Black Simmental x Chi-Angus

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Yesterday, Clay and I took our old ladies up to Ringgold to this new place that has the best breakfgast...as good as home cooked...for $9.99. We were close to the place where the man raises Blac Simm x Chi-angus heifers for replacements. Clay met him last July when he hired Clay to work them at weaning, and to haul the steers (last year was the last time he used unsexed semen). I was very impressed with them, and I contracted to buy 20 this year. 10 CHi-Ang x BS, and 10 BS x Chi-Ang. The man keeps 30 reg black Simm and 30 reg CHi-ANg cows... a herd he has put together over the years, til he got what he wanted. When one of the cows gets too old, he will AI her to a same breed bull that he choses for that particular cow, to get her replacement. Any cow that wasn't part of his original 60, is a daughter of one of them. It works out great for him, focusing on the cow instead of the bull. Anyhow, we went by there to see the calves. He has 58 of those heifers that we get to chose 20 from at weaning. Two cows had their same breed replacement heifers by their side. And he had two 2 year old same breed replacements, that had their 1st calf by their side. He had AI'ed them to a CE Angus for bull calves, to get 2 show steers for some kids. The foreman said that the heifers were all 108 to 124 lbs at birth. The 2 angus calves were born around 90.

I think if I were in my 30's or 40's, this would be the direction I would go, if I wanted to do cow-calf, and didn't mind the work and inputs involved ( vaccinations, records, worming, feed, hay, etc.) When Clay got his boss's trailer to haul the 32 steers to the sale last year, his boss rode with him, and just bought them. His boss is the guy who feeds out about 900 Brangus x Criolo calves each year. He keeps them at his place where he feeds them for growth.. a mix of sorghum silage, spent mash from the Budweiser plant, chicken litter, and cotton seed and gin trash. High protein for growth. He does this for 120 days or so,. then sends them to a feed lot for 120 days, where they are fed mostly corn, I assume,. for marbling. Those steers, though, he only fed at his place for 100 days, and fed them at the lot for 90 days. He got the same thing for them at processing as he does his other calves but spent a hell of a lot more money for them. He also bought our 22 Chi-Ang x Plummer calves last year. These he fed at his place for just 45 days, then at the lot for 100 days. He has to make sure the HCW is 1050 lbs or less for the contract he has. He gave us $1150 per head for the heifers, $1350 a head for the steers. They sold for what the others do, and he made money, but no where near what he makes on the Brangus x Criolo.

I had asked the owner last year why he does this cross-breed program. His Simm cows would be $4k to $5k if he bought some like them, and the Chi-Ang cows would be close to that. I asked him why he didn't just raise Black Simm seed stock. I am sure they would sell for more money. He said because he wanted to be the man that you could buy replacement heifers from with confidence in what they would do. I guess it is a labor of love and a matter of pride thing for him. Plus, he said he was selling them consistently for what he figured he'd get on average for registered calves. When he told me how much he wanted for the 20 we are buying, I about had a heat stroke. I could have bought 100 Corr cows..not heifer calves, but cows...for what those cost. But, Clay is going to pay me back for them...they are all his. So, he is picking up these 6 mos old heifers in July. Breed them in another 10 months, 9 mos later they calve. 6 more months til he weans. 4 mos at his boss's place, then 4 more months on the feed lot. 39 months before he sees money. If prices are like they are now, the 1st one will pay for the heifer. His plan right now, is to AI them to Brangus or Black Beefmaster for steer calves. But who knows what the markets will be like in 45 months from now? I doubt I will be around to see it.
 
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But this time its different!
Or at least I tell myself that.
I cashed in some 1400 to 1600 pound cows when the price was about $1.15. They all had something about them I did not like, age, bag or just out of sync. Now I am short of cow numbers and am not pressed for cash. Thus, I ended up keeping back some heifers.
With high priced hay and your argument (which is usually correct), this may not be the wisest course but at least I have young cows coming on.
 
You could argue that the contrarian position is to keep heifers now. Few others are doing it. With a national cow herd the smallest it has been since 1951. this cycle could be extended through the lifetime of the retained heifers.
I do not claim to know.
Usually by this point in the price cycle, everyone and his brother is keeping back heifers.
 
This dude only retains one heifer off his cows...the one that is bred to replace her momma. He never retains one of the cross-bred heifers. They are all pre-sold before they are born. These heifers are bred for, and sold fo, r the specific purpose of raising a terminal cross with a 3rd breed bull. He would never even consider retaining one and breeding it back to a Simm or Chi-Ang bull. Like he said, that would be moving backwards as far as maximum heterosis goes., and it would not fit in with what he is doing. Before moving to sexed semen last year, he banded every bull calf born, and would never have considered selling one intact. He is maybe even more adamant than I am, and others, about using a cross-bred bull.

This is a niche market he has. One I am sure he spent a lot of money on, buying and selling the cows as he built this herd, til he had the 60 he wanted. And it took a while, I guess, for his reputation to get to the point to where he could have 60 heifers sold each year. He doesn't spend anything on marketing, or a website, advertising, etc. Til last year, he didn't use sexed semen, and about half his crop would have been steers. And back when good replacement heifers might have been $500, the registered cows, the semen, the inputs, etc, costs the same. I even asked him why didn't he run 120 cows instead of 60? Or 200, even? He said because this is how much land I have, and this is the amount of time I have to out into them. Kinda envy the man...being both proud and content with what he does.
 
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