Stocking Rate and the Hay Demon ?

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MO-Ruminants
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Re: Stocking Rate and the Hay Demon ?

Post by MO-Ruminants » Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:47 am

"What got you here won't get you there" is a quote that has held meaning for me in the past.

Can it be applied, generally, to the cattle business in any way?



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Re: Stocking Rate and the Hay Demon ?

Post by u4411clb » Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:34 am

Retail beef prices keep climbing but the cattleman’s check has stayed the same over last 20 years. But packers are making more and more every year.

You can’t reduce your herd or winter crop your way out of that.

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Re: Stocking Rate and the Hay Demon ?

Post by Stocker Steve » Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:02 am

There are people making good money in the cattle business, but they are probably not cow/calf producers. The overarching issue is that asset prices and input prices usually increase more than calf prices. So either you produce for no profit, or you find a way to reduce overheads.
Last edited by Stocker Steve on Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stocking Rate and the Hay Demon ?

Post by Stocker Steve » Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:09 am

MO-Ruminants wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:47 am
"What got you here won't get you there" is a quote that has held meaning for me in the past.

Can it be applied, generally, to the cattle business in any way?
I think so.
Stocker Steve

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Re: Stocking Rate and the Hay Demon ?

Post by Banjo » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:41 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:49 pm
Stocking heavy is OK as long as you have a destocking plan. Mine is having a hay carry over, and selling off yearlings as required.
Agree.....Here a 400 to 500 lb steer brings about the same per lb. as a 700 to 800 lb steer. I see a lot of light weight calves going thru the sale ring. I am thinking about keeping most of my steers over winter on stockpiled fescue into spring and sell at a heavier weight and just keep a modest amount of cows instead of every cow that I possibly can.

That's my opinion.....feel free to make it yours.

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Re: Stocking Rate and the Hay Demon ?

Post by Stocker Steve » Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:34 am

Doing whatever to keep more cows certainly makes cents when calves are $3, but those days are gone. At current calf prices some cows don't even pay their way. So you have to run the numbers for your own operation. I know I was overstocked, but regenerating soil with imported hay was one of my things.

I think some feeders are afraid of buying light calves right now w/o locking into a "profit". But this could still be a good option for your set up. I pulled a fertilizer buggy this fall because feeding cheap meadow hay won't put many pounds on a light calf.

The semi interesting thing is your return on labor & management, and your return on investment, should both improve if you generate a similar amount of profit with fewer cows. :idea: Maximizing production is a ongoing curse in many parts of ag.
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Re: Stocking Rate and the Hay Demon ?

Post by MO-Ruminants » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:46 am

I know I was overstocked, but regenerating soil with imported hay was one of my things.
Suppose you had lots of imported hay. You want to unroll it on your pasture to regenerate decrepit soil. You need to bring in cattle to eat the hay, impact the ground etc.

How would you fill the cattle part of the equation? Custom grazing dry cows? Purchasing 500 lb. steers and wintering? Holstein lightweights in the summer slump?

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Re: Stocking Rate and the Hay Demon ?

Post by Stocker Steve » Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:23 am

The RMC role models usually lease land and/or custom graze to make their investment lower, and thus increase the return on their investment. They claim double digit ROIs. Hard to find that level of return.

Bud said there was no reason to own cattle unless you were good at marketing. So your skill sets and your level of interest should provide direction on what to own.
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Re: Stocking Rate and the Hay Demon ?

Post by JParrott » Thu Sep 26, 2019 4:34 pm

Banjo wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:41 pm
Stocker Steve wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:49 pm
Stocking heavy is OK as long as you have a destocking plan. Mine is having a hay carry over, and selling off yearlings as required.
Agree.....Here a 400 to 500 lb steer brings about the same per lb. as a 700 to 800 lb steer. I see a lot of light weight calves going thru the sale ring. I am thinking about keeping most of my steers over winter on stockpiled fescue into spring and sell at a heavier weight and just keep a modest amount of cows instead of every cow that I possibly can.
The times I've figured it up, over ~900 pounds is where I start losing money. Up to there, the price per pound equals more dollars and covers feed & stocking costs. Years like this one, they can hang out all they want. Dry and hot or long winter years are a different story.

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Re: Stocking Rate and the Hay Demon ?

Post by Stocker Steve » Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:47 am

Just saw a grass farm turn around article in Graze mag that recommended stocking at least 500 lb/a in the Midwest to get nutrients cycling. So I ran some quick 2019 numbers. We have one system stocked at 800 lb/a, and the paddocks are fairly uniform and deep green. Grass follows cattle. We have another system where we are at about 500 lb/a, cut some hay in June, and the paddocks are inconsistent. Partly due to drainage, but also due to less N cycling.

So we are back to trade offs - - longer grazing season vs. better nutrient cycling.
Stocker Steve

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