Feed prices.....

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eric

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Let me preface this by stating that I try and support the local businessman whenever it's practical. I try and use the local hardware store instead of the big box stores, mainly because he was here before the depots and he treats me well and has most everything I need. Plus, he is closer and I can be in and out of his store while I would still be looking for a parking space at the depot.

But, why is it that the feed dealers have to charge so much more than the larger stores for feed? We are talking about up to 50% more in some cases. I dont buy alot from the feed store, but I do buy range cubes. I usually buy them 20 bags at a time. The Tractor Supply Store sells them for $ 4. 97 / bag, then gives 5% discount for buying 20 bags. The 3 feed stores near my house, one closer and two further out then the big store, charge , respectfully, $6.25 / $6.75 and 7.75 a bag for the range cubes. None would even offer a discount for buying in 20 bag quanties. The $6.25 just happens to be the furthest one away, and I am thinking about dealing with him just so I'll have a relationship with a dealer, but it still bothers me to pay almost $40 bucks more a month for range cubes. I have checked the labels and there is no noticible difference in the ingredients, actually the Purina has less crude protein and less of a few other ingredients than the TSC brand.
What do you guys pay for cubes, and is it worth anything to have a relationship with a local dealer?
 

D.R. Cattle

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TSC has negotiating power because they are buying 1000 times more than the local feed store. Nevertheless I see your point. I do my best to support the local guys, but sometimes it just hurts too much. TSC can hardly give me the time of day and the local guy helps me castrate calves and sits behind me in church. That's a pretty good reason to do the best I can to support him.
 

C & C Land & Catt

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We deal with purina directly in purchasing our bulk feed. It is nice to have a good contact but I would go with the cheaper. 10 dollars a ton makes a big difference in the long run. We were paying 142 a ton for 20% cubes delivered. They said this year it will probably be around 160 a ton. Also try to contract by the ton with the dealer. He might give you a dicount then.
 

Texan

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Eric, I buy some things from Tractor Supply, but I wouldn't dream of buying feed from them. I have tried some minerals from there and I'm sure salt would be okay. But as far as buying something perishable like a cube, no way! They don't take very good care of their stock as far as rotation and they don't care.

When its time to get some fertilizer out right before a rain, when everybody else wants it at the same time, that relationship with your feed/fertilizer dealer will be worth all the extra you spend on feed.
 
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eric

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thats why I was thinking it would be good to have a relationship with a dealer. I know with my steel suppliers, if I call them at 5 pm and need a piece of steel cut, they will cut it and leave it by the gate if I ask them to. Those kind of relationships only come with many dealings over the yrs.

Being a newcomer to cattle, it just helps to have another brain to wrack when you guys arent available.
 

sidney411

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We buy our cubes, minerals, and salt from the COOP in Bryan/College Station. If you become a member then you own part of the company and you get back a portion of everything you buy. They beat all of the prices around here. Tracter supply was not as cheep as you can buy it for though, they were more in the $6.50 range when I checked there. But even the little gas/grocery store in Whitehall is only $5.75 a bag, and they buy it and resale it. I buy bulk feed for weaned calves from Navasota Ag Supply, they mix their own feed and it was $180 ton delivered, but I had a special ration mixed.
 

Arnold Ziffle

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Eric, I'll first start by sticking my nose in a little where it was not invited: I certainly may be wrong, but I sense from your post here, and prior posts concerning the size of your operation, that you're feeding way too much cubes at this time of the year. Currently your cattle should be just fine assuming you have even some just average pasture and a loose mineral program properly tailored to your region and conditions. In my view, cubes should be used at this time of the year just to keep the cattle "tame" and coming to you when they see the bucket so that you can pen them with ease.

Now, back to your actual questions. I have bought feed and minerals from the "local guy" and also from TSC as well as a somewhat local co-op. The local guy is notoriously more expense than TSC for cubes & feed and is also much higher than TSC or other small outfits on Ivomec, Remedy, etc. For most of what I need there is not a "premium" that I can justify due to "service" rendered to me. There is no service, as I know exactly what I want in the way of feed, minerals, wormers, etc. and if I need "service" it will generally be from a vet. I continue to buy minerals from the local guy because I like the Texas All Season that Purina makes and TSC doesn't stock it and I don't particularly like the Ragland brand minerals that my local TSC sells. Actually my cows seem to much prefer the Bluebonnet brand of range cubes that I buy at TSC for right at $5.00 per 50 pound bag, over anything that I've tried from Purina, Nutrena or the TSC house brand (Producer's Pride).

