Replacement females???

Help Support CattleToday:

With too simple math.
Last fall you could have sold that heifer for let's say $1800.
Using that as a base price and using hay at 14c a pound.
Likely on the low side, but she is going to consume roughly $3 a day in hay for 150-180 days.
Then grassing her in the summer. 1.50 a day for 180 days.
And then another winter where she eats 4.50 a day for 180 days.
Add that rough math all together and you have an animal that has cost you 3400 (not even including the real costs) and hasn't even brought a calf into the world yet.

Pick apart my math, I'm sure it's wrong
It shouldn't be wrong if it's your actual numbers from your experience?

Those are not even close to my numbers. You might want to look at my location before you say what every one can or can't do. We can go all winter with out feeding hay. 0.3 or 0.5 bales /h/d is not uncommon to take a cow through winter. 1 b/h/d is a bad year.

You can use what ever base price you want for the heifer value at weaning, it's all relative.

From the time she is bred until her first calf, those expenses get billed against, agaisnt that first calf, just like any other cow in production. Our heifers go out with the herd bulls in the pastures and they are expected to calf with the herd like any other cows. There are no special accommodations for heifers like heifer bulls, heifer pastures, etc. She is probable 14-16mo at breeding.

The time from that heifers conception to her weaning all goes agaisnt her base price. No matter if she is sold or retained, that time is the same. Let's call that roughly 7-8mo.

The development of a heifer is from weaning until being bred, roughly 6-8 months. I can raise a heifer in that time period for roughly $500/hd (US). That's real numbers I did last year and that I am currently doing it this year.

In the real world the is no time lapse or skip with retained heifers.

Not breeding, calving trouble, etc are almost non-existent with the type of cattle we run our retaining/ culling program. It's like 1-2%.

I've seen retaining done wrong with cheap bulls and no data and not culling hard. That's not me. Ive also bought enough cows and see enough cows bought to know its not a rosey as some would make it. There is a place for both and if you aren't using every thing at your disposal in this business it's going to be tough.
 
Well here, unless you're breeding to a charlois bull you're calves aren't topping any market.

So unless you have magic cows that can throw big yellow steers and moderate feminine red females, it's all smoke blowing
In the United States that's not true. So markets vary. I bet you know this already.
 
There are so many variables.
Hay that I have to choose from will cost from $200.00/ton to $600.00. Depends on the quality a person
wants or needs.

I actually just picked up a 2yr. old heifer with a calf for $1200.00. She is supposed to be Muray Grey and angus,
bred back to angus. Nothing special or fancy. Craigslist special :)IMG_4619.JPG
 
Well here, unless you're breeding to a charlois bull you're calves aren't topping any market.

So unless you have magic cows that can throw big yellow steers and moderate feminine red females, it's all smoke blowing
Funny, my calves top the market in BC, (and a couple years in western Canada) and they are black, red, tan and grey. All mixed together. Whoda thunk?
 
After reading all these posts, it's just amazing how the Internet is absolutely plum full of the best cattleman with the best cows and the best calves the world has ever seen.
And the rest of of are just plunking away with our lowly average cows making those average calves at about half her body weight.
 
After reading all these posts, it's just amazing how the Internet is absolutely plum full of the best cattleman with the best cows and the best calves the world has ever seen.
And the rest of of are just plunking away with our lowly average cows making those average calves at about half her body weight.
What's amazing to me is how people that have written things like, " I only care about trying to make enough money to continue this stupid habit." express opinions like they are fact and then double down when others that treat cattle like a business try to inform their ignorance.
 
What's amazing to me is how people that have written things like, " I only care about trying to make enough money to continue this stupid habit." express opinions like they are fact and then double down when others that treat cattle like a business try to inform their ignorance.
What an opinion of mine you disagree with then?
That heifers are risky expensive animals?
That a terminal cross steer will outsell a maternal bred steer?

I had no idea those were controversial.
 
