Efficiency is expressed as the unit of input required to produce a unit of output, and yield is the total product generated per unit of time or space. Both concepts address waste as a negative characteristic and drive toward improved profitability.
Why is this indicator important to the cow-calf sector?
Improving the efficiency and yield of the cow-calf sector involves consideration and optimization of every facet of the operation, including maximizing efficiency of the animal converting inputs (forages, grains) into a high-quality protein, improving reproductive efficiencies, and minimizing waste (resources, time and capital). To aid in the optimization of animal productivity, a cow-calf producer should implement an operation-specific strategy.
Is there a strategy implemented to optimize animal productivity through improved nutrition, reproduction, genetics, technologies and practices appropriate to their operational goals and context?
Why did we choose this metric?
Cow-calf operations who optimize animal productivity will use fewer amounts of resource inputs for the same unit of output which benefits both the overall sustainability of the beef industry and the profitability of their individual operation.
The metric for efficiency and yield intersects with the indicators (and their associated metrics) for water resources, land resources, air and GHG emissions, and animal health and well-being. Sustainability outcome improvements in one of these metrics can positively influence improved outcomes in the other metrics.
Improvements in the efficiency and yield sustainability outcomes based on operation implementation of a strategy to optimize animal productivity include (on a per unit basis):
- Increased animal performance and efficiency
- Reduced idle animal units
- Increased calving rate
- Decreased morbidity
- Decreased mortality
- Reduced input costs
- Increased profitability
Why do these outcomes matter?
In the cow-calf sector, there are multiple ways to improve animal productivity that relate back to both biological and economic efficiency. For example, determining pounds weaned per exposed female (calculated by dividing the total pounds of weaned calves by the number of exposed females) is a common measure in evaluating productivity in the cow-calf sector. This measure embeds economically-relevant biological outcomes, such as pregnancy rate, calf death loss percentage, and the genetic potential of the herd in terms of growth and maternal traits.
Optimizing animal productivity of a given operation by using measures such as pounds weaned per exposed female is contingent upon a multitude of factors; thus, the most appropriate strategy depends upon the location and resources available to a given cow-calf operation.
Increase efficiency and yield through improved nutrition, reproduction, genetics, technology, and practices.
How does this metric continuously improve beef sustainability?
Cow-calf operations who optimize animal productivity will use fewer amounts of inputs for the same unit of output, benefiting both the overall sustainability of the beef industry and also the profitability of their individual operation.