How can we make a better cattle future in Ky

Backgrounding & feeding questions.
User avatar
Ky hills
GURU
GURU
Posts: 1776
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 5:54 pm
Location: Clark County, KY
Has thanked: 63 times
Been thanked: 20 times

How can we make a better cattle future in Ky

Post by Ky hills » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:15 pm

The other thread about making Ky cattle great again is very interesting, but being that I am a peon cattle farmer in Ky I am interested in how to make the business better.
Others as well as myself have mentioned some horrid circumstances and conditions that some cattle are in. I am convinced that it is not only here but other places as well, and I'm know that it is just a few in comparison to the cattle industry as a whole. I firmly believe that over all Ky cattle are just as good at this point in time overall than about anywhere else. I think most farmers recognize a need for using good quality Bulls. Most certainly understand that maintaining healthy cattle is vital to their herds success. The BQA guidelines are I believe largely followed and adhered to.
Brookhill commented about that our cattle here sell for peanuts, while I think that is an exaggeration I do wonder if there are ways that we smaller producers could maximize a bit more profit. It is common knowledge that when selling one or two head they sell considerably less than a group of even 5 or more. I have been selling calves through CPH sales were calves are weaned for at least 45 days, vaccinated twice according to requirements. Those calves are then graded and grouped out accordingly and commingled with other consignors calves giving a larger group to sell. I like these type programs and try to sell in them. There is also a similar sale specifically for Hereford influenced calves. The problem is there are only a few of those sales and sometimes the market changes drastically before sale time. Some Angus breeders that I know of have some similar sales for their bull customers. Selling to programs like CAB and Creekstone have been mentioned but I am thinking that is only an option for producers with fairly sizeable herds. Would be possibly good if something was put together where several farmers could go together and have a larger group of calves. I have mentioned to an Angus man about that maybe the association could help with it, I was laughed at he said they didn't have to everything was Angus anyway. I heard it mentioned once from a stockyard rep that they were looking at the possibility of an Angus source sale, but haven't heard any more about that.

User avatar
TN Cattle Man
GURU
GURU
Posts: 2816
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:16 am
Location: Palmyra, TN
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 8 times

Re: How can we make a better cattle future in Ky

Post by TN Cattle Man » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:53 pm

Well, these are my thoughts... If you are selling your calves at an auction, you have to remember that the buyers are trying to buy at the lowest possible price, and you are basically giving away around $20.00/hd just to sell them (fees and such). You may be doing everything right (weaned 45, 2 rounds of shots, etc.) and you are lucky if you get any more than the guy who weaned his calves on the way to the sale. Remember, these auctions are just selling pounds... sure they get "graded" as a 1,2, or 3 in most cases, but you are still just selling pounds. When the cattle market was at its peak, one could do no wrong by taking them to the sale because everyone was making money! Now that the markets have gotten a lot tighter, one must look at all their options if trying to make a living in the cattle business.
If you are confident in the quality of beef that you are producing, I would suggest retaining ownership and taking them all the way through the feedlot and getting paid on Grade directly from the packer. This is difficult for most to do because you will be using your own dime and not seeing any return for over a year. Plus, you will have to do your research on the best feedlots that you want to use that won't break the bank in shipping them there. This is the only true way that I know of to be rewarded financially for exactly what you are producing (unless you are selling your own finished beef directly to the consumer). It will make you study EPD's and everything else when it comes to making decisions in the business... traits like Ribeye and Marbling will make a greater impact on your bottom line then Calving Ease. Once you have established yourself as a producer of good quality cattle, you will have no problem selling private treaty to those individuals who know how your cattle will perform.
As for me and my house... We will Serve the Lord!

User avatar
Bigfoot
Mentor
Mentor
Posts: 11880
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:31 pm
Location: Kentucky
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 14 times

Re: How can we make a better cattle future in Ky

Post by Bigfoot » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:59 pm

Good thread.

