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COP Network Farm Summaries Overview

What Is the COP network?

The Canadian cow-calf cost of production (COP) network provides a standard methodology that allows for comparison of production systems across Canada and internationally with a global network. Producers who signed up were grouped into similar production systems based on winter feeding days, calving and weaning dates. Data was collected through producer focus groups to produce benchmarks. A standardized methodology was used for all provinces. The different eco-regions and production systems are outlined below in Tables 1 through 3. It should be noted that while the sample size was adequate to represent a specific production system for a region these should not be used or assumed to be representative of a provincial average. As additional production systems are collected in coming years it will become apparent if the same size is representative or not.

This baseline cost of production data will reduce the response burden on producers by collecting structural information every five years and utilizing annual indexing for changes in input and output prices.

The COP network uses specific terms and calculations, please refer to the glossary or COP Calculation Choices Fact Sheet, which provides a description of why different approaches are taken by different groups such as AgriProfit$ and the COP network. Please refer to the comparison glossary for ease of reference to terms used from AgriStability and other familiar sources.

Types of benchmarking

There are three types of benchmarking for cow-calf producers: self-comparison, provincial comparison, and peer group comparison. A self-comparison can help producers evaluate incremental improvements in their operation across time. Benchmarking against provincial averages can explain the competitive environment of the producer location. Provincial benchmarks have been the historical method used by cow-calf producers but have not been the most efficient method for many operations. The COP network focus is to develop a peer group comparison of similar production systems and eco-regions for producers to compare and better evaluate their success. Through a peer group comparison, producers can match their production style and eco-region regardless of their provincial boundary to a group with similar traits.

Table 1. Western provinces farm summaries

Farm

Farm description

Eco-region

Herd size

Winter feeding rotation
(lbs/cow/day as fed)

CA-BC1

A cow-calf operation producing homegrown feed located in the rangelands and fruit producing region of the highly populated Okanagan

Southern Interior

65

150 days on homegrown hay/haylage (25 lb dry matter), protein tub (1 lb) for 125 days throughout winter, and 70 g trace mineral and salt throughout the year

CA-BC2

A cow-calf operation producing predominantly homegrown feed located in the ranchlands of central B.C. characterized by plateaus, mountains and grasslands suited to cattle production

Central Interior

90

210 days of winter feeding on homegrown hay (40 lb), grain screening pellets (4.5 lb) for 30 days at calving, with mineral (100 g) and salt (50 g) bale shredded on pasture

CA-AB1

A mixed farm with cow-calf, backgrounding and cash crop production

Aspen Parkland

212

60 days of swath grazing followed by 190 days winter feed with grain silage (60 lb), hay (6 lb) and barley (3.3 lb), mineral and salt (100 g)

CA-AB2

A cow-calf and backgrounding operation producing predominantly homegrown feed

Aspen Parkland

280

80 days of swath grazing followed by 146 days of winter feed with grain silage (36 lb), hay (10 lb), straw (3.6 lb), barley (2.4 lb), greenfeed (3.5 lb), and mineral and salt (100 g)

CA-AB3

A mixed farm with cow-calf, backgrounding, and cash crop production.

Rocky Mountain Natural Region

172

54 days of swath grazing followed by 180 days of winter feeding with hay (23.5 lb) + silage (6 lb) + straw (6 lb), mineral and salt (100 g)

CA-AB4

A mixed farm with cow-calf and cash crop production

Fescue Grassland

60

20 days of swath grazing followed by 191 days on winter feed with hay (21 lb), straw (7 lb) and greenfeed (15 lb), with mineral and salt (100 g)

CA-AB5

A mixed farm with cow-calf, backgrounding and cash crop production

Peace Lowland

221

51 days of swath grazing followed by 184 days on winter feed with grain silage (11 lb) + straw (6.5 lb) + greenfeed (5.6 lb) + hay (4.8 lb) + barley (3.8 lb), mineral and salt (100 g)

CA-AB6

A cow-calf operation producing predominantly homegrown feed in one of the most productive agricultural regions of the prairies

Aspen Parkland

164

35 days of swath grazing followed by 117 days winter feed with hay (28 lb), straw (11 lb), grain (2 lb), mineral and salt (100 g)

   
   

CA-SK1a

A cow-calf operation using both homegrown and purchased feed in southern Saskatchewan

Aspen Parkland

350

112 days of barley/oats swath graze followed by 68 days of corn grazing, then 42 days of hay (35 lb dry matter) and 70 g of mineral and salt year-round

CA-SK1b

A cow-calf operation purchased all feed

Boreal Transition

350

150 days of hay (36 lb/day) and year-round mineral at 70g/day

CA-SK3

A cow-calf operation producing homegrown feed located in a dry mixed grassland region of Saskatchewan

Mixed Grassland

245

30 days (Nov-Dec) half ration of grass hay (15 lb) fed with field grazed cereal crop residue, followed by 150 days of hay (31 lb) combined with lentil, barley or malt pellets (3 lb), 210 days of free choice mineral (100 g) and year round salt (50 g)

