Marrying the Farm to the Ranch

Agriculture producers are constantly looking for ways to improve their bottom line. In this week's From the Ground Up, Bob French tells us about a local farmer and rancher who's married his farm and his ranch in an effort to be more efficient.

“Well, the short answer is everything’s economics, everything comes back to the economics of it.”

Lee Denena farms and ranches in the Brazos Bottom.

“I’m always looking for a way as a farmer and a rancher to have ways to produce, to be a complete turn-key operation from the standpoint of producing the beef, and producing the feed that produces the beef. We are hoping that the feed that we are able to produce is of higher value than just, say, the corn product that we could have produced.”

Some, but not all ranchers are also hay producers, but ranchers who aren’t also farmers can’t produce feed or feed supplements.

“If I can get all of my feed produced on one 140 acre block of corn, so that I have all of my feed being produced on that 140 block of corn, then take all of my Bermuda grass pastures and either run cattle on them, increase my herd, or go ahead and cut that stuff for hay, and market it to people who insist that they’ve got to have Coastal Berumda grass hay, and are willing to pay a premium for it, well I’m either selling more hay, which again, at the end of the day on the cattle operation what you’re doing is selling grass.”

Whether Denena’s feed production enables him to sell hay he produces to ranchers, or run more cows and sell more beef to put in the feed yard, it should positively affect his bottom line.

“If I can sell more grass, be it through more cattle or selling hay, and take what took 1000, 1300 acres of hayfield to feed these cattle, condense it down to 140 acres of a corn field, I feel like I’ve done something to be more efficient there too.”

And like most ventures, time will yield measurable results.
“My experience has been that experience is the only lesson that, I mean only teacher that’s going to get your where you need to be.”

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