Buying vs Raising Replac Heifers

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A-RRanch

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I know this topic has probably been discussed on here in the past but I have to think that it shifts with the market or drought or availability and price of feed. I know the consensus is split about raising your own replacement heifers but I would like a little more detail on the reasons why you are for buying replacements or raising your own. Please chime in with your thoughts!
 

B&M Farms

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I raise my own replacements from my best brangus cows but buy them also. You have to be honest with yourself about the cows and bulls your keeping heifers from and what you can buy. If I can sale a 7 month old heifer for $700 to $800 and buy what should be a better one breeding age or short bred for $1500 to $1600, I am going to buy. I will have a calf on the ground in 9 months or so versus 18. If you pay attention, especially when first starting a herd, you can improve your herd drastically using what someone else has already carried a long ways in the direction you want to go. You have to pencil your true cost both ways and see which works for you. Just remember if you keep an heifer you will be carrying her for 2 years before you sale a calf. If you can buy a better heifer for what 2 calfs would bring it makes more sense to me but it depends on the herd you have now.
 

randiliana

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At this point in time we are actually doing both. I prefer to raise our own heifers, I find that they tend to stay in the herd longer on average than cattle that we buy in. Not to say that we haven't had good luck buying heifers in, but there are times where within about 2 years we have culled out every single animal out of a group we bought. Some were 'reputation' cattle and some were not. There will be a lot mention that it probably costs more on average to raise your own, and that may be the case, but, if in the end those heifers stay in the herd and raise calves for even 1 to 2 more years than ones you buy in, then I think that your extra expense will be recouped.

I have heard it said (and I believe it) that when you buy a group of heifers, by the time they are 5 years old you will have culled out approx 50% of them. Some will be dry, some will have temperament issues and some won't raise a decent calf.

You have a very big advantage when you keep your own heifers, you will have culled out anything that has or is likely to have temperament issues, poor production, udder problems and the list of course goes on. When buying a group of heifers you are certainly not going to be able to catch all of those problems, even if you get to see the dam's of the heifers, are you going to know which cows have attitude problems when they calve or are handled, you may see ones with some udder problems, but a sucking calf can make a poorer udder look pretty good later in the season. And there are some cows that are pretty good producers, but their daughters aren't...So even if you are buying privately you won't have all the info on them as you would on your own.
 

bigbull338

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B&M Farms":3h1rx208 said:
I raise my own replacements from my best brangus cows but buy them also. You have to be honest with yourself about the cows and bulls your keeping heifers from and what you can buy. If I can sale a 7 month old heifer for $700 to $800 and buy what should be a better one breeding age or short bred for $1500 to $1600, I am going to buy. I will have a calf on the ground in 9 months or so versus 18. If you pay attention, especially when first starting a herd, you can improve your herd drastically using what someone else has already carried a long ways in the direction you want to go. You have to pencil your true cost both ways and see which works for you. Just remember if you keep an heifer you will be carrying her for 2 years before you sale a calf. If you can buy a better heifer for what 2 calfs would bring it makes more sense to me but it depends on the herd you have now.
around here you cant touch replacement heifers for $700 or $800.an reg heifers are going for $1500 to $2000.
 

TennesseeTuxedo

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bigbull338":2ocrytd1 said:
B&M Farms":2ocrytd1 said:
I raise my own replacements from my best brangus cows but buy them also. You have to be honest with yourself about the cows and bulls your keeping heifers from and what you can buy. If I can sale a 7 month old heifer for $700 to $800 and buy what should be a better one breeding age or short bred for $1500 to $1600, I am going to buy. I will have a calf on the ground in 9 months or so versus 18. If you pay attention, especially when first starting a herd, you can improve your herd drastically using what someone else has already carried a long ways in the direction you want to go. You have to pencil your true cost both ways and see which works for you. Just remember if you keep an heifer you will be carrying her for 2 years before you sale a calf. If you can buy a better heifer for what 2 calfs would bring it makes more sense to me but it depends on the herd you have now.
around here you cant touch replacement heifers for $700 or $800.an reg heifers are going for $1500 to $2000.

I believe that's pretty much what he said.
 

Stocker Steve

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Aside from longevity, which is huge, and aside from feed cost, which is also huge, the other main issue (for folks who make a profit) is tax treatment. The various accelerated depreciation options for purchase heifers is a big benefit.

