Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 Economic evaluation of culling...
 Economic evaluation of controlling...
 Economic evaluation of vaccination...
 Economic evaluation of implant...
 Projected production coefficients,...
 Back Cover

Title: Beef production practices that pay - north Florida
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00024826/00001
 Material Information
Title: Beef production practices that pay - north Florida
Series Title: Beef production practices that pay - north Florida
Alternate Title: Bulletin 203 ; Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Kunkle, William
Simpson, James
Cope, Gene
Sand, Robert
Publisher: Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication Date: 1984
Copyright Date: 1984
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00024826
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aab7663 - LTQF
aeg6927 - LTUF
14715396 - OCLC
000869866 - AlephBibNum


This item has the following downloads:

Binder6 ( PDF )

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
    List of Tables
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Economic evaluation of culling strategies
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Economic evaluation of controlling parasites
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Economic evaluation of vaccination programs
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
    Economic evaluation of implants
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Projected production coefficients, input costs and returns for the good, average and low beef producer
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
    Back Cover
        Page 56
Full Text
March 1984

1 1i

Beef Production Practices
That Pay
- North Florida
William Kunkle, James Simpson,
Gene Cope and Robert Sanjf 7-, .

I.r A



Bulletin 203


Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences / University of Florida / John T. Woeste, Dean



This bulletin presents an economic analysis of four beef cattle management practices: heavy culling,
parasite control, a vaccination program and implanting calves with growth stimulants. An anaylsis of the
implant from being a good, average or low producer is also provided. The figures are relevant for most
north Florida operations, but conditions vary considerably between areas and management situations. Thus,
even though the estimates are based on as much information as possible, few published studies were available
to draw on so individuals may want to make estimates for their own units. For this reason, the assumptions
and calculations used, although sometimes cumbersome, are provided.
The computations provided in Parts II and III indicate that parasite control and vaccination have such a
high net return that all producers should carry out these programs. It is strongly advised that each producer
develop a plan with his or her local veterinarian as some practices, such as fluke control, may not be neces-
sary in particular situations, while others may be recommended.
The prices used reflect conditions prevailing in the fall of 1983. Note that even with thses relatively low
prices, both parasite control and vaccination still provide high returns. In general, net benefits will increase
in direct relationship with cattle price increases. For example, if prices increased 25 percent, net benefits
from parasite control and vaccination would also increase 25 percent. Over time, costs would also increase
somewhat as well.
Implanting calves with growth stimulants provides almost as much return as parasite control and vaccina-
tions: $5 or $6 for each dollar invested in just 70 days (using fall, 1983 prices). Again, the return would
increase proportionally with calf price increases: if the prices increased 25 percent, net benefits would, too.
The benefits described from implants are averages and will fluctuate given different situations. Differences
between non-implanted and implanted calves may be difficult to detect visually, so producers beginning this
practice may want to work with their county agent to set up experiments, and also to obtain information
about correct procedures used in implanting.
The impact of producing at a high, average or low level or, alternatively, in adoption of recommended
practices, is given in Part V. Space is provided for individuals to assign their own weights to the various
factors and prices. From these simple calculations, relatively accurate estimates can be made of the impact
from a variety of management practices. Producers are urged to utilize the Florida Beef Production Hand-
book (Florida Cooperative Extension Service, 1983) as a guide.

William Kunkle, James Simpson, Gene Cope and Robert Sand are Assistant Professor and Extension Beef
Specialist, Animal Science Department; Professor of Livestock Marketing Development, Food and Resource
Economics Department; Associate Professor and Extension Veterinarian, College of Veterinary Medicine;
and Associate Professor and Extension Beef Specialist, Animal Science Department, respectively, IFAS,
University of Florida, Gainesville.



OVERVIEW ................................................. ... Inside Cover

LIST OF TABLES ............................................... .. 4





AND LOW BEEF PRODUCER ................................. 47
REFERENCES ..................... ........... ...................... 54


Table Page

1.1 Cattle inventory, North Florida 100 cow operation ........ 8

1.2 Estimated costs and returns for a 100 cow North
Florida cow-calf operation, usual versus heavy
culling, 1983 ...................... ............... 10

1.3 Impact of increasing cattle prices on usual versus
versus heavy culling profitability....................... 15

2.1 Length of consequences from cattle parasites in
North Florida ........................................ . 20

2.2 Cattle parasite treatment determination, recommended
treatments, cost per treatment and annual cost per
cow unit, North Florida, 1983 ............................ 21

2.3 Estimated net benefits from recommended parasite
control procedures in percentage and weight terms,
North Florida, 1983 ...................................... 23

2.4 Estimated financial benefits from parasite control
procedures in North Florida, 1983 ....................... 25

2.5 Benefit risk-cost ratios per cow unit for various
parasite treatments, North Florida, 1983 ................. 27

3.1 Short-term and long-term benefits from vaccinating
cattle in North Florida ............................... .. 32

3.2 Estimated cost per head for vaccinating against six
major diseases in North Florida, 1983 .................... 33

3.3 Estimated physical losses from diseases in North
Florida cattle herds .................................... 34

3.4 Estimated income lost per cow unit from diseases in
North Florida cattle herds, 1983 ......................... 35

3.5 Benefit risk-cost ratios per cow unit from six beef
cattle diseases, North Florida, 1983 ..................... 36

4.1 Growth promoting implants for beef cattle ................ 40

Table Page

4.2 Classes of cattle for which implants have been approved .. 40

4.3 Effect of Ralgro implants on daily gains of
suckling calves in Florida ............................... 42

4.4 Results of three trials comparing Compudose and Ralgro
implants in suckling calves in Florida, 1983 ............. 43

4.5 Effects of Ralgro implants on daily gains of
yearling steers in Florida ............................... 44

4.6 Effect of Synovex implants on gains of yearling cattle
grazing Bermuda and Bahia pastures in Florida ............ 44

4.7 Economic benefits from implanting suckling calves,
North Florida, 1983 ...................................... 45

5.1 Production practices and projected levels of production
for North Florida beef producers ........................ 48

5.2 Projected cash production costs and returns per cow
unit for North Florida ranches at three levels of
performance, 1983 ....................................... 50

5.3 Impact of increasing cattle prices on being a Good,
Average or Low producer, North Florida, 1983 ............. 52


Heavy culling of open and low producing cows is an often discussed,

but seldom analyzed cattle production strategy for improving a calf crop

and expanding current cash flow. The purpose of this section is to show

a method by which producers can evaluate the costs and benefits from

this practice. Naturally, every operation is different so space is

provided in the budget for comparisons on your ranch. However, the

data, while synthesized for a typical rather than actual ranch, are

realistic for North Florida in 1983 and do provide guidelines about the

feasibility of heavy culling.

This section is based on a 100 cow enterprise budget that is di-

vided into two parts. The first depicts an operation, called the usual

practice, in which 9 cows, 3 heifers and 1 bull are culled each year,

and a 75 percent calf crop is attained. The second operation is one in

which heavy culling of cows is practiced and there is greater retention

of sound heifers. Heavy culling is practiced at weaning, and cows are

pregnancy tested with the result that an 85 percent calf crop is

achieved. In both the usual and heavy culling alternatives it is as-

sumed that heifers are bred as yearlings to calve at two years of age.

