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NDSU Calf Backgrounding and Feeding Seminar Series Set

The cost of feeding is a major factor when deciding whether to feed calves or sell them at weaning. (NDSU photo) The cost of feeding is a major factor when deciding whether to feed calves or sell them at weaning. (NDSU photo)
Backgrounding calves may be a profitable option.

With drought, lack of hay and volatile market prices, North Dakota cattle producers are faced with difficult choices.

One option is to add value to the calves by feeding them in North Dakota instead of selling them. To address this issue, the North Dakota State University Extension Service is holding a series of local seminars on feeding and backgrounding calves and cow feed management.

“Backgrounding calves is a margin business,” says Karl Hoppe, area Extension livestock systems specialist at the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center. “When the cost of gain is lower than the value of the gain, feeding calves works. However, feed costs are so variable in North Dakota. Freight cost becomes a huge issue, and the cost of shipping feed is figured into the cost of gain.

“With the drought, the cost of forage is quite high,” he adds. “That’s contrary to the grain prices, which are fairly low.”

John Dhuyvetter, area Extension livestock systems specialist at the NDSU North Central Research Extension Center near Minot, notes, “Rations with higher inclusions of grain or coproducts result in higher average daily gain and improved feed conversion. This might make cattle-feeding budgets profitable. It’s time to figure your costs.”

The dates, times and locations for the series of meetings are:

  • Oct. 10 - 10 a.m. CST, Center, Betty Hagel Memorial Civic Center
  • Oct. 10 - 2 p.m. MST, Medora, Chateau DeMores Interpretive Center
  • Oct. 10 - 7 p.m. MST, Bowman, 4-Seasons Building, Bowman County Fairgrounds
  • Oct. 11 - 10 a.m. CST, Linton, Courthouse auditorium
  • Oct. 11 - 2 p.m. CST, Ashley, Courthouse
  • Oct. 11 - 7 p.m. CST, Napoleon, Napoleon Livestock Auction
  • Oct. 12 - 9 a.m. CST, Binford, Binford Fire Hall
  • Oct. 12 - 2 p.m. CST, Rugby, Dakota Farms, 308 Hwy 2 S.E.
  • Oct. 12 - 7 p.m. CST, Minot, North Central Research Extension Center

Topics for the meetings are:

  • Local issues for cattle feed - local NDSU Extension agriculture and natural resources agent
  • Feeding calf-growing rations - Hoppe
  • Backgrounding calf budgets - Dhuyvetter
  • Cow herd feed management - Janna Kincheloe, area Extension livestock specialist, NDSU Hettinger Research Extension Center

For more information, contact Dhuyvetter at 701-857-7682 or, Kincheloe at 701-567-4323 or, Hoppe at 701-652-2951 or, or your local Extension agent.

NDSU Agriculture Communication - Sept. 18, 2017

Source:Karl Hoppe, 701-652-2951,
Editor:Ellen Crawford, 701-231-5391,
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