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What is the diff between a 400 lb calf and a 600 lb?

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CowboyBlue

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Why do 400 lb. calves sell for more per pound than 600 lb calves? What makes them more attractive? My dad sold his calves at 9 months of age for years. Now, my 9-month calves are way bigger than his were, so should I be selling sooner? Advice is appreciated!
 

M-5

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CowboyBlue":2pxrtroz said:
Why do 400 lb. calves sell for more per pound than 600 lb calves? What makes them more attractive? My dad sold his calves at 9 months of age for years. Now, my 9-month calves are way bigger than his were, so should I be selling sooner? Advice is appreciated!


If you look at market reports the AVG price per head is relatively the same for calves between 300 to 600# that's why price per pound is different. To many variables to say what weight is best to sell. When they get about 700# the value goes up more from what I see. I do not know the intricacies of how to explain the reasons. IMO a 500# calf is the sweet spot .
 

Rafter S

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I don't know all the intricacies involved, but the relative prices per pound for light versus heavy calves has to do with how much money the buyers think it will cost them to get the lighter calves up to the same weight as the heavier ones.

I'm sure that there have been times in the past when this wasn't true, but generally heavier calves will still bring more per head than lighter calves, even though the price per pound is lower. So for me, since all it takes to get them to the heavier weight is more grass and milk, which doesn't cost me anything, I do like your father and wean at 8 - 9 months old, regardless of weight.
 

Bigfoot

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Based on sale prices here, a 400 pound steer would have been about $650, and a 600 pound steer would have been about $810. I personally think the $150 is well worth pursuing. Most of mine come off the cow at that size. i usually do a long wean, and take them to 750. That calf would have sold for $930. I think producers leave to much money on the table, by not holding their calf a little longer. Or, maybe better stated, give too much money away.
 

JSCATTLE

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Bigfoot":294rfbdv said:
Based on sale prices here, a 400 pound steer would have been about $650, and a 600 pound steer would have been about $810. I personally think the $150 is well worth pursuing. Most of mine come off the cow at that size. i usually do a long wean, and take them to 750. That calf would have sold for $930. I think producers leave to much money on the table, by not holding their calf a little longer. Or, maybe better stated, give too much money away.
What's your cost to get him from the cow to 750 ?
 

dieselbeef

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just came from a calf value class..there is no value to the middle guy..the lot between us and the feedlot...to do any backgrounding except the castration. all the vaccinations will get done before we ship em to Kansas or whever theyre going because he has no idea which shots they got if any.

if you load off the cow..wean on the trlr deal...do it the day of the sale to avoid shrink...or else wean and hold that calf for 120 days after separation to regain size and weight

this was the owner of quincy cattle company that gave the class

maximum value is a large frame castrated calf at least 120 days off the cow... typically and 8-9 mo old calf.

the problem lies in if we can get enough weight back on em cheap enough
 

Son of Butch

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CowboyBlue":2ar1umbm said:
Why do 400 lb. calves sell for more per pound than 600 lb calves?
400 lb x 1.40 = $560
600 lb x 1.10 = $660

Your choice: Do you want to sell them sooner? Or do you want the extra $100 hd?
There is no wrong answer, it's just what works best for you.
 

Bigfoot

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JSCATTLE":1vh4fink said:
Bigfoot":1vh4fink said:
Based on sale prices here, a 400 pound steer would have been about $650, and a 600 pound steer would have been about $810. I personally think the $150 is well worth pursuing. Most of mine come off the cow at that size. i usually do a long wean, and take them to 750. That calf would have sold for $930. I think producers leave to much money on the table, by not holding their calf a little longer. Or, maybe better stated, give too much money away.
What's your cost to get him from the cow to 750 ?

I have focused on weaning weight so much, I'm a long way there by the time I wean them. I usually have calves that will gain 2.5 pounds per day on a mixture of DDG and corn. So, there not on feed too terribly long. I might spend $12-$15 per head per month, by keeping them.

I know there's a big difference in gross and net, but on a hundred head, were talking $30,000. Those kinds of numbers are worth chasing.
 