There are 200 acres of bahia grass, all of which is fertilized. The

cattle inventory for both the usual and heavy culling alternatives is

summarized in Table 1.1.

Table 1.1. Cattle inventory, North Florida 100 cow operationa

Usual Practice Improved Practice

Animal animal
Number units units

Animal animal
Number units units

Mature cows 100 1.0 100 100 1.0 100

Bulls 5 1.5 8 5 1.5 8

Yearling heifers 13 0.7 9 26 0.7 18

Total 118 117 131 126

Percent increase
in inventory 11 08

aCalving at 2 years of age.


There are three basic systems to develop the heifers and supplement

the cow herd in North Florida. They are: silage with supplemental

grain, winter pasture such as rye-ryegrass, and hay supplemented with

range cubes and grain. The third one is the easiest to quantify and is

the one used in this analysis.

Usual Practice

In the usual operation both hay and range cubes are fed to cows and

heifers in the winter. A 12 percent protein grain mixture is fed to

first calf and yearling heifers. Some producers provide a molasses-

hased supplement rather than grain, and space is left for this alterna-

tive in the budgets.

Total basic production costs are $20,002 (Table 1.2). When income

from sale of 9 cows (culling rate is 10 percent but one cow is assumed

to die), one bull and 3 cull yearling replacement heifers are subtract-

ed, net basic production costs are $15,374. This calculation is needed

so that cost per pound of calf can be estimated.

The next step is to calculate other costs, some of which, like

taxes, are actual cash expenses while others such as depreciation are

non-cash expenses. Labor could be either a cash or non-cash cost depen-

ding on whether it is hired or if a wage is paid to the ranch owner. A

charge is also made for management. A charge for land is based on a

rental value of $12 per cow unit.

Income from sale of 62 calves weighing a total of 25,550 pounds,

and using fall 1983 prices, is $13,735. Net income above net basic

production costs is a negative $1,639 while a loss of $13,973 is experi-

enced when all costs are included. The impact of different prices is

presented later.

Table 1.2. Estimated costs for a 100 cow North Florida cow-calf operation, usual versus heavy culling 1983
--------- Usual cull-ng, 10 percent of co-s-- Heavy calling, 20 percent of cows---------
Usual culling, 10 percent ot cows" Heavy calling, 20 percent of cows


Production costs
Fertilizer (10-10-10, 250 lbs/ac.)


Lime (1/3 ton/ac.)

Cows (1.2 ton/cow unit)

Yearling heifers
(0.9 ton/heifer)

Range cubes (250 lbs/cow unit,
100 cows)
Liquid supplement

Grain mixture, 12% protein

Ist calf heifers
(250 Ibs/heif.)
Yearling heifers
(300 Ibs/heif.)
Salt and minerals
($6/cow unit)
Vet and medicine
($10/cow unit)
Maintenance, fuel, repairs
Replacement bull



25 tons

66.7 tons

100 cows = 120 tons

13 heifers = 11.7 tons

12.5 tons

10 heifers 2,500 Ibs

13 heifers = 3,900 Ihs

Cost or
income, Your
Price 100 cow unit operation

-----------Dol lars-------






















25 tons

66.7 tons

120 tons

26 heif. = 23.4 tons

12.5 tons

20 hell. = 5,000 lbs

26 heifers = 7,800 lbs

Increase 10%

$14/cow unit

Cost or
income, Your
100 cow unit operation














Table 1.2. (Continued)


Usual culling, 10 percent of cowsa
Cost or
income, Your
Quantity Price 100 cow unit operation

Heavy culling, 20


percent of cows
Cost or
income, Your
100 cow unit operation

Less sale of culls

Cows, 950 Ibs
Bulls, 1,500 lbs
Yearling heifers,
800 lbs

9=8,550 lbs
1 = 1,500 lbs

3 2,400 Ibs


Net basic production costs

Other costs

Interest (8 mos.) on basic
production costs
Overhead (depr., int. on inv.,
taxes, ins.)
Labor (4 hr./cow @ $4.00/hr.)
Management (1/7 time, $21,000/yr.)
Land ($12/cow unit)

Total, other costs
Total, all costs
Steers from cows
Steers from heifers
Heifers from cows
Heifers from heifers


34 @ 435 lbs = 14,790 Ibs
4 @ 390 Ibs = 1,560 lbs
20 @ 390 Ibs = 7,800 lbs
4@ 350 Ibs = 1,400 lbs

62 25,550 lbs



19 cows 18,050 Ibs

1 bull 1,500 lbs

6 heif. = 4,800 lbs





13% 1,734















34 @ 435 lbs = 14,790 lbs 8,430
8 @ 390 lbs = 3,120 lbs 1,778
13 @ 390 lbs = 5,070 lbs 2,434
4 @ 350 Ibs = 1,400 lbs 672

59 24,380 Ibs 13,314

- ---- ------- - ---- - --------------- ---- ---

Table 1.2. (Continued)

Usual culling, 10 percent of cowsa Heavy culling, 20 percent of cows
Cost or Cost or
income, Your income, Your
Item Quantity Price 100 cow unit operation Quantity 100 cow unit operation

-----Dollars----- --Dollars----

Net income
Above production costs -1,639 365
Above all costs -13,973 -12,524
Breakeven, calves
Above net basic production costs 0.60 0.53
Above all costs 1.08 1.06

a/75 percent calf crop is usual practice and 85 percent is heavy culling. There are 10 percent of cows culled in the usual practice versus 20 percent under
heavy culling.

Breakeven price, or alternatively the cost of production, on calves

is $0.60 per pound if only the net basic production costs are considered

($15,374 25,550 Ibs.), and $1.08 when all costs are taken into

account. The actual cost of production on cash expenses will lie between

these two extremes depending on the amount of money borrowed, labor

hired, etc. It also depends on the extent to which opportunity costs

are taken into account.

Heavy Culling

The heavy culling alternative requires a substantial increase in

inputs since it is assumed that no additional land is available, yet

inventory must increase 8 percent from keeping additional heifers as

shown in Table 1.1. This additional cost is in the form of more range

cubes, grain, salt and minerals. The vet charge is increased by $4.00

per cow unit to account for pregnancy testing and additional costs of

the heifers.

Total basic production costs under the heavy culling alternative

increase to $21,862. But, since there are 19 cows culled annually

rather than 9, and 6 yearling heifers are sold rather than 3, income

from sale of culls nearly doubles. As a result, net basic production

costs under the heavy culling alternative actually decline to $12,949.

Other costs such as interest, depreciation and management increase

only slightly when heavy culling is practiced, to $12,889. Total net

costs under the heavy culling alternative are $25,838, or $1,870 less

than the usual practice. However, income from calves is reduced under

the heavy culling alternative to $13,314 since only 59 rather than 62

calves are sold due to the greater need for replacement heifers.

