Do I have enough winter feed?
Beef cattle producers should use a beginning of the year inventory list to determine if they have sufficient feed on hand.
The widespread drought of 2012 left many beef producers with limited feed resources and inventories that will not sustain current cattle inventories. Beef producers who will be turning cattle out to pasture need to secure feed resources to feed until that point. Producers should take inventory of all assets for the beginning year balance sheet. This process includes feed inventory and is a good time to compare feed inventories and needs.
The key to having enough feed on hand for the winter months is to determine what you have, estimate your total feed needs, and then plan feed purchases, or adjust animal numbers. Cull cow prices remain fairly strong; so adjusting animal numbers may be more profitable than trying to purchase your way out of a feed shortage.
There have been several Michigan State University Extension news articles written on conducting a feed inventory:
- Management of feed inventory critical
- Feed inventory planning and management, more critical now than ever!
If producers have not already done so, they should conduct a feed inventory and add the feed that has been fed since Jan. 1, for the balance sheet. There are various online calculators, factsheets and slide rulers that can help you estimate your feed needs. Programs like the Ohio State Universtiy Cow-culator will help to determine feed requirements and calculate total feed needs until the next available feed source is ready.
Comparing feed resources available with animal requirements is a useful exercise that allows producers to take appropriate and strategic actions to ensure the herd is adequately fed. For more information regarding feed inventories, calculating feed requirements and developing financial statements, contact Kable Thurlow at 989-426-7741.
- MSU Extension’s Drought Resources