I think its mostly a matter of economy of scale that works in favor of TSC for pricing on most things, plus I think a lot of local feedstore owners as well as consumers are overly impressed with that Purina name. On other things like Ivomec, and paticularly Remedy, I buy from a different "local" guy about 15 miles down the road because he very easily beats TSC and my really close local guy on price. Go figure!

Just keep shopping around -- and there of course is no law that says you have to buy from the cheapest supplier. If you really like your local guy just continue to patronize him and when you prepare your tax return you can take comfort in the knowledge that Uncle Sam picks up the tab for part of the price spread.

I can understand why many folks want to support the local guys and I generally lean that way too, but the difference in prices (on a percentage basis) is often too much for me to stomach. In addition TSC has been an extremely good stock investment, about an "18-bagger" at this point, so that's another reason I patronize them.
 

TheBullLady

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We buy nearly all our feed from the local dealer.. for the reasons most of the previous posters mentioned. Convenience.. we can call and he'll leave feed / minerals / anything else out on the loading dock for us after hours, etc. etc. TSC is about 30 miles away, and like the previous poster, I find their products sometimes are stale. Also, our local dealer is never out of stock when he knows what we use weekly.. whereas we've had many situations where we've gone all the way into town to TSC, only to find they were out of stock in something. I was ready to pull my hair out when I was using their milk replacer! Finally I found a local feed store that handled it, and ALWAYS had it in stock.
 

txag

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eric,

it sounds like the feed prices at your local dealer may be due to the fact that it's in a less rural area. they may have to charge more because they sell less. TSC, while still in a less-rural area near you can charge less because they're charging the same thing in all their stores & the other stores can make up the difference.

around here, we're like the BullLady, the nearest TSC is 30 miles away. on prices. even if i'm in the area, we don't purchase feed there. our feed stores are very competitive in price. most feed stores around here do offer a bulk discount (usually a ton) and a cash discount on both feed & fertilizer.
 
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eric

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Arnold, I do use the cubes mainly for bringing them in for inspection this time of yr. We put out a couple of 5 gallon buckets every 2-3 days so we can be sure they dont have any cuts on them, warts and stuff like that. About 1/2 a bag each time, so it averages 2 lbs a hd each time we feed them. The coastal burmuda is growing profusely right now due to the very wet spring and summer, and they appear to be putting on weight, (they are definately not losing weight!).

What would you recommend as far as minerals for them, and how much per hd? I have salt blocks and a mineral block out, along with always available fresh water. I was wondering if I need to put out a free choice bag type mineral. The cows are about 5 yrs old and the calves range from 4-7 mos. I am going to be weaning 3 calves in the next 3-4 weeks. Should I put any creep feed or anything in the weaning pen? I was watching the Cattle Show last night on RFD-TV, and they recommended puttting creep feed in the weaning pen, but then they are sponsored by Cargill Feed!

The local dealer who sells Purina is also the most expensive, so any other brands of minerals would be appreciated.
 

J Baxter

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TSC must be a lot cheaper in Texas. They aren't even competitive on feeds in Arkansas. I can buy feed from my local dealer about 25% cheaper that TSC, however, I still buy most of my wormers, antibiotics, etc. from TSC.
 

dun

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eric":251tiyuk said:
Arnold, I do use the cubes mainly for bringing them in for inspection this time of yr. We put out a couple of 5 gallon buckets every 2-3 days so we can be sure they dont have any cuts on them, warts and stuff like that. About 1/2 a bag each time, so it averages 2 lbs a hd each time we feed them. The coastal burmuda is growing profusely right now due to the very wet spring and summer, and they appear to be putting on weight, (they are definately not losing weight!).

