The Value of Well-Managed Pasture in Today’s Economy

I am fairly certain I have written an article with the same title as this, only it was 20 or more years ago.  And although today is a different day, the story is the same.  Pasture was and still is the most cost-effective and profitable means by which an animal can be fed.  And yes that includes lactating dairy cows.  No machine can harvest a ton of forage cheaper than an animal can through grazing.  And with the ever-increasing cost of diesel fuel, not to mention the machines that swallow it by the gallon, or the cost of labor to operate the machinery, the more self-evident this is. Before fossil fuels, tractors, and computerized ration balancing programs came along, all livestock were grazed.  It made no sense to tie an animal to a tree and hand pull or cut and carry food to the critter; even if the numbers were few.   Time was valued as a currency and labor was a commodity in short supply, and neither could be wasted on doing something an animal could do for itself.  Pasture was unquestionably the food of choice.   Although modern agricultural methods based on feeding animals in confinement have allowed for the unprecedented production of meat, milk, and fiber to occur, there is more to profitability than just how much product is produced.  In fact, in the low margin business that most of agriculture has become, producing

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2 thoughts on “The Value of Well-Managed Pasture in Today’s Economy

  1. Darrell,
    Cutting costs is never recognized for its simplicity.

    We have been led to believe increasing production is the way to improve profit. What is ignored as you brought out is net profit. Concentrating on gross profit leads people in the wrong direction. Net profit is what we take to the bank.

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