The Bottom Line at 1983 Prices

The reduced income from sale of calves is more than compensated for

by increased sale of cull animals. As a result, net income above basic

production costs increases $2,004, from a loss of $-1,639 under the

usual practice, to $365 when heavy culling takes place. On a total cost

basis, the loss of $13,973 suffered in the usual practice is reduced to

$12,524 with heavy culling.

The product of dividing net basic production costs by pounds of

calves sold yields a basic production cost of $0.60 per pound for the

usual practice and $0.53 per pound when heavy culling takes place. The

breakeven price which has to be received to cover all costs is $1.08 and

$1.06 for the two alternatives, respectively.

Effects of Price Changes

The relatively low prices used in the analysis are for fall 1983.

An analysis is now carried out to determine the extent to which the

relationships change with higher pices. A review of price differentials

(Simpson and Alderman, 1983) indicates that if 400-500 lb. steer calves

were to sell at $0.80 per pound, then prices for the other related

classes of cattle would be:

385 lb. heifers $0.64
Yearling heifers $0.55
Cull cows $0.48
Cull bulls $0.57

The results, presented in Table 1.3 show that the heavy culling

alternative provides an additional $3,521 of net income over the usual

system when net basic production costs only are taken into account.

When the analysis is made based on all costs, the difference is $2,966

Table 1.3.

Impact of increasing cattle prices on usual versus heavy
culling profitability

Culling alternative
Item Usual Heavy


Basic production costs


Less sale of culls
Cows @ $0.48
Bulls @ $0.57
Yearling heifers @ $0.55

Net basic production costs

Total other costs
Total, all net costs

Income, calves
Steers from cows @ $0.80
Steers from heifers @ $0.80
Heifers from cows @ $0.64
Heifers from heifers @ $0.64

Net income
Above net basic production costs
Above all costs











aAs an example of the way income for the heavy culling alternative is
determined, income of cows is the product of selling 18,052 lbs. (Table
1.2) times $0.48 (see text).

in favor of the heavy culling practice. In effect, when steer prices go

up from the $0.57 per pound recorded in 1983 to $0.80, net income above

basic production costs changes from a loss to a positive return. Over-

all, the results indicate that the practice is advantageous when cattle

prices are low, and becomes increasingly profitable as cattle prices

increase. However, there are some other factors to consider.

Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of Heavy Culling

1) Cows are eliminated that would not have a calf the following

2) A younger cow herd with more production potential is developed.

3) A more productive cow herd is developed; one that produces a
higher percent calf crop and more pounds of calf to sell.

4) Tax advantages are possible since breeding cattle which are
raised on the operation, are over 24 months of age and then
sold, are taxed as capital gain income (i.e. 40 percent is
taxed as real income) rather than as 100 percent real income.

5) Opportunities for expanded use of other production practices
are opened up.

Disadvantages of Heavy Culling

1) A higher level of nutrition is required for developing heifers.
This means more supplemental feed.

2) There will be a greater percentage of first calf heifers which
may have lower conception rates, especially if nutrition levels
are too low.

3) First calf heifers and younger cows generally wean lighter

4) A higher level of management is required.

The heavy culling alternative carries with it the implication that

culling must include criteria besides just age and/or injury. This

means production data have to be taken into account and that bulls with

greater genetic potential than the cows must be used. It is recommended

that producers considering a heavy culling alternative work through

their county agents and livestock specialists to develop a complete

ranch plan.


Parasite control is a production practice in which it is difficult

to estimate benefits. This section presents a guide which North Florida

producers can use in arriving at their own costs and benefits and, as

well, provides estimates for a "typical" operation.


Cattle parasites are divided into two classifications, internal and

external. The major internal parasites in North Florida are intestinal

worms and grubs (Meyerholz and Bradley, 1977). Liver flukes are a

problem in selected areas, especially along rivers such as the St.

Johns. The principal external ones, at least those which have potential

for being economically controlled, are horn flies and lice.

Liver flukes, intestinal worms and horn flies have both short (one

year or less) and long-term (more than one year) debilitating effects on

cattle (Table 2.1). Grubs and lice, on the other hand, have mainly

short-term effects.

Estimation of Treatment Costs

A summary of the way in which treatments are determined is provided

in Table 2.2. Liver flukes, for example, should only be treated in

areas known to have flukes (Meyerholz and Bradley, 1977). Grubs, on the

other hand, are found and should be treated all over Florida.

Table 2.1. Length of consequences from cattle parasites in North

Type of Short-Terma Long-Termb
Parasite Mature Replacement Calves Mature Replacement

Liver flukes X X -- X X

Intestinal Worms X X X X X

Grubs X X -- X X

Horn files X X X X X

Lice X X X X X

aSbort = One year or less.
bLong = One year or more.

Table 2.2. Cattle parasite treatment determination, recommended treatments, cost per treatment and annual cost per cow unit, North Florida, 1983

Type of Recommended treatments Cost per treatment Annual Cost
parasite Treatment determination Mature Replacement Calves Mature Replacement Calves Mature Replacement Calves

------------Dollars per Head---------
Liver flukes Fluke-only areas 1/yr 1/yr 2.50 1.80 2.50 1.80
Intestinal wormsa
High nutrition 0/yr 1/yr 0 0.00 1.80 -- 0.00 1.80
Medium nutrition 1/yr 2/yr 0 2.50 1.80 2.50 3.60 -
Low nutrition 2/yr 2/yr 1 2.50 1.80 1.20 5.00 3.60 1.20
Grubs All Florida 1/yr 1/yr 0.60 0.50 0.60 0.50 -
Horn fliesb
Sprayc 50 or more flies/animal 6/yr 6/yr 0.29 0.29 1.74 1.74
Dust bagsd 50 or more flies/animal 8 mo/yr 8 mo/yr 1.24 1.24 1.24 1.24
Ear tags 50 or more flies/animal 2/an/yr 2/an/yr 1.50 1.50 3.00 3.00
Licee Presence of lice 2/yr 2/yr 0.32 0.32 0.64 0.64

aFluke treatments also control most intestinal worms. No additional labor charge assumed.

bOther methods such as pour-on's or back rubbers are also used.
CSprayer costs $500 and lasts 5 years = $100 year and, with 1,000 cows, = $0.10 cow/year = $0.02 per treatment. Labor cost is $250 for 1,000 cows per
treatment and 4 treatments in addition to 2 regular workings = $1,000 for 1,000 cows = $1.00 per cow per year = $0.17 per treatment. Materials cost is
$0.10 per cow per treatment.
dDust bags. One pound of dust per head per season. The kits cost $26.50 and have 12.5 lbs. of dust. Additional dust costs $17.00 for 50 pounds. The
cost of the kit and dust is $1.04 per head. Also, cost of $0.20 per cow per year for fence and all associated labor.
eHas no labor charge as cattle can be sprayed along with other activities.

