Custom Grazing Survey 2007:
Strategies and Implications
Most of the custom-grazing operations that were interviewed
were at capacity (76 percent). In both stocker and cow-calf
operations, about half of those at full capacity would expand if
more pasture acres were available.
In both stocker and cow-calf operations, 15 percent were at capac-
ity and planned to decrease their numbers because of reasons in-
cluding: limited time and labor supply, expanding their own cattle
herd, higher pasture rental costs, and less pasture land available.
Seventy-fi ve percent of both cow-calf and stocker operations saw
custom grazing as part of their long-term farm strategy. They
enjoyed the regular cash fl ow and diversity that custom grazing
brings to their total farm operation.
Those not considering custom grazing as a long-term farm strategy
indicated they were doing custom grazing as a stop-gap measure
because of a lack of capital, or they were waiting out the current
cattle cycle, or they were just trying it for a short while.
Several custom-grazing operations were using incentives or sur-
charges in the contracts to reward better management or to charge
for extra labor provided.
Incentives or surcharges mentioned included:
u $1 chute charge per time through chute
u $35-$37 incentive for live calf weaned from fi rst-calf heifers
u $25-$30 incentive per live calf weaned from cows
u $200 incentive per calf that exceeds a 90-percent calf crop
u $10-$25 incentive per live calf born
u $20-$30 labor charge per cow calving in the spring
u $15-$20 labor charge per cow calving in the fall
u $5-$15 AI labor charge per cow
u $35 per cow for providing bulls
u $250 per bred heifer in the fall for all costs, including artifi -
cial insemination (AI), from April 15 to Sept. 15
u 25 cents per hour per day for a contract “manager” fee
Items to include in custom-grazing leases
Custom-grazing operators were asked to respond to this question:
What are the issues to cover in custom-grazing leases, the pitfalls