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Conference Name T.R.A.C. - Total Ranch Analysis for Colorado

Ryan Rhoades, Daniel Mooney, Logan Hoffman, Frank Garry, Jason Ahola, and Beth Kreibel


Historically, net returns in the cow-calf business have been relatively low. A 2018 Colorado Beef Producer Needs Assessment showed nearly 70% of producers indicated financial situation as the biggest barrier to success. Benchmarking can help producers focus limited management time on the critical areas of the beef cow business. The objectives of this study were to 1) develop benchmarks or key performance indicators for production and financial measures on Colorado ranches and 2) enhance Colorado beef producer’s ranch financial literacy, record keeping skills, and profitability through unique educational programming.

T.R.A.C. - Total Ranch Analysis for Colorado was developed as a statewide collaborative partnership in extension program involving campus faculty, extension personnel, cattlemen’s associations, and beef producers. Participant ranches completed an in-depth financial, production, and management analysis of the ranch, using a standardized methodology. Herd production, land and feed resource, cattle marketing, and financial data were collected for 2018 from geographically diverse cow-calf operations (n=9). Average herd size was 416 cows +/- 268. Average pregnancy, calving, and weaning percentages were 93.6, 89.2, and 86.2, respectively. Pounds weaned per exposed female was 485 +/- 50. Total cost on average was $1030.08 per cow. The big four (i.e. rent, hired labor, livestock depreciation, and purchased feed) accounted for 60% of total costs.

This program will provide a unique opportunity for cow-calf producers in Colorado to reduce cost of production and improve production and marketing efficiency. Results will strengthen producer and educator knowledge of production and financial targets and increase the value of cow-calf management recommendations in Colorado.