During the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA) 2022 session, How Economics Can Affect Grazing Decisions – Costs of Grazing, Steve Kenyon from Greener Pastures Ranching ltd presented a case study on how grazing plans change depending on economics. 

Producers need to consider finances when implementing a grazing plan. This can be done through data collection and pasture calculator spreadsheets based on yearly revenues and total gross product. To make a profit, the costs need to be lower than the earnings.  

For example, if you have 100 animals and they spend 150 days on pasture the total gross product equals $15,000. You cannot make this number bigger by simply adding more animals because the cost would also rise when adding animals.  

Grazing Plan Costs 

  • Water systems 

Water systems cost approximately $350 per year per 500 acres ($0.7 per year per acre) 

  • Cross fencing  

Cross fencing costs approximately $330 per year per 500 acres ($0.66 per year per acre)  

  • Spring set-up labour  

Spring set-up labour (including rental equipment costs) costs approximately $50 per hour for three eight-hour days per 500 acres ($2.40 per year per acre)  

  • Grazing labour  

Grazing labour costs approximately $50 per hour for 150 two-hour days per 500 acres ($30 per year per acre)  

  • Margin contribution  

Margin contribution costs approximately $24,385 due to lost investment  

Can we lower these costs?  

You could remove the water system, but this means more labour and could lead to foot rot in livestock. You could remove cross fencing, but you would get less land benefit. You could remove spring set up but if you don’t do it, you would have higher labour. The answer is a labour plan. Through a labour plan, farmers can lower grazing plan costs.

Conference 2023

The CFGA is excited to announce that its 14th annual conference will take place Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 in person in Harrison Hot Springs, BC. This year’s conference theme is Forage Resilience in a Changing Landscape: Manage risk. Overcome challenges. Discover opportunities and we look forward to delivering the interesting and informative sessions the CFGA conference is known for. Please save the date to join us as we learn about issues facing the forage sector and how they overcome these challenges, as well as take a look ahead to opportunities. Watch the CFGA conference website for more information.

Back to August 2023
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