I kept half of my heifer calves in January. I wintered them cheap with the cows by bale grazing meadow hay and corn stover, but hindsight says I should have sold more because prices have trended down and the feeding season lasted 8 months during 2012-2013. I plan to cull another half of the half before AI time. So I may end up with 20% left by calving but they will be the right kind.
 

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bigbull338":2crikncw said:
B&M Farms":2crikncw said:
I raise my own replacements from my best brangus cows but buy them also. You have to be honest with yourself about the cows and bulls your keeping heifers from and what you can buy. If I can sale a 7 month old heifer for $700 to $800 and buy what should be a better one breeding age or short bred for $1500 to $1600, I am going to buy. I will have a calf on the ground in 9 months or so versus 18. If you pay attention, especially when first starting a herd, you can improve your herd drastically using what someone else has already carried a long ways in the direction you want to go. You have to pencil your true cost both ways and see which works for you. Just remember if you keep an heifer you will be carrying her for 2 years before you sale a calf. If you can buy a better heifer for what 2 calfs would bring it makes more sense to me but it depends on the herd you have now.
around here you cant touch replacement heifers for $700 or $800.an reg heifers are going for $1500 to $2000.

you can buy all the 5 and 6 weights you want in the $7-800 range.
 

Brute 23

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1) Make sure you have animals that are of the quality to keep. No use doing wrong twice

2) Do a test run with a small group and keep a detailed account of the time, money, and risk associated with them.

3) Compare the quality and cost of the animals you can produce vs what you can buy

Only YOU can know if its a good idea to keep replacement in YOUR operation. There are some general ideas that can be discussed here but the details will change from one operation to the next.
 

bigbull338

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ok i see i made yall missunderstand what i was saying so ill clear it up.now yall maybe able to get top end comm heifers for $1100 weaned an bred comm heifers for $1500 to $1800.but those prices wilbarely touch a reg beefmaster heofer round here as they are from $1400 to $2000 for weaned heifers an $2000 to $2500 for breeding age heifers.bred heifers are $2700 to $4000.
 

Jessica06

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randiliana":14z0pwxa said:
At this point in time we are actually doing both. I prefer to raise our own heifers, I find that they tend to stay in the herd longer on average than cattle that we buy in. Not to say that we haven't had good luck buying heifers in, but there are times where within about 2 years we have culled out every single animal out of a group we bought. Some were 'reputation' cattle and some were not. There will be a lot mention that it probably costs more on average to raise your own, and that may be the case, but, if in the end those heifers stay in the herd and raise calves for even 1 to 2 more years than ones you buy in, then I think that your extra expense will be recouped.

I have heard it said (and I believe it) that when you buy a group of heifers, by the time they are 5 years old you will have culled out approx 50% of them. Some will be dry, some will have temperament issues and some won't raise a decent calf.

You have a very big advantage when you keep your own heifers, you will have culled out anything that has or is likely to have temperament issues, poor production, udder problems and the list of course goes on. When buying a group of heifers you are certainly not going to be able to catch all of those problems, even if you get to see the dam's of the heifers, are you going to know which cows have attitude problems when they calve or are handled, you may see ones with some udder problems, but a sucking calf can make a poorer udder look pretty good later in the season. And there are some cows that are pretty good producers, but their daughters aren't...So even if you are buying privately you won't have all the info on them as you would on your own.

Exactly! When we started out about 5 years ago, we bought a lot of heifers, here and there, in various droughts for cheap and thought that we were pretty smart. Ha! The ones we paid quite a bit more for, which were very few, are still here but nearly all the rest are gone. We paid top dollar for the high grading heifers in a sale a couple years later and I think we have one left. Suffice to say, we are no longer buying commercial replacements. We couldn't afford to go buy heifers that are even close to the quality that we are raising now, so it's a no brainer for us. But probably the best thing about raising our own heifers is that they are GENTLE, and they know our system. It makes working them a real pleasure, compared to all of the cows that we've bought over the years. Temperament is the #1 thing that we cull for. A nice calf out of a cow that wants to kill you won't pay a $100,000 hospital bill. Or worse.
 
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A-RRanch

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ricebeltrancher that is exactly my thinking. Even if it pencils out a little cheaper to buy vs raise it is worth it to me to have gentle cows that know my system and are easy to work. They will grow up here and know the ranch and not try to wander hopefully. I am very small and quite honestly can't afford to buy replacements but I CAN afford to keep the couple I have and grow that way. For me personally I think its the best way to go.
 

