Canfax Research Services launches Cow-Calf Cost of Production Network

The program will benchmark 26 production systems in different eco-regions from across the country.


By Piper Whelan, Canadian Cattlemen

September 8, 2020


There’s no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when setting cost of production benchmarks for the variety of systems used on Canadian cow-calf operations.


This is the idea behind Canfax Research Services’ launch of the Canadian Cow-Calf Cost of Production Network. By identifying the range of production systems used across the country, Canfax aims to create better benchmarks for cow-calf producers in all provinces.


This isn’t the first time Canfax has set out to benchmark cow-calf production systems, with four benchmark farms created in Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2012.


“That experience taught us that the sheer amount of diversity within the cow-calf sector really required benchmarks that were specific to different production systems to be valuable to producers,” said Brenna Grant, manager of Canfax Research Services.


Funded by the Beef Cattle Research Council and delivered with provincial partners, the network will create baseline statistics on cost of production by running 26 producer focus groups throughout the country. Each focus group will represent varying eco-regions, with five to six producers that use differing production systems.


“This initiative, with 26 production systems being benchmarked, will give us a starting point to determine if more production systems are needed to be benchmarked or if we can start categorizing and grouping systems that are similar,” said Grant.


In addition to developing benchmarks that cover both the majority of Canadian producers and the national cowherd, this network will create “future farm” scenarios for each baseline operation to identify opportunities to make incremental progress with the five per cent rule. This precision agriculture concept states that a producer can make significant financial changes by just changing their input costs, price and productivity by five per cent each...


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