Culling cows

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BRYANT

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I know some on here pride themselves on how hard they cull the herd, and each person has their way of doing things. BUT I have about decided that as long as a cow will wean off a good calf and she is not to crazy, and they have to be pretty crazy and wild for me to cull for that reason but I do have a place that will hold some bad ones, I think with the kill price for cows as low as it is right now, as long as the will raise a calf you are money ahead to keep them till they die or cant raise a calf. My thinking is a 450 - 500 lb. calf will bring more than a killer cow will a lot of the time depending on how big the cow is. I know you can replace them with a younger cow but these old proven cows you know what you got and most of the time they will calve with no problems and raise it. Am I totally crazy and have lost it or can anyone see it the way I am starting to see it ????
 

JMJ Farms

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Right now I have plenty of feed and I’m thinking the same as you. As long as she raises a calf she can stay with one other stipulation. She has to maintain her body condition in winter when she’s not lactating. When I see an older cow start falling off in winter time then she takes a ride before next winter. When feed gets short I am a lot quicker to take older cows to town. I’ve got some cows that I think would live to be 100 and calves every year if I’d get them some dental implants :lol2:
 

TCRanch

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I have one old girl that only has 4 teeth left, decent udder and I think she still looks in pretty good condition. And while she calved a little later this year I'm fairly certain she's bred (will know in Oct). I do need to cull but I'd rather keep her & sell one I treated for mastitis, late calving pairs, opens, attitudes. BUT I wouldn't mind an objective opinion.
 

cowgirl8

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We cull if a cow the first winter she doesn't do well through..There are the obvious reasons to cull, but one year she has a calf not do as good is not a culling offense here. 2 years producing a dink calf yes... We have one old cow left, she's a 2004 model but is doing good flesh wise. She was one of the last to calve this year so she may not be bred this year. Most of our cows are 2009 and younger with a few 2006 dotted in....We'll start culling the 06s when they show they cant handle winter good....
 

bball

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I just took a couple to the barn 2 weeks ago. One was an old Simm who had started to develop a limp and BC was starting to decline. The other was a fleshy Gelb cross who had twins 3 years in a row and I had to pull her calf each time. Last was a Angus bull who brought 88 cents a lb. I was shocked he brought that much at almost 2000 lbs. Only thing else that will leave this year will be a result of Oct preg check = open.
 

farmerjan

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I am with you. We don't cull for just age. If they raise a decent saleable calf, get bred back and can keep decent body condition, they stay. It's the old ones that raised a mediocre calf, bred back, have trouble keeping condition, that put in the grandma group to raise their last calf. And we have buried a few in that group. We have cows with 1 or 2 teeth. Raise a decent calf, breed back.....Still here. But if they struggle with a calf and condition one year, they get put in the grandma group and get to raise the last calf and go. Got 6 now out to pasture, 3 have so-so calves 1 crummy calf 2 okay. But there is one with a slight limp, 2 that are only in fair condition and we have had PLENTY of grass. They will all go. It's the ones that don't breed that have next to no chance to stay unless there is a real good reason.
Cull cows here were bringing in the 40's and low 50's yesterday. Little better than I thought they would be doing. Bulls were in the upper 70's and low 80's. Got one to go but hoping prices will come up a little more. Got the grass so he can stay awhile. The 6 cows and calves will go when their grass gets short.
 

Stocker Steve

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Being old is a strike, bottom of the cattle price cycle is a strike, and we usually cull due to two strikes. The talking heads think we are close to the bottom of the cattle price cycle... If you believe that, you should be culling harder. Most of our culls are bred and go back to the country.

If you want to do some fancy figurin - - then you have to look at more than current cull prices. Replacement cost and next years cow depreciation and calf size and cow consumption and marketing location to list a few. Our replacements are smaller and more productive than the culls so it is not hard to make it pencil.
 

Stocker Steve

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TCRanch":1hhybpq4 said:
I have one old girl that only has 4 teeth left, decent udder and I think she still looks in pretty good condition. And while she calved a little later this year I'm fairly certain she's bred (will know in Oct). I do need to cull but I'd rather keep her & sell one I treated for mastitis, late calving pairs, opens, attitudes. BUT I wouldn't mind an objective opinion.

What is the price difference between selling her as a bred this fall, vs. selling her as an open next fall?
What is it worth if her replacement weans 50# more?
What would a replacment cost per productive year?
Not sure you can afford her.
 

TCRanch

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Stocker Steve":30tpb8qo said:
TCRanch":30tpb8qo said:
I have one old girl that only has 4 teeth left, decent udder and I think she still looks in pretty good condition. And while she calved a little later this year I'm fairly certain she's bred (will know in Oct). I do need to cull but I'd rather keep her & sell one I treated for mastitis, late calving pairs, opens, attitudes. BUT I wouldn't mind an objective opinion.

