Not paying much for weight

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Rydero

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I'm not sure what you are asking here. The money to buy more cattle sometimes comes out of pocket, and sometimes from the bank. Often it comes by retaining extra heifers. I'm a fall-calver, so I can buy lighter heifers as replacements (to breed in November) than I could if I were breeding in July. But the smaller cow formula is all about stocking rates. And the Value of Gain (VOG) is on calves less than 600 lbs. The biggest money maker is tied to the number of head across the scale, not the weight. I'm looking for smaller cows, but they are tough to find in my neck of the prairie.
What I'm getting at is you have to defer income or borrow money to eventually get the same/ a little more income by your example. So you either don't make money/make very little for the period of time you're retaining and growing those extra 28 cows or you're borrowing the money and paying off the loan which counts against that "extra" income in the real world. Nobody mentions the several years of reduced income when they bring up this idea. I just wonder if it actually works. Newborn calves are $4-$5 per lb here but I think I'd go broke pretty quickly selling all my calves that way.
 

Stocker Steve

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What I'm getting at is you have to defer income or borrow money to eventually get the same/ a little more income by your example. So you either don't make money/make very little for the period of time you're retaining and growing those extra 28 cows or you're borrowing the money and paying off the loan which counts against that "extra" income in the real world.
You are correct. Cash flow for funding growth is a bitch when you do not have a good gross margin.

The way some work around this is by using cattle as a wealth builder (that pays long term capital gain taxes in the US). This means you need to have another source of income to pay the short term bills.

The way some work around this is buying a bunch of cheap cows at the low in the cattle price cycle.

The way you can address this more directly is by selling a premium priced product that does have a good gross margin.
 

Rydero

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Cash flow is a bitch when you do not have a good gross margin.

The way some work around this is by using cattle as a wealth builder (that pays long term capital gain taxes in the US). This means you need to have another source of income to pay the short term bills.

The way some try to roll the dice is buying a bunch of cheap cows at the low in the cattle price cycle.

The way you can address this directly is by selling a premium priced product that does have a good gross margin.

Cash flow is a bitch. This is very true... 😂

Do many manufacturers build more, smaller factories to get a better margin?
 

Lee VanRoss

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Rydero makes a valid point on deferring income and/or incurring debt to increase the head per acre volume without an appreciable increase
in total pounds of beef marketed. This can be exceedingly difficult for a one faceted operation. ie cow/calf only, no other income..
There is no tablet carved in stone on how to go about making the change but you will need to reinvent your own wheel(s) as you proceed.
For starters the mature weight of your herd sire will be a great influence on the size of your replacement heifers. Couple mature weight and frame
size and the problem (or solution) will increase or be resolved in direct proportion. Admittedly I started too late in life and with no idea
or intention of changing cow size. Anyway I wound up with a couple of $200. masterpieces that took shelter on my place from the county
sherriff with shoot to kill orders. (That is a fact) I made sure that when I drove into the area where they were that they were going to find
a little pile of corn. Long story short it worked, they made it through the winter and had calves, maybe 40 lbs. [The faint of heart can get off now,]
The calves were heifers and they had calves (mostly heifers) After about 12 years I get calves that will scale between 850 & 900 in eleven
months for steers and proportionly less for heifers. I have never pulled a calf or lost one for health reasons.

I stopped buying bulls base on weaning and year weight EPD's. Started reading Grassland Farmer, that lead me to Kit Pharo with whom
I have communicated but never met.. Along with this I started rotational grazing within the confines of my patience and endurance for moving
cattle almost daily through the grazing season. I would have to look but I know it's something over a 100 times a season for the past couple
of years.. To back up for a moment I did mention keeping the calves for eleven months.. To me that is important in that the calf is the only
income a cow is going to produce in a year unless you sell the cow! To me selling a calf at weaning or at a light weight is tantamount
to having a hired man who does no work. Bottom line unless you can handle the necessary changes in procedures and attitude required
to make the change I would not recommend it. Once the quality of pasture increases the rate of gain per acre will follow.
All things being equal and they never are,,,,,,,
 

Rydero

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@Lee VanRoss I think we get there different ways but see it in a similar way. Each cow will only have one calf a year so it makes sense to maximize the return/cow.

I do it a little different. Buy in moderate replacements (1250 lb mature weight), calve them a little early (March) to a terminal sire - high WW epd's. I try to manage my grass well and while I don't move them every day I have a lot of rotations - probably 5 day average move time. If all goes well I'm shipping 600 weight calves in October before I'm feeding any hay. Then I can be mean to my dry cows and try to extend grazing/save hay.

