Beef Feedlot Cost Control Strategies

Dennis L. DeWitt, Livestock Field Specialist, Northwest

Problem Statement:     

A potpourri of current issues is affecting the Iowa beef feedlot industry.  These issues include high feed costs, excessive losses per head, environmental regulations, manure handling & storage, age & source verification and dead animal disposal.

Programmatic Response:

The Iowa Beef Center and Iowa Cattleman’s Association coordinated two hot topics meetings, one salebarn meeting, two feedlot tours and four air quality workshops that reached 168 individuals.  The Iowa Beef Center (IBC) has developed decision aids, newsletters, and various strategies for educational programs to assist feedlot operators in controlling input costs and improve efficiencies to reduce losses or improve profitability.  Many of these materials are available on IBC website

Outcome Statement:     

Pre-meeting questions were asked to determine current management practices. Only 4 feedlots were adding value to beef production with a Process Verified Program (PVP).  8 feedlots were analyzing manure and taking credit in cropping program.  3/27 feedlots bury deads, 8/27 compost deads and 16/27 producers utilize rendering for dead animal disposal.

Short-term results were 59 individuals became beef quality assured (BQA) following meetings.  9 feedlots met air quality reporting requirements.  14/20 producers gained a fair amount to quite a lot of knowledge about market outlook.

Medium-term results were 9 feedlots verified tons/acre of manure applied and collected samples for manure nutrient analysis.  6/9 feedlots were under applying and 3/9 over applying manure due to improper manure spreader calibration.  6 under 1000 head feedlots have contacted Iowa DNR for verifying they are meeting open feedlot requirements.

Long-term results from Morris Larson, Spencer Livestock Sales, under the ICA PVP umbrella enrolled 14 new beef cow herds and 8 new feedlots.  He has RFID tagged 1,450 head the past year, up from 840 head the year before.  Over 500 head of calves in the VIP program have sold at an increased value of $1.31 to $5.74/cwt.  Two feedlots increased income for the year by $7,800 and $11,235 due to participating in an age and source verification program (PVP).


140 Iowa Beef Center

Page last updated: August 5, 2009
Page maintained by Linda Schultz,