A study of 30 Saskatchewan cattle operations in 2011 found a break-even price of $1.31 per pound of calf weaned.
That compares to the $1.25 per lb. average in several previous years of the annual study.
Western Beef Development Centre economist Kathy Larson, who does the study, told producers in December that the $1.25 break-even price was seen only in the last three years.
Larson said there are wide variations in cost of production depending on management decisions.
The 2011 study examined data from herds averaging 305 head, but ranging from 50 to 1,000.
Animals in the study group were on feed an average 165 days, from Dec. 1 to mid-May, but the range was 136 to 221 days.
“What you feed and how you feed are your biggest expenses for your cow herd,” Larson said.
Ninety percent of the participants used extensive field feeding during the winter, including straw chaff, corn, swath and bale grazing.
Thirty percent fed some silage, while 60 percent fed grain or pellets part of the time.
More than half, 57 percent, own a bale processor.
Total average costs were estimated at $625 per cow, while average income was $747 per weaned calf, or $1.57 per lb.
This generated an average net profit of $142 per calf over the break-even price, Larson said.
The average weaning weight was 549 lb.
She said the study includes only a handful of the province’s cow-calf producers, and producers should calculate their own numbers to get a true picture of what is happening in their operations.
There is no cost to participate in the WBDC study.
For more information, visit www.wbdc.sk.ca.