Good Plan?

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Anonymous

About three years ago I bought 16 Hereford heifers. They were about a year old. My plan was to build a herd of about 30 herefords cows with leased bulls and then breed them to an angus bull; and then build a herd of 30 black baldies to breed with another brand of bull. I would have two different herds and could breed my own replacement black baldie heifers; and breed my replacement hereford heifers, as needed, with leased bulls. I had always heard black baldies grow fast and sale good and a black baldie crossed with another breed grow even faster. Good plan, huh?

Well, to make a long story short. Two heifers got bred early by a neighbor's bull and died. The hereford bulls I leased the past two years (with low birth weight EDPs) were queer or lazy and produced calves that weighed from 65 to 120 pounds. (three more heifers died giving birth to the large calves) I got three heifers that haven't bred, the oldest virgins in the county. Anyway, I now have 11 cows ( three are actually heifers), three one year old heifers (two half blind from pink eye), a one year old bull (I need to sale) and six new calves born the past few weeks. (three calves died this year). Of course, this is a short version of my luck. I could on and on. Good plan, huh?

Well, there is a question here. When you sell calves at the market, does it really make a difference what breed or cross breed they are? Is it worth the money, time and trouble to build a good quality herd? Are you going to be better off at the market?

I've just about decided to buy full mouth cows with calves, regardless of the breed, a good young bull and just have a herd of mixed cows. Good plan, huh?
 

DRB

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yes it does matter...the "good quality herd" you mention is not just for higher prices on sale day, but also for getting calves to the market. Good quality calves are still subject to the buyer's whim and market demand, but at least you get calves to sell, they don't wreck fences, die, get sick,go sterile..Good quality means efficent, healthy, fertile, heavy calves... If they bring the few extra cents on sale day, all the better.... In the long haul they will bring better prices on sale day, and you will have more calves to market...Plus the sight, enjoyment and comfort of knowing you have quality, (or a plan to get quality) is more than worth the effort...Hope I've made the point..
 

Campground Cattle

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D.R. Cattle":79c4iqej said:
Welcome to the cattle business.

If you aint got them you can't loose them. Get off this lease bull crap and go and purchase a quality bull from a breeder. Look at the calf crop he is throwing. I have lost herefords to a lot of things but not calving. The heifers bloodlines my be were the huge calves are coming from. Are you grain feeding and putting everything to the calf in the last month making monsters. As DR put it welome to the cattle business.
 

Cattle Rack Rancher

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Sometimes it just kind of goes that way. I would check with the locals around you to see what kind of cattle the buyers in your area are looking for (color, weight, etc.). Pay close attention to those birth weights (Like that isn't already obvious). I might start out with an angus bull with predictable EPD's. See how the calves are that you get off this bull and how they weigh up compared to what is expected. It is possible that the heifers you bought just have naturally big calves or their pelvic measurements are too tight to calve properly. I grew up on a farm raising registered purebred herefords. Then I moved away to get one of those good city jobs and after many years of that I moved back to the country and bought a new farm and bought new cows (not herefords). There is always a bit of education tax to be paid when you are starting out and occasionally, things are going to go terribly wrong. I've been stung buying cattle because usually unless you can find a good dispersal sale, you are buying someone else's culls. Try to buy from a reputable buyer or find a dispersal of some good quality cows. I've also found that certain cows do better under certain kinds of management. Try to buy from someone who manages their cows in a similar way that you do. Once you've had your cows for awhile you'll know which are the ones that do best under your management. Keep the heifers off your good producers and cull hard on the rest. i wish you the best of luck.
 
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Anonymous

Guest that started this topic --- tell us your location (at least the state) and maybe someone that frequents these boards can give you a better informed recommendation for breeds to consider and some reputable seedstock raisers in your area.
 

