A new decision-support tool to assist cattle producers in calculating their cost of production and break-even prices, has been posted to Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s website. The new tool is an updated version of the highly successful Rancher’s Return excel spreadsheet calculator.
“The 2011 version extends the initial cow-calf analysis farther through the supply chain using up to seven unique enterprise budgets,” says Bruce Viney, risk management specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “Each one of the budgets can be used as a stand-alone calculator or linked together to generate an overall return to equity figure for the cattle enterprise. Rancher’s Return 2011 will be an important tool as producers consider new ways to capture value from the exiting new market opportunities appearing on the horizon.”
The Ranchers Return 2011 version also helps producers calculate useful information when they are considering making structural changes to their operations or when they are considering the financial return impacts of different pricing scenarios.
“Ranchers Return 2011 assists in estimating the costs of home raising replacement heifers and other activities from backgounding to yearling grazing and through to various finishing scenarios,” explains Viney.
The new version is a detailed economic model of a farm’s total cattle enterprise and is useful for developing forward-looking return forecasts and business plans. Viney says it was designed with a great deal of flexibility to provide valuable information to cow-calf production activities as well as more complex business models that have multiple activities and marketing points.
“While the Ranchers Return 2011 modelling tool can get down into some detailed calculations, it still allows for easy ‘what-if’ analyses and scenario comparisons.”
To learn more about how to calculate and forecast production costs, producers are encouraged to attend one of the six Cow-Calf economics seminars being held around the province in early March. At these seminars, producers will get an overview through an example cattle enterprise analysis. Rancher’s Return 2011 is now available for free download from the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development website at www.agriculture.alberta.ca and searching for Rancher’s Return.