Another year has come and gone, and if you are like me, it seems like time is flying by quickly. This year brought both opportunities and a slew of challenges for beef producers. One thing consistent across times of market variability is: Planning and preparation are always a good thing. Below are some STEPs for your farm as we move into 2023.

Mullenix kim
Extension Beef Specialist and Associate Professor / Auburn University

Supplies – As we start a new year, think about ways to re-invest into the operation that will benefit you in the long term. With tight margins, it doesn’t have to be an extensive improvement. Instead, start small and just make one change. For example, a few places to start may be to look at your facilities and see what needs improvement. Assess fencing needs, areas to repair and if you can expand into areas you aren’t currently using to open up additional area for grazing.

Timeliness – Timeliness of decision-making can make a big difference at the end of the day. Being prepared to make a decision and implement it quickly can make all of the difference in the world. This is where following the calendar year can become important. With each changing season, there are always timely management decisions that must be made. Being aware of planting dates, knowing the right window for purchasing commodities, having a defined calving and breeding season, etc., are just a few things to keep in mind.

Expectations – Prioritizing areas of need and what we can feasibly accomplish can help us better focus our time and resources to make sure we are setting ourselves up for a more successful year. Having realistic expectations about what can be achieved is a noteworthy step. This is probably the hardest step for most of us in the cattle industry. The list is a mile long, but there is only so much time to do it.

Plan – Creating a plan for the year and sticking to it is easier said than done. However, starting out the new year with some ideas in mind of what needs to happen in the operation is important. Any management plan in a cattle operation should have realistic goals and expectations for the following: forages and land management, health, genetics, reproduction, supplemental feeding, equipment and facilities, marketing, capital, time and labor, knowledge and continuing education about the industry.