Herd advancement

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shadyhollownj

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Ok so I run a small registered herd. I do have a budget and have been pondering this question. Is it better to say buy 6K in embryos and a half decent 5K cow OR say just buy a few embryos and buy a proven 5 yr old cow for 10k that could be a donor cow. My thoughts with the embryos would be that say for every four you would only result in two calves. Now that is a lot of time before it would pay off but you have the chance to get a real good ET heifer or bull. you could also spend 3K on those four embryos and get nothing special. Where as if you buy a proven donor type cow you would have a great proven cow that you could flush. I put my first embryos last year and calves are hitting the ground now so I know what the ET deal involves. So the question is what is the better way to advance your herd. Buy the expensive female or gamble with embryos? Just looking for peoples experiences.
 

WalnutCrest

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Or, you could buy preg-checked recips carrying the embryos. Some guys will even sell you sexed embryos ... so, if you're looking for a heifer or a bull then you can stack the odds a bit in your favor.

It may cost a little more money, but you'll remove some of your risk that way.
 
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shadyhollownj

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I have actually bought two like that and wasnt impressed with the recips at all. I have recips so thats not really an issue. Sexed embryos are far and few between in the hereford breed with very few bulls with sexed semen. I cant see spending 5k for a recip with a 750 dollar egg that I can get in my own cow for 1500. I wish it was an option. Thanks for the thought.
 

WalnutCrest

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Some of the issues you're dealing with are similar to the ones I was dealing with last year.

With lots of effort and networking, I had an opportunity to get five very high quality "potential donor" cows. Of the five I bought, I'm planning to flush four over the next couple of years. If you buy your own donor(s), don't forget to get the best and most complimentary semen you can (maybe as a package from the guy who would sell you your prospective donor(s)).

There's no right answer ... and lots of options.

Do what makes the most sense for your family and your finances, and it'll all work out.

Good luck to you.
 
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shadyhollownj

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Chevy I did buy a heifer and some embryos from SL. I hate to break it to you but I own more than one cow. I dont even know how to respond to a comment like that. I'm curious why you made your tenth post on this thread in two years.

Thanks again Walnut. I know there is no set answer.
 

alexfarms

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shadyhollownj":dsybwjky said:
Ok so I run a small registered herd. I do have a budget and have been pondering this question. Is it better to say buy 6K in embryos and a half decent 5K cow OR say just buy a few embryos and buy a proven 5 yr old cow for 10k that could be a donor cow. My thoughts with the embryos would be that say for every four you would only result in two calves. Now that is a lot of time before it would pay off but you have the chance to get a real good ET heifer or bull. you could also spend 3K on those four embryos and get nothing special. Where as if you buy a proven donor type cow you would have a great proven cow that you could flush. I put my first embryos last year and calves are hitting the ground now so I know what the ET deal involves. So the question is what is the better way to advance your herd. Buy the expensive female or gamble with embryos? Just looking for peoples experiences.


Have you considered flushing one of your own cows? You know more about the cows you own than any you could go out and buy. Isn't there a mating to a bull for one of your females that could produce top cattle. Frank Felton's advise to me 25 years ago: 'Work with what you got.' You could do the flush with sexed semen, or go IVF and reverse sort on some good old bull. You could IVF a pregnant cow after weaning and between 30 and 110 days bred. I think it would be pretty tough to go out and buy a donor cow. The best way to do ET is to pay for results. ie: IVF your best cow to your favorite bull for sexed semen and have fresh embryos planted and buy the pregnant recips. That way you aren't paying for a bunch of frozen embryos that may never hatch.
 

Fire Sweep Ranch

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I think you have more to gain by buying top quality embryos and putting them in your cows that you know are good dams. It takes a bunch to make a donor famous enough for others to want her embryos. I guess we should know WHY you are doing this? Is it to make money, by selling embryos yourself one day? Or to just make good quality cattle? We are in it to make good quality cattle, so we buy embryos from well known donors and sires and hope to get some great ones that we can put our farm prefix on. We want to be known for having some of the top genetics out there that perform well in the pasture and look good at the end of the halter. So what are you after in all this?
You can buy some great embryos for a lot cheaper than a great cow, and that cow can die on you at any time. If you get a bull, and want a heifer, then at least you have something marketable and can reinvest that money from selling the bull to buy more embryos... that is our thought process.
 
