Selling Spring Calves

Help Support CattleToday:

pricefarm

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 7, 2013
Messages
1,600
Reaction score
55
Location
Southwest Va
I have a group of spring born calves that will be ready to wean in a few more weeks. What would y'all do with them ? Sell them off the cow, wean them give them there shots and try and get a few more cents per pound from them , or hold them over and sell them next spring ? I have more than enough hay and so far around here hay isn't selling everyone has plenty.
 

farmerjan

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
4,372
Reaction score
1,959
Location
Shenandoah ValleyVirginia
Spring born calves will need some concentrate to keep them growing and gaining. Having enough hay is a big plus. We also have plenty of hay although some is not the best quality due to delayed making in the spring with all the cold and wet.
The best I can say is you need to decide if you have the time and facilities to keep them. Some of the feeder cattle sales offer better prices for weaned and vaccinated, bunk broke, calves. You need to get with a feeder assoc and see what they require. But these sales also cost more in commissions so sometimes it is a trade off. These sales do offer the opportunity for smaller farmers to get some of the advantages of bigger group lots that some of the buyers want.

Another consideration is do you have bills that have to be paid this fall? Sometimes holding them for a small gain might be counter productive to paying off or paying ahead on fertilizer bills for example.

The market is fairly flat. Steer calves are in the 1.35 to 1.65 range. 5-6 wts are bringing near what the smaller ones are. Heifers are in the 1.25 to 1.40 range for most all sizes up to 6 wts. Buyers I have talked to at the Staunton Market say they will remain fairly flat through the fall. With the droughts there are alot of smaller cattle going to market. That could mean that there will be a surplus on feed in the spring in the size that yours will be then and might hurt it, but that is not a given. It is a hard call.

The general talk is this will be a hard winter.... we have not had much snow in several years. It did get cold last year, and stayed cold late into the spring and was so wet, there were more cases of dead calves and some serious pnuemonia concerns with the cold and wet. We held some over til this spring and did not make any more than if we had sold them in the fall at lighter weights after we took off the cost of the feed. That's not counting our time, just actual out of pocket feed/silage/supplement costs.

I want fewer around if the winter is tough. And I don't want alot of 4wts needing alot of added grain or supplement into the winter. Just me. We are not well set up for holding over calves. Plus we calve both fall and spring and I would rather put my effort into fall born calves and their momma's than into feeders. We do keep some replacement heifers and they are enough for us to deal with the increased nutritional needs.

Hopes are that we are at the bottom of the cattle cycle and with droughts in Australia and European countries, beef may be in shorter supply in a couple of years. Even with some of the "tariff" talk, our beef is in demand, and I think we will see an uptick in feeder prices in the next 24 months. The dairy situation is bad and there will be more selling out and that will reduce the amount of dairy beef in a year or two also.
And alot of us are getting older and just getting smaller or getting out.

We are planning to sell most of our earlier spring born calves right off the cows this fall although we are going to leave some on the cows a little bit longer. We have the pasture and grass, and have sold down some on cows so have grazing available longer. The later born spring calves will probably be sold in January all according to how "pregnant" the cows are. Due to several things some places did not get bulls put in as early as we normally do, so the cows will be a little later calving next spring. The cows are all in good shape for the most part so it won't hurt them to have the calves stay on them a little longer.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
12,972
Reaction score
2,437
Location
Central Upstate New York
Jan - great analysis - and in his area. Remember lots of feet can make lots of muddy areas especially in areas that don't freeze up like here. I sell preconditioned calves direct to a feedlot.
You need to develop a market for your calves rather than just shipping them to the local market if at all possible. Check feedlots in your area. See if they will buy direct.
 

Coosh71

Well-known member
Joined
May 1, 2016
Messages
488
Reaction score
63
Location
Texas Panhandle
Can't get better advice than that Jan &Jeanne. I'd advise to wean them for at least 30 days. In our area (Texas Panhandle) auctioneers will call out a bunch of bawling calves as fresh off the momma's. They can sell for $.20+/less because of that. We wean in a 100+ acre field with good tall thick grass with mineral and a little feed come Oct /early Nov. I'm not necessarily trying to add a hundred pounds I'm just trying to get them good and weaned back to being 100% healthy with zero bawl. Good luck
 

skyhightree1

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 9, 2009
Messages
20,399
Reaction score
708
Location
Free Rent ,VA
pricefarm":g0bu6ypw said:
I have a group of spring born calves that will be ready to wean in a few more weeks. What would y'all do with them ? Sell them off the cow, wean them give them there shots and try and get a few more cents per pound from them , or hold them over and sell them next spring ? I have more than enough hay and so far around here hay isn't selling everyone has plenty.

