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Beefs and Beliefs

Let's share custom grazing rates

Alan Newport Large heifers on pasture
Beef Producer wants to know what you pay or earn for custom grazing.
We're gathering information on custom grazing rates across the nation. Please join in.

It's hard to get good information about custom grazing rates. I'd like to help with that by asking our readers to share information with me, which I will pass along in upcoming blogs.

Here's what I'm thinking: You send me your rates for cows and/or stocker cattle, tell me where you live and whether you want your name included or just your location. I'll put together a short summary of reader responses and put that into my blog. If the list gets pretty long, we'll think about publishing it in Beef Producer's print edition.

To start the conversation, I've been researching custom grazing rates for cows, in particular. Much of what I'm finding is price per cow or per animal unit per day, with that ranging from 80 cents to $1.25 or so. Sometimes calves are included in the price. Sometimes not. Sometimes cow size is considered, sometimes not.

Mineral may be paid by the manager/grazier, but often seems to be paid by the owner. Supplement costs seem to be variable; sometimes the owner pays them and sometimes they share the cost.

One idea I read about and like is this: The cost per day has two tiers.

(1) When the cows are on quality, well-managed grass with no need for supplement, the price per cow or per unit per day is higher. This encourages good forage and cattle management, if the manager is trustworthy to monitor cow fecal quality and body condition.

(2) When the forage goes dormant or drops in quality enough that supplement is required, the owner pays for the supplement but the grazier lowers his price per day to help overcome the added cost.

Hay and haying seems at times to be included in the cost, while at other times the grazing manager sells the owner hay.

Death loss seems usually to be borne by the owner.

Occasionally, I read about sliding prices that index with calf prices so the owner and the grazier share in both the gains and the downturns. This seems like a good idea.

As for stocker cattle, in my part of the world I normally hear of cattle put out on the gain. Of course, this rewards both parties when the cattle do well.

Please send me your custom rates and ideas to [email protected]

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