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More profit in stockers?

denoginnizer

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Looks to me like right now there is more profit in raising stockers than in a cow calf operation . Any body else noticing this trend?
 

Susie David

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We have culled down to a handfull of cows & heifers and plan to put a few stockers on the payroll for next spring and fall production beef. With the hay prices falling like they have we could rebuild the herd but that will put retirement back a few years and quite frankly, I'm getting tired of the winters up here and am looking to cut back on the operation. Folks are not buying beef like they have in past years. My biggest seller at the farmer's markets are dog bones...sell sixty pounds a weekend. People are treating the mutt but hold back on buying a steak for themselves instead buy a couple pounds of ground beef.
Will most likely buy a few bred cows at the sale barn this December when prices are the lowest and some steers if the price is right and the animal is from a good producer. I figure that from conception to slaughter it costs about thirteen hundred dollars to raise a good grass finished steer...yeah, grass finished, our customer base is pretty choosy about their beef and we accomodate. At these prices going to a stocker operation would save some froghides. Alot of decisions to be made this fall, any open gals in Sept will be gone and this will be a big factor in our plans.
And thats my two bits...asked for or not. Dave Mc
 

talldog

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Susie David":25mf9pho said:
We have culled down to a handfull of cows & heifers and plan to put a few stockers on the payroll for next spring and fall production beef. With the hay prices falling like they have we could rebuild the herd but that will put retirement back a few years and quite frankly, I'm getting tired of the winters up here and am looking to cut back on the operation. Folks are not buying beef like they have in past years. My biggest seller at the farmer's markets are dog bones...sell sixty pounds a weekend. People are treating the mutt but hold back on buying a steak for themselves instead buy a couple pounds of ground beef.
Will most likely buy a few bred cows at the sale barn this December when prices are the lowest and some steers if the price is right and the animal is from a good producer. I figure that from conception to slaughter it costs about thirteen hundred dollars to raise a good grass finished steer...yeah, grass finished, our customer base is pretty choosy about their beef and we accomodate. At these prices going to a stocker operation would save some froghides. Alot of decisions to be made this fall, any open gals in Sept will be gone and this will be a big factor in our plans.
And thats my two bits...asked for or not. Dave Mc
Things are changing FAST and to survive one most go with the FLOW !! :tiphat:
 

IluvABbeef

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Despite the trends, we all know that stockers can't come from stockers. Someone has to be in the cow-calf business to be able to make stockers for other folks to buy and raise for a higher profit, no matter if the making of the stockers is less profitable or not. Going with the trend might end up in a bit of trouble, especially if too many go with the trend.

And there's MY two cents.
 

Douglas

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What do you think about splitting the difference. Cutting you herd in half and keep the calves twice as long. That way you don't have to deal with someone else's problems.
 

brandonm_13

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Running stockers can have some advantages, like not needing hay or hay equipment. Granted those stockers have to come from somewhere, but I think a mixture of cow/calf and stockers may be best. That way you only have to feed hay for a small percentage of your herd, and you can save some money from purchasing stockers with your own home grown stockers.
 

Stocker Steve

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brandonm_13":2qty9ia5 said:
but I think a mixture of cow/calf and stockers may be best.

Depends. Bankers are not quite as keen on stockers. They see the potential to lose a bunch of money in a couple months if you do not have some type of risk protection. On paper a mix works out best - - some pairs for fall grass and crop residue, plus lots of stockers for spring flush and leader/follower or mob grazing, but...

Lots of folks due not have stocker quality forage, so it is a no for them.
Most folks are not very good at marketing, so it is a no for them.
Some folks due not know how to prevent or contain a wreak, so it is a no for them.
 

dun

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Douglas":32e01b8f said:
What do you think about splitting the difference. Cutting you herd in half and keep the calves twice as long. That way you don't have to deal with someone else's problems.
If you plan on running stockers on forage you don;t want to have to be feeding them hay over the winter. Spring born calves would have to be overwintered and that's a losing propsition unless you have really top quality winter forage
 

Texas PaPaw

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Lots of good points made. That being said, I look at them as 2 different types of business. Cow-calf is a manufacturing business (calf factory), whereas stockers are a value-added margin business. In many cases a combination of the 2 are appropriate as cow-calf is most profitable when calf prices are high and stockers are frequently more profitable when calves are cheap. It really comes down to what is the best matchup of forage and management resources.

