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Beef Cattle Basics Regional Meetings begin this month

Alabama beef cattle producers are facing greater production and management decisions to maintain profitability in their beef cattle operations. Due to this, a series of regional meetings have been set up to help producers to better manage their resources, while making more informed production decisions, according to Crenshaw County Extension Director Russell Parrish.

“During the past several years, beef producers have endured drought conditions and significantly rising input costs for feed, fertilizer, and fuel,” Parrish said. “Things have been really hard on these families.”

Dr. J. Walt Prevatt, Agriculture Economist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, estimated that a break-even feeder calf price for Alabama cow/calf producers was $1.17 per pound in 2008. Currently, feeder cattle futures prices for March to May delivery are trading in the lower 90s range ($0.90 – 0.95/lb). Clearly, these prices fall short of the 2008 breakeven price.

“Today’s economy dictates that Alabama beef cattle producers manage to reduce their input costs in order to become profitable,” Parrish explained. “Since the elimination of a beef cow herds’ nutrition and health programs is neither an option nor a solution, it is critical to explore other management options for cost savings.”

A series of regional meetings have been scheduled to help producers to better manage their resources, while making more informed production decisions. Topics of these meetings will include business basics, production records, fencing options, soil testing and fertility and forage management. Featured presenter Dr. Don Ball, Extension Agronomist, will address reducing costs with applied forage management.

The meetings begin in March. Beef cattle producers are invited to attend their most convenient meeting. Profitability depends on knowing beef cattle basics and using them to make productive decisions.

For the Wiregrass Region, the Beef Cattle Basics meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, 2009, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Wiregrass Research & Extension Center in Headland. Additionally, this meeting will hold a Beef Quality Assurance training program following lunch (1:00 – 3:00 p.m.) for interested producers.

For more information, please contact Russell Parrish at the Crenshaw County Extension Office at 334-335-6312. He can also be contacted at 334-321-7949.