I trailer wean... I have learned if you got them to sell... SELL ... Don't hold cause when you really need them gone prices can be crap..
 

Brute 23

Brute 23
CT Supporter
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
11,774
Reaction score
4,462
Location
Gulf Coast of South Texas
skyhightree1":3ate08sw said:
pricefarm":3ate08sw said:
I have a group of spring born calves that will be ready to wean in a few more weeks. What would y'all do with them ? Sell them off the cow, wean them give them there shots and try and get a few more cents per pound from them , or hold them over and sell them next spring ? I have more than enough hay and so far around here hay isn't selling everyone has plenty.

I trailer wean... I have learned if you got them to sell... SELL ... Don't hold cause when you really need them gone prices can be crap..

:nod: A bird in the hand is better than 2 in the bush. Money in the bank is better than oil in the tank.

I sell every thing possible before winter. It never pays for us to keep them and we have very mild winters.
 

JMJ Farms

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 1, 2015
Messages
4,812
Reaction score
24
Location
Middle Georgia
Brute 23":2e0wako9 said:
skyhightree1":2e0wako9 said:
pricefarm":2e0wako9 said:
I have a group of spring born calves that will be ready to wean in a few more weeks. What would y'all do with them ? Sell them off the cow, wean them give them there shots and try and get a few more cents per pound from them , or hold them over and sell them next spring ? I have more than enough hay and so far around here hay isn't selling everyone has plenty.

I trailer wean... I have learned if you got them to sell... SELL ... Don't hold cause when you really need them gone prices can be crap..

:nod: A bird in the hand is better than 2 in the bush. Money in the bank is better than oil in the tank.

I sell every thing possible before winter. It never pays for us to keep them and we have very mild winters.

That’s the problem here too. Some places reward the farmer for his extra work and effort of preconditioning. Not so much here. If the buyer want preconditioned calves they need to get off the pocketbook. I actually enjoy weaning them, giving shots, and getting them started on feed. But I don’t need another job that doesn’t pay just to have something to do. Got enough of those already.
 

Brute 23

Brute 23
CT Supporter
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
11,774
Reaction score
4,462
Location
Gulf Coast of South Texas
JMJ Farms":2zgbaxuo said:
Brute 23":2zgbaxuo said:
skyhightree1":2zgbaxuo said:
I trailer wean... I have learned if you got them to sell... SELL ... Don't hold cause when you really need them gone prices can be crap..

:nod: A bird in the hand is better than 2 in the bush. Money in the bank is better than oil in the tank.

I sell every thing possible before winter. It never pays for us to keep them and we have very mild winters.

That’s the problem here too. Some places reward the farmer for his extra work and effort of preconditioning. Not so much here. If the buyer want preconditioned calves they need to get off the pocketbook. I actually enjoy weaning them, giving shots, and getting them started on feed. But I don’t need another job that doesn’t pay just to have something to do. Got enough of those already.

I like doing all that too. 90% of the times our calves have been weaned and are larger when they are sold. Especially if we have grass. We purposely stock low so we have the option to keep the calves and sell heavy.

.... just not thru the winter. ;-) our calves can be born Feb March so you can get some decent weight on them before selling late in the fall, before you start feeding hay.
 

Lazy M

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2013
Messages
1,720
Reaction score
599
Location
KY
I think the real decision point is if you have the numbers to make it worthwhile. If you make $50 more a head after feeding for 60 days it may not be worth it to you slogging through the mud and cold if you have 10 head. If you have 100 head, that extra $50 per hd adds up quickly.. it really doesn't take much more time to feed 100 as it does 10..
 
OP
P

pricefarm

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 7, 2013
Messages
1,600
Reaction score
55
Location
Southwest Va
Thanks everyone for y'all options. I think I will just wean them on the trailer and sell them. I have some left over ear corn from last year. I ran it through the grinder this evening and mixed in some DDGS with it. Going to dump it in the creep Feeder to see if I can get a few more pounds on them before I sell. I would say they average 500lbs now and I will probably sell in about a month or so.
 

M.Magis

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
2,155
Reaction score
336
Location
Cambridge, Ohio
Might talk to the barn you sell at and see if they have any special preconditioned sales, or at least keep them grouped together during normal sale and call out what protocol they've been through. If they don't, I can't see how it's worth your time. Buyers here will make it worth your time, but they seem to want them weaned 45 days, vaccinated and wormed, and on feed before paying much premium.
 

