Replacements, buy em or raise em???

Help Support CattleToday:

tom4018

Dumb Old Farmer
Joined
Jan 2, 2004
Messages
3,949
Reaction score
35
Location
Kentucky
I always have a hard time deciding if I should keep some heifers or sell them and buy bred heifers or cows. I have kept some that turned out to be duds and bought some that were duds too. I like knowing exactly what I got and not bringing in new one you don't know the history off but dislike the 2 year wait for a return.

I always think that I am giving up one calf by retaining. Some that I retain don't seem to breed as quick as I think they should which has me second guessing myself. I have bought some bred but they breed back slow after calving making me wonder if they were sold because of being slow breeders.

Last year my daughter bought a open heifer ready to bred for slightly more than what we sold weaned heifers for that has me to thinking about trying more of that as I feel I gain about nine months over my weaned heifers.

I would like to hear what others are doing and what they think is the best for the herd and bottom line.
 

hayray

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2006
Messages
1,058
Reaction score
0
Location
Southern Michigan
The research I have seen from Ohio State showed that you can buy replacements in most cases cheaper then you can raise one. I raise most of my own becasue of the training apsect of having the cows trained for my type of fencing and rounding them up because I lease a lot of small acreages and mostly use cheap temporary fencing. But I have the same problems you have, it is really hard to bite the bullet and keep one for that long.
 
OP
tom4018

tom4018

Dumb Old Farmer
Joined
Jan 2, 2004
Messages
3,949
Reaction score
35
Location
Kentucky
hayray":3ly1fyy4 said:
The research I have seen from Ohio State showed that you can buy replacements in most cases cheaper then you can raise one. I raise most of my own becasue of the training apsect of having the cows trained for my type of fencing and rounding them up because I lease a lot of small acreages and mostly use cheap temporary fencing. But I have the same problems you have, it is really hard to bite the bullet and keep one for that long.

Glad you bring that up, it seems that the ones we raise are more calmer animals. Sometimes it is hard to see some nice heifers leave the farm, especially at the last price i sold at, $425 a head for some nice 600# heifers.
 

cypressfarms

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 5, 2005
Messages
3,473
Reaction score
27
Location
New Roads, LA
tom4018":1bc8fc28 said:
but dislike the 2 year wait for a return.

Your actually waiting almost three years for a return, as when the kept heifer weans off it's first calf - making some money. I normally buy heifers, it's so much easier to add them in when you want. At first glance it would appear that keeping your own would be cheaper, but I would venture to say that buying heifers is almost always cheaper than keeping. I do keep heifers, but not many and they must be very good specimens.
 
OP
tom4018

tom4018

Dumb Old Farmer
Joined
Jan 2, 2004
Messages
3,949
Reaction score
35
Location
Kentucky
cypressfarms":9cipp21j said:
tom4018":9cipp21j said:
but dislike the 2 year wait for a return.

Your actually waiting almost three years for a return, as when the kept heifer weans off it's first calf - making some money. I normally buy heifers, it's so much easier to add them in when you want. At first glance it would appear that keeping your own would be cheaper, but I would venture to say that buying heifers is almost always cheaper than keeping. I do keep heifers, but not many and they must be very good specimens.
I made the 2 year comment from weaning, breed at 15 months, calve at 24, and sell a calf at 30 months which would be 2 years from weaning if they breed quickly.
 

1982vett

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
9,352
Reaction score
112
Location
Central Texas
I've done both, kept my own and bought. Keeping your own can be beneficial (if you have something good going on in your own herd) and buying can be a disaster (if you are not careful in your selection) but buying does give you a chance to bring something new into your herd. I look at the cost of buying heavy bred heifers or even pairs and weigh that against how many 450 - 550 lbs calves it takes to buy one. I have, in the past, kept some and about the time it came to turn the bull in I could swap them for pairs for the cost of a calf or less. In that situation, it was a no brainer to buy the pair.
tom4018":2c9cdz7x said:
Sometimes it is hard to see some nice heifers leave the farm, especially at the last price i sold at, $425 a head for some nice 600# heifers.
When they get this cheap I am more inclined to keep my own. Gives you two years for the market to get better. The old axiom applies "buy low sell high" well you can also "keep cheap and sell higher", hopefully. Just have to be careful not to over spend on the feed. I think it all boils down to, can you buy better than what you have for near the same price.
 