Running Arrow Bill

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Said it before, will say it again:


  • 1. Buy KNOWN quality stock from a KNOWN quality breeder.
    2. The BULL is 1/2 or more of your offspring crop--select the best.
    3. Inspect seller's operation for quality care.
    4. Evaluate the BULL's offspring--clue to his quality.
    5. NEVER buy breeding stock at SALE BARN!
    6. Purchase the best bull you can afford; otherwise, A.I. (also need a quality clean-up bull).
    7. Quarantine ALL new arrivals to your place before mixing with existing herd.
    8. Keep your own place clean and neat and reduce chances for calf or adult cattle problems.
    9. NEVER breed 1st calf heifer TOO YOUNG! If she was inadvertently bred too young; ABORT!
    10. Make sure your 1st calf heifers DO NOT get bred by a bull that sires LARGE calves.
    11. Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
    12. Ensure ALL vaccinations and de-worming are current for your new arrivals and the rest of your herd: costs very little compared to sick or dead animal loss.
    13. Your operation is judged by the quality of your breeding stock: you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!
    14. If a "neighbor" is wanting to sell you something, read between the lines, if he/she can't document the health prevention care of the animal then chances are it wasn't done.
    15. Never lease or purchase a bull that has not been semen tested with quality semen--you not only lose "time" you may have to re-breed in current season with additional costs.
    16. Just because a cow, heifer, or bull "looks" good doesn't mean he/she IS good!
    17. Select only the breed or crosses that will benefit your program and marketing opportunities. If you are breeding/raising for a "nitch" market, be fully aware of the pros and cons of such operation.
    18. ONE calf or cow lost due to improper breeding, sanitation, or other "natural cause" is ONE TOO Many!
    19. Etc., etc.

:)
 

Hawk

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Well, I had no intention of climbing back up on top of my soap box today, but I just can't help myself. Bill, all of the items that you listed in your post are exactly true - for your own particular operation. I have a problem, however, when you start telling me, and everyone else that visit this site, that if we aren't managing our businesses exactly like you then we are doing it wrong. What is right for you in your registered longhorn seedstock operation is not necessarily right (or wrong) is someone else who is in the commercial cow - calf business. Every producer has different goals, resources, backgrounds and needs. It is just short sighted to tell such a mixed audience that we must ALWAYS do this and NEVER do that. It is not practical and it is just not true. There are many very fine, financially successful, well respected ranchers that totally ignore at least half of your carved in stone rules and just keep on making money. Get down off you high horse (or tall longhorn, as the case may be) and lighten up on the "my way or the highway" attitude.
 

la4angus

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I agree 100% with Bill's comments. Some cattle raisers may not do exactly what he advocates, and they may also make money; but everything that Bill advocates on his last post is nothing but common sense spelled out for anyone that wants to raise cattle for a living or a hobby.
Good post Bill
 
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Anonymous

I agree with some of Bill's comments. Athough, I think he went a bit far about not buying any breeding stock at salebarns. I have done this and had little trouble.....a few setbacks but you get those in ANY problems. Please lose the "my way or the highway" attitude....you sound like our idiotic President..he wants the whole world to do what EXACTLY HE wants it done! I hope he lose his position, start looking in the wanted ad back in Texas for a new job! Adidos!
Gotta find my banana!
 

jcarkie

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sorry for your troubles, it is hard to start and there are alot of lessons to be learned. learn from your mistakes and explore other options. my advice cull out the old heifers that didn't breed and the blind young ones and replace them. in my area straight hereford are not the best choice, an angus bulls would make a better product. in my book it is better to start with older cows even short solid mouth cows at a fair price, and keep heifers from them. they are more experienced and better mothers.
 
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Anonymous

Hey everbody, thanks for the advice. By the way don't be too hard on Bill, he was just trying to help a wantabe cattle farmer. I'll take any advice I can get.

My farm is in Western Kentucky. The heifers I purchased, and the bulls I leased were from a cattle farmer who has been raising herefords for 40 years. It appeared that he had a first class farm. He uses AI for all his replacement heifers. He said that he sold all his calves to individuals like me instead of the local cattle markets. He also raises bulls for resale. He seemed really surprised by the trouble that I've had, and the size of some of the calves. I was hoping that he would be a good mentor, in addition to being a good supplier of quality heifers. I don't know if he was either.

From what I hear from ya'll, is that my plans are basically sound. Just buy a good quality bull and cull those cows and heifers that are poor or are poor producers. I guess I'll try one more season and see what next year brings before I give up and start buying older mixed cows.

Still looking for more advice and opinions, bring them on!
 
