COP Network Farm Summaries Overview

What Is the Cost of Production (COP) Network?

The Canadian cow-calf cost of production (COP) network provides a standard methodology that allows for the comparison of production systems across Canada and internationally with a global network.

Producers who signed up were grouped into similar production systems based on winter feeding days, calving and weaning dates. Data was collected through producer focus groups to produce benchmarks. A standardized methodology was used for all provinces.

The different eco-regions and production systems are outlined below in Tables 1 through 3. It should be noted that while the sample size was adequate to represent a specific production system for a region, these should not be used or assumed to be representative of a provincial average. As additional production systems are collected in the coming years, it will become apparent if the same size is representative or not.

This baseline cost of production data will reduce the response burden on producers by collecting structural information every five years and utilizing annual indexing for changes in input and output prices.

The COP network uses specific terms and calculations. Please refer to the glossary or COP Calculation Choices Fact Sheet, which provides a description of why different approaches are taken by different groups such as AgriProfit$ and the COP network.

Cost of Production Network Glossary

Cost of Production Network Glossary

Please refer to the comparison glossary for ease of reference to terms used from AgriStability and other familiar sources.

Comparison Glossary

Types of benchmarking

There are three types of benchmarking for cow-calf producers: self-comparison, provincial comparison, and peer group comparison.

A self-comparison can help producers evaluate incremental improvements in their operation across time. Benchmarking against provincial averages can explain the competitive environment of the producer location. Provincial benchmarks have been the historical method used by cow-calf producers but have not been the most efficient method for many operations. The COP network focus is to develop a peer group comparison of similar production systems and eco-regions for producers to compare and better evaluate their success. Through a peer group comparison, producers can match their production style and eco-region regardless of their provincial boundary to a group with similar traits.

WESTERN PROVINCES FARM SUMMARIES
Farm
Farm Description
Eco-Region
Herd Size
Winter Feeding Rotation
(lbs/cow/day as fed)

A cow-calf operation producing homegrown feed located in the rangelands and fruit producing region of the highly populated Okanagan.

Southern Interior

65

150 days on homegrown hay/haylage (25 lb dry matter), protein tub (1 lb) for 125 days throughout winter, and 70 g trace mineral and salt throughout the year.

A cow-calf operation producing predominantly homegrown feed located in the ranchlands of central B.C. characterized by plateaus, mountains and grasslands suited to cattle production.

Central Interior

90

210 days of winter feeding on homegrown hay (40 lb), grain screening pellets (4.5 lb) for 30 days at calving, with mineral (100 g) and salt (50 g) bale shredded on pasture.

A cow-calf operation with 418 head of beef cows, producing predominantly homegrown feed.

Fraser Plateau

418

60 days supplemented feeding on pasture with protein tubs (0.25 lb intake per head per day), followed by 130 days of full winter feed with mixed grass hay (35 lb).

A cow-calf operation with 88 head of beef cows, producing predominantly homegrown feed on irrigated land and sells hay.   

Fraser Plateau

88

195 days of winter feeding on mixed grass hay (35 lb).

A cow-calf through yearling grasser operation with 133 cows, utilizing homegrown and purchased feed.

Columbia Mountains and Highlands

133

165 days on hay (25 lb) and straw (10 lb).

A cow-calf operation with 37 cows, utilizing purchased feed.

Thompson-Okanagan Plateau

37

186 days on hay (40 lb), and protein supplement (0.5 lb).

A mixed farm with cow-calf, backgrounding and cash crop production

Aspen Parkland

212

60 days of swath grazing followed by 190 days winter feed with grain silage (60 lb), hay (6 lb) and barley (3.3 lb), mineral and salt (100 g)

A cow-calf and backgrounding operation producing predominantly homegrown feed

Aspen Parkland

280

80 days of swath grazing followed by 146 days of winter feed with grain silage (36 lb), hay (10 lb), straw (3.6 lb), barley (2.4 lb), greenfeed (3.5 lb), and mineral and salt (100g)

A mixed farm with cow-calf, backgrounding, and cash crop production.

Rocky Mountain Natural Region

172

54 days of swath grazing followed by 180 days of winter feeding with hay (23.5 lb) + silage (6 lb) + straw (6 lb), mineral and salt (100 g)

A mixed farm with cow-calf and cash crop production

Fescue Grassland

60

20 days of swath grazing followed by 191 days on winter feed with hay (21 lb), straw (7 lb) and greenfeed (15 lb), with mineral and salt (100 g)

A mixed farm with cow-calf, backgrounding and cash crop production

Peace Lowland

221

51 days of swath grazing followed by 184 days on winter feed with grain silage (11 lb) + straw (6.5 lb) + greenfeed (5.6 lb) + hay (4.8 lb) + barley (3.8 lb), mineral and salt (100 g)

A cow-calf operation producing predominantly homegrown feed in one of the most productive agricultural regions of the prairies

Aspen Parkland

164

35 days of swath grazing followed by 117 days winter feed with hay (28 lb), straw (11 lb), grain (2 lb), mineral and salt (100 g)

A mixed farm with cow-calf, backgrounding and cash crop production with 161 head of beef cows, utilizing predominantly homegrown feed.

