The calls continue to come in asking about the feasibility of dry-lotting beef cows. Dry-lotting cow/calf pairs seems like a lot of work. In addition, cows belong on pasture in the spring and summer and one of the unique characteristics of cattle is they have the ability to convert forage to protein. There are a couple of reasons for the questions. Pasture costs continue to increase even in this time of financial uncertainty. There are reports that pasture agreements are going for $26 to $28 per AUM for a 5.5 month grazing period. That’s $31.20 to $33.60 for a 1200 pound cow. With these figures, pasture costs alone range from $171.60 to $184.80 or the 1,200 pound cow. Add on transportation costs, mineral/salt, and fuel and labor cost associated with checking to cows and bill per 1200 pound cow/calf pair quickly approaches $200. So much for the spring/summer grazing phase for being a cheap part of total feed costs. Also, because of the soft cattle market, some producers think “running age” cows will continue to decrease in price and it may be a good time to add on a few more cows that have some years left in them, but yet they don’t have the pasture to add a few more cows.

To read the entire article, link to UNL Beef Cattle Production.