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backgrounding for profit?

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mncowboy

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Has anyone had any luck buying calves at 4-5 weights and bringing them to say 8 or 9's and turned a profit? How does one pencil cost of gain or determine expected rate of gain?
Thanks, looking for ways to turn a profit during the summer months while using the same equipment /facilities already here for cow/calf.
 

RanchMan90

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mncowboy":37sqf1zd said:
Has anyone had any luck buying calves at 4-5 weights and bringing them to say 8 or 9's and turned a profit? How does one pencil cost of gain or determine expected rate of gain?
Thanks, looking for ways to turn a profit during the summer months while using the same equipment /facilities already here for cow/calf.
If you can make a dollar per head per day after expenses you're doing pretty good.
 

shaz

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I've had some luck doing that. Luck being the operative word (lol).

I think you would want to be sure that the market has bottomed or at least stabilized.
2nd, you want to exploit some advantage you already have. What are other stockers in your area doing?
 

Foz682

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I've been thinking about this lately as well...If I could buy some 4-5wts in april/may and grow them to 7-8 by fall. Would need roughly 2lbs/day gains. I have access to lots of good quality pasture for 45-50¢/hd/day. Fences maintained and cattle rotated by land owner.
We have cow/calf now, running 35-40 cows, calving in sept puts our calves at 600lbs+ for may sale.
Running some steers on rented pasture during summer months would give us a little extra income with little work involved.
Not sure how well it would pencil out to be feeding them, with the cost of feed and labour though...
 

Stocker Steve

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mncowboy":3ouz57ui said:
Has anyone had any luck buying calves at 4-5 weights and bringing them to say 8 or 9's and turned a profit? How does one pencil cost of gain or determine expected rate of gain?

Used to buy 3-4 wts in winter and take them to 7-8 wts by August. Broke even on forage based back grounding and had a very very low COG on rented grass. You need to have a separate spreadsheet for each phase. Goggle Mike Baker for links to sheets and sensitivity analyses. There is more profit in stockers than cows IF you can manage the price risk.
Rate of gain is all over the map. You can MIG to 1.75#/day comfortably, and perhaps > 2.0#/day with better calves and a lot of clover. Energy supplement is key at turnout. Ground ear corn is great. A DDG mix is OK.
Turning out 4-5 wt steers is asking for problems. Heifers would be a little better. Four wts are not mature enough for 100% forage - - so stress & sickness will go up and ADG will go down. You can make it work if you also vaccinate for pinkeye and pail feed them every day.
 

ddd75

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Stocker Steve":d5d6xfzy said:
mncowboy":d5d6xfzy said:
Has anyone had any luck buying calves at 4-5 weights and bringing them to say 8 or 9's and turned a profit? How does one pencil cost of gain or determine expected rate of gain?

Used to buy 3-4 wts in winter and take them to 7-8 wts by August. Broke even on forage based back grounding and had a very very low COG on rented grass. You need to have a separate spreadsheet for each phase. Goggle Mike Baker for links to sheets and sensitivity analyses. There is more profit in stockers than cows IF you can manage the price risk.
Rate of gain is all over the map. You can MIG to 1.75#/day comfortably, and perhaps > 2.0#/day with better calves and a lot of clover. Energy supplement is key at turnout. Ground ear corn is great. A DDG mix is OK.
Turning out 4-5 wt steers is asking for problems. Heifers would be a little better. Four wts are not mature enough for 100% forage - - so stress & sickness will go up and ADG will go down. You can make it work if you also vaccinate for pinkeye and pail feed them every day.


what problems with 4-5 wts? At 400+ they are pretty hardy, before that sickness is still likely.
 

Stocker Steve

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not mature enough for 100% typical pasture feed, rye or wheat pasture may be different.
rumen is the issue
so they still need some milk or grain or by product to gain well and minimize stress
 

RanchMan90

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Stocker Steve":1ubkxk1m said:
not mature enough for 100% typical pasture feed, rye or wheat pasture may be different.
rumen is the issue
so they still need some milk or grain or by product to gain well and minimize stress
What's the ideal 100% pasture fed calf to you?
 

Stocker Steve

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mncowboy":1gdql9qz said:
How does one pencil cost of gain

Very good question. You need to match the stockers to your management system, while balancing ADG and stocking rate, on a pasture that does not have consistent forage production during the entire grazing season. :? A common problem is folks never weigh their calves and short them on nutrients.

The other part is value of gain. Heifers vs. steers. Stiens vs. beef. Light wt. vs. heavy wt.. August vs. October. This is fairly easy to calculate since we do have a lot of historical data as well as futures data. A common problem is folks buy cheap calves and short themselves on value.
 

Stocker Steve

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mncowboy":27yrkqy1 said:
looking for ways to turn a profit during the summer months while using the same equipment /facilities already here for cow/calf.

Simplest way is to run enough stockers to harvest the spring flush surplus, and then sell them in late summer. Some folks just retain their own summer born calves and run them with the cow herd in one large mob. This will not maximize ADG, nor will it maximize profit per acre, but it is simple and it is low labor and it avoids importing diseases.

NDSU in Dickinson has a lot of recent data on taking their own steers back to grass. They do it the hard way by grazing a stocker only herd on a mix of permanent pasture and annuals. They have cost of DM and ADG for each forage type in their annual reports.
 

ddd75

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Stocker Steve":dov1ln2y said:
mncowboy":dov1ln2y said:
looking for ways to turn a profit during the summer months while using the same equipment /facilities already here for cow/calf.

Simplest way is to run enough stockers to harvest the spring flush surplus, and then sell them in late summer. Some folks just retain their own summer born calves and run them with the cow herd in one large mob. This will not maximize ADG, nor will it maximize profit per acre, but it is simple and it is low labor and it avoids importing diseases.

NDSU in Dickinson has a lot of recent data on taking their own steers back to grass. They do it the hard way by grazing a stocker only herd on a mix of permanent pasture and annuals. They have cost of DM and ADG for each forage type in their annual reports.



that'd be a pretty interesting read. have any more info online about it I can look at?
 

Stocker Steve

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Gordon Hazard' book is the stocker classic. Greg Judy' fescue focused books have some stocker content. Not a lot shows up in online stocker searches. Partially because some stocker content is labeled as retained ownership or mob grazing. Partially because cow/calf is much more popular. Partially because a lot of grain guys do not know how to graze their cover crops and residue. Partially because so many are not interested in marketing.
Lots of selling and buying and stress management with a classic stocker operation. Getting an understanding of Bud William's methods would be a great place to focus. He told me once "there is no reason to own cattle unless you are good at marketing". Take a look at the legend.
 

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