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Anonymous

Hawk":3go0lcig said:
Well, I had no intention of climbing back up on top of my soap box today, but I just can't help myself. Bill, all of the items that you listed in your post are exactly true - for your own particular operation. I have a problem, however, when you start telling me, and everyone else that visit this site, that if we aren't managing our businesses exactly like you then we are doing it wrong. What is right for you in your registered longhorn seedstock operation is not necessarily right (or wrong) is someone else who is in the commercial cow - calf business. Every producer has different goals, resources, backgrounds and needs. It is just short sighted to tell such a mixed audience that we must ALWAYS do this and NEVER do that. It is not practical and it is just not true. There are many very fine, financially successful, well respected ranchers that totally ignore at least half of your carved in stone rules and just keep on making money. Get down off you high horse (or tall longhorn, as the case may be) and lighten up on the "my way or the highway" attitude.

Hey! Please don't get your dander up! My comments not directed at you ou anyone else in particular. I'll AGREE that some cattle people make $$$ with a "less than fantastic operation"; however, the tighter one's operation is, the more "predictable" their outcome is.... It's like (a) "ready--fire--aim" (b) "ready--aim--fire (c) "what the heck--just toss a grenade out an see what happens".

By most rancher's standards, a major goal is to improve one's stock (and bottom-line)--this is usually done via "selective" breeding to the best stock one can afford...

...so many possibilities; so little time, $$, and energy... :)
 

Rod

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I don't think that you could ever go wrong with a good registered black angus bull. They are very predictable and consistant on birth weights and will generally throw black calves to most mixed breed cows. I dont know about your market but black breaks the bank here. I agree with running arrow bill on most of his points, but you can buy good quality breeding stock at salebarns. I watch for herd sale-offs at salebarns and you can be asured that a farmer didn't keep a 5 or 6 year old cow around all those years because she was a bad cow. I dont keep hardly any of my heifers, their too much trouble and their way too far out from a pay day for me. When I want or need replacements I'll go buy third period cows, which is a much quicker return than keeping a heifer over two years. Just what has worked well for me, best of luck!
 

la4angus

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I agree with running arrow bill on most of his points, but you can buy good quality breeding stock at salebarns. I watch for herd sale-offs at salebarns and you can be asured that a farmer didn't keep a 5 or 6 year old cow around all those years because she was a bad cow.

Rod
I think that what Running Arrow Bill is referring to in the above statement
is that going to the regular weekly auction to buy replacements. There definitely are herd selloff's and also special auctions where a person can pick up some good replacements, but I have seen people sitting there buying cattle that they have no idea of the health of the cattle or the reason that the good looking 4 to 6 year old cow is selling. Mostly she is something that is being culled for one of several reasons and one of them is not that she is a reliable top producer.
I agree with you if you are buying at special herd selloff's or special replacement or special feeder sales where there is regulations as to health
and/or vaccination program of the cattle.
 

Hawk

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I didn't mean to come across too strong. If my dander was really up, you would know it and my post would probably get bleeped. My position is that as beef producers we have a lot of options and in order to improve the bottom line we often have to be creative and innovative. If we have a mind set that we HAVE to do things a certain way then we may be limiting our potential. I agree that all of the suggestions on Bill's list are sound, as long as they are taken as suggestions. Of course you can get quality animals from a breeder. But you can also get good quality animals from other sources as well, and perhaps for a bit less money. If you are in the cattle business to make money you need to do whatever you can to maximize the bottom line. How you do that depends on the type of cattle business you are in. There are certainly common rules that apply to all operations, but there are also wide differences from one type of cattle business to another. I'm just saying that we shouldn't limit our options, that's all.
 

mucho bueno

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Guest, I think your plan at the end to just produce good healthy calves, is the way to go. I think alot of times this industry is like a fashion show. I ranch in Arizona and it is always changing. Black baldies are a big seller for some buyers, others prefer angus type calves. When you get your herd of black baldies going, then the cream colored charlois cross calves are selling. What I have found over the years, and this is just my opinion and experience buyers like big healthy calves regardless of their breed or coloring. I'm not getting rich but I do ok, I produce good quality calves, some black baldies, some angus, some brahma cross, some hereford crosses. Come shipping time, the only calves left in the pens are the small framed, shorter calves or the very young ones. I believe as far as producing calves that go to the feedlot on the way to slaughter, the most important thing is the ability to gain and maintain weight. Just my opinion but my family has been doing this for over 65 years.
 

txag

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mucho bueno":1krds1qs said:
What I have found over the years, and this is just my opinion and experience buyers like big healthy calves regardless of their breed or coloring.

i agree. good calves will bring good money.
 
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