Advice on building a herd in Central Texas - sale barns vs breeders

Help Support CattleToday:

Warren Allison

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
554
Reaction score
323
Location
Georgia
How narrow? I like my chutes 28" wide. It takes an exceptionally large animal to not be able to push through, and you don't want a small cow or large calf to turn around in the chute and come back at you.

By the way, below is the drawing I did for some pens I built at a rent pasture about 10 years ago. It works pretty well. If I was going to change anything I'd have the alley at top 10' wide instead of 12'.

View attachment 8451
Damn what professional looking plans you draw. Are you a draftsman, architect etc by trade? Is this rough cut saw mill 1x"s, or dressed pressure treated? If rough-cut, what kind do y'all use there? Here, we'd use pine saw mill rough cut for buildings, and rough cut oak for the pen/corral sides. Good job, Rafter S
 

Warren Allison

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
554
Reaction score
323
Location
Georgia
Well I could argue with that. I know what those calves will really bring, and what they'll realistically weigh. I also know what those cows will trade in for.
I've probably had more Corrientes than you think. I'm not bothered by a keyboard cowboy calling me pigeon either. Better than a turkey 😂.
And I have just seen, for the 100th time since the 90's, what these black calves bring. The same as any other 500 lb, trailer weaned,. non-condition commercial black Angus or black crosses Angus crosses bring. But, tell us, oh Wise One...what breed of cattle are YOUR cows, that wean calves at 6 months that bring twice what their mommas cost?
 

callmefence

Hobby rancher
Joined
Mar 7, 2016
Messages
8,097
Reaction score
2,082
Location
Fencemans place...central Texas
And I have just seen, for the 100th time since the 90's, what these black calves bring. The same as any other 500 lb, trailer weaned,. non-condition commercial black Angus or black crosses Angus crosses bring. But, tell us, oh Wise One...what breed of cattle are YOUR cows, that wean calves at 6 months that bring twice what their mommas cost?
I never said my calves bring twice what they're mama cost...I'm not a liar.
I'm also know enough to know just turning a calf black doesn't make it bring more. I also know a good buyer can tell a good calf from a calf that won't perform well. ....I also know Corrientes can calve char x calf's without any problem.
I also know enough to realize that the norm in my market is not the same everywhere. .....you need anything else.?
 
OP
TdJ

TdJ

Active member
Joined
Feb 24, 2017
Messages
40
Reaction score
39
Location
Central Texas, Hamilton County
Here is a link to one of Johann Zietsman's workshops in Florida, might give some useful information on adapted traits etc - https://sangacattle.webs.com/apps/videos/videos/show/18906811-sustainable-ranching Some articles by Johann, sourced (with Johann's permission) from the "Farmers Weekly"


I bred Wiltipers and later Dorpers on my Ranch, the Dorpers were far less trouble than my in laws Merinos in South Africa. the farm invasions were, like the war before, something difficult to discuss even all these years later, but probably need to be recorded for historic reference.
@andybob, can't thank you enough for sharing. This is pure gold. I'm tackling the videos in chunks, super impressed with his application of wisdom and hard data. I'm on day 1, part 6 and my brain is full.

Some of it is familiar, learnt growing up with Jersey and Freisian in the dairy. We used to shake our heads at the milk fat content fluctuations and moved to a pure Jersey herd. That size/energy/conversion math makes a ton of sense in his videos. But to be fair there's a ton in here I've never read or heard, thankful you sent. I'm bookmarking and keeping for future reference. Will build his spreadsheet so I can track the journey, it adds 50% to a model I built about 10 years ago when I started thinking seriously about taking this leap.
 
