Cut Costs To Boost Profit
Reducing the cost of producing hay may result in as
much or more payback than increasing the revenue side of the equation,
according to R. L. "Dick" Wittman, Culdesac, ID. He'll examine ways hay
growers can increase the profitability of their operations as part of
the upcoming Western Hay Business Conference & Expo, Oct. 24-25 at the
Red Lion Hotel at the Park, Spokane, WA. "We have spent so much time in
the hay business trying to get the last dollar out of the revenue side,
but we haven't taken the time to examine our cost structure," Wittman
states. "Often, people can see a better impact on return on equity by
improving cost efficiency than by trying to grow bigger farms with more
acres. That leads to a double benefit -- getting twice the improvement
in financial performance without adding the stress associated with
managing larger businesses, more labor and stress on equipment, etc.
Seeing how the numbers can change can put people on a treasure hunt to
look at their businesses from every possible angle."
He plans to show growers how to break down the costs of their hay
businesses at a level where they can draw conclusions tied to
responsibility centers that are managed by individuals with unique roles
in managing farms. He hopes producers can position themselves to look at
strategic business choices that can have an impact on improving
profitability, either through cost efficiencies, or in some cases,
through revenue enhancement. "The hay industry has costs associated with
each phase of growing and harvesting -- seeding, swathing, turning,
baling, hauling, etc.," he explains. "For each of these activities,
managers should be asking, 'Should I do it myself? Should I hire it
done? Should I buy or lease?' Break it down to cost per ton and include
all of the facets that go into the cost equation, such as labor, fuel
and ownership costs. A lot of our farm management training has skimmed
over this at a very high level, but it doesn't get down to a working
level where a grower can actually say, 'Now here is a tool I can use.
Here is the actual way I go about analyzing this decision.' "
Wittman will help growers look at the histories of their operations and
learn how managerial accounting can be used to do a more confident job
of marketing their products. "For example, if you know that you've got
$70/ton in the hay and your profit-margin goal is $30-40/ton, you know
you're hitting your profit goal when you sell hay for $110/ton," he
says. "But if you only speculate, your costs are somewhere between zero
and $90/ton. You're out there wondering if you need another $10-20 out
of the market because you aren't sure what your costs are. It is simply
not acceptable to wait until the end of the year to look backward and
say, 'Gosh, I wish I had known that sooner.' "
Wittman farms 8,000 acres and has a herd of 300 beef cows, in addition
to running an ag consulting business. Visit his Web site at www.wittmanconsulting.com/index.htm, or contact him at
Other speakers at the Western Hay Business Conference & Expo will
discuss hay export opportunities, producing hay for the horse market and
organic hay production. Learn more about maximizing yields and profits
from timothy and orchardgrass. Visit a hay industry-specific trade show
and ask industry experts all about their products and services.
Register for $150 per person and bring a second person from your
operation for $125. Learn more about the conference at www.hayconference.com.
The bold sloped-hood design says a lot.
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New Holland dealer or call 1-888-290-7377.
RR Alfalfa Doesn't Affect Milk
Dairy cows fed Roundup Ready (RR) and non-genetically
modified alfalfa performed identically in a University of Wisconsin
study. Researchers Dave Combs and G. F. Hartnell report no differences
in milk production, milk composition, feed intake or feed efficiency for
cows fed the two types of alfalfa. The research was presented at the
2006 American Dairy Science Association-American Society of Animal
Science meeting in Minneapolis.
Source: Imperial County Agricultural Briefs.
The online, interactive trading floor, www.haymarkets.com,
will no longer be accepting hay listings or processing transactions
while it goes through a retooling phase, according to David Heemsbergen,
Hay Markets International business development manager. In association
with Land O'Lakes agronomists, Hay Markets International has given
sellers assistance with testing, grading and listing of hay. Buyers
established accounts, which assured payment when hay was delivered and
accepted. Heemsbergen says Hay Markets International has decided to
adjust its trading model to better serve industry needs while still
striving to serve as a resource center for buyers and sellers. More
information about what lies ahead will be available later this year.
