By Dan Loy, Iowa Beef Center
Feed costs have been increasing since 2007, but recent developments have moved feed costs into uncharted territory. After 40 years of $2 corn livestock producers became quite comfortable with these costs and with the relationship between year to year feed cost fluctuations and the cost of production. 2007 brought a new plateau in feed (corn) costs which have continued to increase, along with increased variation and volatility. These appear to be the new rules of feed cost economics.
Perhaps the most dramatic change that has occurred during this time period is that corn is no longer the lowest cost source of feed energy. This is a drastic change in Iowa, where “corn-fed” is often considered to be the middle name of Iowa Beef. For much of the past 100 years, the best cattle feeding ration has included corn, home-grown forage and a complete protein-based supplement. Today the best options are more local and may change from year to year. To be the low cost producer today takes a new approach to management of feed, ration and cattle. Check out the latest issue of “Growing Beef Newsletter” for suggestions to consider as you develop feeding programs for the upcoming year.
What are you doing to control the increased cost of feed in your operation?