Modified enterprise budgets and FINPACK were utilized as planning and evaluation tools for managing economic and production risks for Blue Sage Farm, a lamb meat and as of 2009 a sheep dairy operation.
Feed costs are the single greatest expense of livestock operations. Rising feed costs have had a powerful negative financial impact. By planting unconventional forages such as teff, pearl-millet, turnips, turnips/oats, and awnless winter wheat in a Management intensive Grazing (MiG) system owner-operator Laura Sluder could extend the grazing season, reduce dependence on alfalfa hay and decrease feeding costs. Unconventional annual forages also reduced irrigation water requirements compared to alfalfa production.
Perennial pastures of low productivity due to weeds and less desirable forage species were selected for planting the unconventional annual forages. After 1 – 2 years of these annuals she plans to transition back to productive, species diverse, perennial pastures. Cost savings were calculated based on days of grazing season extension multiplied by current hay prices each year. Nutritional feed values of the unconventional forages were compared to alfalfa hay because of uniform pricing and quality standards maintained for hay. To quantify the economic risks and benefits of forage decisions, the feed values of forages in their conventional form and in less common harvesting or storage situations were monitored, such as for stockpiled fall and winter feed.
|Conference||2010 National Women in Agriculture Educators Conference|
|Presentation Type||30-Minute Concurrent|