Multiplication of the cost per treatment times the recommended

number of treatments for each type of parasite yields the annual cost

for each of the three classes of cattle analyzed; mature cows and bulls,

replacement heifers, and calves. Recommended treatments and associated

costs for intestinal worms vary with animals on a high, medium and low

plane of nutrition. Three control methods for horn flies are eval-

uated. Costs include a charge for additional labor, when applicable, as

well as materials and equipment.

Estimation of Net Benefits

Benefits from parasite control are very difficult to quantify due

to a multitude of physiological interactions, numerous combinations of

associated disease or health conditions, and various geographical/cli-

matic conditions. Consequently, well documented data and the benefits

from control of the various parasites simply are not available. Given

this, estimates used in this bulletin were based on an informal survey

of several production and veterinary specialists. The estimates were

divided into two levels, low and high, with the expectation being that

the actual benefits will fall within those limits. In all cases, an

effort was made to be conservative in the estimation procedure.

Potential benefits are derived from a reduction in death loss, a

reduction in weight loss, increased calf crop, or a combination of

them. It was estimated, for example, that mature cow death loss in

areas infested with liver flukes can be reduced by 2 to 4 percent with

the recommended treatments (Table 2.3). Another way of saying this is

that liver flukes account for about 2-4 percent death loss in mature

cows and treatment is assumed to stop these losses. Flukes are also

Table 2.3. Estimated net benefits from recommended parasite control
procedures in percentage and weight terms, North Florida,

Type of Matures Replacements Calves
parasite High Low High Low High Low

-----Net Reduction Death Loss, Percent----

Liver Flukes 4 2 4 2 0 0
Intestinal worms
High nutrition 0 0 0 0 0 0
Medium nutrition 2 0 2 0 0 0
Low nutrition 5 2 5 2 2 0
Grubs 0 0 0 0 0 0
Horn flies 0 0 0 0 0 0
Lice 0 0 0 0 0 0
-----------Weight Loss, Pounds-------------

Liver flukes 100 40 100 40 10 0
Intestinal worms
High nutrition 20 0 20 0 10 0
Medium nutrition 40 15 40 15 20 10
Low nutrition 60 30 60 30 50 25
Grubs 20 10 20 10 0 0
Horn flies 50 20 50 20 30 10
Lice 30 10 30 10 20 10

--Reproductive Loss, Calf Crop, Percent--
Liver flukes 12 6 12 6 -
Intestinal worms
High nutrition 0 0 0 0 -
Medium nutrition 6 3 6 3 -
Low nutrition 12 6 12 6
Grubs 2 0 2 0 -
Horn flies 8 4 8 4 -
Lice 5 2 5 2 -

Source: Compiled from estimates by several production and veterinary
specialists, University of Florida.

estimated to cause cows to lose about 40-100 pounds, a loss that is

realized when they are sold as culls. In addition, mature cows in liver

fluke areas have at least a 6-12 percent reduction in calf crop if they

are not treated.

An economic benefit, in dollars per cow unit, is calculated for

each of the three benefit categories by multiplying the various produc-

tion loss estimates by the appropriate values. For example, multiplying

the high level in death loss from flukes for mature cows of four percent

times the projected value of $333.00 per cow ( a 950 pound cow at $0.35

per pound) gives $13.32 as the annual loss (Table 2.4). Weight loss is

calculated by multiplying the weight loss times value per pound times

culling rate which is assumed to be 10 percent for cows and 3 percent

for heifers. For example, the high estimation of weight loss per cow of

100 pounds times $0.35 per pound = $35.00 per cow. That, times 10

percent is $3.50.

Reproductive loss is calculated by multiplying the average value

per calf of $235.00 (412 pound calf at $0.57 per pound) times the repro-

ductive loss in percent, adjusted for a herd composition of 90 percent

for mature cows and 10 percent replacements. As an example, the high

estimate of losses from flukes in mature cows is 12 percent times

$235.00 = $28.20. That coefficient times 0.90 = $25.38.

Benefit/Risk Cost Ratios

Analyses of net benefits from production practices typically have

the annual cost subtracted from the annual benefits to calculate the net

benefit per unit. However, because the benefits, although reasonable

and defensible, are somewhat speculative, this approach is not taken.

Table 2.4. Estimated financial benefits from parasite control
procedures in North Florida, 1983

Type of Maturesa Replacementsb Calvesc
parasite High Low High Low High Low

---------------Dollars per cow unit----------------

Death Lossd

Liver flukes
Intestinal worms
High nutrition
Medium nutrition
Low nutrition

13.32 6.66 3.31 1.66


Horn flies







Weight Losse

Liver flukes
Intestinal worms
High nutrition
Medium nutrition
Low nutrition
Horn flies

Liver flukes
Intestinal worms
High nutrition
Medium nutrition
Low nutrition
Horn flies

3.50 1.40 1.35 0.54





1.75 0.70 0.68 0.27
1.05 0.35 0.41 0.13

Reproductive Loss

25.38 12.69 2.82 1.41




16.92 8.46 1.88
10.58 4.23 1.18




a950 lb. cows at $0.35 per pound = $333.00
b800 lbs. at $0.45 per pound = $360.00

c412 lbs. at $.057 per pound = $235.00
d$360.00 times percent loss times fraction of herd. For example,
$360.00 times 0.04 times 0.23 = $3.31. Assumes 0.23 replacement
heifers, 0.75 calves and 0.05 bull per cow unit.
el0 percent cows culled and 3 percent heifers culled. Also for calves
assume 0.6 calves sold per cow.
Average value per calf ($235.00) times reproductive loss in percent,
times 90 percent for matures and 10 percent for replacement heifers (to
account for ratio of cows to heifers).



10.26 3.42
6.84 3.42



Rather, the benefits are considered as potential losses in income. In

other words, the calculated benefits can be thought of as opportunity

losses, or potential income that is foregone from not carrying out the


The various dollar benefits for the three categories; mature

animals, heifers, and calves for each of the three areas of potential

loss are summed in Table 2.5 to arrive at an annual potential income

loss. This is done for both the high and low levels. Then, the sum of

the potential income loss is divided by the cost to arrive at a benefit

risk-cost ratio. High ratios indicate more potential benefit or, alter-

natively, the potential risk if the practice is not followed.

The term benefit risk-cost ratio is used because a more common

term, benefit-cost ratio, cannot be properly applied here since it is

used in project analysis and carries with it the connotation that dis-

counted (long-term) net benefits are divided by discounted costs. In

addition standard use assumes some initial major capital investment is


The high, or largest probable ratio for controlling flukes in

mature cows and heifers in fluke areas is 16.4 to 1, while the low side

is 8.0 to 1. This means that even the most conservative estimate in

this analysis places risk at 8 times more than costs. Thus, considering

the high incidence of fluke infestation, this practice will usually

return much more than the costs. Alternatively, the benefits are high

relative to cost.

The results of treating cows and heifers for intestinal worms

definitively shows that the poorer the nutrition level, the more benefit

from treating for worms. Thus, in years when feed is short, special

Table 2.5.

