Farm-level economics of corn intercropping strategies for extended winter grazing of beef cattle

Project Details

Status: Active
Investment: $67,500
Commodity: Beef Cattle
Organization: University of Alberta
Investigator: Scott Jeffrey

Extending the grazing season by maintaining beef cattle on pasture in late fall/winter has been adopted by many Prairie producers as it significantly reduces labour and feed costs compared to confined feeding.

Why is this research important for Alberta ag?

Extending the grazing season by maintaining beef cattle on pasture in late fall/winter has been adopted by many Prairie producers as it significantly reduces labour and feed costs compared to confined feeding. As net incomes began to fall for beef producers in the mid 2000s, there was wide-spread adoption of new grazing techniques. Producers continue to refine these production systems, including identification of suitable forage species.

This research will assess the economics of changing feeding/wintering practices for beef cattle. Specifically, the project will examine the impacts of novel grazing options on expected income and risk for beef producers.

What benefits can producers expect from this research?

The beef sector is characterized by volatility in returns and tight margins for producers. Identifying opportunities to make better use of available resources and improving economic viability of the cow-calf sector is important.

Results of this research will allow risk-return tradeoffs to be quantified and evaluated in order to identify economically efficient options. Results will provide producers with information concerning the economic viability of options designed to extend the grazing season in late fall and increase the nutritive value of the feed. Findings will facilitate producers to be able to make informed management decisions, with resulting positive impacts on industry competitiveness.

How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?

Information will be shared with producers, extension specialists, and the scientific community through industry events (Beef and Forage Week, Prairie Livestock Expo), field days, regional and national producer publications (Manitoba Cooperator, Cattle Country, Western Producer, Canadian Cattlemen's magazine, Top Crop magazine), and via annual reports.

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