I have a couple hundred acres of fair pasture to use...with 5-6 wt calves being kind of spendy would "thin" cows be a n option? An old friend threw the idea at me but I was too proud to ask him exactly what he meant.(or stupid)
Older cows can be profitable if you can buy them right and you have excellent pasture. Frequently these older cows are loosing teeth 'Broken Mouth" and just can't get enough nutrition. Older cows that are in the third stage can be bought the same way and after they calve, ship them both down the road.
There is a market for fat older cows, but the resources to get thin cows to that point can get pretty serious.
I've made some pretty fair dollars by taking thin cows and pasturing them in the past. The biggest problem is health. I always isolated them from the "good" herd and vaccinated. Turns out in many cases the cows were bred and I got a calf out of the deal too. Lately I'm just starting to get too close to maxing out my rotational system and can't take on "stocker" cows. But it is surprising how many thin cows are cheap at the sale barns and after worming and lush green for 6 months, they get like plump little butterballs and sell as high yield breakers. Key is plenty of forage availability and worming/vaccination.
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.