I luv herfrds

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2007
Messages
5,770
Reaction score
0
Location
Montana
We keep back our own heifers and raise them up. It may take awhile to get them producing, but we know the genetics behind them.
 

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
2
Location
MO Ozarks
I luv herfrds":2rv89sse said:
We keep back our own heifers and raise them up. It may take awhile to get them producing, but we know the genetics behind them.
We buy a few but mostly we keep our own. We know the geentics , in most cases from multiple generations. Seems that fewer that we keep are long term duds then the ones we buy. If that raised heifer stays in the herd another couple of years from the bought ones it seems that you are money ahead in the long run
 

Horseless

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 28, 2007
Messages
61
Reaction score
0
Location
Northern MT
Keeping your own heifers, that you know the background on, is "Priceless". I have done it both ways and keeping my own is without a doubt the best. Filling the trucks in the fall, when you got a good price, is so tempting to put every calf on them. Sure there are cases where you can pick the cream of the crop of someones herd, but not very often. Most often around here, people pick out their best heifers, keep them, and sell the rest to others as replacements. I have fallen for all the sales talk, "Fancy- Have had all shots- Straight from their AI program" Do your research before sale day. Replacements are expensive anyway you look at it. But like someone said earlier, if you can keep them in your herd longer, you are money ahead.
 

Brute 23

Brute 23
CT Supporter
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
9,336
Reaction score
790
Location
Gulf Coast of South Texas
We have a place dedicated to only calves. All the calves come in from the different places and are put there until they are ready to be sold. Alot make it to a year or better so it doesn't seem like much to keep a few heifers a couple more months until they can be dispersed back to the places to be bred. As a bonus our "calf pasture" is in a well traveled area close to town so we have people who call wanting to buy heifers, even a few bulls off the top.

As with every thing in the cattle business it depends on your situation on if it is "worth" it or not. Are you leasing land for this? buying land? or is the land paid for? Those are big factors that can cut into it.

My personal opinion is its best to have a balance of retained heifers and bought heifers. If you say need 20 heifers this year, and you have 9 GREAT heifers and 3 decent heifers, keep the 9 and buy 11 other GREAT heifers. Alot of people retain CRAP and it eats them up a few years down the road.
 

mnmtranching

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 29, 2006
Messages
5,061
Reaction score
0
Location
MN
When you work out a system of saving your own replacements, about the same number every year. Then you will be calving heifers every year and it won't seem like you are waiting 2-3 years to get a return. You can buy tame well cared for heifers. But, odds are the ones you raise up from calves will be the easier keepers.
 

VanC

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Messages
5,174
Reaction score
0
Location
East Central Illinois
Brute 23":1vwivbso said:
As with every thing in the cattle business it depends on your situation on if it is "worth" it or not.

Exactly. There are so many variables that change from producer to producer. Everyone needs to look at their own situation and go from there. Anyone who makes the blanket statement that one is better than the other in every instance shouldn't be taken seriously.
 

Angus Cowman

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2008
Messages
7,157
Reaction score
0
Location
the Great State of Mental Distress ( Florida)
I buy heavy hfrs or hfr pairs and yes I do cull a few after the 2nd calf but I cull hard and in my experience if I keep 40 hfrs at weaning usually by breeding or by the time I wean the first calf I have only about 20-25 that make the cut so I have spent 2 yrs feeding a hfr that all that feed could go into a cow that is producing
They way you have to figure your expense on raising that hfr is to figure how much labor goes into getting that first calf on the ground
I have figured it several different ways and it cost me about $100 more to buy good hfr pairs than to raise them and if I don't keep hfrs I can run more cows on the ground that the hfrs were using
and if I can't make that $100 up on 2 calf crops out of a cow whle I would be waiting on that hfr than I don't need to be in this business
 

KNERSIE

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
Messages
7,058
Reaction score
1
Location
3rd World
I retain my own heifers. The way I raise mine will probably raise a few eyebrows as my yearling weights will in most cases sound very uncompetitive, but they are raised on whatever is available to eat in the veld without supplement. Heifers that survive this culling method never disappoints in the ease of keeping and from the first calving onwards will only be culled on their ability to raise a calf and breed back under the same circumstances.

