To hold them or sell them ...

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of your favorite breed.
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Coosh71
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To hold them or sell them ...

Post by Coosh71 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:52 am

Good morning all. I wasn't sure where to put this, but here goes. We have a group of steer and heifer calves from a fall herd we weaned recently(we always keep our heifers). We typically wean the steer, get them straight and sell them. We have had a drier winter than most and now are getting great 1-1.5" slow soaking rain. We should have some great grass this summer. If the rain keeps coming for the next month or so I would have plenty of grass to hold them and grow them in their own pasture. I know a lot of you keep your calves for a year or longer. I won't have any added input costs by holding them over, other than maybe implanting steer. Question is for me, is it worth the $ to hold them over til October? Thanks a day y'all have a good day.



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Re: To hold them or sell them ...

Post by TCRanch » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:07 am

Quite often we hold our Spring calves for a year, letting them graze the brome. When we sell is contingent on the weather, current market & taxes for the year (which obviously wouldn't be the case in your situation). At least around here prices are slowly creeping up. If there's no additional input cost, I'd be tempted to hold them, keep a close eye on the market.

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Re: To hold them or sell them ...

Post by MRRherefords » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:40 am

I would hold on to them for now, like you said with green grass probably on the way, it may make you more money in the long run.

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Re: To hold them or sell them ...

Post by 1982vett » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:28 am

I like selling fall calves March - May. Market is usually stronger fora couple months because of the spring flush of grass the backgrounders have been growing all winter.
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Re: To hold them or sell them ...

Post by farmerjan » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:16 am

We are transitioning to selling more in the spring. Used to sell spring calves late fall, fall calves in the spring. Money is always better in the spring. If you are going to have that much "extra grass" why not rotate what you have and then stockpile more for the fall/winter?.
I don't know the markets there. But here, I would rather have too much grass, like last year with all the rain, than have the skies dry up and then HAVE to sell when things might not be as good. You can always make that extra grass into hay as a cushion against a dry spell. We got our bulls in with the cows later than we should have last year, so will have later spring calves, this year. Think we are going to hold them and wean after the first of the year and sell slightly bigger calves at 10+ months next spring. The fall calves on the cows now are also a little smaller/younger than we used to do it. We will see how things go for hay and such and make a decision. Plus will have to see what payments have to be made when, too. I would like to get the fall calves on the ground sooner rather than later, and then have more to sell in the spring. Would like to do more calving in April/May/June, then have decent sized calves to wean off in Jan/Feb and sell in Mar-May.
The "washy grass" last year has caused a bunch of cows to be open, some went back with the bulls in Nov and some will be going with the bulls in June-July this year. Terrible cow prices made us decide to keep these younger cows. Normally I don't allow much leeway but there has been a huge number of open cows here in this area and all the farmers are re-adjusting their strategies.

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Re: To hold them or sell them ...

Post by kenny thomas » Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:26 am

Look into Livestock Risk protection. With October future's price being much higher lock it in.
My thoughts only, don't bet the farm on them. KT

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Re: To hold them or sell them ...

Post by Coosh71 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:18 pm

farmerjan wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:16 am
We are transitioning to selling more in the spring. Used to sell spring calves late fall, fall calves in the spring. Money is always better in the spring. If you are going to have that much "extra grass" why not rotate what you have and then stockpile more for the fall/winter?.
I don't know the markets there. But here, I would rather have too much grass, like last year with all the rain, than have the skies dry up and then HAVE to sell when things might not be as good. You can always make that extra grass into hay as a cushion against a dry spell. We got our bulls in with the cows later than we should have last year, so will have later spring calves, this year. Think we are going to hold them and wean after the first of the year and sell slightly bigger calves at 10+ months next spring. The fall calves on the cows now are also a little smaller/younger than we used to do it. We will see how things go for hay and such and make a decision. Plus will have to see what payments have to be made when, too. I would like to get the fall calves on the ground sooner rather than later, and then have more to sell in the spring. Would like to do more calving in April/May/June, then have decent sized calves to wean off in Jan/Feb and sell in Mar-May.
The "washy grass" last year has caused a bunch of cows to be open, some went back with the bulls in Nov and some will be going with the bulls in June-July this year. Terrible cow prices made us decide to keep these younger cows. Normally I don't allow much leeway but there has been a huge number of open cows here in this area and all the farmers are re-adjusting their strategies.
Jan,
We also usually sell may/June calves that were born in Oct/Nov. We are good on hay and have several open pastures that we will rotate cows in and out some. But I have a section that I could put them on and they wouldn't really touch all the grass by fall. I could still put bulls or cows in that pasture and have good grass. Also, we have no payments, notes etc. We are an all cash or we don't do it type deal. I've just never kept calves always sell them after well weaned.

