Open Heifer vs Cows in production

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I'm working on a lease that has minimum and maximum head restrictions. It basically goes off the idea that one cow/calf pair plus bulls needed to operate is 1 unit. They have asked me to define how many open heifers would define that unit also. Its a friendly deal and I don't mind. I'm all for clarity on this stuff.

Is their a general standard for what an open replacement heifer consumes vs a cow in production?

Online it showed one #1000 cow/ calf pair as 1.0 unit. It suggested that a #600 animal would be 0.6 of a unit. I just don't see it being directly proportion to weight like that when comparing an open heifer to a producing cow.

Please share you experience, knowledge, or thoughts on what would be fair for both parties. Also, if you have links to studies comparing the two that would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 
Hmmm interesting question.
My gut reaction is .6 is the correct answer, because all will consume 4% of their body weights in foraging.

Although I can see a case for arguing early lactation cows will consume more to produce milk and breed back. But between friends I think it's splitting hairs and would go with .6 for the sake of harmony.
 
Our general feeling is 3 heifers to 2 cow calf pairs.... Heifers will eat a little more to grow but the cow/calf pair will need more to lactate, and breed back and the calf will start eating a little bit after say 3 months....Depends on the size of the heifers....
That's just the basic "formula" that we start working with.... Also depends on how good the ground/pasture is....
 
Thanks for the replies. I'm comfortable doing 0.7 + or -. That gives us the break we need while covering them IMO.

I've never had an issue on other leases because we never pushed the limit but being able to put a number to it will be useful going forward.
 
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I'm working on a lease that has minimum and maximum head restrictions.
Obviously the stocking capacity varies greatly with weather and management and length of grazing season and class of cattle and ...

How much % difference between the min and max?
What do min and max head restrictions accomplish?
What if you pull cattle half way thru "the season"?
 
Obviously the stocking capacity varies greatly with weather and management and length of grazing season and class of cattle and ...

How much % difference between the min and max?
What do min and max head restrictions accomplish?
What if you pull cattle half way thru "the season"?
It's a per head lease.

In general I shoot for 50% on the min. If a place can hold 100 cows on the max, 50 would be the minimum.

The max prevents over grazing. The min guarantees a certain amount of annual revenue to the lessor.

These leases allow for step up growth. A lot of lease places have been over grazed prior to us so it allows a 2 or 3 year step up to get the place in shape. It also allows a person to buy or retain cattle in peices over a couple years and not have to come up with all the cattle right from the get go. Other benefits are like as you mentioned, you can adjust for drought years with out taking a big hit paying for grass that is not there.

I like to shoot for 80% ish of the max so that in dry years I'm good. In wet years I can keep heifers, rotate in other cows, etc. I prefer to keep some wiggle room for " floating cattle".

You can prorate cattle if some have to be moved out during the year but I personally try to keep it to a minimum or eat it. Its not good to cut the Lessor's revenue unless is to protect their property or some thing of that nature. With the exception of the floating cattle. They see that as cream on top for that time period, if conditions permit.
 
All our leases are by the place or by the # of acres. Owner gets a set amount, guaranteed. If we understock, then we lose out on full utilization. If we overstock, we damage the pasture and lose out in subsequent years. Many places have been overstocked before we get them. Then it takes a couple years to get the places back to "better condition". Right now we have 2 owners complaining that there aren't enough cattle and the grass is too high and too thick. Neither place has working pens to move cattle easily in or out.... And we have been known to all of a sudden get bone dry and then they will be complaining that the cattle are damaging the grass. Yet both places we have been able to increase the carrying capacity BECAUSE we have not overstocked it and the grasses and condition of the places have gotten better.

We are getting a little tired of the constant "oversight management" of owners that won't do it for themselves, but then want to tell you how it should be done. We are most likely going to give up one place if they continue because there has been no pleasing them the last 2 years. We have extended our grazing length of time by not overgrazing, and we have been taking one cutting off the one field then allowing the cattle to graze the 2nd cutting late in the year.....there are 3 fields that are fenced off to rotate the cattle to; they now are saying that the hay should have been cut, it is past its prime, and heading out.... what difference does it make if we are feeding it to our cattle, no shares or anything.... and the 2nd growth is for the cattle to eat later on. And this place will dry up in a minute because the soil was so badly overgrazed for years, and there was so little topsoil.

