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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Beef Management Tips:
February Beef Management Calendar

Livestock Update, February 1999

John Hall and Bill McKinnon, Extension Animal Scientists, Virginia Tech

Spring Calving Herds

Fall calving herds JBH

While tax preparation time is not one of the fun times in the year of the cattle producer, it offers the opportunity to analyze the economic performance of the individual cattle operation. The expense and receipts are all collected, organized, and tallied. It is now time to use all these records in managing the operation. Cattle managers across the country have utilized the Standardized Performance Analysis-EZ (SPA-EZ) as an organized approach in measuring the economic success of their operations. With last year's and a current year's balance sheet, expenses and receipts, along with basic cow herd performance records a SPA-EZ analysis can be completed. The three-page SPA-EZ worksheet helps the cattle business manager to discover the annual cost of keeping a cow and the cost of producing a pound of calf. A copy of the SPA-EZ workshop is available from the local Extension office or by calling Bill McKinnon at 540/231-9160.

Before filing away the Schedule F, beef producers can also use that schedule as a management tool. The Schedule F has the farm expenses lumped together and a quick analysis of those expenses can be helpful. Identifying the operation's top five expenses helps to highlight to areas on with to focus cost reduction. Typically, these top five expenses can make up 60% to 75% of the expense total. Planning to reduce one of the top five expenses by 10 to 20% can reduce overall costs more than cutting a minor expense by 50%. So it makes sense to attack those big expenses in an attempt to lower overall costs. BRM

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