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Re: To hold them or sell them ...

Post by JMJ Farms » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:06 pm

This may be worth exactly what it costs you..... I’d sell now and if I didn’t need the money I’d buy some bred cows. No later than June. Money should be better than fall time. BUT, I’m not in your situation and only you can decide what will work best for you.
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Re: To hold them or sell them ...

Post by bird dog » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:12 pm

Agree with JMJ. I'm guessing they are around 600 lbs? If so they are in high demand at this time for grazers that have grass. You can receive a nice premium. On the other hand, they have to buy calves to do what you already have. Read the sale reports from last week. Demand is strong for what you have. Probably the best prices for the year are now.

If it was my place, I would be tempted to sell and buy 5 to 6 month bred older cows that are coming off winter in the thin condition. Graze them and calve them out before winter. Keep them separate from your main herd to avoid any disease problems. Sell the calves as wheat grazers. The now fatter cows go to the packers.

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Re: To hold them or sell them ...

Post by farmerjan » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:23 pm

I agree with both jmj and bird dog; on the selling and buying back some thin breds. They can be older cows, if the grass is good, you could put some weight on them, get the calves and do okay. We bought some 2-3 month bred cows for $510 ea. They are mostly "one and done" cows. They are a bit thin, but have some frame so will be heavier even after they calve. Looks like the seller might have been getting short of hay. They have rounded out already since we have had them on unlimited hay. But we should have some silage to feed this fall, and hopefully they will be in better flesh when they have the summer on grass. We also bought some 4-6 month bred heifers for $650 ea. They are nothing special, but I am giving them a little grain along with hay and they will have grass in another month once it warms up. I think they will do okay for us. I do not normally buy bred heifers because you could be buying a train wreck. But these are decent growth, and I will be monitoring them close, and if they calve out okay, they will be very worth it.

One thing here, heifers are pretty cheap in comparison to the steers. You might want to consider selling the steers, and if heifers are a good bit less like here, getting some heifers to graze out. Then you have the option of breeding them, or selling bigger and heavier, and they could be something someone else would buy to breed. Next year I hope to keep most of our heifers that are nice, and getting them bred for calves at 24-27 months. I think this cattle market is going to improve in 2021 or 2022.... and that breds and cows w calves might be up a fair amount over what they are now. We just had too much that needed to be paid this spring, to keep too many heifers to raise. We sold 10 to a guy who wants to raise and breed them, and I would have kept them under other circumstances. We do have 17 that will be coming off winter pasture, that should be bred for fall calves this year. They will get brought home and checked next week. I want to be able to do a little more buying if/when the prices are good to do so. We often will pick a single here and there as they often will go for less than the groups. Got 2 nice steers that were cheap a month or so ago. They will match some we have when the time comes to sell and hopefully make us a little money.

Am hoping to get to where we can be mostly an all cash deal too. But the cattle have been pretty much cash flowing the pasture rents and mortgages, as well as their normal costs. We are working towards that goal.

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Re: To hold them or sell them ...

Post by Coosh71 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:04 pm

bird dog wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:12 pm
Agree with JMJ. I'm guessing they are around 600 lbs? If so they are in high demand at this time for grazers that have grass. You can receive a nice premium. On the other hand, they have to buy calves to do what you already have. Read the sale reports from last week. Demand is strong for what you have. Probably the best prices for the year are now.

If it was my place, I would be tempted to sell and buy 5 to 6 month bred older cows that are coming off winter in the thin condition. Graze them and calve them out before winter. Keep them separate from your main herd to avoid any disease problems. Sell the calves as wheat grazers. The now fatter cows go to the packers.
Not quite 600# we did early wean them to relieve the cows. We left heifers on cows (we retain them). Market here for the calf weight I have would bring about $930/hd. Looking at last year mid October sales would bring $1250-$1350 depending on gain. I understand what your saying about the thin cows we use to do that some years. We did have good years and we also had some stuff and or die on us with no calf to pay for them. I don't see a down side to keeping the steer, and seeing how we like running them thru the summer. If the market starts getting crazy we can haul them.

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Re: To hold them or sell them ...

Post by gcreekrch » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:36 pm

My order buyer friend has told me grass cattle will make a dollar this year. I think you are making a good move.
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Re: To hold them or sell them ...

Post by snoopdog » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:47 pm

Just got off the phone discussing this very issue, and I can't add anything to the above comments, all good advice. The cull cow market is in the tank, the cow on feed report says there's too many, but things change quickly and I believe they will. You're in a very good position, with a surplus of grass and hay.
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