would have needed to sell 5.4 calves to pay for supplementing our cows. This might seem like a high supplement bill, but what are replacement heifers worth these days? Bred heifers are starting around $2000/head. If we sold 3 out of this herd, we’d have paid for supplementing the cows.

The bottom line is that it pays to reinvest in your cows. CRYSTALYX® has not only the products to get you there, but digital and online tools to help you along the way. To learn more about how CRYSTALYX® can help you meet all your production goals, contact your local CRYSTALYX® dealer, visit our website (crystalyx.com), find us on Facebook or call us at 800-727-2502.


*actual cost may vary by location, contact your dealer for local pricing