MANAGEMENT-Key to Profit!

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DOC HARRIS

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There have been several discussions recently on this Forum concerning "Management Technics", and the importance of incorporating proper operating procedures in the performance of our Beef Cattle Businesses. Recently, I have had several breeders question me regarding the real importance of being "picky-picky" with various phases of "...just raisin' cows...", and when I noticed this article on the Front Page of CattleToday I decided to draw everyone's attention to it. It is titled "Huntin' Daylight --Manage What You Can". It exemplifies, exactly, how important the seemingly "little things" can become critically important when one is really SERIOUS about Beef Cattle Production.

I recommend your reading the entire article, but here is a summary and a comment on the "picky-picky" aspects of how our breeding protocols can become confused when considering Management differences between "Maternal" and "Terminal" Programs.

“Managers of small beef herds typically find it very challenging to raise both quality replacement heifers and quality terminal feeder cattle. The reason for this challenge is that herd improvement comes very slowly when selecting for both maternal and terminal characteristics within the same small herd,” explains Olson. “Managers of large beef herds (> 400 cows) minimize this problem by dividing their herds into maternal and terminal breeding programs. Managers of small beef herds can take a similar tack by specializing in either terminal or maternal-type calf production. In the former case, replacement heifers are purchased and the majority of revenue is generated through the sale of calves that excel in terminal traits like growth and carcass merit. In the latter case, the majority of revenue comes from the sale of replacement heifers.” You can find all of Olson's advice at www.asi.ksu.edu/beeftips.
For some of our new members of the Forum, this is why you will see members question ".. what do you plan to do with your new herd?" You can see how important it is to have a definite GOAL in place with your beef program rather than to just start "..Raisin' Cows!"

Comments and discussion would be helpful - particularly in light of the current Agricultural market picture.

DOC HARRIS
 

Stocker Steve

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I have spoken with KC Olson a couple times before. He was in Missouri before the current Kansas State position. He seems to have a good grasp of the numbers, and seemed to focus on how feeding choices effect the profitability.
 

ZMT

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I was just trolling the boards reading and That was kind of an eye opener, DOC. Thanks for the read.
 

Chuckie

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Thanks Doc! I am always on here looking for new things to read. This is a really good place to start and I appreciate you posting it.
 

JWBrahman

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Thanks for sharing, Doc. About fifteen years ago there was a great article from the LSU Agcenter about how your average seed stock producer goes under in five years precisely for the reasons you mentioned. Trying to be all things to all people never works.
 

Jessica06

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One thing that really pushes our buttons is hearing people say, over and over, that there isn't any money in cattle. There IS! Lots! IF you do your research and question every decision you make, and always ask yourself if there is a better way. So far, we have done very few things the way that we did them the year before. Feeding decisions are extremely important...we drive an hour one-way for our feed, and save $250-350 on just a couple of tons, sacked, after gas cost, than if we went to any of the 5-6 feed stores that are all within 15 minutes of our house. That adds up to about $4000/year. It's the little things like that, that add up over time and ultimately determine whether or not you are profitable.

One "beef" that I have with the article, is the mindset that you have to either have a terminal or maternal breeding program to be successful. Who says you can't have both?? Our purebred Brangus steers always top the market, and the heifers make some of the best cows you can find. A terminal cross, which to the majority of cattlemen means simply putting out a Charolais bull, isn't always necessary to sell top $$ feeders, steers or heifers. I'm sure the Angus, Simmental, and (fill in the blank) breeders would say the same thing. I always wonder how much more money ranchers, who put a Charolais bull on mongrel "rainbow" cows, would make if they used a black bull instead. (Yes, Charolais covers up different colors, but so does black, and it's pretty easy to find bulls to add pounds these days.) Here, black is usually at least a $10-15/cwt difference, everything else being equal. WORK them, and put a butt on them, and it only goes up from there. Black heifers are selling for a premium, too. People won't KNOW that if they don't spend a tiny amount of time to do their RESEARCH. Sadly, a lot of them won't, and it's their loss. Literally.

The great thing about our business is that there are an infinite number of ways to do things and still make a profit. It might look like I'm just making a case for black cattle, but really I'm just trying to point out the importance of doing research, and that people shouldn't be afraid to think outside the box. Find out what you like, and what will keep you in the black. Taking everything you hear with a grain of salt doesn't hurt, either. Especially from your feed/equipment/pharmaceutical reps. That cost us a bit of money when we started. Lesson learned.

Stepping off my soapbox to see how many buttons I pushed. :)
 

denvermartinfarms

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ricebeltrancher":2g4gmmrp said:
One thing that really pushes our buttons is hearing people say, over and over, that there isn't any money in cattle. There IS! Lots! IF you do your research and question every decision you make, and always ask yourself if there is a better way. So far, we have done very few things the way that we did them the year before. Feeding decisions are extremely important...we drive an hour one-way for our feed, and save $250-350 on just a couple of tons, sacked, after gas cost, than if we went to any of the 5-6 feed stores that are all within 15 minutes of our house. That adds up to about $4000/year. It's the little things like that, that add up over time and ultimately determine whether or not you are profitable.