1. I’d say a large portion of our discount comes from location. Not much we can do about that.
2. We have a lot of cattle. You look at our state on a map, and those cattle only come from a few places. A cooperative approach to selling could work. It probably won’t, because of the independent nature of farmers, and a lack of any group to seek unity.
3. Ever add up what you spent in a year at the yard on marketing? It’s shocking. Get that $35 back, and add $10 per hundred back, and it would change a lot of things. Your talking about adding almost $100 of value per head. All you really need is a sorting area, scales, and the ability to load a truck.
4. I have always heard, that our cattle were partially discounted due to health issues. That may be true. If it is, I’d say it’s linked more to our weather than any other factor.
5. Also, when I’m buying something, I look for a discount when I can. Buyers have discounted our cattle for years, simply because they can.
6. You see these guys, post just like I do. Many areas of this country have a comparative advantage:growing season, some workable byproduct, able to make winter annuals actually work, super productive warm season grasses, the list goes on and on. What advantage do we really have? It’s not in our weather, or our forages.
Your not a small business owner. Your a stay at home mom trapped in a pyramid scheme.

User avatar
Bigfoot
Mentor
Mentor
Posts: 11880
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:31 pm
Location: Kentucky
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 14 times

Re: How can we make a better cattle future in Ky

Post by Bigfoot » Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:03 pm

On the CPH deal. I used to do it. Had a calf get by me one day getting them up to carry to the sale. Caught him the next week, and cut his ear tag out, and carried him to the sale. He brought a nickel more per pound than my CPH calves.
Your not a small business owner. Your a stay at home mom trapped in a pyramid scheme.

User avatar
Bright Raven
GURU
GURU
Posts: 8585
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:57 pm
Location: Kentucky
Has thanked: 116 times
Been thanked: 83 times

Re: How can we make a better cattle future in Ky

Post by Bright Raven » Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:17 pm

This is a very good thread. All the posts make good points. All I can add is this, but let me preface it by saying I am a small producer. Only 20 cows calving each fall. Nevertheless, I am not unique as a Kentucky producer because that is about the average size cow/calf operation.

My point is that given the small size of most Kentucky producers, there is not enough volume to make significant improvements in income no matter what changes you implement. I switched to a registered herd and AI because it challenged me but I certainly have a much better cash flow.
"Looking for an honest man".
Diogenes.

Hook2.0
Trail Boss
Trail Boss
Posts: 468
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 5:55 am
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Re: How can we make a better cattle future in Ky

Post by Hook2.0 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:35 pm

Bright Raven wrote:This is a very good thread. All the posts make good points. All I can add is this, but let me preface it by saying I am a small producer. Only 20 cows calving each fall. Nevertheless, I am not unique as a Kentucky producer because that is about the average size cow/calf operation.

My point is that given the small size of most Kentucky producers, there is not enough volume to make significant improvements in income no matter what changes you implement. I switched to a registered herd and AI because it challenged me but I certainly have a much better cash flow.
:clap: :clap: :clap:
Proud to be a multiplier

User avatar
True Grit Farms
GURU
GURU
Posts: 8429
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 4:29 pm
Location: Middle Georgia
Has thanked: 29 times
Been thanked: 89 times

Re: How can we make a better cattle future in Ky

Post by True Grit Farms » Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:42 pm

Bright Raven wrote:This is a very good thread. All the posts make good points. All I can add is this, but let me preface it by saying I am a small producer. Only 20 cows calving each fall. Nevertheless, I am not unique as a Kentucky producer because that is about the average size cow/calf operation.

My point is that given the small size of most Kentucky producers, there is not enough volume to make significant improvements in income no matter what changes you implement. I switched to a registered herd and AI because it challenged me but I certainly have a much better cash flow.

You seem to be married to your cows. Which isn't a problem if that's what you want. You're doing your best to promote Kentucky cattle. And being an active part of the cattlemens association is an A+.
If we'd of know this we'd of picked our own cotton.

User avatar
Bright Raven
GURU
GURU
Posts: 8585
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:57 pm
Location: Kentucky
Has thanked: 116 times
Been thanked: 83 times

Re: How can we make a better cattle future in Ky

Post by Bright Raven » Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:48 pm

True Grit Farms wrote:
Bright Raven wrote:This is a very good thread. All the posts make good points. All I can add is this, but let me preface it by saying I am a small producer. Only 20 cows calving each fall. Nevertheless, I am not unique as a Kentucky producer because that is about the average size cow/calf operation.

