If you are not yet using Standardized Performance Analysis (SPA) to evaluate your cow-calf enterprise, now could be a good time to start. Kansas State University Extension Specialist Sandy Johnson says SPA is an information summary tool that helps users process production and financial data collected throughout the year into performances measures that are calculated according to a standardized format.

Dr. Johnson says the performance measure that tells the most about an operation is the cost to produce a pound of weaned calf or the unit cost of production.

For tax purposes, producers already have most of the information they need for the SPA analysis, he points out. The information includes a beginning and ending balance sheet, an income statement and a record of livestock sales and purchases. The information they often don’t have, at least to the detail needed for SPA, is that regarding herd inventory changes at certain times in the production cycle.

Ideally, producers should begin collecting SPA data early in the year and continue through the production cycle. For the beginning balance sheet, producers should record the number and estimated value of mature cows, heifers to calve in 2001, replacement heifer calves and bulls. Also list the market value of all machinery and equipment used by the cow-calf enterprise along with the quantity and market value for pastures and improvements.

Dr. Johnson notes that producers also should record all livestock sales, purchases and deaths and all harvested feed used, grazing resources used and all income and expenses related to the cow-calf enterprise. For assistance in implementing a SPA program on your operation, contact your local county Research and Extension office.