Managing for Margins Makes the Difference Every Time

The other day, the old journal that I attempted to keep our farm records in, back in the day before computers, turned up in some stuff that had been stored away for many, many years. As I sat there in wonderment and read some of those numbers it dawned on me that as much as we want to believe things have changed so much, the only difference really is the numbers have gotten larger. I think it illustrates more than ever that the difference between making money and not making money in livestock production is the margin. In other words the difference between what goes out and what comes in.  And what determines that in large part is the system in which the operation functions. Recorded in this journal is the price of hog feed in 1964. We bought hog feed from a man above Zachary who ran a feed mill to feed his dairy cows but also sold mixed feed. A ton of hog feed sold for $65.00. That was really cheap, don’t you think, but we sold 7 hogs for a net of $118.91. We had bought a Duroc sow with 9 pigs from a guy in Miss. These were high dollar breeding hogs, so this sow and 9 pigs cost us $125.00. We bought the sow and pigs in December and sold 7 of the litter in March for $118.91. By that time we had spent $166.00 on feed, but by our count on the day we sold the 7 hogs we had 900 pounds of feed on hand. By Sept Old May, the original sow, had delivered 16 pigs in a st

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One thought on “Managing for Margins Makes the Difference Every Time

  1. Great article, thank you for sharing your experiences and resulting insights.
    I have to disagree with your disagreement with the “Until you reach or surpass 35,000 lbs. of live weight per acre you are not seriously grazing” statement.
    You can absolutely have over 35,000 lbs/acre with 2 cows. Put two 1200 lb cows in a 100ft x 25ft strip of pasture for a day and, boom, well over 35,000 lbs/acre.

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