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Ranch tools website can help ranchers operate sustainably


New tools to help Wyoming ranchers have sustainable operations are on a new University of Wyoming Extension website.

"Ranchers have many tools at their availability like tractors, fencing pliers and calf pullers," said Bridger Feuz, livestock marketing specialist for UW Extension. "However, sometimes it is harder to find good tools to help make important ranch decisions. The tools developed on this website are intended to fill that need for ranchers."

The Wyoming Ranch Tools website has fact sheets and six tools to help ranchers utilize the tools and better understand the concepts.

"Ranchers are no strangers to hard work, as it fills up most of their days," said Feuz. "Just like any other job on the ranch, making strategic decisions also takes some hard work and dedication. The tools on this website have been utilized effectively by producers to make good decisions, but the analysis is only accurate when a producer puts in a little hard work and effort."

Tools include:

--The partial budgeting template tool to help make strategic decisions such as when to retain ownership of calves, when to market cull calves and whether to buy forages or livestock during droughts; the partial budget tool only looks at the actual costs andreturns that will change and returns a value for the net benefit or loss.

--The net present value tool analyzes an investment over time; the NPV provides producers with a five-, 10- and 15-year return estimate and a break-even year and includes astandard and an EconoRange version to help make decisions on range and pasture improvement projects.

--The AUM (Animal Unit Month) value tool provides a starting point for determining the value of pasture AUMs in a lease arrangement.

--The genetic investment tool provides producers with the amount per calf and the total annual amount of improvement they need to break-even on the investment when they purchase improved bulls to raise the level of their herd's genetics.

--The stocking tool calculates the amount of available forage in a pasture and compares that to the animals' needs, which helps provide estimates for length of grazing and number of animals; this tool is designed for small operations (up to 30 acres) but is appropriate for ranches of any size.

--The sprayer calibration tool helps making calibrating pesticide applicators easier; UW has used the 1/128 method of sprayer calibration for several years, and thousands of pesticide applicators in Wyoming have been trained on this procedure.

"No matter what conditions exist: good weather, drought, high prices, low prices, etc., strategic planning is essential to ranch sustainability, and these tools are designed to facilitate the strategic planning process," said Feuz.

For more information, contact Feuz at 307-783-0570 or at

Date: 11/5/2012


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