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shadyhollownj

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Fire sweep I am doing this to get my herd to the place I want it to be in a quicker time frame. I want to have good cattle that work well, are marketable, and hopefully make a profit at some point. I still buy embryos from top donors but didnt know if it was better to invest in a proven cow that will give you a natural calf every year plus give you the option of flushing to get several calves from different bulls in a shorter time frame. I get what your saying about the bulls but the bull market if thats what you want to call it in my area in pretty much nonexistent. You will be lucky to break even on the ET bull calf. Basically my thought process is the same as yours.

Alex I get what you are saying about the IVF. Transova in maryland doesnt have recips to put eggs in fresh like their other two locations. I would be interested in at least sexing the embryos even if they had to freeze them. I just dont have the quality of cow yet that I would want to flush at this point. My hope is to get that donor quality cow out of the embryos that I am buying. I have only put in eggs one year so far but understand all the costs with it. At this point I double the cost of the egg for conception rate and add 300 for vet fees when I consider the price.
 

toughntender

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I tend to agree with the majority opinion here. Purchasing embryos would be a good approach for a smaller operation. One of the problems with dropping thousands and thousands of dollars on some expensive donor is that she needs to be constantly flushed in order to make it pay. If you don't have a way to utilize all of the embryos produced, and you can't sell all of them, what's the point. In my mind you would be much better of putting a variety of good embryos in some of your more plain cows and advancing that way. After all it's the calves, and the genetics they represent, that you are after not just the cow.

One other thing that often gets forgotten about is the adaption period that occurs any time you move cattle. Some fancy donor running on land out west would have a pretty tough time making it in the southeast for example. They claim that it can take anywhere from 120 days up to a full year for a cow to get used to a new area. I personally wouldn't want to risk so much money on an animal that might not even make the adjustment. At least with embryos, the genetics you want will come out in a calf that is already adapted to your area. Anybody else ever experienced trouble with cattle adapting? Just my 2 cents. Its worth what it cost you.
 
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shadyhollownj

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I realize all the things you guys are saying about buying the expensive cow. I realize the risk with either situation. Two breeders that are somewhat local have both said they messed around with cheaper end cows trying to get ahead. They both recommended that I buy the most expensive cow I can afford, flush her, and build a herd of good cows from them. Instead of buying three 4,000 dollar cows but one 12,000 dollar cow because it will get you to the end goal sooner. Also I realize that embryos may never really get you that great heifer. I mean if you take a group of flushmates usually you have one or two that are great and the others just average. My feeling with the expensive cow is that you are getting that great cow out of the flush thats already proven. Either way I will keep buying embryos. I was just wondering about the cow side of the equation. Do you take 2 good or 1 great. The risk is there either way thats why its gambling.

Tough I also always wondered about moving cattle from fescue country to the northeast if it does have a major effect.

Redbull fingers are crossed havent seen heat in a few months dont wanna jinx it. She was written off a year ago. Lesson learned.
 

Chevyman

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Sorry about hittin ya out of left field. I read here so often I guess I felt part if the conversation. As my uncle would have said, some folks are long on money and short on brains. It will never pencil out runnin around buying has been flush cows. My family doesn't buy cattle based on names in a pedigree only. What is your program? If it's just buying popular names we ain't interested.

What is your definition if a great cow?

Saw your HT pics and dropping ET icalves in winter ain't good for profits either there slick.

I gets the impression you have ADD and paralysis by analysis in your cattle breeding.