Boreal Transition

161

40 days of aftermath grazing on cereal and oilseed field, followed by 198 days on alfalfa/grass hay (17 lb), barley silage (22 lb).

A cow-calf and backgrounding operation with 376 head of beef cows, producing predominantly homegrown feed.

Aspen Parkland

376

189 days on hay (38 lb) and grain (0.3 lb).

A cow-calf and backgrounding operation with 91 head of beef cows, producing predominantly homegrown feed.

Boreal Transition

91

219 days on hay (45 lb).

A mixed farm with cow-calf, backgrounding and cash crop production with 133 head of beef cows, utilizing predominantly homegrown feed.

Aspen Parkland

133

14 days of oats swath grazing, followed by 198 days on hay (30 lb).

Mixed operation with 236 cows and cash crops (canola and wheat), sell at weaning. About half of the crop land is for forage production, half is for cash crop.

Boreal Transition

263

194 days on cereal silage (36 lb) and hay (24 lb).

A cow-calf operation with 155 head of beef cows, producing predominantly homegrown feed, sell at weaning.

Western Alberta Upland

155

60 days of swath grazing followed by 182 days on hay (34 lb) and greenfeed (7 lb).

A cow-calf and backgrounding operation with 78 head of beef cows, producing predominantly homegrown feed, sell half of the calves at weaning and background the rest for 99 days.

Mid-Boreal Uplands

78

214 days on hay (30 lb).

A cow-calf operation using both homegrown and purchased feed in southern Saskatchewan

Aspen Parkland

350

112 days of barley/oats swath graze followed by 68 days of corn grazing, then 42 days of hay (35 lb dry matter) and 70 g of mineral and salt year-round

A cow-calf operation purchased all feed

Boreal Transition

350

150 days of hay (36 lb/day) and year-round mineral at 70g/day

A cow-calf operation producing homegrown feed located in a dry mixed grassland region of Saskatchewan

Mixed Grassland

245

30 days (Nov-Dec) half ration of grass hay (15 lb) fed with field grazed cereal crop residue, followed by 150 days of hay (31 lb) combined with lentil, barley or malt pellets (3 lb), 210 days of free choice mineral (100 g) and year round salt (50 g)

A cow-calf operation producing predominantly homegrown feed located in one of the most productive agricultural regions on the prairies

Aspen Parkland

120

60 days of bale grazing at 3% body weight with 5-10% wasted (45 lbs) followed by 60 days of corn grazing and then 45 days of greenfeed (30 lb) + hay (9 lb)

A cow-calf operation producing cash crops and predominantly in-house purchased feed in a region dominated by spear and wheat grasses

Moist Mixed Grassland

135

60 days of stubble, aftermath grazing followed by 140 days of predominantly cereal silage (19 lb), hay (10 lb), straw and chalf (8 lb), cereal screenings (oat hulls or barley) (5 lb), and camelina meal (5 lb) delivered as a pre-mix on full winter feed days with loose mineral (100 g) and salt (50 g)

A cow-calf operation producing cash crops and predominantly homegrown feed in one of the most productive agricultural regions on the prairies

Aspen Parkland

135

186 days of predominantly cereal silage (35 lb) and alfalfa hay (14 lb) fed TMR with custom mineral mix (100 g), with barley grain (4.5 lb) included for 90 days. Total delivery dependent on dry matter of main silage ingredient (corn, barley, oat)

A mixed cow-calf through yearling grasser and cash crop operation with 375 head of beef cows, utilizing predominantly homegrown feed.

Aspen Parkland

375

180 days on barley silage (25 lb) and hay (25 lb).

A mixed cow-calf through yearling grasser and cash crop operation with 950 head of beef cows, utilizing predominantly homegrown feed.

Mixed Grassland

950

45 days of after-math grazing on cereal stubble supplemented with alfalfa/grass hay (4 lb), followed by 135 days on alfalfa-grass hay (40 lb).

A cow-calf through yearling grasser operation with 950 head of beef cows, utilizing homegrown and purchased feed.

Mixed Grassland

950

30 days of cereal swath grazing, followed by 125 days on barley silage (55 lb) and straw (5 lb).

