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Forage and co-product systems for stockers in the South: have fundamental shifts in markets changed the optimal system?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23148245     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Stockering calves in the southern U.S. has been an economically viable enterprise for decades. Historically, the system that yielded the best opportunity for profitability was to purchase light-weight calves (130 kg to 220 kg) in autumn, add 100 to 200 kg of BW gain, and sell them in the spring. In most years, the value of the gain was worth more than the cost of gain in this system. With the exponential price increases in feed, fuel, and fertilizer during 2008 and the significant increase in cattle prices, it is prudent to assess the potential for continued profitability in this segment of the beef industry. Evaluation of 37 grazing experiments indicated that the forage systems most likely to result in inexpensive costs of gain for stocker calves involve tall fescue with legumes or ryegrass with small grains. Even with increased input prices, these systems still yield economical BW gain for stocker calves. Likewise, many diets can be blended to produce ADG of 1 kg utilizing co-products that are abundant across the South. With many of these co-products, the most important performance factor in determining their value is G:F. In several experiments, DMI has exceeded 3% of BW in stocker calves, and the resulting G:F has been less than desirable. Several experiments have reported G:F of 0.13 to 0.16, resulting in economical BW gain; whereas some experiments have reported G:F as low as 0.09, which could result in BW gain that costs more to produce than it is worth. Since 1979, the value of gain for stocker calves in Alabama has averaged $1.05/kg. However, in the last 3 yr, the value of gain has risen to $2.32/kg. Fundamental shifts in feed, fuel, and fertilizer prices experienced in the U.S. between 2005 and 2010 have markedly changed the amount of capital needed to purchase several hundred stocker calves and to provide adequate feedstuffs for BW gain. However, the value of gain associated with producing feeder calves from those stockers has experienced a concomitant increase. The optimal system still utilizes high-quality cool-season forages and supplementation with co-product feeds. With this system, a significant margin of profit still exists for the Southeastern stocker cattle production system.
Authors:
D L Rankins; J W Prevatt
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-11-12
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of animal science     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1525-3163     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Anim. Sci.     Publication Date:  2012 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-11-13     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8003002     Medline TA:  J Anim Sci     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Affiliation:
Department of Animal Science and Auburn University, Auburn 36849.
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