Benefit risk-cost ratios per cow unit for various parasite
treatments, North Florida, 1983

Annual potential Benefit
Type of Annual income lossb risk-cost ratio
parasite costa High Low High Low

------------Dollars per cow unit----------------

Liver Flukes 3.04 49.68 24.36 16.4:1 8.0:1
Intestinal worms
High nutrition 0.41 4.39 0.00 10.7:1 --
Medium nutrition 4.36 30.86 11.21 7.1:1 2.6:1
Low nutrition 6.98 72.53 32.43 10.4:1 4.6:1
Flukes and wormsc
High nutrition 6.08 54.07 24.36 8.9:1 4.0:1
Medium nutrition 6.08 80.54 35.57 13.2:1 5.9:1
Low nutrition 6.08 112.21 56.79 20.1:1 9.3:1
Grubs 0.75 5.67 0.48 7.6:1 0.6:1
Horn flies
Spray 2.23 31.49 13.79 14.1:1 6.2:1
Dust bags 1.59 31.49 13.79 19.8:1 8.7:1
Ear tags 3.84 31.49 13.79 8.2:1 3.6:1
Lice 0.82 20.06 8.60 24.5:1 10.5:1

aAll costs are in $/cow unit. A cow unit is 1.05 mature animals (to
account for bulls), 0.23 replacement heifers (1 and 2 year heifers) and
0.75 calves. For example, taking data from Table 2.2, liver flukes only
are $2.50 times 1.05 = $2.63 plus $1.80 times 0.23 = $0.41 totaling
bBenefits are from Table 2.4 by summing death, weight and reproductive
loss for matures, replacements and calves. For example, $13.32 + $3.31
+ $3.50 + $1.35 + 25.38 + $2.82 = $49.68 as the high annual potential
income loss from liver flukes.
cControl of worms as well as flukes is obtained when Albendazol is used.

care should be taken to carry out a good worming program. Likewise,

cattle on poor quality pasture should be systematically wormed to obtain

the highest possible benefits.

Cattle in fluke areas can be treated with Albendazol (and various

other products will soon appear on the market) and intestinal worms can

he controlled with the same treatment. Consequently, in fluke areas,

the net benefits are the product of summing the ones for flukes along

with those for worms. The ratio for cattle on a low level of nutrition

is estimated to fall between 10.4:1 and 4.6:1. Similar ratios are found

for other parasites.


The calculations clearly demonstrate the substantial benefits to be

derived from parasite control. Individual ranchers will feel that some

of the costs and benefits should be modified to fit their own situation,

but it is unlikely that the general conclusions and relative magnitude

of the benefit/risk cost ratios will change.

No attempt has been made to sum the annual costs and potential

benefits due to the wide range of situations. However, the results show

that net benefits are quite large. For example, if cattle on a low

plane of nutrition just have intestinal worms, horn flies, and lice

controlled, the potential net benefits range from $45.43 to $114.69 per

cow unit. On a 100 cow operation this would mean an additional $4,543-

$11,469 of income--and this could be the difference between surviving in

the cattle business during the 1980s and being forced out of business.


The net benefits of vaccination programs are difficult to calcu-

late, especially since many of the losses from diseases are not diag-

nosed. For example, most producers have a calf or cow die occasionally,

but never discover the cause. Also, a few cows are open each year in

all herds, but the extent to which this is due to diseases is difficult

or impossible to determine. There is reason to believe that vaccination

for diseases should be viewed as an insurance program as it is unlikely

that all diseases will occur in a year or a lifetime, but the economic

losses from an outbreak may be so large that they should be accounted

for through some annual "premium."

A summary of the benefits, costs and potential losses from several

common diseases are summarized in this section. Considerable judgment

is required to determine reasonable losses from disease as published

data are not available. The estimates are based on input from veteri-

narians, livestock specialists and many conversations with cattlemen

over the past few years. The prevalence of disease varies in different

areas of Florida, and consequently each rancher is encouraged to consult

his or her veterinarian to develop a health program.

Six Major Diseases

There are six major diseases in Florida for which effective vac-

cines are available; leptospirosis, vibriosis, redwater, brucellosis,

clostridia, and IBR.

Leptospirosis is widespread in Florida. For example, a recent

study of cull cows at a Florida packing plant showed approximately one-

third had the disease (White, Sulzer and Engel, 1982). The main losses

are abortions in the cows during the last trimester of pregnancy (White

and Sulzer, 1982). In addition, it will acutely infect calves causing a

reduction in weight, and also cause a few deaths (White and Meyerholz,


Vibriosis is responsible for termination of pregnancy in the first

1-3 months (Meyerholz and White, 1974). A Florida survey showed that 15

percent of the state's cow herd was infected with the disease. Cows

will rebreed after resorption of the fetus if bulls are still with them

but there is, nevertheless, a lower pregnancy rate and also lower calf

weights due to later calving dates.

Redwater is usually manifested in cows infected with flukes. It

mainly manifests itself through short-term effects (Meyerholz, 1971).

Brucellosis infection causes abortions, but cows will usually

reproduce normally thereafter. If not controlled, it can infect 50

percent of a herd causing the loss of one calf during the life of the

cow (Cope, Meyerholz, Nicoletti, 1981).

Clostridial diseases including blackleg, malignant edema, and over-

eating disease (Types C and D) can result in calf and replacement heifer

deaths (Meyerholz, 1976).

IBR can cause respiratory disease in calves and, while it is not a

widespread problem under range conditions, can lead to abortion in

heifers and cows.

Cost and Benefit Calculation

The benefits from vaccinating cattle in North Florida can be

divided into two parts, short and long-term (Table 3.1). Short-term is

defined as up to one year while long-term is more than one year.

The estimated annual cost per head for vaccinating against the six

major diseases given in Table 3.2, varies according to the type animal.

The costs for leptospirosis and vibriosis are shown separately; however,

several combination vaccines are available for less than $0.85 per head.

The estimated losses from each disease are categorized as death

loss, weight loss, and reduced calf crop (Table 3.3). An estimate of

reasonable losses for each disease was made at two levels, called high

and low. These represent a composite from several sources of the normal

range of loss expected from each disease in North Florida.

The economic losses on a per cow unit basis are calculated in Table

3.4 again under the categories death loss, weight loss and reduced calf

crop. Each entry is the product of multiplying the various physical

losses given in Table 3.3 by the various cattle prices in the footnotes.

The Bottom Line

A summary of annual vaccination cost, income loss and risk-cost

ratios is shown in Table 3.5. All values are calculated on a cow unit

basis. Total annual cost for all vaccinations is $3.14/cow unit exclud-

ing labor and handling facilities costs.

The average benefit risk-cost ratio when all diseases are consider-

ed together is estimated to fall between 15 and 34. This means that the

risk a producer runs for not investing in the annual vaccination program

Table 3.1

Short-term and long-term benefits from vaccinating cattle
in North Florida

Short-term Long-term

Vaccine Mature Replacements Calves Mature Replacements

Leptospirosisa X X X
Vibriosis X X
Redwater X X -

Brucellosis X X
Clostridiab X X -

aIncludes all 5 serotypes of leptospirosis

blncludes blackleg (Clostridium chauvoei), malignant edema (Septicum),

overeating disease (perfringens), novyi, and sordelli.

