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Dr. Jamie Courter is your Mizzou Beef Genetics Extension Specialist

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By Jared E. Decker Many of you have probably noticed that things have been a lot less active on the A Steak in Genomics™   blog, but you probably haven't known why. In January 2021, I was named the Wurdack Chair in Animal Genomics at Mizzou, and I now focus on research, with a little bit of teaching. I no longer have an extension appointment. But, with exciting news, the blog is about to become a lot more active! Jamie Courter began as the new MU Extension state beef genetics specialist in the Division of Animal Sciences on September 1, 2023. I have known Jamie for several years, meeting her at BIF when she was a Masters student. I have been impressed by Jamie in my interactions with her since that time.  Dr. Courter and I have been working closely together the last 6 weeks, and I am excited to work together to serve the beef industry for years to come! Jamie holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from North Carolina State University and earned a master's degree in animal

Economic considerations for profitable cow herds

Clay Mathis
King Ranch Institute for for Ranch Management
Good managers make a multitude of small decisions to keep costs low relative to the cattle they produce and market. But, excellent managers do the same and also find leverage in the production system. These excellent managers make strategic changes that have a systematic impact on their operation. From the SPA data, Mathis shows that the average operation loses money. But, the top quarter of operations make $169 while the bottom quarter of operations lose $308. These bottom quarter have out of control spending and low performance and income. Weaning percentage did not vary dramatically between the top and bottom operations.The top operations are weaning 60 more pounds on average, likely due to older calves from a controlled breeding system and better genetic merit for growth. Increasing weaning weight percentage by 1 percentage unit increases profit by $6 per cow. Labor, depreciation, and feed were the largest expenses in the SPA data. Mathis pointed out that operations should evaluate if they can operate with less labor.
To reduce equipment depreciation managers have to consider convenience and control. Practices to reduce equipment depreciation like sharing, leasing, or outsourcing equipment have trade offs in convenience and control. Implementing a managerial accounting system is essential to improving costs and income. Operating capital is essential as it avoids liquidating assets, such as cows. By removing cows from the herd, there are fewer cows to cover fixed costs. When accounting for the cost of buying back cows, in a 1,000 head cow herd you could spend $978 per head on extra feed to avoid reducing cow inventory.

Having financial data in hand from a managerial accounting system allows managers to make those strategic decisions that differentiate good and excellent managers.

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