CA-SK4

A cow-calf operation producing predominantly homegrown feed located in one of the most productive agricultural regions on the prairies

Aspen Parkland

120

60 days of bale grazing at 3% body weight with 5-10% wasted (45 lbs) followed by 60 days of corn grazing and then 45 days of greenfeed (30 lb) + hay (9 lb)

CA-SK5

A cow-calf operation producing cash crops and predominantly in-house purchased feed in a region dominated by spear and wheat grasses

Moist Mixed Grassland

135

60 days of stubble, aftermath grazing followed by 100 days of predominantly cereal silage (19 lb), hay (10 lb), straw and chalf (8 lb), cereal screenings (oat hulls or barley) (5 lb), and camelina meal (5 lb) delivered as a pre-mix on full winter feed days with loose mineral (100 g) and salt (50 g)

CA-SK6

A cow-calf operation producing cash crops and predominantly homegrown feed in one of the most productive agricultural regions on the prairies

Aspen Parkland

135

186 days of predominantly cereal silage (35 lb) and alfalfa hay (14 lb) fed TMR with custom mineral mix (100 g), with barley grain (4.5 lb) included for 90 days. Total delivery dependent on dry matter of main silage ingredient (corn, barley, oat)

CA-MB1

A cow-calf and backgrounding operation with predominantly homegrown feed in the Aspen Parkland of Manitoba

Aspen Parkland

320

Starting late October, 30 days of 20 lbs alfalfa hay supplemented on pasture, followed by 110 days of 30 lbs dry matter intake of standing corn with 10 lbs of alfalfa hay silage (65% DM), followed by 60 days of 34 lbs alfalfa hay and 5 lbs oat/pea straw with 57 grams of mineral throughout

CA-MB2

A cow-calf operation that preconditions and produces cash crops and predominantly homegrown feed in cool, moist regions of Manitoba

Interlake Plain

225

180 days of  corn* silage (33 lb), hay* (17 lb), pellet (2 lb), grain (1 lb) with mineral (90g) and salt (45 g) throughout winter feeding, including 60 days with straw (9 lb). *Silage ingredient varied among producers as did dry matter of hay

Table 2. Eastern provinces farm summaries

Farm

Farm description

Eco-region

Herd size

Winter feeding rotation
(lbs/cow/day as fed)

CA-ON1

A cow/calf and preconditioning operation producing cash crops and predominantly homegrown feed around Lake Simcoe-Rideau

Lake Simcoe-Rideau

50

175 days of 20 lb hay, 20 lb oatlage, 2lb corn screenings and a premix mineral pack

CA-ON2

A spring and fall calving operation producing cash crops and predominantly homegrown feed around Lake Simcoe-Rideau

Lake Simcoe-Rideau

90

180 days on free choice (28 lbs) Hay, 5 lbs of corn distiller solubles with free choice mineral

CA-ON4

A cow-calf operation producing cash crops and predominantly homegrown feed around Lake Wabigoon

Lake Wabigoon (4S)

100

178 days bale graze 35 lb grass-legume mix (Oct to Feb), after calving 85 days on 35lb DMI oat/pealage bale (around 40% moisture)(March 1 to May 25) with 100g mineral throughout

CA-QC1

A cow-calf operation that backgrounds for 90 days, uses 100% homegrown hay and retains replacement heifers

10. St. Lawrence Lowland

150

200 days of 36 lbs of hay, 50 g of mineral and 50 g of salt per day, provided year-round

CA-QC2

A cow-calf operation that backgrounds for 120 days, uses 70% homegrown hay and retains replacement heifers

11. Quebec Maritimes

275

240 days of 38 lbs of hay, 75 g of mineral and 25 g of salt per day, provided year-round

CA-QC3

A cow-calf operation that preconditions for 45 days, uses 100% purchased hay and purchases bred heifers as replacements

10. St. Lawrence Lowland

60

200 days of 40 lbs of hay, 50 g of mineral and 50 g of salt per day, provided year-round

CA-QC4

A cow-calf operation with fall calving, that backgrounds for 90 days (30 days confined, then on pasture), uses 50% homegrown hay and retains replacement heifers

10. St. Lawrence Lowland

60

200 days of 35 lbs of hay, 100 g of mineral provided year-round

CA-MT1

A cow-calf operation producing homegrown feed with predominantly direct farm-gate sales of cull cows for boxed beef

Prince Edward Island

85

Bale grazing 180 days on dry hay (26 lb) and haylage (15), with mineral (100 g) and salt (61 g)

CA-MT2

A cow-calf operation producing homegrown feed with some direct farm-gate cow sales of boxed beef

New Brunswick Uplands

35

Bale grazing 220 days on haylage (35 lbs) and dry hay (15 lbs), with mineral (77 g) and salt (64 g)

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