Extension News

New Spreadsheet Helps Producers Evaluate Economics of Increasing Weaning Age

Note to media editors: This spreadsheet is free, and available by completing the online registration form.

3/1/2010

AMES, Iowa -- Pork producers interested in learning how their finances could be affected by changing the weaning age will want to investigate a new spreadsheet available from the Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC) at Iowa State University (ISU.)

Developed by Derald Holtkamp of the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, this free spreadsheet helps producers evaluate effects of increasing weaning age, including how their breeding inventory must change.

“This is a breed-to-finish production and budgeting spreadsheet that evaluates both the costs and benefits of these changes,” Holtkamp said. “It also assists producers in determining how much their inventory must change for alternative weaning ages to ensure the farrowing capacity of a farm is not exceeded.”

Holtkamp said the spreadsheet is easy to use and understand. Users enter operation-specific production and financial information to develop a baseline, and can evaluate alternative breeding herd inventories and weaning ages for up to four scenarios. Total annual profit for the operation is the preferred economic outcome to evaluate the scenarios relative to the baseline.

“Alternative market hog prices and diet costs may be entered,” Holtkamp said, “By doing this a producer can see if the profit increases or decreases as these parameters change while increasing weaning age.”

The “Evaluation of Weaning Age Calculator” is available at no charge in Excel® 2003 and Excel® 2007 versions. Both are available by completing a registration form on the IPIC Web site. Go to http://www.ipic.iastate.edu/software.html and select "Spreadsheets.” Then choose the appropriate registration link for the version of the spreadsheet.

You must have Excel® 2007 installed on your computer to use the 2007 version of the spreadsheet. If you are not sure which version of Excel® is installed on your computer, choose the Excel® 2003 version of the spreadsheet. It will work if you have either Excel® 2003 or Excel® 2007 installed.

Since the spreadsheet was first made available in mid-January, producers from 13 U.S. states, three Canadian provinces and a half dozen other countries have requested and received the spreadsheets.

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Contacts :
Derald Holtkamp, College of Veterinary Medicine, (515) 294-9611, holtkamp@iastate.edu

Sherry Hoyer, Iowa Pork Industry Center, (515) 294-4496, shoyer@iastate.edu

Sara Morine, Iowa Pork Industry Center, (515) 294-4496, sjmorine@iastate.edu