MFGC | Economic Considerations for Expanding a Cow Calf Operation

Economic Considerations for Expanding a Cow Calf Operation 

Lauren Cartwright, State Agricultural Economist MO NRCS
Mark Kennedy, State Grassland Specialist, MO NRCS 

Missouri is graced with vast forests and a climate suitable for growing trees as well as grass and cropland.  As a result, Missouri landowners have many options available for managing land to meet their goals.  In times of increased cattle prices, many landowners may perceive an economic benefit to converting forest into pasture to expand their cow calf herd.  Another consideration to increase profitability of a cow calf operation is improving the management of the existing pasture acres.

The analysis of these options will vary from operation to operation.  However, as a starting point, this article presents an economic assessment of converting forest to pasture for cow calf production and improving grazing management to show potential operation benefits for a cow calf operator with a tract of land consisting of 160 acres of pasture and 50 acre of forest.  The existing pasture is currently stocked, and the producer is looking for ways to expand the cow calf operation.  All options are assessed over a 20 year lifespan. (read more…)