Winter Feeding a Cow for $100

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Winter Feeding a Cow for $200
UW Extension
State-wide Beef Cow-calf Days
Medford
By: Keith Vander Velde
UW Extension Seven County Agriculture
Specialization Livestock Specialist
Winter Feeding for $200
Cow-calf Profitability is influenced by 4 factors

1. Yearly cost of keeping a cow (Feed & Operation)

2. Number of cows exposed at breeding that calf

3. Weaning or yearling weight of calves

4. Price received for calves and market ready cows
Winter Feeding for $200
Feed costs are the biggest expense to
cow-calf producer
Winter Feeding for $200
Feed costs are the biggest expense a
cow-calf producer has to wean a calf
In most studies of cow-calf operations
feed cost range from 55% to 80% of
total costs
Winter Feeding for $200
Feed costs are the biggest expense a
cow-calf producer has to wean a calf
In most studies of cow-calf operations
feed cost range from 55% to 80% of
total costs
Of total feed cost the biggest variation
between operations was in winter feed
charges-varies a $1 per day between
high and low cost producers
Wintering a cow for $200
Our “CHALLENGE” is to reduce feed
charges without affecting cow body
condition and future reproductive
performance
Winter Feeding for $200
In Wisconsin the period of time we
often winter feed is December –April or
150 days.
Winter Feeding for $200
In Wisconsin the period of time we
often winter feed is December –April or
150 days.
During this period we have frozen
ground and often have snow cover but
if the feed is there cows will find it
Winter Feeding for $200
Ask Yourself these questions:




Do I have adequate feed in storage for
winter feeding?
Have I pre-purchased feed when prices
were low?
Have I looked at energy and protein costs
of various feeds and compared them for
value?
Have I stockpile forage for winter Grazing?
Winter Feeding for $200
Cost Per Cow-Calf Unit
Feed:
Cost % of Total
Pasture
$75
15%
Winter Feed $200
41%
Feed Total
$275
56%
Operating Expense:
Labor
$80
17%
Vet/supplies
$45
9%
Interest
$16
3%
Bull or AI
$20
4%
Total Operating $436
31%
Fixed Overhead:
Cost % Total
Mach/Bldg/Fence $16
3%
Livestock
$39
8%
Overhead Total
$55
11%
Total cost/Cow $491____________
Winter Feeding For $200
Keep Cost for Winter Feeding at $200





Make or Purchase hay for $80 per ton
Feed for 120 days
Store hay to reduce waste
Feed in ring feeders (lowest priced, less
waste
Achieve to feed 30 lbs per day
Economic Considerations
Winter Feeding for $200
Fall & Winter Grazing to Reduce Feed Cost:
1. Corn Stalk Grazing
a. Average 5000 lbs. of residue in
irrigated corn fields
b. Average 2500 lbs. of residue in
dryland corn fields
c. Primary difference is leaf loss
Winter Feeding For $200
Graze stockpiled Forage until Jan 1st:
Alfalfa fields
Rested cool season grass pasture
Warm season grasses
Wheat, rye, or barley planted in August
Consider Standability of Forage
Wintering Cows for $200
Standability for various forages






Tall Fescue-good
Timothy-good
Orchard
Brome grass-poor
Alfalfa-fair
Red clover-good
Big Bluestem-good
Little Bluestem-poor
Indian Grass-good
Switchgrass-good but
cows do not like it
Wintering Cows for $200
What about direct feeding



Must meet the cows energy and protein
requirements
Can be done with hay, silage and various
grains including byproducts
Need to make sure you have adequate
bunk or feeder space
Winter Feeding for $200
Consider Byproduct Feedstuffs






Dried Distillers Grain
Brewers Grains
Wheat Midds
Grain Screenings
Cannery Waste(Sweetcorn,carrots)
Potatoes
Wintering Cows for $200
Take advantage of low commodity prices

Corn at $3.75/bushel is 7 cents per lb

Oats at $2.50/bushel is 8 cents per lb


Round bales at $30 each(assume 3/ton equals $90
per ton) are 5 cents per lb
Distillers Grain at $150 per ton is 7.5 cents per lb
Wintering a Cow for $200
Maintenance needs of 1100 lb cow last
1/3 of pregnancy


10.3 Mcals of energy
1.6 lbs of crude protein
Wintering a Cow for $200
Maintenance needs of 1100 lb cow last 1/3 of
pregnancy


10.3 Mcals of energy
1.6 lbs of crude protein
Maintenance needs of 1100 lb cow first 4
months after calving


15 Mcals of energy
2.6 lbs of crude protein
Wintering a cow for $100
Feed Values of Common Feeds
% DM
Mcal/#m
% Protein
Alfalfa
90
.54
16
Brome
89
.54
11
Orchard
88
.58
11
Straw
91
.34
4
Oats
89
.8
12
Corn
88
1.02
9
Limit-feeding
Total intake, lbs/d
Hay, lbs/d
Corn, lbs/d
DDGS, lbs/d
Supplement, lbs/d
Feed costs, $/da
HAY
30
30
---1.50
LFC
20.5
5
13
-2.5
1.63
DDGS
17.5
5
-10
2.5
1.15
aCalculated
with the following prices: corn=$3.80/bu; hay=$100/ton;
DDGS=$130/ton; LFC supplement=$400/ton; DDGS supplement=$200/ton.
Ohio State University, Radunz et al., 2008
Wintering Cows for $200
Remember:


With extreme cold weather energy needs
go up and it is important to increase the
roughage portion of the ration
Thin cows needing improvement in body
condition need additional energy for
gaining weight
Wintering cows for $200
The key to profit is:






keeping winter and grazing period cost low
having a 90% pregnancy rate
wean calves at 550 lbs or more
take advantage of market premiums
precondition calves
effectively market calves and cows-avoid the
market low periods in the fall
Thanks for Attending from UW Livestock Team
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