Farm Management Association programs are a valuable resource to producers all over the country by providing comprehensive analysis of various enterprises. The process allows for establishment of meaningful production and financial benchmarks that ultimately lead to improved decision-making over time.

The Kansas Farm Management Association (KFMA) is one of the largest farm management programs in the country. KFMA data allows others excellent insight into general trends among cow-calf producers within the state (and likely representative of many operations throughout the U.S.). The data above highlights the five-year moving averages for three key variables beginning with the 1996-2000 time frame: number of cows maintained, number of calves marketed and marketing weight. 

kansas farm managment cowherd numbers

Several trends are evident:

  • Cowherd size incrementally increased (~7%) during the first half of the decade with the trend plateauing in recent years.
  • The relative proportion of calves marketed (marketing rate) has remained steady over time.
  • Most importantly, marketing weight of calves increased 20-30 lbs./head during that time.   

In other words, KFMA participants have remained fairly reticent about expanding their operations, but have managed to market more total weight over time. This is likely the result of better management and genetics.

This type of data isn’t available in most states. Nonetheless, it appears that Kansas producers have proven successful in maintaining reproductive performance while also generating additional revenue for their operations. (The cost side is another discussion for another day.)

How do you perceive these trends in Kansas – are they representative of the broader industry? How has your operation changed and adapted over time? Would the trends be similar in your own operation? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.