What does that mean? The effectiveness of feeding a lot, or group of animals, is measured against an outcome or producing a desired result. Most of the time this outcome is to make a profit. Basic accounting tells us that the profit margin is the revenue of sales minus the cost of production/business. In order to increase the profit margin we need to increase the revenue of sales and reduce the cost of producing the revenue. How does materialize in the feedlot?
In order to increase the revenue of sales, we need to look at some factors influencing the sales revenue. The carcass weight is a major contributor. The desired result is thus to produce the highest carcass weight, your market allows you. If you produce the desired healthy carcass, conformation and grade, the price will be optimal for that period in time. The sum of weight and price, is the strongest determinant of the revenue of sale. There are some factors to consider that reduce the revenue of sales. Slaughtering an animal, which is sick, will lead to partial or full carcass condemnation. Cattle with a fever, tick-borne diseases, Lumpy skin disease, are a few conditions that fall in this category. Partial condemnation might include false bruising (parafilaria), liver abscessation due to liver fluke infestation and/or rumen damage from faulty feeding. Bruising falls in this group as well. All of these affect either the carcass weight and/or the price. Fortunately, there are remedies and or management practices to minimize these conditions. By doing that we support the revenue positively. Feeding the animals to the correct grade further supports the price of meat sold. The realization of a niche market can further positively support the increased revenue obtained.
The cost to produce the sales must be managed very carefully. Cost control is the key here and not least cost. Spending the least amount at the right time in order to maximize return on the investment is the desired result. The least cost feed formulation does not necessarily give you the best conversions and rate of growth. More of the cheaper feed increases total cost and does not control it. Cost of gain will increase. The same principle goes for medicines and remedies. The partial budget is the tool to implement and the key to control and manage costs.
The people that implement the protocols are another pivotal key in attaining the desired result. The ration delivery, health and management protocols execution, rely on the human employed. Traceability and the monitoring of the feedlot aids in the effectiveness of feeding and is playing an ever-increasing role. Effective feedlotting is mainly about making money, but animal welfare, documentation of good management practices, a good antibiotic stewardship might not necessarily increase the revenue directly, but are the future to secure a market from which revenue are created and thus an integral part of effective feedlotting.