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Technology Investments ?

Stocker Steve

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Some like James H. Kunstler has proposed that we will see reduced returns from technology investments in the future. Partially because the government is inefficient, partially because few people are aware of all the options nor do they understand how systems work. :dunce:
MN just published some crop farming data that showed investments in things like variable rate planters REDUCED profits with current grain prices. Easy in hindsight to see how $5+/bu corn could cause one to over invest in technology...
One potential advantage for cattlemen is using biology rather than more purchased inputs. What grass farming or cattle raising investments do you see as profitable at today' beef prices?
 

RanchMan90

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I agree with biology over technology. How far have we came since the days of the covered wagon in making a profit? Maybe less is more with cattle technology.
 

Stocker Steve

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I tried to make a paired list of purchased technology vs. working with biology solutions. It is very much a work in progress, and I think there is room for solutions in the middle. For example - - you could grid test soil, and machine apply variable rate lime to address PH, and then follow with variable rate bale grazing for addressing fertility short falls.
 

gizmom

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The boss purchased some new technology for planting and applying fertilizer. I can't remember the name of it but it is in the tractor, the way it works is as you go over the pasture it paints it on the screen. The idea is to save on seed and fertilizer and I have to admit it seems to have reduced our cost for both. He did say he needs a better antenna he just has the one that came with the unit. When he gets near a stand of trees he loses connection due to the weak antenna. Another piece of technology that we use is EID tags on the cattle. It is pretty nice to scan a tag and have all the data on that cow come up sure helps with the tracking of the individual animal. From the first time we weigh a calf we can tract ADG without having to enter all the data into a spreadsheet, which is how we did it until we got the new scale and EID reader. I think biology is important but I also think staying informed and utilizing new technologies is important to the success of an operation.

gizmom
 

Stocker Steve

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gizmom":d1hr6ntt said:
The boss purchased some new technology for planting and applying fertilizer.

Great technology, but we don't run enough acres to make it pay at $3 per bushel. Ideally investments work at both low and high commodity prices. I am looking for that kind. Your per calf EID sounds interesting.
 

pdfangus

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eid is not cheap for a small operation...the readers and software are the expense difficult to distribute over 25 cows.

also the EID buttons will come out....I used to bring EID buttoned bulls home from the bull test only to find them later in the pasture....some very quickly and some took a while but most lost the buttons.

If I were to do EID for in herd use I would use the microchip implant....

I considered this several years ago...

http://www.ezidavid.com/PIT-Tags-and-Microchips.html
 

Bigfoot

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The acreage/head, that most of run here makes most technology cost prohibitive. I had my place grid samples back in the spring. It paid for itself. Beyond that, there's not much I can invest in to see a return.
 

red angus 2010

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For our size operation and current row crop prices many of the options are not economically feasible. It is a considerable investment for variable rate technology for seed, herbicide and fertilizer. We have small fields irregular in shape. Should I invest in tens of thousands of dollars in technology for the middle of the field I need 75 pounds less N for 1 acre out of 12? I can put the additional N on for a long time before it is costing me. Same with other inputs. If I farmed 5,000 acres I'm sure it would pay for itself in one season. The one I can't understand is during harvest some of the guys are so big they have to start on a certain day or they will not get done. They drive so fast thru the field that a week later they have left so much corn on the ground it looks like they have planted. I discussed this with one seed salesman and he indicated one of his clients was approaching 20 bu/ ac not making it into the combine hopper. let's say it is 10 bu/ ac, 10bu/ ac x 5,000= 50,000 bu x $3.40= $170,000. The one piece of technology w invested is a Trimble GPS unit for planting and fertilizer/ herbicide application I think it is worth it.
 

Stocker Steve

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If you need 5,000 acres to make a technology investment pay off -- what does that mean for the rest of us? Are we limited to decline or to niches?
 

Stocker Steve

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red angus 2010":2l7lflgu said:
The one I can't understand is during harvest some of the guys are so big they have to start on a certain day or they will not get done. They drive so fast thru the field that a week later they have left so much corn on the ground it looks like they have planted. I discussed this with one seed salesman and he indicated one of his clients was approaching 20 bu/ ac not making it into the combine hopper.