Table 3.2 Estimated cost per head for vaccinating against six major diseases in North Florida, 1983

Condition of Recommended treatment Cost/treatmenta Annual cost
Disease vaccination Mature Heifers Calves Mature Heifers Calves Mature Heifers Calves

Leptospirosis All cows & 1/yr 1/yr 1/yr .50 .50 .50 .50 .50 .50
Vibriosis All cows & 1/yr 1/yr .35 .35 .35 .35
Redwater Fluke areas 2/yr 2/yr .15 .15 -.30 .30
Brucellosis All heifers 1/yr N.C.b NC.b -
Clostridia All calves 1/yr 1/yr .60 .60 .60 .60
IBR Heifers and 1/yr 1/yr .70 .70 .70 .70

aCost for drugs only, assumes
bBrucellosis program will pay

cattle handled for other purposes
for calfhood vaccination

Table 3.3 Estimated physical losses from diseases in North Florida
cattle herdsa

Mature Replacements Calves

Disease High Low High Low High Low

Death Loss, percent

Leptospirosis 0 0 0 0 2 0
Vibriosis 0 0 0 0 0 0
Redwater 4 2 6 3 0 0

Brucellosis 0 0 0 0 0 0
Clostridia 0 0 3 1 5 2
IBR 0 0 0 0 2 0

Weight Loss, per head, Ibs

Leptospirosis 0 0 0 0 10 5
Vibriosis 0 0 0 0 20 10
Redwater 0 0 0 0 0 0
Brucellosis 0 0 0 0 0 0
Clostridia 0 0 0 0 0 0
IBRb 0 0 0 0 10 5

Reduced Calf Crop, percent

Leptospirosis 6 3 6 3 -
Vibriosis 10 5 10 5 -
Redwater 0 0 0 0 -
Brucellosis 4 2 20 10 -

Clostridia 0 0 0 0 -
IBR 2 0 4 0 -

aThe losses from each disease were estimated at high and low levels from
consultation with several veterinarians, livestock specialists and
ranchers. Actual losses will probably fall between high and low
levels. The estimates are on a herd basis.
bBased on 20 percent of calves in a herd being infected. Thus, one
infected calf would lose between 25 and 50 pounds.

Table 3.4

Estimated income lost per cow unit from diseases in North
Florida cattle herds, 1983a

Matureb Replacementsc Calvesd

Disease High Low High Low High Low

---------------------- Dollars ----------------------













Death Losse
0 0
0 0

4.97 2.48
0 0
2.48 0.83
0 0

Weight Loss
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0

Reduced Calf Cropg
1.41 0.71
2.35 1.18
0 0
4.70 2.35
0 0
0.94 0

aCalculated from losses shown in Table 3.3.
b950 lb cows at $0.35/lb = $333.

C800 lb replacements at $0.45/lb = $360.
d412 lb calves at $0.57/lb = $235.
eAssumes 0.23 replacements and 0.75 calves for each cow unit.

fIncome lost at sale of animals, 0.1 cows culled and 0.03 heifers culled
and 0.6 calves sold/cow unit each year.
gAverage value/calf of $235 times reproductive loss in percent. Assumes
90 percent of calves weaned from mature cows and 10 percent from







Table 3.5

Benefit risk-cost ratios per cow unit from six beef cattle
diseases, North Florida, 1983a

Annual Estimated lossc Benefit
vaccination of income risk-cost ratio
Disease cost High Low High Low

------------ Dollars ------------

Leptospirosis 1.02 21.04 8.77 21 8
Vibriosis .45 30.34 15.18 67 34
Redwater .38 18.29 9.14 48 24
Brucellosis .00 13.16 6.58 -
Clostridia .60 11.29 4.35 18 7
IBR .69 14.39 2.85 21 4

Total 3.14 108.51 46.87 34 15

aSummarized from Tables 3.2 and 3.4.

bAll costs are $/cow unit, where a cow unit is 1.05 mature animals, 0.23
replacement heifers (1 year and 2 year old heifers) and 0.75 calves.
CTotal income loss for deaths, weight loss and lower calf crop in the
mature cows and bulls, replacement heifers and calves is added
dLoss of income divided by cost of vaccination.

is between $15 and $34 of benefits for each $1 of input. However, since

all diseases will not likely be experienced simultaneously, benefits in

any one year will be less, but still positive and on the order of $5-10

for each $1 invested.


The probability of contracting all diseases in any one year is very

low. But, considering the prevalence of these diseases, the probability

of having an outbreak or continuing problems of 1 or 2 of the diseases

each year, is quite high. The annual vaccination cost is less than the

low estimate of income loss for any of the diseases. But, most impor-

tant, vaccination provides insurance against major disease outbreaks.

Furthermore, this is one of the few insurance programs in which the

premium is repaid with interest each year in at least a 5-10 fold re-



The use of growth stimulating implants in beef cattle has been a

recommended practice for many years since they are relatively inexpen-

sive, easy to use, and generally yield a high return on investment.

But, despite wide publicity in farm and beef cattle oriented newspapers

and magazines, surveys indicate that only 15 to 35 percent of cattlemen

in the cow/calf business take advantage of the improvement in production

efficiency they offer. Further study of survey data suggests that the

small herd owner (less than 50 head) is in the group which most neglects

utilization of this technology.

Use of Implants

All of the products currently on the market for the primary purpose

of promoting growth are designed to be implanted under the skin, either

on the back of the ear, or at the base of the ear. The intracellular

fluids circulating in this area pick up the active ingredient as it is

released from the implant and distribute it throughout the circulatory

system. Care must be taken to read instructions on the label to insure

that the proper site is chosen.

At present, there are four basic types of implants available (Table

4.1) which vary according to the classes of cattle for which they are

approved by the FDA (Table 4.2). Growth promoting implants were on the

market during the 1960s, with most emphasis on using them in feedlot

Table 4.1. Growth promoting implants for beef cattle

Pre-slaughter Effective
Trade name(s) Active ingredient withdrawal time lifespan


Compudose Estradiol 17B None 200
Synovex S Progesterone +
Steer-old Estradiol None 100(60-150)

Testosterone +
Synovex H Estradiol None 100(60-150)

Ralgro Zeranol 65 days 100(60-150)

Table 4.2 Classes of cattle for which implants have been approved

Class Ralgro Synovex or Steroid Compudose

Suckling calves Yes No Yes
Growing cattle Yes Yesa Yesb
Feedlot steers Yes Yes Yes
Feedlot heifers Yes Yes No

Breeding stock No No No

a400 lb. or larger steers or heifers.
bSteers only.

cattle. In the mid 1970s attention shifted to the benefits of using

them in suckling calves, as well as in cattle being grown-out on pasture

prior to being placed in the feedlot. The results of several on-ranch

demonstrations conducted in Florida are summarized in Table 4.3 4.7.