Contact Heemsbergen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NK Brand Alfalfas deliver
more quality AND more yield. Our premium alfalfas, like Genoa,
Expedition and Boulder, combine high nutritional values with high
yields, plus outstanding agronomics and persistence for longer,
healthier stands. The result? More profit from your alfalfa acres -
whether you feed it or sell it. www.nk-us.com
Many Iowa growers were working on the last hay cutting
while fighting rough weather during the last month, says Dale Leslein,
Dyersville Hay Auction manager. A total of 303 tons of hay sold at last
week's auction. The top on large square bales was $60/ton, while round
bales topped at $70/ton. The hay lacked color due to the tough weather
conditions producers have faced this summer. "I have been reading about
reports from states where there is a shortage of hay, and that's not the
case here in eastern Iowa," says Leslein. "The supply of hay out here is
the biggest we have ever seen, with record production. Southwestern
Wisconsin and northwestern Illinois are in the same boat.
Fourteen-ton-per-acre yields are being recorded this year, or double
what a normal good year produces. Piles of hay are standing everywhere
you look. It could take two years to clean up the supply."
However, he adds that top-end dairy hay is scarce. "Hay over 160 RFV is
hard to find," he says. "We have a boat load of hay from 100 to 130, but
that's about it."
Dyersville hay auctions are held at 11 a.m. on Wednesdays. Contact
Leslein at 563-875-2481 or email@example.com.
It was a good year for making hay in Kentucky, reports
Ray Smith, University of Kentucky extension forage specialist. "We had
good moisture throughout the state with good haymaking windows, too,"
Smith says. "Hay production and quality were both good. We should get
some nice fall cuts and make some good baleage, too." Stockpiles of hay
were largely used up because 2005 was a low-production year. "We don't
seem to be in an excess situation," says Smith. The University of
Kentucky continues with an initiative of helping producers make quality
hay. A team of agronomists, county extension personnel and marketing
specialists are working with producers to spread the word about the
importance of cutting hay at the right time and the benefits of proper
Learn more about Kentucky hay production by visiting www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage/. Contact Smith at
A late-summer cool front brought some Texas producers
relief from blistering temperatures and drought. Some parts of the state
got 5-6" of rain, while dry conditions persisted in other areas.
Pastures and hayfields responded well to September rains in the rolling
plains area. Some growers are now planning on a second hay cutting.
There is still a shortage of hay and stock water in northern Texas, but
pastures have greened up and will give cattle producers a respite from
feeding. Hay demand and cattle sales have tapered off. Some farmers with
enough soil moisture are planting winter annual pastures. More winter
forage will be planted if rains continue. Range conditions are improving
in the panhandle region, while pastures and ranges are in fair condition
and starting to green up in the southern plains part of the state.
The drought continues to linger in eastern Texas. Hay is selling for
$60-100/roll and quality is poor to fair at best where available. Some
cattle are beginning to lose body condition and producers are continuing
to sell livestock, with some completely selling out.
Alfalfa growers in far western Texas lost 2-2.5 cuttings due to rains
this year. Some areas report up to 16" of rainfall in recent weeks,
which is double the average rainfall for this time of year. Range and
pasture grasses and forbs are showing improvement in west-central Texas.
However, supplemental livestock feeding continues. Large numbers of
livestock have been sold.
Hay growers in central Texas may get another cutting in early October if
the weather cooperates. Range conditions remain poor. Destocking
continues due to dwindling water supplies in beef cattle operations.
Most producers are now feeding hay in addition to protein and energy
supplements. Large amounts of hay are being purchased in southeastern
Texas, and last week brought very little rain to the area. Cattle
continue to be sold. Pastures have burned up with little grazing to
Most of southern Texas has had adequate soil moisture. Area landowners
received 4-9" of rain last week. Pastures are beginning to green up. As
hayfields dry out, harvesting is expected to proceed.
Source: Texas A&M University.
Research trials conducted throughout the major alfalfa growing
regions of the U.S. prove the superior performance of Raptor®
herbicide: Controlling grasses and broadleaf weeds with Raptor in
both seedling and established alfalfa can have a significant effect
in improving the yield potential and forage quality of your
The chemical company.