What would you recommend as far as minerals for them, and how much per hd? I have salt blocks and a mineral block out, along with always available fresh water. I was wondering if I need to put out a free choice bag type mineral. The cows are about 5 yrs old and the calves range from 4-7 mos. I am going to be weaning 3 calves in the next 3-4 weeks. Should I put any creep feed or anything in the weaning pen? I was watching the Cattle Show last night on RFD-TV, and they recommended puttting creep feed in the weaning pen, but then they are sponsored by Cargill Feed!

The local dealer who sells Purina is also the most expensive, so any other brands of minerals would be appreciated.

For the mineral question, any of the majors that are carried by your local feed store and basiclly formulated for your area will work. Yes go with loose. It's pretty hard for a cow let alone a calf to get adequate minerals from a block.
When weaning it depends on what you plan on doing with the calves. We precondition for 30-45 days, sometimes 2 months depending on when we get ready to comingle. If you're hauling them straight to the feedlot or sale barn, unless they have a vaccination-preconditioning sale, just haul them. If you're going to to the precondition and vaccination route, they'll need grain to get "preconditioned". If they're replacements, grain them for 6-8 weeks to get them used to the idea then turn them out.

dun
 
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eric

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Actually none of the above, since these are my first calves, but most likely they would coincide with replacements, they just aren't replacing anything!

Since I got such a late start on breeding the cows back this yr, I was going to keep these calves and breed them next yr after their mamas have their calves next yr. (only have to borrow the bull one time!) The cows are due in late Feb / early march '05, so these calves will be 15 months old by then, and they should be ready to breed along with their mamas.(?) I didnt plan on selling anything this yr, as I am still trying to build a herd, but I will start selling next fall, as I will then have 16 cows/heifers which I could get bred every yr thereafter. Or rather 16 minus any bulls that are born.
What did you mean buy graining them for 6-8 weeks to get them used to the idea? Should grain be available yr round? And what is meant by "preconditioning"? Precondition meaning getting pounds put on, thereby geting more at the sale?
Sorry to ask so many questions folks, but some of these questions I just haven't found the answers to in books!
 

dun

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eric":2rkx2vll said:
Actually none of the above, since these are my first calves, but most likely they would coincide with replacements, they just aren't replacing anything!

Since I got such a late start on breeding the cows back this yr, I was going to keep these calves and breed them next yr after their mamas have their calves next yr. (only have to borrow the bull one time!) The cows are due in late Feb / early march '05, so these calves will be 15 months old by then, and they should be ready to breed along with their mamas.(?) I didnt plan on selling anything this yr, as I am still trying to build a herd, but I will start selling next fall, as I will then have 16 cows/heifers which I could get bred every yr thereafter. Or rather 16 minus any bulls that are born.
What did you mean buy graining them for 6-8 weeks to get them used to the idea? Should grain be available yr round? And what is meant by "preconditioning"? Precondition meaning getting pounds put on, thereby geting more at the sale?
Sorry to ask so many questions folks, but some of these questions I just haven't found the answers to in books!

Preconditioning is the practice of getting them used (conditioned) to a growing ration as used in a feedlot. i.e preconditioned to the feedlot ration. Our replacments, maybe better referred to as retained, go on the same ration of grain and forage for about 6 weeks as the steers. When the steers leave, the heifers go back with the cow herd and have to grow and do their job on grass. Some people keep the heifers separate and feed them a different ration then the cow herd. We feel if they can't do the job on pasture they don't belong around here. Our heifers run around 700-750 as yearlings, cycle and breed with the cow herd and are just assimilated in. The 6 weeks give or take is so they can get used to not being nursers anymore and break the maternal bond.
An observation that doesn't have any bearing on the subject, but it seems that the cows and their daughters don't really interact any more or differently then non-related cows and heifers. Goats on the other hand, even when the doelings are seperated at birth, will tend to hang around in family groups. The mother, her daughters, their daughters, etc. In another area will be another family group made up the same way.
Just one of those little observations that I find of interest.

dun
 

Tod Dague

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Arnold Ziffle":166ezcke said:
you can take comfort in the knowledge that Uncle Sam picks up the tab for part of the price spread.

Just because Uncle Sam doesn't charge you in taxes for your additional loss does not mean that he is picking up any of the tab. I have never received a payment from Uncle Sam that was grater than the taxes I paid in. I have appreciated the recent tax cuts though.
 
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