B&M Farms

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bigbull338":1ei9vl8s said:
ok i see i made yall missunderstand what i was saying so ill clear it up.now yall maybe able to get top end comm heifers for $1100 weaned an bred comm heifers for $1500 to $1800.but those prices wilbarely touch a reg beefmaster heofer round here as they are from $1400 to $2000 for weaned heifers an $2000 to $2500 for breeding age heifers.bred heifers are $2700 to $4000.
There is no way in he77 I would give 2 grand much less 4 for the best beefmaster heifer I ever saw. As far as I am concerned they could have left the shorthorn out of it. Just a milk cow cross bred to me. I would rather have a braford.
 

Caustic Burno

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I love these thread's I can't buy as good of heifer's as I can raise :bs: Pasture blindness is a disease.
Retaining heifers has a pretty stiff price tag they are a long way from being free.
There is absolutely no financial advantage for the commercial cattleman to retain quite the opposite.

As far as being gentle goes I am not raiseing housecat's, I don't want to pet them, that is what I have a dog for .
I can buy one today at the barn and catch it tomorrow and I am an old man useing a walking stick most of the time.
I don't buy a septic tank on hoof's to pet they are to convert grass to cash to fold up to go in my billfold.
 

dun

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ricebeltrancher":1acz8ese said:
But probably the best thing about raising our own heifers is that they are GENTLE, and they know our system. It makes working them a real pleasure, compared to all of the cows that we've bought over the years. Temperament is the #1 thing that we cull for. A nice calf out of a cow that wants to kill you won't pay a $100,000 hospital bill. Or worse.
Jeanne used to use the term COD, Cull On Disposition. I think she definitly had that right.
 

tom4018

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We have done it both ways. Also got winners and losers both ways. When keeping some of our own we try to be really critical of them and only keep some from proven cows, we have made the exception and kept some from some heifers. The thing I like about buying is a quicker return and bringing in some different genetics. I have gotten burnt both ways, paid too much for some I bought and it makes them hard to cull because of losing too much money. It is a gamble either way.
 

dun

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tom4018":2mrxuo1u said:
We have done it both ways. Also got winners and losers both ways. When keeping some of our own we try to be really critical of them and only keep some from proven cows, we have made the exception and kept some from some heifers. The thing I like about buying is a quicker return and bringing in some different genetics. I have gotten burnt both ways, paid too much for some I bought and it makes them hard to cull because of losing too much money. It is a gamble either way.
Our rule of thumb is we won;t keep anything we wouldn;t buy if someone else had them. If we have a need/room for them we will retain them if we don;t have the rneed/room we sell them as seedstock. We use the same criteria for the commercial girls but sell them as commercial replacements. If they aren;t something we would buy they go to the feedlot for slaughter.
 

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for those of you that retian that means yer changing out bulls every 2 yrs then? we keep the bull and sell or trade off the hiefers. we cull based on the usual things but not usually disposition..altho i do use a feed bucket to train em..if they dont calf we usually eat em.

changing out bulls on a reg basis how do yall keep consistancy in your plan?
 

tom4018

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dieselbeef":242wr193 said:
for those of you that retian that means yer changing out bulls every 2 yrs then? we keep the bull and sell or trade off the hiefers. we cull based on the usual things but not usually disposition..altho i do use a feed bucket to train em..if they dont calf we usually eat em.

changing out bulls on a reg basis how do yall keep consistancy in your plan?
We usually try to retain some when we plan on changing bulls. I have bred a bull back to his daughter with no problems, always sell their calves as feeders.
 

dun

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dieselbeef":1xkn8v9t said:
for those of you that retian that means yer changing out bulls every 2 yrs then? we keep the bull and sell or trade off the hiefers. we cull based on the usual things but not usually disposition..altho i do use a feed bucket to train em..if they dont calf we usually eat em.

changing out bulls on a reg basis how do yall keep consistancy in your plan?
We only use a bull for clean up, everything else is AI sired. The daughters from the clanup bull if they are good enough get sold as replacements or if not they go to the feedlot.
 

Rowdy

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No reason to change bulls. Its only taboo bc you associate it with incest. It's a sure fire way to bring recessive genetics to the forefront and if they're detrimental, it makes culling those lines easier. Best bull I've bred was the product of a half brother sister mating.
 

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