A mixed cow-calf and cash crop operation with 205 head of beef cows, utilizing predominantly homegrown feed.

Mixed Grassland

85

205 days on hay (19 lb), straw (8 lb) and barley grain (6 lb).

A cow-calf operation with 140 cows, utilizing predominantly homegrown feed.

Mixed Grassland

140

134 days on hay (35 lb) and barley grain (5 lb).

A commercial and pure-bred cow-calf operation with 200 cows, utilizing predominantly homegrown feed.

Mixed Grassland

200

165 days on barley silage (38 lb), hay (10 lb) and greenfeed (9lb).

A cow-calf operation with 160 cows, utilizing predominantly homegrown feed.

Mixed Grassland

160

165 days on barley silage (38 lb), hay (10 lb) and greenfeed (9lb).

A cow-calf and backgrounding operation with 125 cows, utilizing predominantly homegrown feed.

Aspen Parkland

125

30 days of swath grazing, followed by 151 days on greenfeed (35 lb) and hay (5 lb).

A mixed cow-calf through yearling grasser and cash crop operation with 290 cows, utilizing homegrown and purchased feed.

Aspen Parkland

290

165 days on greenfeed (17 lb), hay (10 lb), straw (8 lb) and pellets (3 lb).

A year-round grazing cow-calf operation with 448 cows, utilizing purchased feed to supplement on pasture.

Western Canada

448

60 days supplemented on pasture with hay (28 lb).

A cow-calf and backgrounding operation with predominantly homegrown feed in the Aspen Parkland of Manitoba

Aspen Parkland

320

Starting late October, 30 days of 20 lbs alfalfa hay supplemented on pasture, followed by 110 days of 30 lbs dry matter intake of standing corn with 10 lbs of alfalfa hay silage (65% DM), followed by 60 days of 34 lbs alfalfa hay and 5 lbs oat/pea straw with 57 grams of mineral throughout

A cow-calf operation that preconditions and produces cash crops and predominantly homegrown feed in cool, moist regions of Manitoba

Interlake Plain

225

180 days of  corn* silage (33 lb), hay* (17 lb), pellet (2 lb), grain (1 lb) with mineral (90g) and salt (45 g) throughout winter feeding, including 60 days with straw (9 lb). *Silage ingredient varied among producers as did dry matter of hay

A cow-calf, backgrounding and grain cash crop producing farm selling backgrounders and breeding heifers in one of the warmest, most humid regions for farming on the Canadian prairies.

Lake Manitoba Plain

270

210 days of hay (30 lb) and greenfeed (10 lb), for 110 days barley (1.5 lb) and DDG (1.5 lb) were also provided, mineral (75 g) was provided year round.

A cow-calf, backgrounding and grain cash crop producing farm selling backgrounders and breeding heifers in one of the warmest, most humid regions for farming on the Canadian prairies.

Lake Manitoba Plain

270

Main herd has 190 days of oat pea and corn silage (45 lb), cereal straw (12.5 lb), barley (3 lb) and mineral (75 g). Thin cows get 170 days of silage mix (60 lbs) with straw, barley and mineral, followed by 30 days of good quality alfalfa hay in field at calving (42 lb).

A cow-calf and backgrounding operation with 160 beef cows, utilizing predominantly homegrown feed.

Aspen Parkland

160

60 days corn grazing, followed by 90 days on hay (35 lb).

EASTERN PROVINCES FARM SUMMARIES
Farm
Farm Description
Eco-Region
Herd Size
Winter Feeding Rotation
(lbs/cow/day as fed)
Farm

A cow/calf and preconditioning operation producing cash crops and predominantly homegrown feed around Lake Simcoe-Rideau

Lake Simcoe-Rideau

50

175 days of 20 lb hay, 20 lb oatlage, 2lb corn screenings and a premix mineral pack

A spring and fall calving operation producing cash crops and predominantly homegrown feed around Lake Simcoe-Rideau

Lake Simcoe-Rideau

160

180 days on free choice (28 lbs) Hay, 5 lbs of corn distiller solubles with free choice mineral

A cow-calf operation with 50 beef cows, producing predominantly homegrown feed.      

Lake Simcoe-Rideau

50

165 days on hay (30 lb) and oat/pea silage (15 lb).

A cow-calf operation producing cash crops and predominantly homegrown feed around Lake Wabigoon

Lake Wabigoon (4S)

100

178 days bale graze 35 lb grass-legume mix (Oct to Feb), after calving 85 days on 35lb DMI oat/pealage bale (around 40% moisture)(March 1 to May 25) with 100g mineral throughout

A mixed commercial and purebred cow-calf operation with cash crop, utilizing predominantly homegrown feed.

