Recently, the economy has taken a punch at workers in every field, especially beef cattle producers. James B. Neel, University of Tennessee Extension professor of animal science and beef cattle specialist, explains what cow-calf producers need to do to stay out of the red.

“The increased price of fuel, fertilizer and other inputs required for cattle production continuously affect the producer,” says Neel. “The cost of feed, pasture and hay are the major factors of cow-calf operations.”

When costs negatively affect the producer’s profitability, it is best to determine what will bring the largest return of profit. Here are some ways to cut costs, according to Neel:

Cull open beef females. Also, cull those that have “attitude problems,” cows 10 years or older, cows with physical problems and other faults that limit their productivity and value. Do not feed a non-productive cow high-priced feed.

Evaluate winter feed needs in late spring or early summer: Determine what kind and the number of cattle you plan to carry through the winter. What feed supply do you have on hand? Plan for what will be, not for what you hope.

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