Funny, my calves top the market in BC, (and a couple years in western Canada) and they are black, red, tan and grey. All mixed together. Whoda thunk?
There seems to be a trend between these guys that think their way is the only way. They tend to justify their way with these made up rules. He blew right past your statement didn't he. 🤣
 
What an opinion of mine you disagree with then?
That heifers are risky expensive animals?
That a terminal cross steer will outsell a maternal bred steer?

I had no idea those were controversial.
For a guy that's been expressing disbelief in what folks are saying since they've been posting, and said to have read back on the thread, I guess my "disagreement" would be with you thinking your own experience is everyone else's and therefore they should all come to your conclusions.

There's people here with different experience and differing strategies, and tested for success.
Per your examples... I don't see raised heifers as particularly risky or expensive. But you have to know what you're doing to make it that way. And any maternal bull I would choose to use would also produce top of the market steers. I'm not much for specializing within beef type animals though. Perhaps you can tell us about doing terminal crosses within beef types.
 
Last edited:
How do these magical "heifer breeders" sell heifers to some of you guys at a price that makes you feel warm and fuzzy and turn a profit to stay in business, if according to some of you "it's to expensive to raise a heifer"?

I dont care one way or the other. Arguments can be made both way.

But it's an honest question if it's "too expensive to grow a heifer" how does anyone every make a business out of selling good replacments?
 
How do these magical "heifer breeders" sell heifers to some of you guys at a price that makes you feel warm and fuzzy and turn a profit to stay in business, if according to some of you "it's to expensive to raise a heifer"?

I dont care one way or the other. Arguments can be made both way.

But it's an honest question if it's "too expensive to grow a heifer" how does anyone every make a business out of selling good replacments?
Thanks for the honest question...

For one... I never paid a dime for hay in South Dakota where hay was essential. I had deeded irrigation that required a monthly fee to maintain the system, but the charge was negligible. I contracted with a guy that had haying equipment, and he cut and bailed on equal shares. I used a method to insure a majority of heifers would be born, and culled the bottom half which were sold with the steers. I bought older cows from places with reputations for good cattle. I'd buy in large lots so I'd get consistency. This meant I was getting cows with a pre-established record of excellence, just culled for age, and I culled them hard by my own criteria. I established a reputation with the people I bought from that didn't want to raise their own heifers, and sold back to them. Synchronized breeding to bulls that my customers approved. I improved my pastures and hay ground, and doubled my stocking rate. Pasture rotation, financial management, and I didn't pay too much for my real estate to begin with.
 
How do these magical "heifer breeders" sell heifers to some of you guys at a price that makes you feel warm and fuzzy and turn a profit to stay in business, if according to some of you "it's to expensive to raise a heifer"?

I dont care one way or the other. Arguments can be made both way.

But it's an honest question if it's "too expensive to grow a heifer" how does anyone every make a business out of selling good replacements?
People who raise heifers to sell for replacements do so at weaning, plumb up to 10-12, even 14 -16 months old. Check out J & L and see the ages ( and prices) of those replacement heifers. About the same ages as you sell heifers for stockers, feeders, etc. Like you would a terminal cross heifer. Where as a retained replacement, costs you to raise for 2 and 1/2 years before you see any money out of her. That is how I interpret what people mean by they are more expensive than a bought replacement. Granted, if you buy replacements at weaning, these costs will be the same as you have with retained. Buy a 14-16 mos old bred heifer, and you don't have as much of the costs as raising your own for 2 and 1/2 years. Retaining, you are kinda stuck with what you got., where as buying, you can get any genetics you want, and potentially get a better producer. And you don't have to change bulls every year. It is kind of like low-risk, low-return mutual funds vs high-risk, high return funds. Personally, if I was in cow/calf, I would rather buy 2nd calf cows..or even heifers that have had their first calf already. preferably with it on her side.
 
Last edited:
How do these magical "heifer breeders" sell heifers to some of you guys at a price that makes you feel warm and fuzzy and turn a profit to stay in business, if according to some of you "it's to expensive to raise a heifer"?

I dont care one way or the other. Arguments can be made both way.