For me the economics just don't work with too low a return/cow - we simply have to feed cows too many days a year to make money selling little calves. I think if I was going to do something different it would probably be calve later, wean the calves and sell into the spring grasser market. I just think in the end I'd utilize more feed under that system.
 

Stocker Steve

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For me the economics just don't w return/cow - we simply have to feed cows too many daymoney selling little calves. I think if I was going to do something different it would probably be calve later, wean the calves and sell into the spring grasser market. I just think in the end I'd utilize more feed under that system
Thread title is "Not Paying much for Weight", but everyone wants to sell heavy calves. What is missing here?
 

Stocker Steve

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Cash flow is a bitch. This is very true... 😂

Do many manufacturers build more, smaller factories to get a better margin?
Yes, the really smart ones size the factory and the enterprises in it to optimize a resource base and an efficient process.

For example - - the small steel mini mills are much more profitable than the big, old line, blast furnaces.
For example - - grazing corn stalks is much more profitable than making hay.
 
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Muletrack

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What I'm getting at is you have to defer income or borrow money to eventually get the same/ a little more income by your example. So you either don't make money/make very little for the period of time you're retaining and growing those extra 28 cows or you're borrowing the money and paying off the loan which counts against that "extra" income in the real world. Nobody mentions the several years of reduced income when they bring up this idea. I just wonder if it actually works. Newborn calves are $4-$5 per lb here but I think I'd go broke pretty quickly selling all my calves that way.
They are not talking about newborns but normally weaned calves. As for the cost of adding numbers, is it cheaper to expand your operation with smaller cows or bigger cows? But I would dream of telling you how much your cows should weigh -- you are the one providing their forage.
 
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Muletrack

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Every situation is different. I have no intention of increasing the number of cows I run, so I want the cows I have to wean more pounds. That doesn't mean monster cows. People seem to forget that there are two sides to a ledger, expense AND income. People also seem to think that it's a choice between monster cows and little cows. Raise a style of cow you like and continue to demand more from them. Maybe I'm greedy, but I want moderate cows (moderate might be subjective and vary by habitat / locale ) that stay in the herd and wean heavy calves in 210 days.
I don't buy feed, but I have a real good idea what it costs me to make it. The difference between feeding a 1350 lb cow and a 1100lb cow might be $50 on the real high side if you believe small cows always eat less than a larger counterpart. If she gives me 200lbs more calf then that feed was a great investment.
In the summer time my cows are on grazing tenure that is a around $3.20 per AUM. Doesn't matter the size of cow. If I had a third more little cows I'd pay that many more AUM's. I'd also have a vet bill 1/3 higher, 1/3 more selling expenses, etc.
I think if those selling the 1000 lb cow idea really believed the numbers they'd switch to sheep or lowline cattle.
I understand your point of the set per unit grazing cost. That's rough. My herd is getting lighter by the natural culling process -- big cows don't rebreed so they are gone. A fella needs to select for the type of cows that fit his system best. The big issue most are talking about with smaller cows is that they eat less hay, and wean a higher percentage of their body weight. I also think they last longer because they are not stomping 1700 lbs. around on their hooves! I am looking for a lower milking cow that is an "easy keeper" and that I can keep in the herd for 15 years. But in 15 years I'll be 77 so there ya go! NDSU was doing to work with lowline cross cattle at their Dickinson RE Center, but the guy pushing that has moved to Canada. That's Dr. Kris Ringwall, now at the University of Saskatchewan as the director of its Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence,
 
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Muletrack

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For greater yield, most farmers want more corn plants per acre, not fewer. The efficiency question seems to be this, "What is the best way to maximize weaned pounds per acre?" For all I know that might by Guinea Pigs, but I am not sure I can sell enough of those deep-fried on a stick at street fairs.
 

shaz

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Thread title is "Not Paying much for Weight", but everyone wants to sell heavy calves. What is missing here?
It means I screwed up wintering calves again this year thinking I would hold out for better weight in the spring. would've been better off selling lighter calves in Nov and saved the hay and feed.
 

Rydero

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Thread title is "Not Paying much for Weight", but everyone wants to sell heavy calves. What is missing here?
Maybe it should be called, "It feels like they aren't paying much for weight but they usually dollar out."

The original example of $16 for 91 lbs is extremely bad and if that's apples to apples with a large sample size and happening consistently where someone is I don't blame them for selling them small. Not what I see here.
 