Mixed Wood Plains 6E

52

212 days on corn silage(45 lb) and hay (23 lb).

A cow-calf and backgrounding operation with 59 cows, utilizing predominantly homegrown feed.

Ontario Shield (4S, 5S)

59

195 days on hay (36 lb) and protein supplement (0.5 lb).

A cow-calf operation that backgrounds for 90 days, uses 100% homegrown hay and retains replacement heifers

10. St. Lawrence Lowland

150

200 days of 36 lbs of hay, 50 g of mineral and 50 g of salt per day, provided year-round

A cow-calf operation that backgrounds for 120 days, uses 70% homegrown hay and retains replacement heifers

11. Quebec Maritimes

275

240 days of 38 lbs of hay, 75 g of mineral and 25 g of salt per day, provided year-round

A cow-calf operation that preconditions for 45 days, uses 100% purchased hay and purchases bred heifers as replacements

10. St. Lawrence Lowland

60

200 days of 40 lbs of hay, 50 g of mineral and 50 g of salt per day, provided year-round

A cow-calf operation with fall calving, that backgrounds for 90 days (30 days confined, then on pasture), uses 50% homegrown hay and retains replacement heifers

10. St. Lawrence Lowland

60

200 days of 35 lbs of hay, 100 g of mineral provided year-round

A cow-calf operation with 60 beef cows that purchases all replacement heifers and produces predominantly homegrown feed.

St. Lawrence Lowland

60

45 days supplemented on pasture, followed by 182 days on hay (39 lb) and corn grain (0.5 lb).

A mixed cow-calf and cash crop operation with 150 beef cows in two calving groups, backgrounds for 70 days, and uses predominantly homegrown feed.

St. Lawrence Lowland

150

30 days half supplemented on pasture, followed by 192 days on hay (38 lb) and oats (0.6 lb).

A mixed cow-calf and cash crop operation with 225 beef cows in two calving groups, backgrounds for 70 days, and uses predominantly homegrown feed.

St. Lawrence Lowland

225

200 days on hay (25 lb) and corn silage (24 lb).

A cow-calf operation producing homegrown feed with predominantly direct farm-gate sales of cull cows for boxed beef

Prince Edward Island

85

Bale grazing 180 days on dry hay (26 lb) and haylage (15), with mineral (100 g) and salt (61 g)

A cow-calf operation producing homegrown feed with some direct farm-gate cow sales of boxed beef

New Brunswick Uplands

35

Bale grazing 220 days on haylage (35 lbs) and dry hay (15 lbs), with mineral (77 g) and salt (64 g)

A cow-calf and backgrounding operation producing home-grown feed.

Annapolis – Minas Lowlands Ecoregion

70

195 days on hay (27 lb) and grass silage (40 lb).

A cow-calf and backgrounding operation producing home-grown feed.

South New Brunswick Uplands

60

230 days on haylage (53 lb).

A cow-calf and backgrounding operation producing home-grown feed.

Nova Scotia Highlands

46

150 days grazing standing corn (16 lb DM), supplemented with grass silage (15 lb) and hay (10 lb).

A pure bred operation with 48 head of beef cows, selling weaned calves and breeding cattle, producing homegrown feed.

Nova Scotia Highlands

48

210 days on grass silage (40 lb) and hay (10 lb).

DAIRY-BEEF FARM SUMMARIES
Farm
Farm Description
Eco-Region
Winter Feeding Rotation
(lbs/cow/day as fed)

Dairy Operation with overproduction of milk (raw or acid) taking calves to 300 lbs (using existing facilities)

Prince Edward Island

First 3 days, mother’s milk colostrum, 4L twice a day, from day 4 to 10 weeks old: free choice acidify milk (10L/day) and free choice calf starter (about 0.4kg/day), totalled 25kg/hd over the entire period of 9 weeks) and 2kg/day hay.  From 10-12 weeks, transition to 1kg/day calf starter and 6.5kg/day hay

No Dairy, using milk replacer, taking calves to 600 lbs (facilities developed)

Prince Edward Island

35 days 0.7 kg milk replacer and 0.6 kgs calf starter (increasing to 1kg by end), followed by 140 days of 4.2 kg whole corn and 1.25 kg pellet supplement with a transition period between rations

Mixed operation taking bob calves to slaughter weight (using existing facilities)

Finishing ration is silage based delivered at 37 lbs/hd/day, including corn silage (20.5 lbs with D.M. 30%), grass silage (6.6 lbs), barley (9.9 lbs with D.M. 86%) and ATB mineral/rumensin mix (100 g)

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