On top of that, they decided they wanted to do some experimental plantings and have sectioned off part and planted switchgrass because it was touted to them as such a wonderful grass to have. The cows hate it, and these owners said oh, it is so wonderful for rotational grazing.... NO, it is not. We had the worst calf crop and growth the year we had young cows and calves in there. It is taking over the field and the cows will eat all around it and leave it. We are not going to go and constantly cut it to keep it more vegetative. I have not read anything that said it is an ideal grazing grass. It makes lousy hay, the cows will lay on it rather than eat it if they can. This section of the field is the less steep and would have been an outstanding spot to put good orchard grass/mixed seeding of hay varieties. But they know it all.
I would rather bush hog off excessive growth and build the soil tilth.... but you can't seem to make some of these people understand this. It is getting old. They want to see all these perfect pretty green fields that look like the Kentucky Bluegrass fields where they run horses.... but these hills and rock piles, just aren't going to look that way. And then when you get the places looking better, someone comes along and offers more money and you lose a place you have worked to build up and improve.

There is no sense in cutting hay when the forecast is 30-50% chance rain for the next 5 days. Son should have gotten a little sooner start when we had a window, but then we are dealing with not getting parts for a baler that a bearing has started to go bad. No sense in it, wrong parts twice from a dealer, son is trying another place.... and then the difficulty in getting parts in general.

Sorry, I got off on a tangent. One of the reasons we will not lease a place by the cow #'s. I would say that a place is worth xx dollars, and that I would agree to a maximum number of cattle to protect the land.... but that the owner should be able to count on xx dollars for the lease for the land. Period.
 
All our leases are by the place or by the # of acres. Owner gets a set amount, guaranteed. If we understock, then we lose out on full utilization. If we overstock, we damage the pasture and lose out in subsequent years. Many places have been overstocked before we get them. Then it takes a couple years to get the places back to "better condition". Right now we have 2 owners complaining that there aren't enough cattle and the grass is too high and too thick. Neither place has working pens to move cattle easily in or out.... And we have been known to all of a sudden get bone dry and then they will be complaining that the cattle are damaging the grass. Yet both places we have been able to increase the carrying capacity BECAUSE we have not overstocked it and the grasses and condition of the places have gotten better.

We are getting a little tired of the constant "oversight management" of owners that won't do it for themselves, but then want to tell you how it should be done. We are most likely going to give up one place if they continue because there has been no pleasing them the last 2 years. We have extended our grazing length of time by not overgrazing, and we have been taking one cutting off the one field then allowing the cattle to graze the 2nd cutting late in the year.....there are 3 fields that are fenced off to rotate the cattle to; they now are saying that the hay should have been cut, it is past its prime, and heading out.... what difference does it make if we are feeding it to our cattle, no shares or anything.... and the 2nd growth is for the cattle to eat later on. And this place will dry up in a minute because the soil was so badly overgrazed for years, and there was so little topsoil.

On top of that, they decided they wanted to do some experimental plantings and have sectioned off part and planted switchgrass because it was touted to them as such a wonderful grass to have. The cows hate it, and these owners said oh, it is so wonderful for rotational grazing.... NO, it is not. We had the worst calf crop and growth the year we had young cows and calves in there. It is taking over the field and the cows will eat all around it and leave it. We are not going to go and constantly cut it to keep it more vegetative. I have not read anything that said it is an ideal grazing grass. It makes lousy hay, the cows will lay on it rather than eat it if they can. This section of the field is the less steep and would have been an outstanding spot to put good orchard grass/mixed seeding of hay varieties. But they know it all.
I would rather bush hog off excessive growth and build the soil tilth.... but you can't seem to make some of these people understand this. It is getting old. They want to see all these perfect pretty green fields that look like the Kentucky Bluegrass fields where they run horses.... but these hills and rock piles, just aren't going to look that way. And then when you get the places looking better, someone comes along and offers more money and you lose a place you have worked to build up and improve.

There is no sense in cutting hay when the forecast is 30-50% chance rain for the next 5 days. Son should have gotten a little sooner start when we had a window, but then we are dealing with not getting parts for a baler that a bearing has started to go bad. No sense in it, wrong parts twice from a dealer, son is trying another place.... and then the difficulty in getting parts in general.