My point is that given the small size of most Kentucky producers, there is not enough volume to make significant improvements in income no matter what changes you implement. I switched to a registered herd and AI because it challenged me but I certainly have a much better cash flow.

You seem to be married to your cows. Which isn't a problem if that's what you want. You're doing your best to promote Kentucky cattle. And being an active part of the cattlemens association is an A+.


I like my cows. I love my son.
"Looking for an honest man".
Diogenes.

Dave
GURU
GURU
Posts: 7234
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2004 1:35 pm
Location: Baker County, Oregon
Been thanked: 35 times

Re: How can we make a better cattle future in Ky

Post by Dave » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:01 pm

I know that back when I first met Dun online (2002 or 03) he was marketing through a cooperative. As I recall cooperative extension helped them to set it up. There has to be that model out there somewhere. Simply put potloads of similar size and breeding cattle that are weaned and vaccinated will bring more money. That is true if you sell them direct or on the video. Doing that will not only bring more money per pound but will reduce shrink, selling, and transportation costs.

User avatar
Ky hills
GURU
GURU
Posts: 1776
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 5:54 pm
Location: Clark County, KY
Has thanked: 63 times
Been thanked: 20 times

Re: How can we make a better cattle future in Ky

Post by Ky hills » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:06 pm

Dave wrote:I know that back when I first met Dun online (2002 or 03) he was marketing through a cooperative. As I recall cooperative extension helped them to set it up. There has to be that model out there somewhere. Simply put potloads of similar size and breeding cattle that are weaned and vaccinated will bring more money. That is true if you sell them direct or on the video. Doing that will not only bring more money per pound but will reduce shrink, selling, and transportation costs.


Dave, I have often thought that marketing that way would be a great option. I saw on RFD a couple years ago about a program like that in Virginia, and thought it sounded good.

User avatar
Ky hills
GURU
GURU
Posts: 1776
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 5:54 pm
Location: Clark County, KY
Has thanked: 63 times
Been thanked: 20 times

Re: How can we make a better cattle future in Ky

Post by Ky hills » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:11 pm

Bigfoot wrote:On the CPH deal. I used to do it. Had a calf get by me one day getting them up to carry to the sale. Caught him the next week, and cut his ear tag out, and carried him to the sale. He brought a nickel more per pound than my CPH calves.


I have kept calves a month or 6 weeks longer just to put them into a CPH sale, only to see the market drop significantly before that sale. This year we sold some but held on to some smaller ones hoping the market gets better in the spring.

mrvictordomino
Trail Boss
Trail Boss
Posts: 397
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: KY
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 12 times

Re: How can we make a better cattle future in Ky

Post by mrvictordomino » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:05 am

Dave wrote:I know that back when I first met Dun online (2002 or 03) he was marketing through a cooperative. As I recall cooperative extension helped them to set it up. There has to be that model out there somewhere. Simply put potloads of similar size and breeding cattle that are weaned and vaccinated will bring more money. That is true if you sell them direct or on the video. Doing that will not only bring more money per pound but will reduce shrink, selling, and transportation costs.

The Adair county cattlemen's association here in KY has a program simular to what Dave is discribing. Don't know all the paticulars about it as I sell my straight bred Hereford feeder cattle in the Hereford influence sale. Only problem in waiting for the fall sale is the fact the market can change like it did this fall.... Not for the better either.
www.jmsvictordomino.com

User avatar
Ky hills
GURU
GURU
Posts: 1776
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 5:54 pm
Location: Clark County, KY
Has thanked: 63 times
Been thanked: 20 times

Re: How can we make a better cattle future in Ky

Post by Ky hills » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:56 am

mrvictordomino wrote:
Dave wrote:I know that back when I first met Dun online (2002 or 03) he was marketing through a cooperative. As I recall cooperative extension helped them to set it up. There has to be that model out there somewhere. Simply put potloads of similar size and breeding cattle that are weaned and vaccinated will bring more money. That is true if you sell them direct or on the video. Doing that will not only bring more money per pound but will reduce shrink, selling, and transportation costs.