OP
TdJ

TdJ

Active member
Joined
Feb 24, 2017
Messages
40
Reaction score
39
Location
Central Texas, Hamilton County
By LH I mean longhorn. That's what we started with. This was 2014 when black hided cows were going for $3+/lb at the sale barn. So we went less expensive to try and get our feet wet. I didn't lose money on them b/c I sold them all as freezer beef, BUT! I could have made a lot more money starting in Angus. What I found is that the local gene pool was really shallow, and to drive and buy new genetics but the price of cattle more than the $3/lb to stay local and buy Angus. You can get semen for AI, but most of the AI guys don't stock LH, so I would have had to buy a tank and ship myself. Again, added expense. Then to sell them, the breeder market is pretty saturated, I don't have roper contacts, and the sale barn is not an option. I could go on, but this should give an idea on my thought process.

Yes, black bull is anything angus genetics.

I went black Angus b/c they sell well at my local sale barn. I can get the AI to stick them with a variety of genetics, and I can put hereford in there to get baldies, or Simmental to get Simiangus. Also, within 20 minutes of the house I've got a dozen breeders. Finally, doing freezer beef, they grow well, quickly, and sell easy.

Hope this stuff helps.
This is super helpful and really hits home. I'm trying to figure out the same as you did - how to start without spending crazy money but still make a return. Saw a great looking black angus bull at the sale barn on Saturday but not keen on making any knee jerk purchases with my still limited knowledge. Hoping to make some calls this week and see what's available, spend some time looking at what folks have in the surrounding counties. Did you ever dabble in buying weaned bulls and selling to packers?
 
OP
TdJ

TdJ

Active member
Joined
Feb 24, 2017
Messages
40
Reaction score
39
Location
Central Texas, Hamilton County
How narrow? I like my chutes 28" wide. It takes an exceptionally large animal to not be able to push through, and you don't want a small cow or large calf to turn around in the chute and come back at you.

By the way, below is the drawing I did for some pens I built at a rent pasture about 10 years ago. It works pretty well. If I was going to change anything I'd have the alley at top 10' wide instead of 12'.

View attachment 8451
I guess that's about what I have so probably be ok then. Back in ZA our chute was definitely a little wider but you're dead right - the biggest bonsmara bull we had managed to get down and through the neck clamp without too much effort. And he was a monster. I'm probably worrying about nothing!
 

Bestoutwest

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 28, 2012
Messages
2,914
Reaction score
25
Location
Idaho
This is super helpful and really hits home. I'm trying to figure out the same as you did - how to start without spending crazy money but still make a return. Saw a great looking black angus bull at the sale barn on Saturday but not keen on making any knee jerk purchases with my still limited knowledge. Hoping to make some calls this week and see what's available, spend some time looking at what folks have in the surrounding counties. Did you ever dabble in buying weaned bulls and selling to packers?
I'd stay away from sale barn bulls. Why is he there? Sterile? Throws big calves? Politeness issues?

I have never done that with calves, but a "quick" way to make some money is to sell off most of your calves and then retain a couple to sell as freezer beef. Selling off a bunch saves you hay, but the one or two you keep are going to be more valuable than 2, maybe 3, going to the sale barn. The downside to this is that you have to find buyers and have availability at a slaughterhouse. By doing this, though, I still made money on every LH animal that was on my place.
 

Warren Allison

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
554
Reaction score
323
Location
Georgia
5 cows per acre sure is a lot. Probably would not work here. I suspect it won't work in Texas either. Maybe the Texas "pigeons" will comment.
yeah, meant to say 5 acres per Corriente. Too late to edit.. I think you have 15 minutes til the edit button is gone. But, I think most people understood what was meant.
 

Warren Allison

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
554
Reaction score
323
Location
Georgia
Warren! Will you shut up about the Corrientes?! You will have every one trying to get in on the act
and ruining it for the rest of us. LVR
Yeah, I just had another board member on here.. a well-respected one.. contact me about getting him up a few Corriente cows. Like the first one, he wants all solid colored cows. I think both of these want to use something other than an Angus bull. I mean here, a red or white calf just won't bring as much as a black one. Maybe 20 to 30 cents a pound less. A 500 lb black steer at $1.50 would be $750. A 500 lb red may be 1.30 or a 500 lb Charx may be $1.20....$600. So I guess they are thinking the same principal would apply with using say.. Hereford or Char or red angus bulls. Might as well wean a 500 lb calf at 6 mos for $600 from a $300 cows, as one from a $1k or more cow. Plus the little to no feed and vet in meds costs...no calving problems, etc.

