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Budget spreadsheets available for small grain, stocker cattle fall

published: August 15th 2017
by: Blair Fannin

COLLEGE STATION – Budget spreadsheets are available for wheat growers and stocker cattle operators planning fall operations, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist.

“This time of year wheat and stocker operators are planning and organizing their activities for the coming months,” said Jerry Cornforth, AgriLife Extension economist in College Station. “Many are putting their plans together and these spreadsheets can assist with identifying and detailing the expenses of their operations.”

Producers can tailor spreadsheets to their operations, he said. For example, one enterprise may be on bottomland and another on terraced land with different expenses. Each of these operations can be separated into single tab entries. Each tab will calculate per acre and total enterprise costs from information entered for seed, fertilizer, chemicals, fuel, repairs and other costs.

A study examining the presence of salmonella in beef cattle feedyards was the focus of a series of studies by Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists and faculty in the department of animal science at Texas A&M University, College Station. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

Stocker budgets have expenses, such as calf cost, grazing cost, feed and veterinary expenses. Each tab also calculates a projected total return for a crop or a set of stockers, break-even prices and a sensitivity table.

“You can also do the same thing with any small grain crop,” Cornforth said. “A lot of farmers will be putting in small grains for grazing this fall or trying out a different small grain. These budget spreadsheets can help them estimate expenses and returns for these crops.”

For stocker operations, Cornforth said, separate tabs can be used for each weight class or grazing period to establish projected expenses and returns for different groups of cattle.  

“The copy function on the spreadsheet gives flexibility to model your operation into the spreadsheet,” he said.

The spreadsheets, Build Your Own Budgets, are available at More than 200 enterprise budgets for major crops and alternative production systems are available for the 12 AgriLife Extension districts across the state. There are also 40 livestock budgets.

Cornforth said the spreadsheets serve as a good risk management tool, allowing farmers and ranchers to evaluate potential changes to their operations based on a number of factors affecting profit or loss.

“Producers can makes changes to revenue or cost estimates and quickly see the impact on the potential profit or loss for a crop or stocker enterprise,” he said. “These spreadsheets give a producer the ability to evaluate many ‘what if’ scenarios quickly, hopefully allowing them to achieve better returns and reduce the overall risk to the operation. Budgets can be used throughout the growing season to keep tabs on production costs with profit/loss estimates being recalculated as costs change.”

A Machinery Cost Estimator spreadsheet is also available to help calculate and keep track of equipment costs. 

“It can calculate depreciation as well as annual hours of use and machinery expenses such as fuel, and labor,” he said.



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