Don’t forget how valuable your time really is.

Nevil Speer

September 3, 2015

2 Min Read
Industry At A Glance: What’s the value of your cowherd time commitment?

Over the past few weeks, BEEF’s Industry At A Glance has highlighted various cowherd metrics associated with profitability. Some of those metrics are hard to measure, such as the figures we investigated in last week’s feature that highlighted the difference between feed costs and non-feed costs. 

The latter, non-feed or indirect costs, are often difficult to measure. As such, they often get overlooked in many operations. The same is notably true when considering the value of the time commitment associated with managing the cowherd. This week’s illustration addresses that very issue. 

While the data are based on the Beef ’97 survey performed by USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring Service and are dated, the response patterns have likely not changed much over time.  

time commitment cow herdNot surprisingly, as a cow herd gets larger, a greater portion of the operator’s overall time is committed to the operation. However, the time commitment per cow goes down sharply with more cows; larger operations are able to achieve economies of scale with respect to their time.  

Therein enters the question around profitability. There’s a real cost associated with the operator’s time —as an unpaid employee, there exists a real opportunity cost in which the operator could be earning money doing something other than managing cows.  

Where do you fall on the scale of time commitment? Is your schedule and overall time allotment similar to those outlined in this week’s graph? Do you assign a value to your time? And if so, do you include it in your profitability analysis? 

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Nevil Speer is based in Bowling Green, Ky., and serves as vice president of U.S. operations for AgriClear, Inc. – a wholly-owned subsidiary of TMX Group Limited.  The views and opinions of the author expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the TMX Group Limited and Natural Gas Exchange Inc.


You might also like:

70 photos honor the hardworking cowboys on the ranch

How to prevent & treat pinkeye In cattle

Be watchful for toxic blue-green algae in stock ponds

Seven keys to ranch profitability

Profit per cow or per acre?

How to get more than a preg-check from the vets preg-check visit

4 experts weigh in on fall 2015 cattle prices

About the Author(s)

Nevil Speer

Nevil Speer serves as an industry consultant and is based in Bowling Green, KY.

Nevil Speer has extensive experience and involvement with the livestock and food industry including various service and consultation projects spanning such issues as market competition, business and economic implications of agroterrorism, animal identification, assessment of price risk and market volatility on the producer segment, and usage of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
Dr. Speer writes about many aspects regarding agriculture and the food industry with regular contribution to BEEF and Feedstuffs.  He’s also written several influential industry white papers dealing with issues such as changing business dynamics in the beef complex, producer decision-making, and country-of-origin labeling.
He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Animal Agriculture.
Dr. Speer holds both a PhD in Animal Science and a Master’s degree in Business Administration.

Contact him at [email protected].

Subscribe to Our Newsletters
BEEF Magazine is the source for beef production, management and market news.

You May Also Like