I am gonna shut up about them, though, except when a newcomer comes on here and asks advice. I think one reason I keep bringing the Ang x Corr thing up, is to convince myself about this one client. The guy I have been looking up Braford and F1 Br x Herefords for. It has taken so long (I am picky when buying for someone else more so that for myself) , that we have been talking about buying Brahma cows and just raise F1 Brafords. Here lately though, looking at his place , the condition of the pastures, his age and the amount of work he can put into it, I am going to talk to him next week while I am down there, about just buying Corr cows. It will take a lot to fill 450 acres of pasture..no matter which way we went: Braford cows, Brahma cows or Corr cows. Might just end up doing all 3 for now, I dunno.
 
OP
TdJ

TdJ

Active member
Joined
Feb 24, 2017
Messages
40
Reaction score
39
Location
Central Texas, Hamilton County
Yeah, I just had another board member on here.. a well-respected one.. contact me about getting him up a few Corriente cows. Like the first one, he wants all solid colored cows. I think both of these want to use something other than an Angus bull. I mean here, a red or white calf just won't bring as much as a black one. Maybe 20 to 30 cents a pound less. A 500 lb black steer at $1.50 would be $750. A 500 lb red may be 1.30 or a 500 lb Charx may be $1.20....$600. So I guess they are thinking the same principal would apply with using say.. Hereford or Char or red angus bulls. Might as well wean a 500 lb calf at 6 mos for $600 from a $300 cows, as one from a $1k or more cow. Plus the little to no feed and vet in meds costs...no calving problems, etc.
The weird thing is that back in ZA a red calf (say afrikaaner or bonsmara) brings a higher price than black or spotted, hereford or nguni. Other than stud of course. I wonder if there's a difference between Texas and Georgia? I think though that solid colored probably brings a higher price but I'm totally with you comparing a $300 cow vs $1k.
Ultimately I think it's about one of two things - either the highest price per pound or the most pounds per acres. Sometimes somewhere in between I guess. I'm leaning towards corr heifers (or something like that) with an angus bull and focusing on frame, reproduction and pounds per acre. The variation in price per pound can be countered by pounds per acre.
I am gonna shut up about them, though, except when a newcomer comes on here and asks advice. I think one reason I keep bringing the Ang x Corr thing up, is to convince myself about this one client. The guy I have been looking up Braford and F1 Br x Herefords for. It has taken so long (I am picky when buying for someone else more so that for myself) , that we have been talking about buying Brahma cows and just raise F1 Brafords. Here lately though, looking at his place , the condition of the pastures, his age and the amount of work he can put into it, I am going to talk to him next week while I am down there, about just buying Corr cows. It will take a lot to fill 450 acres of pasture..no matter which way we went: Braford cows, Brahma cows or Corr cows. Might just end up doing all 3 for now, I dunno.

Definitely don't stop giving the goodness, you're teaching me a ton and I'm sure others as well!
 

Warren Allison

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
554
Reaction score
323
Location
Georgia
The weird thing is that back in ZA a red calf (say afrikaaner or bonsmara) brings a higher price than black or spotted, hereford or nguni. Other than stud of course. I wonder if there's a difference between Texas and Georgia? I think though that solid colored probably brings a higher price but I'm totally with you comparing a $300 cow vs $1k.
Ultimately I think it's about one of two things - either the highest price per pound or the most pounds per acres. Sometimes somewhere in between I guess. I'm leaning towards corr heifers (or something like that) with an angus bull and focusing on frame, reproduction and pounds per acre. The variation in price per pound can be countered by pounds per acre.
What makes black calves more valuable, is the American Angus Associations Certified Angus Beef program. Do some research and reading on it, and it will make sense. Calves from Georgia, Texas, and the other states, all end up at the same feedlots, and from there, the same processors, so not a regional thing.

