I concur with dun and DR. There can be money in poor cows. The trick is to buy cows that are hungry – and not buy sick or lame cows. You want to buy them poor but you don’t want them staying that way. Also, as said, you’ve got to have some good grass to put them on.
As long as you avoid health problems you can make money the old fashioned way, on the front end. If you’re thinking about picking up some less-than-stellar cows just stick to the basics and try to avoid problems. Don’t buy first calf heifers, look at their bags, eyes, hooves, watch for limps, etc. Remember they will never be trophy cows, even on their best days. The wallflowers might not be as sleek and gorgeous as your neighbors’ stock but with a decent bull their calves will bring almost as much. And you’ll come out ahead because you’ll have a lot less in them.