But it's an honest question if it's "too expensive to grow a heifer" how does anyone every make a business out of selling good replacments?
That's it right there. The same guy, Warren, tells us to go buy Brangus heifers at a sale because we can't raise them that cheap. How do people think the sellers make money off those heifers at that sale? Do people think they put all that on and lose money on those heifers every year and stay in business.

You don't even have to be in the cattle business to see that doesn't make sense.🤣
 
For a guy that's been expressing disbelief in what folks are saying since they've been posting, and said to have read back on the thread, I guess my "disagreement" would be with you thinking your own experience is everyone else's and therefore they should all come to your conclusions.

There's people here with different experience and differing strategies, and tested for success.
Per your examples... I don't see raised heifers as particularly risky or expensive. But you have to know what you're doing to make it that way. And any maternal bull I would choose to use would also produce top of the market steers. I'm not much for specializing within beef type animals though. Perhaps you can tell us about doing terminal crosses within beef types.
I just cannot grasp those two statements. And here is why.

Why are they expensive? Because of they time and money it took to get them there and the opportunity cost lost in doing so. Add in what you could sell her for, given a bred heifer is at or near her peak value in an auction ring.


And risk. Well, we all know that a first calf heifer is the most likely to have a problem calving or raising a calf. And she has a less likely chance to breed back compared to a mature cow. That's the risky part.
 
There's nothing to blow by.
A wild outlandish claim on the Internet doesn't deserve a response.
We sold every steer calf we had in 2021 for $3.85 per lb at 485 lbs on nearly 3 liner loads of calves. They were contracted privately in early February that year, 60 days before the first were born.
2022 we sold our calves on TEAMIMG_3389.png

2023 we sold our calves on TEAM also. There were others sold higher in BC later but not many.

IMG_5167.pngUnfortunately for us, we don't have the same quality grass that the spoon fed Albertans have. We also deal with a lot of predation in summer on a big unfenced area and don't have the inclination to calve in January to get bigger weights.
We started with nothing but dreams 44 years ago and have built a very profitable operation.
As I said earlier, I know a few folks that operate the same as you. Two of them inherited what they own and bi+ch about not making ends meet.
As another note, I watched some Red Angus Simmental heifers sell a month ago in Kamloops. They averaged a fat 1360 lbs and a guy with a tax problem bought them all for between 3900 and 4150. You should have been there to pick them up! No one can raise that kind cheaper!
 
We sold every steer calf we had in 2021 for $3.85 per lb at 485 lbs on nearly 3 liner loads of calves. They were contracted privately in early February that year, 60 days before the first were born.
2022 we sold our calves on TEAMView attachment 41552

2023 we sold our calves on TEAM also. There were others sold higher in BC later but not many.

View attachment 41553Unfortunately for us, we don't have the same quality grass that the spoon fed Albertans have. We also deal with a lot of predation in summer on a big unfenced area and don't have the inclination to calve in January to get bigger weights.
We started with nothing but dreams 44 years ago and have built a very profitable operation.
As I said earlier, I know a few folks that operate the same as you. Two of them inherited what they own and bi+ch about not making ends meet.
As another note, I watched some Red Angus Simmental heifers sell a month ago in Kamloops. They averaged a fat 1360 lbs and a guy with a tax problem bought them all for between 3900 and 4150. You should have been there to pick them up! No one can raise that kind cheaper!
Good on ya.
But those are no where near the top prices in Canada
 
I just cannot grasp those two statements.

And I can't grasp your following two statements... They contradict each other.

Why are they expensive? Because of the time and money it took to get them there and the opportunity cost lost in doing so. (Followed by) Add in what you could sell her for, given a bred heifer is at or near her peak value in an auction ring.

Yes, heifers sell at the peak of their life-time value. That's why they make money compared to at other ages. That's also why people buy them, perceived value.

And risk. Well, we all know that a first calf heifer is the most likely to have a problem calving or raising a calf. And she has a less likely chance to breed back compared to a mature cow. That's the risky part.

Can't argue that, although you can definitely mitigate your risks if you know how.
 
Top