This post was written in collaboration with Kathy Larson, MSc, PAg, Beef Economist with the Western Beef Development Centre.
Herd productivity is closely linked to herd profitability. The calculation for break-even price on calves clearly demonstrates this:
The break-even price can be lowered by decreasing total cow herd costs or by increasing the total pounds of calves weaned. Increasing the total weight (lbs) of weaned calves can be achieved by improving herd productivity, such as:
a) INCREASING – conception rates, weaning rate, etc.
b) DECREASING – calf death loss, calving span, etc.
While it is good management to track and calculate one’s herd production performance indicators on an annual basis, it can be helpful to have benchmarks to compare to. Benchmarks help a producer know if they are on the right track. They can help a producer identify if they excel in a certain area and/or could improve in another. They can also help to show what production and management practices other producers are following. Benchmark productivity measures for the cow-calf sector can also help guide research and extension efforts.
For these reasons, a group of individuals from British Columbia to Manitoba, representing provincial beef producer groups, provincial Ministry of Agriculture specialists, the Beef Cattle Research Council, Canfax and the Western Beef Development Centre have revived, expanded and conducted a survey last conducted in Alberta in 1998.
The Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey (WCCCS) was distributed to producers from November 2014 until the end of February 2015. A total of 411 survey responses were received (representing just over 76,000 cows). Response rates varied by province with the greatest percentage of respondents being from Continue reading