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  • Author or Editor: Dennis B. Herd x
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Objective—To determine whether beef herds could increase profitability by reducing production cost per 100 lb (hundredweight [CWT]; ie, 45.4 kg) of calf through implementation of advice from teams of veterinarians and county extension agents supported by university specialists.

Design—Longitudinal study.

Sample Population—6 commercial cow-calf herds comprising 1,927 cows.

Procedure—Teams of veterinarians and county extension agents provided advice on 25 profitable ranch management practices to herd owners for 3 years. Use of each practice in herds was measured on a scale of 1 to 5 for baseline year 1999. Similar measurements were made at the end of each year for comparison with baseline values. Outcomes were measured by standardized performance analysis.

Results—Mean weaning weight of calves per exposed cow of the 6 herds increased significantly from 1999 (2000, 26.8 kg [59 lb; 17%]; 2001, 49.1 kg [108 lb; 31%]; and 2002, 43.2 kg [95 lb; 27%]). Mean cost per CWT of calf decreased significantly from the 1999 value (2000, −$20.04 [−18%]; 2001, −$33.40 [−29%]; and 2002, −$22.52 [−20%]). Additional profits for the 6 herds were $54,407 in 2000, $135,695 in 2001, and $116,089 in 2002 (3-year total of $306,191). Mean increase in management score of herds was positively correlated with increase in net income and accounted for > 60% of increased profits.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Profitability of beef cow-calf operations can be substantially increased through a team approach by identifying opportunities for improvements in management and helping ranch managers implement profitable practices. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;225:210–220)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association