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Agricultural economists recommend ‘SPA’ for cattle producers

published: July 27th 2018
by: Paul Schattenberg
UVALDE – The Standardized Perfor-mance Analysis, or SPA, program is an indispensable tool for helping beef cattle producers determine the production and financial performance of their individual cow-calf enterprise, said the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economists now in charge of the program.
Dr. Rob Hogan and Bill Thompson, AgriLife Extension economists in Uvalde and San Angelo, respectively, have as-sumed responsibility for the SPA program of Texas A&M University  following the retirement of Stan Bevers, AgriLife Extension economist at Vernon.
“SPA is an analysis tool, not an accounting or production record system,” Hogan said.  “When used as designed, it allows a rancher to measure one cow herd against another, his or her ability as a rancher against a benchmark, or the financial health and stability of a particular cow herd or ranch.”
He said SPA helps identify potential areas for change and measures the producer’s progress in meeting business objectives.
“The standardized analysis facilitates comparisons between production years, producers, production regions and production systems,” Hogan said.
He said when producer data are pooled, individual data are not disclosed but regional performance averages and ranges can be observed. Participating producers are given a “report card” that shows how they rank with other producers in the database.
    “In no area of performance evaluation is there a greater need for standardization of terminology and calculation procedures than in the cow-calf  business,” Hogan said.
    He said assembling the necessary data is the most important step in the process. SPA data needs include production data, specific cattle inventories and financial data.
“SPA performance measures for cows include measures related to reproduction, production based on exposed females, grazing and raised feed land measures, and marketing and financial performance measures,” he said.
Hogan and Thompson will be hosting a booth presenting the Standardized Per-formance Analysis program to cattlemen and cattlewomen at the Beef Cattle Short Course from Aug 6-8 in College Station. Thompson also will be presenting a program on SPA at the Reproductive Physio-logy Session of the short course being hosted by Dr. Bruce Carpenter., AgriLife Extension livestock specialist, Fort Stockton.
“Anyone interested in learning about the SPA program is invited to come by and talk shop at the booth,” Hogan said.
The economists also noted AgriLife Extension has prepared software and worksheets to help producers implement SPA. They said these tools help organize production and financial data into a focused, well-defined performance analysis of the total farm or ranch and the cow-calf enterprise.
Additional information, including summary results for Texas cow-calf producers, is available on the Internet at http://agrisk. tamu.edu.
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