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Free Content Economic benefits of extending the grazing season in beef cattle production in Atlantic Canada

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Today, feeding cost is a significant issue for the economic viability of livestock operations, including beef production. The aim of this study was to determine, in comparison to the conventional feeding approach, the advantages and expected value of extending the grazing season in Atlantic beef production using stockpiled and baled forage. The research methodology is based on the partial budgeting approach. The study shows that extending the grazing season can reduce by 54% the total annual production cost for feed, yardage and straw bedding. Indeed, this innovative feeding approach can contribute to avoiding expenses of $7,331.92 per farm per year through eliminating and/or reducing overwintering costs for feed (16%), yardage (55%) and straw bedding (29%). A detailed analysis shows a saving of $0.92 of the overwintering production costs per cow/calf pair per day. Moreover, extending the grazing season does not seem to compromise animals’ performance. This practice could therefore be an alternative solution to enhance beef farm financial viability and can also contribute to the sustainable development of beef farms through other services provided such as recreation functions and environmental protection. These results reflect the necessity of supporting and promoting the adoption of extended grazing season practices in Atlantic beef production.

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Keywords: Atlantic Canada; beef production; economic benefits; extending the grazing season

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2017

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