I am thinking about picking up some short term cows. I will run them this summer and can the cow in the fall when shortly after I wean the calf. What are some tricks that might make it more profitable? Thanks for any replies you might have.
The cow is not likely to make you any $, like a heifer or 2nd calver for re sale. Before you sell, I'd look into the market and see if weigh ups or short term breds are bringing more money so you can try to gain something on the cow, by either fattening or re breeding her, or even selling them as pairs. The calf is where your dollars are so capitolize and be smart with them, lots of options there... replacements, feeders, pre-conditioned, weaned, etc. Watch the market.
I short term quite often myself to help offset winter feeding costs. I dont really consider it very short term though, what is when it comes to cattle? This time every year, as I did just today, I buy heavy bred cows (3rd stage only). I buy when I'm almost finished feeding and then I will be able to sell a weaned calf and a bred cow before I start feeding again. You have to limit yourself to about $500-$530 a head though, which means you will have to buy some smaller framed cows or a few old cows(make sure they are healthy though, real healthy!, if you have to go this route, trust me on this!). I buy these cows from local salebarns, but only from heard sell offs, you don't want to buy other farmers problems, so stay away from 1 or 2 groups. Usually in these heard sell offs you get to see the bull that bred these cows, which eliminates alot of quess work and hoping. These cows will calve by april (if all goes well, and alot of times it doesn't) and by November you should be able to sell a calf that will clear what you paid for the cow and also have a 2nd stage bred cow to sell as well(means you will have to run a bull with them). Having your cows bred makes alot of difference in the price your cows will bring. As always with cattle it takes volume, due to losses, expenses, and time to realize any profit when you are dealing with commercial cattle.