Silver

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I understand your point of the set per unit grazing cost. That's rough. My herd is getting lighter by the natural culling process -- big cows don't rebreed so they are gone. A fella needs to select for the type of cows that fit his system best. The big issue most are talking about with smaller cows is that they eat less hay, and wean a higher percentage of their body weight. I also think they last longer because they are not stomping 1700 lbs. around on their hooves! I am looking for a lower milking cow that is an "easy keeper" and that I can keep in the herd for 15 years. But in 15 years I'll be 77 so there ya go! NDSU was doing to work with lowline cross cattle at their Dickinson RE Center, but the guy pushing that has moved to Canada. That's Dr. Kris Ringwall, now at the University of Saskatchewan as the director of its Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence,

If 1700 lbs is your definition of a cow that's too big we have common ground there. The definition of "big" and "small" changes with environment. In the deserts of Utah a 1200 lb cow is a monster.
As far as less hay goes, as I said earlier I sure don't mind putting $50 more hay into a 1400 lb cow if she returns me $200 more calf. That's a no brainer.
I want a cows that milk the most they can and still breed back every year. Maybe I'm greedy, I want my cows to wean 700lb calves in 210 days and breed back on time.
 

Dave

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I have made good money buying those little calves in the fall and selling then as nice big feeders the following summer. They can be little but still growthy. Low lines are a give away at any stage of life.
 

Nesikep

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Every situation is different. I have no intention of increasing the number of cows I run, so I want the cows I have to wean more pounds. That doesn't mean monster cows. People seem to forget that there are two sides to a ledger, expense AND income. People also seem to think that it's a choice between monster cows and little cows. Raise a style of cow you like and continue to demand more from them. Maybe I'm greedy, but I want moderate cows (moderate might be subjective and vary by habitat / locale ) that stay in the herd and wean heavy calves in 210 days.
I don't buy feed, but I have a real good idea what it costs me to make it. The difference between feeding a 1350 lb cow and a 1100lb cow might be $50 on the real high side if you believe small cows always eat less than a larger counterpart. If she gives me 200lbs more calf then that feed was a great investment.
In the summer time my cows are on grazing tenure that is a around $3.20 per AUM. Doesn't matter the size of cow. If I had a third more little cows I'd pay that many more AUM's. I'd also have a vet bill 1/3 higher, 1/3 more selling expenses, etc.
I think if those selling the 1000 lb cow idea really believed the numbers they'd switch to sheep or lowline cattle.
I've found the "right" size cow for me is about a 1400 lb mature weight as well.. Smaller gets you into calving troubles more easily, but all my good 1400 lb cows certainly compete well with the 1800 lb cows i've had. I've found virtually no difference in weaning weight from them, but a BIG difference in how much they eat. If you are renting land on a per-animal basis, that's definitely an excuse to have larger cows, but I'm feeding them on my own place all the time so it's important. You can get more or less efficient cows regardless of size, I just find them to be harder to come by in the big ones.

On calf weights and price, i'm finding the years where they pay for the extra weight seem to be few and far between
 

Rydero

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They are not talking about newborns but normally weaned calves. As for the cost of adding numbers, is it cheaper to expand your operation with smaller cows or bigger cows? But I would dream of telling you how much your cows should weigh -- you are the one providing their forage.
It's cheaper to expand with cows that wean bigger calves because breds are sold by the head and bigger calves bring in more $/h. Back to the Kit Pharo example 28 more calves to fill a semi load.
 

Rydero

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For greater yield, most farmers want more corn plants per acre, not fewer. The efficiency question seems to be this, "What is the best way to maximize weaned pounds per acre?" For all I know that might by Guinea Pigs, but I am not sure I can sell enough of those deep-fried on a stick at street fairs.
There's a point where if you decrease the plant size enough and it won't matter how many plants/acre you have it won't yield as much.

I understand the train of thought. Look at yield/acre instead of $/calf. I just think there's an economic and workload hurdle that gets ignored in the argument. I'm not in a situation where land values make expansion of my base unattainable and every acre isn't optimized. Maybe if I was maxed out and couldn't expand I'd think differently.
 

Dave

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You just don't see any 1,400 pound + cows around here locally. They spend 6-7 months of the year in co-habitation with bighorn sheep. Those big cows go on a diet plan real quick. The average cow is about 1,200 pounds. And they have some leg under them because they need to travel. It is normal to be 2, 3, 4 miles between water holes with a lot of up and down between A and B.
I was at a stock cow sale 60 miles east of here. That is on the edge of a huge area of irrigated land. A neighbor of mine commented that a lot of these cows looked like irrigated pasture cows and not range land cows. There were a lot of big heavy cows.
 

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