Not only will your Corr cows costs 1/3rd. 1/4th or less than a beef cow, but they will eat a lots less. and they will do well on marginal pasture. And, with less inputs like meds, vaccines, parasite controls, feed, minerals, supplements, etc. And maybe the most important of all, far less time and labor.

You may evolve into different breeds and strategies etc, as time goes on. This is just a good way to get your feet wet, without risking a lot of capitol. It is about as close as you can get to a 100% guarantee of a 1st year profit.
Definitely don't stop giving the goodness, you're teaching me a ton and I'm sure others as well!
 

Dave

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Messages
10,290
Reaction score
2,175
Location
Baker County, Oregon
Here a 500 pound good black Angus or baldie steer calf will $1.70. The same size and quality Char cross will bring $1.69. The red calf if it is red Angus will bring $1.69. A Corriente or longhorn cross calf will bring $1.10 or less. The buyers here can absolutely tell the difference.
 

Warren Allison

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
554
Reaction score
323
Location
Georgia
Here a 500 pound good black Angus or baldie steer calf will $1.70. The same size and quality Char cross will bring $1.69. The red calf if it is red Angus will bring $1.69. A Corriente or longhorn cross calf will bring $1.10 or less. The buyers here can absolutely tell the difference.
@TdJ , even if this were true, and someone could pick out a polled, black 6 mos Ang x Corr from another Ang cross calf , that runs from one ring door out the other in a second, maybe, 2. , then you are getting a $550 calf off a $300 cow, vs a $850 calf from a $1k or more cow. Another way to look at it, for that $1k you;d pay for a beef cow, you can buy 3 Corrientes, and you'd wean off $1650 worth of calves, instead of $850. Doubling your money. Realistically, all things equal other than color, a red or white calf will bring more like 10 to 20 cents a pound less, instead of a penny.
 

Rafter S

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 17, 2013
Messages
4,501
Reaction score
233
Location
Grimes County, TX
Damn what professional looking plans you draw. Are you a draftsman, architect etc by trade? Is this rough cut saw mill 1x"s, or dressed pressure treated? If rough-cut, what kind do y'all use there? Here, we'd use pine saw mill rough cut for buildings, and rough cut oak for the pen/corral sides. Good job, Rafter S

  • I've worked as a draftsman/designer, using Solidworks, since 2009.
  • It's rough cut (full 1" x 6") pine, but it is pressure treated.
  • Pine is by far the most commonly available lumber in my part of the country. I wouldn't know where to start looking for rough cut oak, and probably couldn't afford it if I did find it.
 

J+ Cattle

Well-known member
Joined
May 21, 2006
Messages
199
Reaction score
177
Location
North Texas
From my local auction sale market report, "Longhorn/Corriente cross calves - $50.00-$115.00"

Ranch economics and cash flow is bad enough without raising cattle that sell at below the cost of production. You need to raise cattle that most people will want to buy, this is the very basic premise of supply and demand. The people that I see raising LH are doing it for yard ornaments or the agricultural tax exemption for the property, not ranchers that make a living from cattle.
 

farmerjan

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
3,855
Reaction score
985
Location
Shenandoah ValleyVirginia
The buyers here can also pick out the calves that have LH or Corriente or dairy in them..... and they will bring the 1.00-1.25 / lb compared to straight bred beef calves in the 1.50-1.80 range. Reds here get hit .25/lb or more... Pure chars with pink noses will take the same hit but the crosses with the black noses will only get hurt .10-.15 most times.... and sometimes won't take much hit at all.
Anything here with "ear" or too much "leather" will take a hit. It is simple fact of the matter. These buyers have been coming to our sales for years and years......I have been going for the 40 years I have lived here.... and they can tell in the 3 seconds the crazy's go in and out... and the rest are held in the ring alot longer than 3 seconds....so the buyers have plenty of time to look them over. They have to be able to make decisions on the fly in seconds.... and the good buyers make money for their clients down the road. If they do a bad job of buying, they will not get repeat business so they HAVE to be able to know their cattle in a glance.
Now, I am not saying you can't make money on LH /black crossed calves.... the same with the dairy/beef crosses.... and my LH is the most maintenance free cow on the place and does a bang up job of keeping unwanted dogs and coyotes out of the field.... YES, you can make money on the calves.... and some places you might be able to make a real good return..... I make money on my dairy x cows raising calves, but do not get the same return as a straight beef calf. I do not put 1,000's into my cows.... can't afford to. May have some that cost 1200/hd and it takes several years to get a good payback.... they are there to improve the future replacements... but I started with dairy and dairy x and have bred up from there. Took the hits when I started... dairy feeder calves brought .50/lb for years and years.... it is a good way to get started, with little money, but these crossed calves WILL NOT bring premium prices here no matter how "black" they are......
 