The Adair county cattlemen's association here in KY has a program simular to what Dave is discribing. Don't know all the paticulars about it as I sell my straight bred Hereford feeder cattle in the Hereford influence sale. Only problem in waiting for the fall sale is the fact the market can change like it did this fall.... Not for the better either.


Thank you Mr Victor Domino, for posting that. I wish that our county would try to do that as well. I know what you are saying that Sale had cost me having to wait for it. In my opinion it was better for me when it was held in the last of October/first of November. I have been dissappointed ever since they moved it to December. I was told the reason was they were getting several calves from West Virginia, and Pennsylvania and theirs weren't ready until later because of a later calving time.

User avatar
Brookhill Angus
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 715
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:45 pm
Has thanked: 41 times
Been thanked: 61 times

Re: How can we make a better cattle future in Ky

Post by Brookhill Angus » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:06 am

Here Are my thoughts. There seems to be a common theme among some, not all, but some producers that the yards are where you bring the bottom of the barrel. Producers also think that steers should be those animals that don’t cut the mustard. I see things differently.

Let’s look at the facts. Producers in Kentucky are small for the most part, 20 animals or less, on the registered side even less animals than that. If you are running a small herd, why not focus on running the best? Take a look at the weekly report out of Bluegrass Stockyards, “fancy black” is what brings in the money. I like to go where the money is, not run away from it.

If I was starting from scratch, I would buy 5-10 registered Angus heifers and AI them all, and build from there, or buy the best bull you can afford to get going, use him for two years max, the. Sell him, if he is high quality and taken care of, he will have a solid residual.

Given what you have above, there are many options. Let’s say you have 5 high quality heifers, AI them sexed semen to say SAV Raindance. In about 9 months you will have 10 heifers assuming things go well. If you want to do it again, you will have 20 heifers in relatively short order. 15 of which are direct AI daughters that are high quality.

Now you have 20 or so registered heifers than when compared to 20 commercial heifers are worth double or triple the amount of money. These 20 heifers form your base. If you just want to cash flow, you AI them all sexed semen to a bull like Black Onyx from ST genetics, and band them all at birth. At 205 you have 20 black “fancy steers” that will probably be worth $20k or more. Compare that to a commercial steer.

This sounds intensive but it’s not, in fact it’s totally doable. Mental blocks are your biggest barrier.

Registered animals are no different to take care of versus commercial and they command much higher prices. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to join Angus Association, go find a reputable breeder and get started. We are retaining all of our heifers right now, but Stone Gate and Boyd’s always have nice heifers for sale each year.

If you don’t want to go the AI route, buy the heifers and a bull. How do you think Angus operations were started in the old days? They had 4-5 heifers and a young bull and they let nature do it’s thing. Read about the Wye Plantation for some guidance.

Just because you have a small herd, don’t think it can’t be a very high quality herd. People get too hung up on what others are doing, or “I can’t compete with the “Big Boys” mentality. The only difference between you and the big boys is herd size and certain marketing advantages, but overall, that straw of semen can be a great equalizer same with embryo transfer.

I’ve used this example before, look at Pappy Van Winkle, not a huge operation, but definitely in high demand, same with Old Pogue in Maysville Kentucky, their bourbon sells out in minutes at a very high premium. People gravitate to quality.

User avatar
farmerjan
GURU
GURU
Posts: 2317
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:54 pm
Location: Shenandoah ValleyVirginia
Has thanked: 48 times
Been thanked: 14 times

Re: How can we make a better cattle future in Ky

Post by farmerjan » Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:32 am

Here in Va just south of us is the Botetourt Co. Assoc that is doing a cooperative marketing. They are selling several times a year and several farmers in this area are getting involved with it. It is not just for that county, it is just where it all got started. They have certain requirements like BQA and the calves are tagged and they follow through with them. Most here are sent to Pa feeders. They will take any from 400lbs. on up, and try to group a load accordingly and they get sent to different places. We are considering trying it but in the past we have done some other programs and found that we would usually do as well with just selling at our local sale barn. If you are interested, try calling the Extension service in Botetourt Co. Va. I'm sure they would talk to you and maybe help steer you to something in your area if there is something.

Post Reply