Always read and follow label directions.
Raptor is a registered trademark of BASF. © 2005 BASF
All Rights Reserved.
APN 05-01-133-0010 b
Purdue University Offers Marketing
Entrepreneurs and small business owners who attend a
Purdue University workshop will learn more about effective marketing and
sales techniques. Every person attending a "Bigger Profits Through
Targeted Sales" workshop will take home a personalized marketing action
plan. The one-day workshops are designed to offer valuable business
advice and ideas.
Scheduled in four Indiana cities in October and November, they're
sponsored by Purdue's New Ventures Team -- a group of extension
educators and specialists who aid people interested in starting new
businesses or improving the profitability of existing businesses.
The workshops include interactive exercises, short lectures by
instructors, an interview with a business owner and one-on-one
discussions with New Ventures members. Throughout the day, attendees
will craft their marketing action plans, which will serve as an overall
strategy for marketing a product or service. The plan is composed of
specific action steps. Workshop participants will think through how
customers perceive their products or services, identify who their
customers are and where to find and attract them, and get a chance to
test the ideas that they've developed with both instructors and their
The workshops run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and include breakfast, lunch and
an evening reception. Their dates and locations include:
Oct. 25: West Lafayette -- Purdue University Stewart Center, State
Street and Oval Drive.
Nov. 10: Shipshewana -- Blue Gate Restaurant, 105 E. Middlebury St.
Nov. 14: Indianapolis -- Adams Mark Hotel at the Airport, 2544 Executive
Nov. 17: Evansville -- Bauerhaus Event Facility, 13605 Darmstadt Rd.
Registration is $85 per person if completed at least two weeks before a
workshop, and $100 thereafter. To register online or download a workshop
**Oct. 3-7 -- World Dairy Expo, Alliant Energy
Center, Madison, WI. Learn more at www.worlddairyexpo.com.
**Oct. 17-19 -- Sunbelt Ag Exposition, Moultrie, GA. Visit www.sunbeltexpo.com
or call 229-985-1968.
**Oct. 20-21 -- 5th Annual Pennsylvania Statewide Project Grass
Conference, Williamsport. Featured speakers include Jim Gerrish and
Allen Williams, plus many more. Contact Kris Ribble at firstname.lastname@example.org or
570-784-4401, ext. 111.
**Oct. 24-25 -- Western Hay Business Conference & Expo, Red Lion
Hotel at the Park, Spokane, WA. Sponsored by Hay & Forage Grower.
Register at $150 per person and bring a second person from your
operation for $125. Learn more at www.hayconference.com.
**Nov. 14-15 -- 2006 BEEF Magazine's Quality Summit,
Clarion Hotel, Oklahoma City. Learn more and sign up at www.beef-mag.com.
**Nov. 21 -- Kentucky Grazing Conference, Fayette County
Extension Office, Lexington. Learn more at www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage.
**Dec. 11-13 -- Western Alfalfa & Forage Conference, Reno, NV.
Contact Dan Putnam at 530-752-8982 or email@example.com, or Glenn
Shewmaker at 208-736-3608 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Jan. 18-19 -- Southwest Hay Conference, Ruidoso Convention
Center, Ruidoso, NM. Learn more at the New Mexico Hay Association Web
site at www.nmhay.com.
Contact Doug Whitney at email@example.com or call Gina
Sterrett at 505-626-5677.
**Jan. 24-25 -- Heart Of America Grazing Conference, Holiday Inn,
Mount Vernon, IL. Contact Garry Lacefield at 270-365-7541, ext. 202, or
**Feb. 6-7 -- Mid-America Alfalfa Expo, Buffalo County
Fairgrounds, Kearney, NE. Visit www.alfalfaexpo.com or call Barb Kinnan at
**Feb. 27 -- Kentucky Alfalfa Conference, Cave City Convention
Center. Learn more at www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage.
**Feb. 28-March 2 -- National Grassfed Beef Conference,
Grantville, PA. Contact John Comerford at 814-863-3661 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dave Hartman at
570-784-6660, ext. 12, or email@example.com.
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