The Bottom Line

Table 4.8 contains an economic analysis of implanting. An estimate

of 20 extra pounds marketed from the use of one implant, and 40 pounds

from implanting twice, have been used. The use of the averages in Table

4.3 would be 27 and 41 pounds for one and two implants, respectively.

Although there are several implants available, it appears that the

one chosen is not the critical decision as long as it has been approved

for the age, sex and weight animal on which it is to be used. Rather,

the most important decision is to implant. There are very few oppor-

tunities when a cattleman can invest $1-$3 and get a $5 or $6 return per

dollar invested in just 70 to 200 days.

A few demonstrations have indicated that implanting was not benefi-

cial, but this was due to a wide variety of nutritional and other condi-

tions. Thus, individuals considering adoption of the technique may want

to work with county agents to set up suitable trials for their own


Table 4.3. Effects of Ralgro implantsa on daily gains of suckling calves in Florida

Total Additional gain by Additional gain by
Length number number of times implanted number of implants
County of study calves Control One Two One Two

-days-- --------Pounds-
Polk 168 64 Steers 1.80 1.85 1.97 8 29
Levy 111 19 Steers 1.14 1.24 11 -
Okaloosa 92 10 Steers 1.92 2.23 -29
Okaloosa 92 10 Heifers 1.66 1.84 17 -
Okeechobee 157 36 Steers 1.44 2.04 2.14 94 110
Hendry (#4) 1977 209 68 Steers 1.99 2.03 2.11 8 25
Hendry (#5) 1977 210 44 Steers 1.98 2.14 34
Hendry (4) 1978 213 44 Steers 2.01 2.10 2.11 19 21
Hendry (5) 1978 216 55 Steers 2.00 2.14 2.13 30 28

Average 163 39 Steers 1.77 1.98 2.10 27 41

a36 mg.

bCounty in which cooperating ranch was located.

Table 4


.4 Results of three trials comparing Compudose and Ralgro implants in suckling calves in
Florida, 1983

Number of
calves per Length of Average daily gain Additional gain per calf
treatment Study Control Compudose Ralgro Compudose Ralgro

-days- --------------------------Pounds---------------------
Brevard 16 135 2.11 2.21 2.30 14 26
Polk 29 147 1.94 2.10 2.03a 23 14

Average 23 141 2.03 2.16 2.17 19 20

aReimplanted midway through the trial.

Table 4.5 Effect of Ralgro implants on daily gains of yearling steers in Florida

Total Additional gain by Additional gain by
Type trial Length number Number of implants number of implants
and location of study calves Control One Two One Two

-days-- --Pounds-
Polk (pasture) 117 152 1.57 1.79 26.0 --
Suwannee (pasture) 190 52 1.10 1.30 38.0
Suwannee (feedlot) 190 47 1.60 1.79 1.90 36.0 57.0
Average 167 84 1.42 1.79 1.60 31.0 48.0

a36 mg implant

bReimplanted at 90 to 100 days.

Table 4.6 Effect of Synovexa implants on gains of yearling cattle grazing Bermuda and Bahia
pastures in Florida

Length Total number Average Daily Gain by Treatment Additional
Sex of study of calves Control Implant gain

--days-- ----------------------Pounds-----------------------
Steers 89 72 0.76 0.93 15

Heifers 89 16 1.16 1.43 24

aSynovex S = 200 mg. progesterone + 20 mg. estradiol.
Synovex H = 200 mg. testosterone + 20 mg. estradiol.

Table 4.7 Economic benefits from implanting suckling calves, North
Florida, 1983

Item Return per calf

One Implant
20 lbs. per calf @ $0.55t 11.00

1 implant @ $1.25 each -1.25

1/30 of 1/10 implant gun @ $19 -.06

1/60 labor @ $4./hr. -.07

Net return to management $9.62

Implant Twice

40 lbs. per calf (400 lbs.) @ $0.55 22.00

2 implants @ $1.25 each -2.50

Implant gun @ $19 -.12

2/60 labor @ $4./hr. -.14

Return to capitol, management land 19.24


Several production practices including heavy culling, a parasite

control program, a vaccination program, and implanting have been out-

lined in previous parts. The costs and benefits have been summarized

and several management practices have shown high potential returns.

However, the task remains to analyze these and a few other practices

together and estimate the increases in production and net income from

them as a whole.

Practices that Increase Calf Crop, Weaning Weight and Sale Price

Three levels of production that represent a range in production

practices found on North and Central Florida beef cattle ranches are

shown in Table 5.1. A producer with a high level of performance, one

which is termed "Good," should be able to wean an 88 percent calf crop,

and have an average sale weight of 475 pounds for the calves sold each

year. This level of production is attainable and exceeded by the better

Florida producers. The "Average" performance level is similar to the

calf crop percent and sale weight found in a survey of producers in the

Central Florida area. The "Low" performance level is representative of

the beef producer that is only using limited inputs, and few of the

practices outlined in the earlier parts.

The effect of each practice on calf crop and weaning weight is

shown separately. It can be noted that the 6 percent improvement in

Table 5.1. Production practices and projected levels of production for North
Florida beef producers

Performance Level
Items Good Average Low Yours

Calf crop weaned, percent 88 74 55

Weaning weights, Ibs 475 410 330
Weaning weight/cow, Ibs 418 303 182
Income/cow, $/hd 238 161 98

Production Practices Increasing Calf Crop Percent
Base level 55% 55% 55%
Vaccinations +6 +3 +0
Parasite control +6 +5 +0
Pregnancy testing +9 +5 +0
Supplemental feed +6 +3 +0
Crossbreeding +4 +2 +0
Bull breeding soundness +2 +1 +0
Total 88% 74% 55%
Production Practices Increasing Weaning Weight
Base level 330 lbs 330 lbs 330 lbs
Vaccinations +10 +0 +0
Parasite control +40 +25 +0
Supplemental feed +20 +10 +0
Crossbreedingc +35 +25 +0
Implantingc +40 +20 +0
Total 475 Ibs 410 lbs 330 lbs
Production Practices Increasing Sale Price
Base price $0.50/lb $0.50/lb $0.54/lb
Castration and dehorning +2 +1 +0
Group marketing +2 +1 +0
Medium frame, no hump +3 +1 +0
Sale price $0.57/lb $0.53/lb $0.54/lb

aThese are estimated contributions of several production practices at different
levels of production for a beef cattle operation utilizing native range and im-
proved pasture.
pregnancy testing may reduce the response to vaccinations, parasite control,
and supplemental feed since the cows that were open due to disease, parasites
or nutrition will be eliminated from the herd by pregnancy testing.
CThe benefits from implanting and crossbreeding will not be fully realized
unless the nutrition level is good, and the cattle are not severely para-

calf crop shown for both the parasite control and vaccination programs

is lower than the total for percent calf crop lost if all parasites or

diseases are totaled from the practices outlined in sections II and

III. This is because a herd of cattle is unlikely to experience all

problems simultaneously and, even if several diseases or parasites were

present together, if one cow were open because of one, two or three

different diseases or parasites, that cow would still only be open once

in any given year. The practice of pregnancy testing also tends to

eliminate cows that would have been open due to disease, parasites, poor

nutrition, etc.

