With hay and grain prices at historic highs, the cost of feeding open cows this winter will have a greater impact on profitability than ever before, says Michigan State University Extension specialist Frank Wardynski, PhD. With that in mind, he encourages cow-calf producers to make pregnancy testing a high priority. Producers can expect hay costs to total at least $225 to feed a cow for five months.

He also notes that producers with adequate feed resources will have the ability to sell open cows and replace them with pregnant cows. Replacing the open females can be done with only an extra $100 to $300 over the value of an average market cow. Feed resources of any kind are highly valuable this year, he concludes, and wasting them on open cows that are going to be unproductive next year will decrease profits.