What is the price difference between selling her as a bred this fall, vs. selling her as an open next fall?
What is it worth if her replacement weans 50# more?
What would a replacment cost per productive year?
Not sure you can afford her.
She wouldn't sell as bred, slaughter only. In this market I've sold 6 year old breds that ended up slaughter - much to my surprise. Honestly, I haven't looked at the $$$ in keeping her vs. one with a snotty attitude but I've retained a lot of her heifers, granddaughters and there are 2 more heifers calfs in her lineage I'm keeping from this year.

You bring up some good points, something I need to research/consider.
 

Stocker Steve

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Hobby operators here like buying old bred cows. If you know your markets, you can get up to $200 over kill price. Makes the math pretty clear, if they are not weaning a whopper and/or proven replacement candidates.

Another way to look at it is how good do the replacements need to be, to hit your future goals ? :cowboy:
 

bird dog

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Your big expense with older cows is the one you don't see. They may rebreed but most stop getting bred on time. So next year her calf is good but late and weighs 100 lbs less. So while your "on time" cows brought in cash flow of 800, the old cow that has the light calf only brought in $650. Steve is right, you can't afford to keep her.

There are exceptions but not many. Some very well run large ranches sell every cow over 8 years old as a bred cow. This is before they start declining, before they start calving late, and while they will still bring a good price at the sale barn.
Its okay to let someone else have the last couple of calves.
 

Coosh71

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I have been guilty of keeping a cow a year or so too long in a herd. I decided after calving out this spring to finally cull a couple of cows. One is not due to age, but she never raises a 500+ wt calf. And the other is now calving at the back of the line vs one of the first. I know a lot will keep a cow on the basis of did she calve without assistance, did she raise it to wean and is her utter good. But for me when a cow is one of the earliest to calve and raises a 4-425# calf at 5-6 months id just rather keep a couple heifers back and sell the cow.
 

Coosh71

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Also around here if a guy had the grass and extra pastures he could stock up on $8-900 breed heifers and $1200 young cows. I don't get the pricing being that low. Granted at the sale you don't know background, but for $800 and a good looking heifer, you could take the chance. Especially since 2 years ago the same heifer would have cost you $1800-2000. We have decided to retain about 90% of our heifers this fall and see how they look come spring.
 

Stocker Steve

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bird dog":1vbrm9q8 said:
Some very well run large ranches sell every cow over 8 years old as a bred cow. This is before they start declining, before they start calving late, and while they will still bring a good price at the sale barn. Its okay to let someone else have the last couple of calves.

I think by the time a cow is 5 to 6 years old, you know pretty well weather she can ever produce acceptable replacements. So if you are not using a terminal bull for feeders only - - then you need to consider selling her. It costs less to feed a good cow. :nod:
 

Nesikep

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If the cow has raised exceptional calves (especially heifers that you've kept), then I keep them as long as I can and get as many daughters as possible.. My old granny Rosie had 16 calves, culled for arthritis.. didn't have much for teeth left either.. However, had I culled her at 10 from age alone, I'd be out about 5 or 6 of my best cows now.. I think it's a matter of seeing the forest through the trees.. If you hold on to the penny too hard you can't grab the nickel.. So with the old granny, she's buried here.. Yeah, so I lost a few hundred bucks there but I have a better herd because of it.
Of course this isn't endorsing keeping ordinary (or sub-par) cows longer than they're effectively productive, and different regions will age cows faster or slower.
And to anyone who says their genetics have improved so much in 1 generation that a good, proven 12 year old cow is inferior to new stock that hasn't stood the test of time, I think they're kidding themselves.
 

True Grit Farms

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I try and get value out of my cull cows. I'll sell our cows as either a pair or bred, you have a lot more buyers to choose from. If I have to bury a cow on the place I feel I've failed as a cowman, and definitely as a business man. I've always thought a bull was half of the calf, so using a good bull with known and proven EPD'S should make your heifers better each generation. Culling a good cow is a tough decision, but that good cows heifer might not pan out either. Most folks that I know that raise cattle for a living rotate cows every 10 years or less. Cull cows make up a good portion of our yearly cow income money. And selling them as slaughter only, I'd be getting slaughtered right along with the cow.
 

backhoeboogie

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13 year olds can sell as a short solid whereas a 7 or 8 year old goes as a broke mouth and I didn't know they had teeth missing.

I checked teeth when I worked them. It takes time but it lets you know where you are at. An older gal can be a better retention than one younger.
 

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