The net contribution of each practice is estimated for percent calf

crop and weaning weight. However, it should be recognized these are

only projections and the relative importance of each practice will vary

from ranch to ranch. Also, practices such as crossbreeding and implant-

ing are dependent on a situation where cattle are receiving adequate

nutrition to allow the calves to grow faster. Under conditions of very

low nutrition or heavy parasitism, the benefits from crossbreeding and

implanting will be much lower. Base price for the "Good" and "Average"

producer is lower than for the "Low" producer because heavier weight

calves were selling in fall, 1983 for less per pound even if they were

higher quality.

Economic Benefits

Economic benefits and costs are provided in Table 5.2. The income

per cow is calculated by multiplying weaning weight times calf crop to

obtain weaning weight per cow (475 lbs x 0.88 = 418 lbs per cow). This

number, times average sale price, provides the income per cow (418 x

Table 5.2 Projected cash production costs and returns per cow unit for
North Florida ranches at three levels of performance, 1983a

Performance Level

Item Goodb Average Low


Lime and fertilizer 45.00 40.00 25.00
Hay 85.00 70.00 55.00
Protein and energy supplements 35.00 25.00 10.00
Salt and mineral 7.00 6.00 6.00
Maintenance, fuel and repairs 10.00 10.00 8.00
Vaccines 3.00 1.00 -
Parasite control 11.50 5.00
Pregnancy testing 3.00 -
Bull breeding soundness evaluation 1.50 -
Implants 3.00 1.50 -
Corral facilities and hired labor 12.00 6.00 3.00

Crossbreedingc 6.00 3.00 -
Total cash cost 222.00 167.50 107.00

Income (see Table 5.1) 238.00 161.00 98.00

Net above cash costs 16.00 -6.50 -9.00

aSee Part I for further details on system and assumed input costs.
bCulling of open cows requires more heifer replacements and additional
fertilizer, hay and liquid supplement.
CCrossbreeding requires extra fencing and added labor to maintain breed
dExcludes the added income generated from higher value of culled females
over value of the feeder calf, a benefit which would cover part of the
extra feed and fertilizer costs.

$0.57 = $238 per cow). Income increases from $98 per cow for the low

producer to $238 per cow for the good producer. However, this $140

increase in income requires a $115 increase in inputs.

The added cost of vaccines, parasite control, pregnancy testing,

breeding soundness evaluation, implants and added corral facilities and

labor cost amount to $31 per cow unit of the increased costs between the

low and good producer. The largest portion of the increased costs is

due to fertilizer, hay and supplements required to develop the extra

heifers needed to replace open cows that were culled. A portion of the

additional costs of developing the replacements is recovered from the

extra value of the culled cows ($15-$20 per cow unit). It may be a

better economic alternative on some ranches to reduce stocking rate by

retaining fewer mature cows to provide forage for the extra heifers and

avoid the added costs of the extra fertilizer.

The Bottom Line

Net return over cash costs increases from $-9.00 per cow unit for

the low producer, to $16 per cow unit for the good producer, a net

benefit which would be increased by an additional $15-20 if the value of

culled females was also considered.

An important point is that even though cattle producers will espec-

ially want to give close attention to the net benefits from improved

higher level management practices just to survive when cattle prices are

low, a greater payoff is obtained when cattle prices improve. If a

price of $0.80 per pound for 400-500 lb steer calves is assumed, then

benefits from being a Good producer are even higher, as shown in Table

5.3. At that price level, net income is $150, 96 and 57 for the three

Table 5.3 Impact of increasing cattle prices on being a Good, Average
or Low producer, North Florida, 1983

Performance Level

Item Good Average Low Yours

-------------Cents per pound------------

Base price 80 82 90
Castration and dehorning +2 +1 0

Group marketing +3 +2 0
Medium frame, no hump +4 +2 0
Sale price 89 87 90

---------------- Pounds----------------

Weaning weight 418 303 182

---------Dollars per cow-unit---------

Income 372 264 164
Costs 222 168 107

Net income 150 96 57

levels respectively. The general rule is: The higher cattle prices,

the more net benefit from added use of purchased inputs and manage-

ment. This is because there are more total pounds of beef sold each


It must be noted that the data used in this bulletin, and this last

part in particular, are for illustrative purposes. Each operator should

make his or her own estimates of both costs and benefits--and amount of

added management required.


Cope, G. E., Myerholz, G. W., and P. Nicoletti. Bovine Brucellosis

Vaccination VI-30, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, 1981.

Florida Cooperative Extension Service. The Florida Beef Production

Handbook. University of Florida, Gainesville, 1983.

Myerholz, G. W. Redwater Disease of Cattle Fact Sheet 14, Florida

Cooperative Extension Service, 1971.

Blackleg and Malignant Edema of Cattle VM 9, Florida

Cooperative Extension Service, 1976.

Myerholz, G. W. and R. E. Bradley, Sr. Liver Flukes in Cattle VM-31,

Florida Cooperative Extension Service, 1977.

Internal Parasitism of Cattle VM-9, Florida Cooperative

Extension Service, 1977.

Myerholz, G. W. and F. White. Vibriosis in Cattle VM-16, Florida

Cooperative Extension Service, 1974.

Sand, Robert. "New Implants and Update on Fly Control." Proceedings,

32nd Annual Beef Cattle Short Course. Gainesville, Florida, May 4-

6, 1983.

Simpson, James R. and Rom Alderman. "Project Your Cattle Prices Using

Differentials." The Florida Cattleman Vol. 47, No. 11, August

1983, pp. 40-41.

White, F., and G. W. Myerholz. Leptospirosis in Cattle and Swine VM-24,

Florida Cooperative Extension Service, 1975.

White, F. H., K. R. Sulzer, and R. W. Engel. "Isolations of Leptospira

interrogans serovars hardjo balcancia, and pomona from cattle at

slaughter." American Journal of Veterinary Research 43(1982):1172-


White, F. and K. R. Sulzer. "Hebdomadis Serogroup Leptospirosis in

Florida Cattle." Proceedings, 86th Meeting of the United States

Animal Health Association, 1982, pp. 209-215.

This publication was promulgated at a cost of $1977, or 66 cents per copy, to inform Florida cattlemen about
the economics of selected production practices for north Florida. 5-3M-84

SCIENCES, K. R. Tefertiller, director, In cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this infor-
mation to further the purpose of the May 8 and June30, 1914 Acts of Congress; and s authorized to provide research, educa-
tional Information and other services only to individuals and Institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex or
national origin. Single copies of Extension publications (excluding 4-H and Youth publications) are available free to Florida
residents from County Extension Offices. Information on bulk rates or copies for out-of-state purchasers is available from
C. M. Hinton, Publications Distribution Center, IFAS Building 664, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611. Before publicizing this
publication, editors should contact this address to determine availability.

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs