Why You Should be Tracking Lots Within Your Feeding Program

Let’s face it, cattle feeding isn’t easy – and that’s not about to change any time soon. Right now, as the world emerges from a pandemic, producers are faced with mounting obstacles. As if juggling management, sustainability and regulations weren’t all taxing enough, the cost of commodities (especially in an inflated and turbulent economy) adds heavily to the odds of striking a higher profit.

Feed is already one of the undisputed biggest costs of producing animal products (in many cases it is the biggest cost). While the beef industry makes incredible strides in efficiency and technology, the margins seem to grow ever slimmer especially from lot to rail.

But coming out ahead is certainly possible for the cattleman who is strategic and analytical. Today feeders are being challenged to make every dollar stretch as far as possible which requires they be savvy in their financial decision making.

“As we look at different factors involved in the production of feeder cattle (outside of costs to produce but including feed and purchase cost of cattle), we see many differences in average sale weights, average sale prices, value of feed fed and pounds of feed fed,” say Illinois State University beef experts as reported by Beef Magazine. “Therefore, keeping good, accurate records and comparing them over-time is useful to help make the best financial decision for your feeder cattle or any operation.”

Margin Trax takes the brunt of that recordkeeping and comparison burden off your shoulders by making it easy to report and track your data, progress and finances according to each lot on single or multiple operations.

All Groups Are Not Created Equal

No matter how uniform a purchase of calves may be, it’s inevitable that when they are split off into groups, some will outperform others. Regardless of the market, in both the best and worst of times there are some cattle who are making you more money, and some who are making less or even in the red.

But being able to track – and cross-reference an evaluation – you can identify trends and their causes.

Real-Time Decision Making

The feeding window is already extremely limited. Add in the fact that animals are constantly coming in and going out, it’s even more difficult to identify and respond to issues that are costing valuable time, resources and money.

But making the right decision at the right time can mean the difference between making or losing money. In a high stakes and expensive sector like cattle feeding, an operator needs to be able to adjust sales on the fly. But how can that be done when the data to do that isn’t available in real time?

Knowing the status of each group, as opposed to a general per head average, can pinpoint issues which means response can be immediate. For example, one group may be significantly ahead of their rate of gain compared to another. If you know that, you can decide to shorten their feeding window instead of wasting expenses commodities.

And, with Margin Trax, your entire team can access the same information from wherever they may be. This means that changes can quickly be communicated to those on the ground.

Manage People Better

Of course, while a good measure of performance differences are far beyond human control, certain management details can help proliferate or hinder struggling animals. When you are keeping your records and finances according to group, you can easily identify the supervisors and teams working with them.

When you notice a trend of certain groups’ performance correlated with specific employees, you can zero in on the differences in care and handling throughout your operation. This also opens the opportunity to explore established protocols and see where any of them are failing or breaking. A struggling group may come down to poor feed bunk maintenance or stressful living conditions.

Take Away the Headache

Recordkeeping is one of the more monotonous sides to the cattle business. But it’s an incredibly important one to ensure accuracy in determining profit or loss and tracking progress.

Human error is a fact of life, we can’t mitigate it entirely especially when dealing with numbers, estimates and calculations. But the odds of error goes up significantly when data is kept across multiple platforms and requires significant cross-referencing. Not to mention, this adds increases the amount of time invested.

But Margin Trax alleviates this by automatically tracking your data according to each lot beginning on day one. By simply inputting and updating information, Margin Trax is able to calculate things according to group and operation. No more backchecking or moving back and forth between multiple programs.

Feedyard management is already overwhelming as it is. And the fast-moving world we live in ensures that it won’t get simplify any time soon. However, software like Margin Trax can take a little bit of that burden away.

Want to learn more about how Margin Trax can help your operation? Click here to schedule a demo!

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