I've decided last year to close my registered cowherd and not to buy any more females in, but a good friend who was in a bad drought offered me a few good ones in very sorry condition for a good price that I just couldn't pass on.

As far as commercial cattle, I won't hesitate buying heifers or preferably older cows from my bull customers if they were sired by one of my bulls.

Buying unknown genetics in replacement heifers is a crap shot at best, you're in most cases better off buying older bred cows out of good herds.
 

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
2
Location
MO Ozarks
KNERSIE":139a6co5 said:
I retain my own heifers. The way I raise mine will probably raise a few eyebrows as my yearling weights will in most cases sound very uncompetitive, but they are raised on whatever is available to eat in the veld without supplement. Heifers that survive this culling method never disappoints in the ease of keeping and from the first calving onwards will only be culled on their ability to raise a calf and breed back under the same circumstances.

That's the way we raise our heifers also, excpet pasture vs veld. That may be why our retained heifers last longer then purchased because they've been proven in out environment under our (mis)management system
 

Caustic Burno

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 26, 2004
Messages
26,591
Reaction score
1,201
Location
Big Thicket East Texas
cypressfarms":5bsnkvyp said:
tom4018":5bsnkvyp said:
but dislike the 2 year wait for a return.

Your actually waiting almost three years for a return, as when the kept heifer weans off it's first calf - making some money. I normally buy heifers, it's so much easier to add them in when you want. At first glance it would appear that keeping your own would be cheaper, but I would venture to say that buying heifers is almost always cheaper than keeping. I do keep heifers, but not many and they must be very good specimens.

Cypress your right but don't forget the dam on ever retained heifer returned nothing to the bottom line as well, thats a pretty hefty cost to retain you have put a 1.35 a day into the dam for 2 years with no return on investment as well as the heifer + 700 bucks in the heifer after weaning until she calf's and another 200 days until she returns to the bottom line. You also have no write off on the heifer if she falls over dead. Calving heifers is always a crap shoot at best. For a commericial operation where you are not retaining genetic value your burning money to produce retaining heifers.
 

VanC

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Messages
5,174
Reaction score
0
Location
East Central Illinois
Caustic Burno":1y00pkik said:
For a commericial operation where you are not retaining genetic value your burning money to produce retaining heifers.

Why wouldn't a commercial operation want to retain genetic value?
 

1982vett

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
9,352
Reaction score
112
Location
Central Texas
Got to call you out on this Caustic, or maybe keep things in perspective :p
Caustic Burno":1tkmqwnu said:
Cypress your right but don't forget the dam on ever retained heifer returned nothing to the bottom line as well,
You have effectively decreased taxable income :banana: by not selling a calf
caustic":1tkmqwnu said:
thats a pretty hefty cost to retain you have put a 1.35 a day into the dam for 2 years with no return on investment as well as the heifer + 700 bucks in the heifer after weaning until she calf's and another 200 days until she returns to the bottom line.
This is also all expenses than has effectively reduced taxable income. :clap: By now the sale of the animal is taxed as capital gains instead of ordinary income. You should also have an increase in "net asset value". :D
caustic":1tkmqwnu said:
You also have no write off on the heifer if she falls over dead.
Nothing to write off because it has already been expensed. Remember, you have had less income to be taxed in the previous year. :D Just have to decrease "net asset value" :(
caustic":1tkmqwnu said:
Calving heifers is always a crap shoot at best. For a commericial operation where you are not retaining genetic value your burning money to produce retaining heifers.
I know both sides of these arguments pretty well. Both have their pluses and minuses. I have come to realize that no matter at what stage I buy them, I am still going to get some that need to be culled. After paying a lot of $$$ for a pair, that can be a hard thing to do after just one calf. You still run the same risk of needing to cull after that first calf even if you keep you own. :?
 

Horseless

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 28, 2007
Messages
61
Reaction score
0
Location
Northern MT
The heifers that I have raised myself always bred back better than the ones I have bought. Not sure on the reasons for this.
Maybe I should start a new thread but I'll ask it here: What is percentage of heifers that you retain from the whole herd number?
 

1982vett

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
9,352
Reaction score
112
Location
Central Texas
Horseless":14t4he4a said:
What is percentage of heifers that you retain from the whole herd number?
Recently, probably about 2-3%. Used to raise all of them till I needed to increase numbers faster than I could raise them.
 
Top