TCRanch

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
6,764
Reaction score
3,792
Location
Winfield, KS
I weaned yesterday and while we've been in a drought & have a shortage of hay, my calves can graze the brome field in addition to cubes (and a junk bale of prairie for roughage) and put on a lot of pounds. Mine are always preconditioned, heifers guaranteed open, average weaning the past few years has been 60 - 90+ days but I have sold at a minimum 30. When I actually sell them depends on the market & our tax situation. Last year I sold at the end of Dec but had the check held until Jan.
 

Coosh71

Well-known member
Joined
May 1, 2016
Messages
488
Reaction score
63
Location
Texas Panhandle
Buyers in our area ALWAYS notice the heady bawling calves in the sale ring. Always sit on their hands til the Auctioneer lowers the bid a bit. We hold ours on grass and cake for a MINIMUM of 30 days and usually longer. They get an additional vac of covexin 8 after weaning and we have had dang near 0 revacs during the holding period before we sell. And usually add some good weight prior to selling. We will weigh and private sell our spring calves last week of October. Our buyers know our calves have had 2 rounds of shots, wormed and been weaned plenty long enough to not have to worry about sick bawling calves. IMO it matters. We sell well above sale barn every year and do not have to haggle on price.
 

MtnCows93

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 13, 2017
Messages
356
Reaction score
12
Location
Foothills of NC
pricefarm":yux68ye0 said:
I have a group of spring born calves that will be ready to wean in a few more weeks. What would y'all do with them ? Sell them off the cow, wean them give them there shots and try and get a few more cents per pound from them , or hold them over and sell them next spring ? I have more than enough hay and so far around here hay isn't selling everyone has plenty.
id sell them, if the sale is anything like here you wont get any extra by weaning and giving shots. if you wanna feed hay just buy some lightweight calves and feed them
 

kenny thomas

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 16, 2008
Messages
12,929
Reaction score
3,769
Location
SW tip of Virginia
MtnCows93":acfpvr6e said:
pricefarm":acfpvr6e said:
I have a group of spring born calves that will be ready to wean in a few more weeks. What would y'all do with them ? Sell them off the cow, wean them give them there shots and try and get a few more cents per pound from them , or hold them over and sell them next spring ? I have more than enough hay and so far around here hay isn't selling everyone has plenty.
id sell them, if the sale is anything like here you wont get any extra by weaning and giving shots. if you wanna feed hay just buy some lightweight calves and feed them
Where are you that they don't pay more for weaned calves? Many calves here and west into KY get big premiums for value added calves.
 

farmerjan

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
4,372
Reaction score
1,959
Location
Shenandoah ValleyVirginia
There is next to no premium paid on calves that go through the Staunton Va. yard. They will read anything that a seller claims, but I watched all 1685 head sold this past friday and the ones with a list of stuff; shots, worming, weaned, etc.,; did no better than the ones that didn't have any claims.. The one market in Harrisonburg Va has feeder cattle sales that are sanctioned by a feeder assoc and anything that goes through them has to meet certain protocols. They do bring a little more most times, but you almost have to be part of the "good ole boy" group.... The commissions are higher and we didn't see where it benefited us in the past with a slight increase in price per lb but selling costs twice what we pay, plus the added mileage/time to get them there. I have gotten BQA accreditation several years and we just didn't see where we made out any better following the requirements. Some places it would probably make a difference. Here, they just need to be black and not show any dairy cross breeding and they are worth nearly twice of what colored cattle are....
 

MtnCows93

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 13, 2017
Messages
356
Reaction score
12
Location
Foothills of NC
kenny thomas":3uf4zuou said:
MtnCows93":3uf4zuou said:
pricefarm":3uf4zuou said:
I have a group of spring born calves that will be ready to wean in a few more weeks. What would y'all do with them ? Sell them off the cow, wean them give them there shots and try and get a few more cents per pound from them , or hold them over and sell them next spring ? I have more than enough hay and so far around here hay isn't selling everyone has plenty.
id sell them, if the sale is anything like here you wont get any extra by weaning and giving shots. if you wanna feed hay just buy some lightweight calves and feed them
Where are you that they don't pay more for weaned calves? Many calves here and west into KY get big premiums for value added calves.
Thats what is seems like to me they go through the ring so quick. you can take them to graded special sales and get more but the salebarn doesnt make much difference
 

kenny thomas

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 16, 2008
Messages
12,929
Reaction score
3,769
Location
SW tip of Virginia
I will easily pay 5 to 10 cents higher for weaned and having the correct vaccination.
Does the sale barn separate them and tell that they are weaned when they come into the ring?
 

Latest posts

Top