I don't suppose anyone gleans this grain with livestock?
 

Stocker Steve

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Bigfoot":jnbavde9 said:
The acreage/head, that most of run here makes most technology cost prohibitive.

If you look at the business records for the top 20% of producers they tend to spend a little less per unit and produce a little more per unit. They are profitable when the average producer is not. So - - scale and management. Not necessarily a higher level of technology investment.

I am never going to be a big time dirt surfer, and the amount of soil inputs I purchase/yr is dropping like a rock. Some of the things I am thinking about for 2017 are fencing improvements (bat latches), flushing top cow(s), back grounding equipment,
 

Bigfoot

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Stocker Steve":1wo57byi said:
Bigfoot":1wo57byi said:
The acreage/head, that most of run here makes most technology cost prohibitive.

How about flushing? What does it cost to leverage your best cow?

My best cows aren't worthy of flushing.
 

RanchMan90

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Stocker Steve":3c8jowkm said:
Bigfoot":3c8jowkm said:
The acreage/head, that most of run here makes most technology cost prohibitive.

If you look at the business records for the top 20% of producers they tend to spend a little less per unit and produce a little more per unit. They are profitable when the average producer is not. So - - scale and management. Not necessarily a higher level of technology investment.

I am never going to be a big time dirt surfer, and the amount of soil inputs I purchase/yr is dropping like a rock. Some of the things I am thinking about for 2017 are fencing improvements (bat latches), flushing top cow(s), back grounding equipment,
What kind of backgrounding equipment? The best technology investments I can think of are testing: soil testing, forage/hay testing, preg test cows, pelvic test and sync heifers.
 

3LEGGED1

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Me thinks u over doing things. Grass cow bull see I figure it out. Maffs hard
 

gizmom

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The GPS system the boss purchased was the entry level Ag Management Solutions, the cost was 1500.00 for the entire set up. With the cost of seed and fertilizer you can redeem the investment in a pretty short time frame. We do need to invest in a better antenna but we are seeing a substantial savings on fertilizer and it is due to not running over the same ground multiple times. We have lost a few EID tags the system is not perfect, but the cow is also entered by tattoo number so we just replace the EID tag if she loses it. Bulls are worse on EID loss than cows and calves, they are always butting heads. Bulls are just a flipping pain in the arse on a number of levels, just a necessary pain.

A link to the GPS system http://vantage-south.com/_guidance_displays.html

gizmom
 

red angus 2010

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Stocker Steve":15zt9rlw said:
If you need 5,000 acres to make a technology investment pay off -- what does that mean for the rest of us? Are we limited to decline or to niches?
5,000 is a completely arbitrary number. My point is only the larger you are the possibility it will pay for itself quicker (or you lose money faster). This is my point we are a small operation in regards to row crop, good size in cattle when viewed against herd size on average in our state. There has been a big push that technology will save input cost, my father-in-law grew up during the depression, he still straightens nails. I have learned a great deal from him, we make due most of the time or build what we need. When we have looked at what it cost to move into this technology it doesn't pencil out. Our opinion is we are spending dollars to save dimes. Off subject but we switched seed companies this year, the new company has a customer loyalty program that blew me away. I'm not in this game but $80,000 in seed purchase and I got a new 4 wheeler. My son was showing this to me and asked me what I thought, my comment was if they can afford to give me things like that for an order the seed is overpriced.
 

red angus 2010

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Stocker Steve":1attyub7 said:
red angus 2010":1attyub7 said:
The one I can't understand is during harvest some of the guys are so big they have to start on a certain day or they will not get done. They drive so fast thru the field that a week later they have left so much corn on the ground it looks like they have planted. I discussed this with one seed salesman and he indicated one of his clients was approaching 20 bu/ ac not making it into the combine hopper.

I don't suppose anyone gleans this grain with livestock?

These guys don't have cattle, I think they would argue that they are introducing organic material into the soil ( we don't have black dirt)

I thought about it, before frost cut, rake and silage wrap the bales.
 

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