Feedlot Management Decisions

fed cattle
cattle that have been fed concentrates (grains) for several months prior to slaughter in confinement
finished steers and heifers coming out of feedlot and going to packing house
confinement areas, located where the major portions of grains are produced
heaviest concentrations of feedlots
Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, Kansas, Iowa
commercial feedlot
>1,000 head capacity
may own the cattle
custom cattle feeding or custom feedlots
combination of both
custom cattle feeding or custom feedlots
cattle owned by someone else, fed on contractual basis
farmer feeder
<1,000 head capacity
managing a feedlot
facilities (layout and equipment) and environment
facilities (layout and equipment) management
open lots with dirt pens that hold 100-500 head
fence lined feed bunks with concrete aprons inside of pens
feed mill to process grains
feed trucks
bunker trench silos or upright silos
mounded in center for dry resting area
made of pole, cable, or pipe
feed trucks
mix feed while traveling to feed bunks
bunker trench silos or upright silos
storage of corn silage, roughages, or grains
environmental management
control dust, water, flies, and water quality
control dust, water, flies and water quality
removal of manure on regular basis
sprinkler systems
maintained runoff ponds
compost manure
parasitic wasp – biological control
water quality – largest factor
EPA regulations CAFO (confined animal feeding operations) part of the clean water act
confined animal feeding operations
breakeven prices are calculated on
the price of feeder cattle, cost of gain, sale price on fed cattle
calculated on an individual lot of cattle as a unit
breakeven costs are estimated on
current and future market prices and previous gain costs
breakeven price per cwt. of live weight =
(cost of feeder cattle + feed cost + nonfeed cost) / estimated final weight of fed cattle
factors that change profitability of a pen of cattle
poor health management
poor rates of gain
carcass discounts
poor health management
high levels of morbidity, mortality, and realizers
carcass discounts
dark cutters, poor grades, YG 4 & 5
cost of feeder cattle
feeders calculate what they can pay for feeder cattle based on projected feeding costs (feed and yardage)
look at price spread between feeders and fed cattle
preconditioned calves are important to consider for purchase
looking at price spread between feeders and fed cattle
projecting price of fed cattle 4-6 months from time feeder is purchased
prices can vary during this time period
projected fed steer price and price of corn are used to estimate breakeven purchase of feeder cattle
preconditioned calves
can decrease morbidity and death loss
most sickness occurs within 14 days of arrival
more sickness =
more pulls
more pulls
ADG declines
% USDA select and standards increase
profits decline
cost of gain divided into two parts:
feed cost/pound of gain
nonfeed cost/pound of gain
breakeven cost (price/pound of gain) =
(value ($) of fed cattle – cost ($) of feeder cattle) / total pounds of gain
factors effecting feed cost per pound of gain
ration costs
purchase cost of feeder animal
daily gains (feed efficiency)
ration costs
grain prices have tremendous effect
price of feed comprises 70-80% of the total cost of gain
daily gains (feed efficiency)
higher gains – more feed for gain than maintenance
improving feed efficiency
energy density of feed
processing grains
feeding additives and growth stimulants
feed cattle to proper composition of gain
control stressors
select for genetic ability to gain rapidly
sex of feedlot cattle
increase energy density of feed by
feeding less roughage
processing grains
steam flaking and reconstituting
feed cattle to proper composition of gain
more feed to deposit a pound of fat than pound of lean
ideal – YG 2 at 1,100-1,250 pounds
climatic stressors
pen conditions
transporting and processing times
other stressors
feed consistently
cattle handling
select for genetic ability to gain rapidly
reach 1100-1250 at 14-16 months of age with acceptable carcasses
sex of feedlot cattle
heifers are less efficient than steers or bulls
factors effecting nonfeed costs
gaining ability
interest rates
gaining ability
better gains, less overhead cost because of fewer days on feed
healthy cattle require
less labor for treatment and cost of meds (respiratory – biggest problem)
per head daily fee charged by the feedlot outside of medical and feed markup
interest rates
affected by several cents when rates vary
sale price of market steers and heifers have the most significant effect
feedlot cattle are sold on
live basis; some sold on carcass weight and grade
sold on carcass weight and grade
carcass weight, quality grade, and yield grade
show list
list of pens ready to be sold
implants and additives
improve rate of gain and efficiency
can be given 1-3 times based on animal
aggressive implants can decrease quality grade (containing trenbelone acetate)
-trade off is increase in pounds
-works best when choice-select spread is small

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