Jim Odle and Curtis Russell were presenters during a Cattle Profitability Workshop Dec. 9 in La Junta, Colo. Area ranchers braved the frigid temperatures to attend the educational supper session held at Valley Cowboy Church.
In Russell’s power point presentation on “Supplementing the Cowherd,” he first calculated the feed requirements and options for a spring-calving commercial cow operation. Russell, of Sugar City, broke down the protein supplement options by type of product and its realistic cost, including delivery and waste, in today’s market. Interspersed with questions from the crowd, Russell of WW Feed & Supply, looked at pre- and post-calving requirements, alternatives on feeding rates, cost and feasibility to make the most economic sense for ranchers.
Odle, co-founder of Superior Livestock Auction, said that even with strong cattle market, retaining the core cowherd is a must. “The cow is still the best buy out there,” said the Brush businessman. In addition to expansion, Odle discussed the importance of a vaccination and weaning program to increase value. He commented that the “Vac 45” program, which has a minimum of 45 days weaned plus vaccines for good health, is a good business decision. He dovetailed Russell’s comments about feeding requirements, and said that Vac 45 calves which are feed and developed correctly, instead of just weaned and turned out on pasture, will reap the economic benefits of up to $5 premium over market in recent Superior video auctions
Russell’s second session on “Artificial Insemination – Boosting return on Heifers” also looked at economics. AI provides uniformity, decreases calving problems with high-accuracy bulls, and in today’s cattle cycle it bumps the profit. Russell walked the ranchers through the costs versus the gains in increasing weaning weights, improving genetics, reducing costs and increasing profits. As the crowd interacted, Odle said that in Superior’s sales last week, AI bred heifers were bringing more than $400 per head over their traditionally bred counterparts.
The workshop was preceded by a dinner, sponsored by WW Feed & Supply and Superior Livestock Auction.
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