One "beef" that I have with the article, is the mindset that you have to either have a terminal or maternal breeding program to be successful. Who says you can't have both?? Our purebred Brangus steers always top the market, and the heifers make some of the best cows you can find. A terminal cross, which to the majority of cattlemen means simply putting out a Charolais bull, isn't always necessary to sell top $$ feeders, steers or heifers. I'm sure the Angus, Simmental, and (fill in the blank) breeders would say the same thing. I always wonder how much more money ranchers, who put a Charolais bull on mongrel "rainbow" cows, would make if they used a black bull instead. (Yes, Charolais covers up different colors, but so does black, and it's pretty easy to find bulls to add pounds these days.) Here, black is usually at least a $10-15/cwt difference, everything else being equal. WORK them, and put a butt on them, and it only goes up from there. Black heifers are selling for a premium, too. People won't KNOW that if they don't spend a tiny amount of time to do their RESEARCH. Sadly, a lot of them won't, and it's their loss. Literally.

The great thing about our business is that there are an infinite number of ways to do things and still make a profit. It might look like I'm just making a case for black cattle, but really I'm just trying to point out the importance of doing research, and that people shouldn't be afraid to think outside the box. Find out what you like, and what will keep you in the black. Taking everything you hear with a grain of salt doesn't hurt, either. Especially from your feed/equipment/pharmaceutical reps. That cost us a bit of money when we started. Lesson learned.

Stepping off my soapbox to see how many buttons I pushed. :)
Good post :nod: :clap: :clap:
 
A

Anonymous

Red Bull Breeder":394xzejo said:
About as big a load of black wash as I have seen in a while.
Mr. Greenjeans":394xzejo said:
All of the fear and gnashing of teeth -- resolved... all of the confusion -- reconciled... all in one little word -- Gelbvieh

That took longer than I expected :deadhorse:
 

inyati13

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DOC HARRIS":ktnrqo3m said:
There have been several discussions recently on this Forum concerning "Management Technics", and the importance of incorporating proper operating procedures in the performance of our Beef Cattle Businesses. Recently, I have had several breeders question me regarding the real importance of being "picky-picky" with various phases of "...just raisin' cows...", and when I noticed this article on the Front Page of CattleToday I decided to draw everyone's attention to it. It is titled "Huntin' Daylight --Manage What You Can". It exemplifies, exactly, how important the seemingly "little things" can become critically important when one is really SERIOUS about Beef Cattle Production.

I recommend your reading the entire article, but here is a summary and a comment on the "picky-picky" aspects of how our breeding protocols can become confused when considering Management differences between "Maternal" and "Terminal" Programs.

“Managers of small beef herds typically find it very challenging to raise both quality replacement heifers and quality terminal feeder cattle. The reason for this challenge is that herd improvement comes very slowly when selecting for both maternal and terminal characteristics within the same small herd,” explains Olson. “Managers of large beef herds (> 400 cows) minimize this problem by dividing their herds into maternal and terminal breeding programs. Managers of small beef herds can take a similar tack by specializing in either terminal or maternal-type calf production. In the former case, replacement heifers are purchased and the majority of revenue is generated through the sale of calves that excel in terminal traits like growth and carcass merit. In the latter case, the majority of revenue comes from the sale of replacement heifers.” You can find all of Olson's advice at http://www.asi.ksu.edu/beeftips.
For some of our new members of the Forum, this is why you will see members question ".. what do you plan to do with your new herd?" You can see how important it is to have a definite GOAL in place with your beef program rather than to just start "..Raisin' Cows!"

Comments and discussion would be helpful - particularly in light of the current Agricultural market picture.

DOC HARRIS

I agree DOC. Finding a pound of gold out under a stump would help, too.
 

sim.-ang.king

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hooknline":fifxsqd9 said:
Red Bull Breeder":fifxsqd9 said:
About as big a load of black wash as I have seen in a while.
Mr. Greenjeans":fifxsqd9 said:
All of the fear and gnashing of teeth -- resolved... all of the confusion -- reconciled... all in one little word -- Gelbvieh

That took longer than I expected :deadhorse:

Yeah it only took them 4 years to say it.
Red, I know you can do better then that. :lol2:
 
A

Anonymous

I doubt doc was trying to get into a discussion on breeds but it seems it always goes there.
 

novatech

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inyati13":sulw4pkf said:
I agree DOC. Finding a pound of gold out under a stump would help, too.
And then all that pot of gold will buy you is quality built through the management skills of others. Without having those skills and the discipline to carry them out even the very best cattle that pot of gold can buy can be reduced to a poor quality, run of the mill herd.
 

inyati13

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novatech":thyo25zv said:
inyati13":thyo25zv said:
I agree DOC. Finding a pound of gold out under a stump would help, too.
And then all that pot of gold will buy you is quality built through the management skills of others. Without having those skills and the discipline to carry them out even the very best cattle that pot of gold can buy can be reduced to a poor quality, run of the mill herd.

Absolutely true. I wasn't disparaging DOC's message. I was giving sincere agreement. What I see in my very small operation is that if I care for my cattle to the extent that satisfies me and I spend money on the things that makes this vocation a pleasure for me, it will be nearly impossible on my scale to make any sort of profit that would enhance my lifestyle. So I was saying, for me to make a profit worth telling anyone about, I better find a few ounces of gold in them thar hills!
 

JWBrahman

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Great post, Novatech. Knowing what you want and sticking to it is critical. Just an obvious example: If you are a maternal producer your females better be fertile and they better have staying power/longevity.
 

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