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custom wintering cows

footballjdtractor

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Does anyone have any information or opinions on custom wintering cows? We have an abundant supply of forage available. My idea was to take delivery of cows around Nov.15 and keep them until march 15. the owner would then take them home and start calving around April 1st. The cows would be kept in a dry lot and feed delivered to them with a tmr wagon. The cows would also have a barn for shelter. I think this could be a good program for a cattleman that is older and doesn't want to fight our mud all winter. Another benefit would be that the need to make or buy hay would be greatly reduced or eliminated. I also think the rancher/farmer could run more head because his ranch only has to grow enough feed for 8 months instead of all year. What are the pro's and con's of doing this? This may be more common in western states but I know of no one doing this in my area.
 

cowboy43

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My first thought is what will the cost be for you to winter the cows for four months. You will have to figure the cost of feed, water,machinery, facilites and labor also a small mark up for unforseen cost. When you add up all these cost what will you have to charge for feeding a cow for four months. The current price for a commercial 500 to 600 lb #1 steer calf at auction is is $500 to $600. When the rancher adds all cost on the cow and calf for the remaining eight months will he have any profit. I personally am having to rethink my operation to see how i can operate differenty to turn a profit because my current expenses are more than my income. I have been a rancher for 47 years and the abiliy to make a profit is the worst i have seen it.
 

Howdyjabo

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Right now you would have to find a seedstock producer- they are the only ones that would have the money to do something like that.
But then you would have BIG liability issues to settle compared to commercial cattle.
 

Dave

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It does work for some out here. The main driver in making it work is you having access to a cheap source of feed. If it is just hay, well you probably can't make hay that much cheaper than I do so by the time I had hauling and paying you to feed it probably wont pencil out for me. The one example I can think of locally is a sweet corn processing plant. A guy gets the cannery waste (husks and cobs) puts it into silage for cheap cheap. He can afford to feed it to cows for less than it cost to feed hay.
 

cowboy43

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What is the protein of the by-product ,will you have to add protein to get there daily requirement of protein, how will you decide how to bill the customer because if you figure a cow needs 3% of her body weight,1000# cow =30# a 1500# cow= 45 # of roughage a day + protein and minerals. I am just curious how much you will charge a month to dry lot a cow.
 

footballjdtractor

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the protein is 8.8% dry matter basis. I don't think protein will need to be added. Maybe a wee bit during the last trimester. The feed is $20 per ton, it is usually around 35% moisture. I think the cows intake will be around 50 pounds per head per day. I would charge actual feed cost plus $.38per day yardage. Yardage would include my labor, machinery cost, water bill, facilities depreciation, ect. I would also add $75 per head for my profit.
feed $20/ton =$.01/pound x 50pounds per day = $.50per day (this number may change based on consumption)
yardage $.38 per day
total feed and yardage = .88 per day x 120 days = $105.60 + $75 = $180.60 per cow
 

Stocker Steve

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footballjdtractor":2n5k8fhy said:
the protein is 8.8% dry matter basis. I don't think protein will need to be added. Maybe a wee bit during the last trimester. The feed is $20 per ton, it is usually around 35% moisture. I think the cows intake will be around 50 pounds per head per day. I would charge actual feed cost plus $.38per day yardage. Yardage would include my labor, machinery cost, water bill, facilities depreciation, ect. I would also add $75 per head for my profit.
feed $20/ton =$.01/pound x 50pounds per day = $.50per day (this number may change based on consumption)
yardage $.38 per day
total feed and yardage = .88 per day x 120 days = $105.60 + $75 = $180.60 per cow

Wintering estimate math seems correct, but high priced for the current cattle economics. Are there folks that custom graze fescue in your area for much less during the winter?
 
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