OP
TdJ

TdJ

Active member
Joined
Feb 24, 2017
Messages
40
Reaction score
39
Location
Central Texas, Hamilton County
I took the step. After sale barn stalking, many conversions and the great advice from you all I started looking in earnest at local breeders and online sellers.

There's a lot of angus, brangus and hereford for sale around these parts with serious focus on genetics in many cases. The off-brand crosses I saw at the barn didn't look like something I wanted based on body condition, frame and temperament.
So this weekend I had 12 Brangus heifers delivered, they're about 14 months old and not the cheapest way to start for sure. The goal with this group is the start of a breeding herd, I'll put a bull with them at around 2 years old.
In parallel I'm going to get a group of 10 steers/heifers in at 300 to 400 lb and prep to sell. That'll feel like progress while I wait on the ladies to drop their first calves.
In the meantime I'll focus on making my new 1980's baler, tractor, mower and brush hog all work so I can start saving some of the forage. No way 20 young'uns are going to get through this anytime soon...
 

Rafter S

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 17, 2013
Messages
4,501
Reaction score
233
Location
Grimes County, TX
I took the step. After sale barn stalking, many conversions and the great advice from you all I started looking in earnest at local breeders and online sellers.

There's a lot of angus, brangus and hereford for sale around these parts with serious focus on genetics in many cases. The off-brand crosses I saw at the barn didn't look like something I wanted based on body condition, frame and temperament.
So this weekend I had 12 Brangus heifers delivered, they're about 14 months old and not the cheapest way to start for sure. The goal with this group is the start of a breeding herd, I'll put a bull with them at around 2 years old.
In parallel I'm going to get a group of 10 steers/heifers in at 300 to 400 lb and prep to sell. That'll feel like progress while I wait on the ladies to drop their first calves.
In the meantime I'll focus on making my new 1980's baler, tractor, mower and brush hog all work so I can start saving some of the forage. No way 20 young'uns are going to get through this anytime soon...

Those heifers should do well. Just spend a lot of time with them, moving slow and talking low. Whooping and hollering may look good on TV, but you don't want to do that with your cattle.
 

MurraysMutts

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 17, 2019
Messages
2,844
Reaction score
2,315
Location
N. Central boonies, Oklahoma
I took the step. After sale barn stalking, many conversions and the great advice from you all I started looking in earnest at local breeders and online sellers.

There's a lot of angus, brangus and hereford for sale around these parts with serious focus on genetics in many cases. The off-brand crosses I saw at the barn didn't look like something I wanted based on body condition, frame and temperament.
So this weekend I had 12 Brangus heifers delivered, they're about 14 months old and not the cheapest way to start for sure. The goal with this group is the start of a breeding herd, I'll put a bull with them at around 2 years old.
In parallel I'm going to get a group of 10 steers/heifers in at 300 to 400 lb and prep to sell. That'll feel like progress while I wait on the ladies to drop their first calves.
In the meantime I'll focus on making my new 1980's baler, tractor, mower and brush hog all work so I can start saving some of the forage. No way 20 young'uns are going to get through this anytime soon...
First off...
Where's the pictures!!

Personally I'd put a nice low birthweight bull on em come mid December!

Best of luck!
Hope to see some pics of those gals soon
 

Latest posts

Top