During the 2006 drought year, cow-calf operators changed many of their normal production and marketing activities. In addition to the drought came higher fuel, fertilizer, and hay prices. This has caused the cost figure of running a breeding cow in the Texas Rolling Plains to rise to over $400 per breeding female. Given our production levels, this calculates to be an $84.00 per hundredweight breakeven price for the weaned calves. Many of these costs cannot be changed in one year. Ranchers should begin now to identify those costs that are too high so they can change. Then, as calf prices fall over the next several years, as analysts predict, the ranch will be able to profit. For commercial ranchers to prosper in low prices, it is imperative that they know how their operation is performing from both a production and financial standpoint.

To assist ranchers in determining these numbers as well as other performance measures, the Texas Cooperative Extension is offering a Beef Cow-calf Standardized Performance Analysis (SPA) Workshop at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center located south of Vernon. The course will be May 2, 2007 and will begin at 8:30 a.m. This will be a working workshop where the ranchers will be assisted in completing their own analyses. SPA provides ranchers an opportunity to analyze their ranch operations from both a production and financial side. SPA facilitates the comparison of an operation's performance between years, producers, production regions, and production systems. SPA is intended to be used as an annual tool by the cow-calf producer.

This is an intensive workshop with the intent being ranchers completing the analysis for the 2006 calf crop. Registered participants will be sent forms to organize data before the conference. Confidentiality of the producer's data will be maintained. Individual conferences will be held with producers. Each ranch will be provided an assistant and a computer. It is important to register early so you can be advised on how to organize your data for the SPA analysis.

The registration fee is $50 per ranch and includes the software, educational materials, lunch and refreshments. Interested persons can obtain additional information or register by contacting Stan Bevers, Extension Economist, at the Texas A&M University Center at Vernon at (940) 552-9941, extension 231.