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New Mexico State University

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NMSU workshop will give ranchers insight on cattle production, profitability

The growth of New Mexico's cattle industry into a $960-million-a-year business is no accident: Ranchers seek the latest information and use the best techniques to get the most from their animals.



A workshop by New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service, set for April 12 at the De Baca County Extension Office in Fort Sumner, is one way for ranchers to analyze the production and financial sides of their cow-calf operations. The 2007 Standardized Performance Analysis Workshop will allow ranchers to compare their performance to regional or statewide benchmarks. (NMSU photo by Clay P. Mathis)

A workshop by New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service, set for April 12 at the De Baca County Extension Office in Fort Sumner, is one way for ranchers to closely analyze various aspects of their cow-calf operations. The 2007 Standardized Performance Analysis Workshop will allow ranchers to compare their performance to regional or statewide benchmarks.

"SPA provides ranchers an opportunity to analyze both the production and financial sides of their cow-calf operations," said Clay P. Mathis, Extension livestock specialist in NMSU's Extension Animal Science and Natural Resources Department. "By comparing the performance of a single operation to benchmarks, producers gain an enhanced ability to monetarily prioritize changes to management practices."

The New Mexico Cow-Calf SPA database currently has 61 cow-calf herd years of data from ranches ranging in size from 28 cattle to more than 2,000 head. Each cow-calf enterprise is evaluated using 30 key production and financial performance measures. When the analysis is complete, the ranch representative receives a report card that compares performance of each of the key measures to state benchmarks.

"For example, SPA benchmark data indicates that the average cost to run a cow in New Mexico is $421, and the average percent return on assets, using cost basis, is 1.6 percent," Mathis said. "The SPA program will help each operation compare their herd production and financial measurements to benchmarks like these."

Upon completion of the analysis, an agricultural economist and NMSU Extension beef specialist will work with individual ranches to jointly develop a plan to improve profitability. Producers' financial and performance data will be kept confidential.

The workshop will be held the day after the De Baca County Livestock Producers Seminar. The seminar will focus on calf marketing: how producers can find ways to develop and better control the marketing of their product, even as the cattle industry changes, the market continues to be volatile and production expenses increase. The seminar also will be at the De Baca County Extension Office.

The annual SPA workshop will be limited to only 10 new ranches. Early registration is encouraged so a pre-workshop packet can be sent to participants, which will help them start organizing ranch data.

A downloadable registration form is available at http://cahe.nmsu.edu/ces/animal. Completed forms should be faxed to (505) 646-3164. The registration fee of $100 per ranch will be collected at the workshop.

For more information, contact Mathis at (505) 646-8022 or De Baca County Extension Office Program Director Leigh Ann Marez at (505) 355-2381.