Sorry, I got off on a tangent. One of the reasons we will not lease a place by the cow #'s. I would say that a place is worth xx dollars, and that I would agree to a maximum number of cattle to protect the land.... but that the owner should be able to count on xx dollars for the lease for the land. Period.
It's not my business but I will throw my .02 in.

You have a lessor problem... not a lease problem. In my experience learning to sift thru lessors is more important than the lease on paper. A good lessor will work thru just about any thing. A bad one will be a nightmare no matter what is written down.

I go at lease places with some what of a take it or leave it mentality but not to the point of being an A hole. I just tell them honestly this is the best deal we can do and I understand if they dont take it, no hard feelings. We have letters of reference from other lessors, I offer to take them to other properties, the whole 9.

No bs aside... I go after properties owned by wealthy people who dont live here. Not to sound rude, but I want people who recognize the value of leasing to us... not people who need the cash from our lease. Those people also tend to realize the benefit of having a local, trustworthy person handy.

There is no piece of ground worth dealing with a bad lessor. Life is too short.😁
 
I agree with you @Brute 23 . We have reached that "take it or leave it" stage. No hard feelings or anything if they choose not to lease to us .....until we have put years into a place and it is much better than when we got it ..... But when we have had a good place taken out from under us after years of "fixing" it, because around here it is a real bad shortage of places to rent, it gets a little bit aggravating. We have had 3 owners come back to us after losing their places, after 3-5 years, saying they are not happy and would we consider coming back to rent their place. One we went back to, and another was sold, and the new owner had seen pictures of what it was like when we had it and begged us to come back. Then after 3 years, he failed to keep up his end of the agreement because he had all these big ideas of making it a "showplace" getaway, and was going to do this and that and build new fences etc.... and the fences were so BAD that we could not "fix them" and they needed replacing and we got the run around and then we just said we are done. Have 2 now that want us to come back to and it is not going to happen. It is cut throat with young guys wanting to rent places, offering more money, then after running the places into the ground, owners all mad and then they want you to mortgage your soul for their place.
We are getting pickier and pickier and have reduced our cattle numbers some to deal with fewer places to put them. The one where the owners are getting more difficult to deal with, we know there are 2 people trying to rent it out from under us. Both are known for their "all talk and promises" up front, and after a few years of not doing, the places get run down and then the owners bad mouth all renters. That is why we are probably going to give it up after this year... and we have had it for 10, maybe 15 or more years. Time gets away from me. The owners are retired now, early 60's , BRILLIANT, but they were always very down to earth.... but there are people with newer pretty equipment, and they are into looks.... and so whatever.

The other thing here is too many moving in from DC and high priced suburb areas, where everything has to look like a picture storybook.... we are not going to put that kind of time into places that are not ours and that we cannot get long term leases for. It is unusual for anyone here to do more than a 2-5 yr lease... and that is after doing several 1 yr leases to "prove" what kind of a tenant you are.
Have a friend that has been on one place through 3 owners... the latest owner's wife is now trying to dictate when he can fertilize.... and what KIND of fertilizer.... and when the hay gets cut and all that. After 20-25 years, he says that when he gets the hay made and the one group of cows moved, that he is probably going to be done. She is a total control freak and has no idea of the practicalities of farming.... they have money and the friend has done alot of the building work as he specializes in old log buildings and does restorations etc.... did all the buildings on this place for the previous owners.... has done restorations at some of the different "living history museums" and such... but the wife has gotten totally unreasonable....

Yep, let someone else deal with the ones that are difficult. So many places are getting cut up into smaller 2-10 acre "farmettes" and such with the latest move out to the country surge....getting to be too much liability with animals and fences and such. Lots of "horse people" and we can sell them sq bales instead....have less cows and let the younger "hungrier" ones deal with the difficult landlords.
 
We have a lease place with two of the more well known lease guys, like you are describing, that border it and we got that place from another that got the boot. That's my favorite one to go to so they can look over the fence and get a feel for all them.😄 That place is a great marketing tool.

I'll tell people flat out if you dont want to go with us, I'll give you some contacts for guys that do things differently than we do, but are good people.
 

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