Cheers
 

alexfarms

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Chevyman":2u6kq0rf said:
Sorry about hittin ya out of left field. I read here so often I guess I felt part if the conversation. As my uncle would have said, some folks are long on money and short on brains. It will never pencil out runnin around buying has been flush cows. My family doesn't buy cattle based on names in a pedigree only. What is your program? If it's just buying popular names we ain't interested.

What is your definition if a great cow?

Saw your HT pics and dropping ET icalves in winter ain't good for profits either there slick.

I gets the impression you have ADD and paralysis by analysis in your cattle breeding.

Cheers

"ADD and paralysis by analysis" I hadn't heard that one before. Is that sorta like just keep growing until something good happens? That's popular in the corn belt, too.
 
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shadyhollownj

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Nothing like a lurker on the boards Chevy that chimes in when he thinks he knows something. First I dont ever expect to sell you or any of your friends cattle so your interest means nothing. Lets see does a guy who went to school for engineering have any brains? I would think so. Do I make money? I would say I do ok with two of my own companies. The real question is what do you besides tell people what your uncle says and what your family buys? Unless you contribute something to the board keep being a lurker and keep your families comments to yourself.

Oh and I think it would be intelligent to have calves this time of year so when you sell at production sales in October your calves are actually ready and weaned. Maybe your family forgot to drop that knowledge on your dumb a**. Also I am home since I am a contractor this time year so I like to get calving out of the way.
 

thommoos

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shadyhollownj":35fe11yc said:
:lol: :lol: The real question is what do you besides tell people what your uncle says and what your family buys? Unless you contribute something to the board keep being a lurker and keep your families comments to yourself.

Oh and I think it would be intelligent to have calves this time of year so when you sell at production sales in October your calves are actually ready and weaned. Maybe your family forgot to drop that knowledge on your dumb a**. Also I am home since I am a contractor this time year so I like to get calving out of the way.

I say buy yourself embryoys that you like to make your own donr cows., wether its a bull or heifer you win. Once they have hit the ground you can start culling and picking what you want.
 

Herefords.US

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shadyhollownj":13uptl8n said:
Ok so I run a small registered herd. I do have a budget and have been pondering this question. Is it better to say buy 6K in embryos and a half decent 5K cow OR say just buy a few embryos and buy a proven 5 yr old cow for 10k that could be a donor cow. My thoughts with the embryos would be that say for every four you would only result in two calves. Now that is a lot of time before it would pay off but you have the chance to get a real good ET heifer or bull. you could also spend 3K on those four embryos and get nothing special. Where as if you buy a proven donor type cow you would have a great proven cow that you could flush. I put my first embryos last year and calves are hitting the ground now so I know what the ET deal involves. So the question is what is the better way to advance your herd. Buy the expensive female or gamble with embryos? Just looking for peoples experiences.

The other day a friend of mine said that he was going to make himself up a T-shirt that reads: "Everything I've learned, I've learned the hard way!" I told him to order mine in size 4XLT!

I'm very prejudiced in this discussion by my own experiences. I've bought 4 former donor cows from other breeders and I've also bought some proven older cows that had never been flushed, then had them flushed myself. The net sum total of all that expense, headache, and heartache is that I still have ONE average(at the best) cow in my herd from it.

Given the choice of buying a donor cow, or buying some embryos, I'd buy the embryos. And I would buy ALL embryos and NO donor cow! For one thing, you have a semi-known quantity with the embryos. Also, you can buy an assortment of embryos from different donors/bulls, so if you get a "knock 'em out" herd bull prospect, you'd have some diversity in your herd where you could actually use him, at least as a whale of a clean-up bull. If you buy a donor cow, all of your calves from her will be at least half-sibs = a much narrower gene pool.

Eventually, one of those embryos will turn into a cow that's truly "donor" quality - and you'll want to flush her. Regardless of which way you go with this, when you're dealing with flushing donors, embryos, and recips, there will be days where you'll be wondering: "Now, WHERE do I order that dang T-shirt?"

George
 

alexfarms

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I'll quote Gene Henkel and I believe he quoted the line from John Brown: "All men are stupid in different ways."
 

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