PR – Beef Cattle Wintering Site Management (WSM) Beneficial Management Practices (BMPS): An Economic Assessment Of Benefits And Costs (p1-8)
Water quality is a public health concern. Federal and provincial governments are promoting beef cattle wintering site management (WSM) practices to improve water quality. On-farm costs and benefits of these practices have not been measured. PRA Inc was contracted to assess the farm economics of changing from traditional confinement dry lot winter feeding of beef cattle to more environmentally friendly WSM feeding practices (BMPs). Using a case study approach, PRA Inc. assessed the on-farm start-up costs of confinement winter feeding versus in-field grazing practices. The unpublished PRA report indicated WSM in-field grazing offered significant saving in capital investment as well as operating cost for beef cattle farms. This paper summarizes the findings of the PRA report as well as related research that measured potential economic as well as environmental benefits of adopting WSM feeding systems on beef cattle farms in Western Canada. The main WSM BMPs examined were swath grazing (SG), bale grazing (BG), bale processing (BP), stockpiled feeds (SPF) and traditional confinement or dry lot (DL) feeding. Adopting WSM in-field grazing/feeding systems offers a win-win outcome for farm cash-flow as well as the environment.
Keywords: WSM BMPs, confinement feeding or DL, SG, BG, BP, SPF, input costs