Just my 2 cents worth
 

Douglas

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dun":jwy9rz0u said:
Douglas":jwy9rz0u said:
What do you think about splitting the difference. Cutting you herd in half and keep the calves twice as long. That way you don't have to deal with someone else's problems.
If you plan on running stockers on forage you don;t want to have to be feeding them hay over the winter. Spring born calves would have to be overwintered and that's a losing propsition unless you have really top quality winter forage

Oats,rape, ryegrass coming up this week
 

HerefordSire

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Stocker Steve":1676x6ah said:
Depends. Bankers are not quite as keen on stockers. They see the potential to lose a bunch of money in a couple months if you do not have some type of risk protection.

I didn't know that. I was thinking the risk was less with stockers.
 

brandonm_13

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HerefordSire":2qsgke11 said:
Stocker Steve":2qsgke11 said:
Depends. Bankers are not quite as keen on stockers. They see the potential to lose a bunch of money in a couple months if you do not have some type of risk protection.

I didn't know that. I was thinking the risk was less with stockers.

I think there is more risk of "disaster" with stockers since they could theoretically all get shipping fever and die. A cow dying during birthing is a greater loss than one stocker, but that cow's birthing is very independent of all the others(unless you used a high BW bull on a group of heifers).

Bankers around here don't seem to mind. The owner of the bank is one of the two biggest stocker operations in the county(the other is his neighbor, the sale barn owner). Of course, I'm not talking about borrowing money on stockers. I would rather build up a little along each year with the capital I had. That way, if everything died, I wouldn't owe any money with no way to repay like I would if I had borrowed.
 

rowdyred

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Interesting topic since I am very seriously considering buying some stockers, never done it before, I've got the land and the grass, going to run them on grass, salt/minerials and water, if every thing goes the way its supposed to, running the stockers from March to say October, what can I expect to profit, I know there are alot of ifs, lets just say "on paper" what could I make per head?
 

brandonm_13

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There are almost too many variables to count including:

purchase price
cost of inputs(fencing, minerals and/or feed, electricity, fuel, etc.)
death loss
cost of medications/vet bills
weight gain
sale price
 

rowdyred

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I understand all of that, where I live we use an expression "on paper" which means all the conditions are perfect, we do understand that it never or rarely ever happens that way, its just a way of looking at what if...
brandonm_13":2ucco30n said:
There are almost too many variables to count including:

purchase price
cost of inputs(fencing, minerals and/or feed, electricity, fuel, etc.)
death loss
cost of medications/vet bills
weight gain
sale price
 

brandonm_13

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I understand that, but even putting it on paper and having it work out that way can be way off. In a perfect world, you could buy calves when they are down in the spring, say 350-400 pounders for $.90 a pound, run them through until fall on a good rainy year, gaining 2.5 pounds per day, and sell them when calf prices went up and make $350 per calf, because none got sick or died. In reality, you're probably going to buy them at $1.10 a pound, sell them at $.75-80 a pound, lose 10%, average $10-20 per head in vet bills/dewormer/etc, and they will gain between 1-1.75 pounds per day, making you maybe $20-60 per calf, but that's just a wild guess.
 

rowdyred

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thats what I was looking for in an answer, so on the high end I could make around $60 per head, I was hoping for around $100-$150 per head, is that being unrealistic?
 

brandonm_13

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I don't think it's being unrealistic, but I wouldn't expect it until you have mastered different aspects of product and marketing. I don't know about Mississippi's extension service, but usually you can get information on buy/sell margins by month for the past x number of years. That will help you with expected costs and revenues. You really need a book called No Risk Ranching by Greg Judy (available at the Stockman Grass Farmer's website). It is all about running stockers and cows on leased land. You may even consider finishing some of the stockers and direct marketing the cattle, which will increase your profit margins.

Really to make any money in any of it, you need to have good grass and use no feed, just salt and minerals. Keeping your inputs low may mean the cows won't grow as fast. And that means less profit in a good year, but in a bad year, it could keep you from going under.
 

Texas PaPaw

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If I could only read 1 book about stocker cattle it would be "Thoughts and advice from an old Cattleman" by Gordon Hazard. This is the best book I have ever read regarding stocker cattle. Lots of good ideas that are applicable to cow-calf also. You can get it from Powerflex fence. They also have Greg Judy's books.

http://www.powerflexfence.com/catalog01.25.html


2 other books from Stockman Grassfarmer I consider a must read, especially for stocker operators are:

"Pasture profits with Stocker cattle" and "Knowledge Rich Ranching".

http://www.stockmangrassfarmer.net/Bookshelf.html
 

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