Feeding supplemental hay is a common practice for many cow-calf operations. Overstocking, as well as variations in rainfall and forage conditions, often requires feeding hay to maintain cattle numbers. Feeding hay and protein supplementation such as range cubes directly increase operating costs and often have a major impact on the profitability and financial well-being of a ranching business.
When one looks at best management practices on a cattle operation that could improve profitability, several strategies could be evaluated including adjusting stocking rates, bull soundness exams, pregnancy testing, culling open cows, and purchasing instead of producing quality hay.
Some recent work done shows that producing your own quality hay can be expensive. The FARM Assistance Focus 2009-2010, “Economic Impact of Beef Cattle Best Management Practices in South Texas: Purchasing vs. Producing Hay,” is a simple economic analysis of estimated costs/returns in producing vs. purchasing hay.
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