RanchMan90

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412 lb @ 162.50=$669.50, 633 lb @ $146.49=$927.28 (from the okc West market report). Thats makes a $257.78 difference per head. Really depends on your local market, value of gain, and cost of gain if it is worthwhile or not :2cents:
 

Brute 23

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If I was wanting to grow out calves I would pay more per pound for a #400 calf than a #600 because they seem to jump from 400 to 600 in no time flat with very little inputs. From 600-800 seems to take longer and they can eat you out of house and home.

There is no set time to sell. Prices change all the time. At the begging of the year prices were the same for a #500 as a #650 so most people were holding. The prices on #500s are on the rise and making it more appealing to go ahead and sell.
 

JSCATTLE

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Bigfoot":3atue0x2 said:
JSCATTLE":3atue0x2 said:
Bigfoot":3atue0x2 said:
Based on sale prices here, a 400 pound steer would have been about $650, and a 600 pound steer would have been about $810. I personally think the $150 is well worth pursuing. Most of mine come off the cow at that size. i usually do a long wean, and take them to 750. That calf would have sold for $930. I think producers leave to much money on the table, by not holding their calf a little longer. Or, maybe better stated, give too much money away.
What's your cost to get him from the cow to 750 ?

I have focused on weaning weight so much, I'm a long way there by the time I wean them. I usually have calves that will gain 2.5 pounds per day on a mixture of DDG and corn. So, there not on feed too terribly long. I might spend $12-$15 per head per month, by keeping them.

I know there's a big difference in gross and net, but on a hundred head, were talking $30,000. Those kinds of numbers are worth chasing.
Sounds like you have run the numbers . I cant seem to come out ahead by keeping calves . It's probably the difference in auction barns . They look at a oversized calf here as a reason to dock you .
 

pricefarm

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dieselbeef":276as3vi said:
just came from a calf value class..there is no value to the middle guy..the lot between us and the feedlot...to do any backgrounding except the castration. all the vaccinations will get done before we ship em to Kansas or whever theyre going because he has no idea which shots they got if any.

if you load off the cow..wean on the trlr deal...do it the day of the sale to avoid shrink...or else wean and hold that calf for 120 days after separation to regain size and weight

this was the owner of quincy cattle company that gave the class

maximum value is a large frame castrated calf at least 120 days off the cow... typically and 8-9 mo old calf.

the problem lies in if we can get enough weight back on em cheap enough

I don't think my calve loose that much weight at weaning. Seems like they grow faster to me. There's the three or four day that the walk the lot looking for mom but they still come to the feed bunk and eat. But my calves are alread use to eatting grain before they are weaned.
 

dieselbeef

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that's another important step. but really unless you retain ownership it don't mean beans to the feedlot. cause you wont get any more money for em unless they know who they bought em from.
calves will shrink the day they get off milk for a week at least..likely 2..then they'll pick back up. all that walking and bawling burns calories too
 

Bigfoot

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I think keeping them in a small area to eliminate all of the walking helps. I also like to to feed sudex hay during weaning. Seems it's palatability is far superior to my fescue hay. By eliminating the cardio, and keeping the calorie count up, I can't tell mine lose much if any.

Doing a little sorting Saturday, my daughter accidentally turned a freahly weaned steer out in my heifer calving pen. He hasn't jumped the fence to back to his mother. Small wonder, because they stand on each side of the fence Day and night, and bawl. I'm feeding the heifers, but this thing don't know what feed is, and won't leave mom to follow them too feed. Shy of necking him, and wrestling him to the barn with a horse, I guess he's just there till he jumps out, catches on, or finally gets weaned. Long story to get to this---------He looks gutted. Ain't no telling how much weight this steer has lost. He was a big old slick 650 pound steer about the middle of last week. He looks bad today.
 

Ojp6

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dieselbeef":1vbz6s0b said:
just came from a calf value class..there is no value to the middle guy..the lot between us and the feedlot...to do any backgrounding except the castration. all the vaccinations will get done before we ship em to Kansas or whever theyre going because he has no idea which shots they got if any.


There are a lot of backrounders that would disagree with you. Especially on put together calves out of the southeast. Putting together 100 calves from several different owners and vaccinating them along with weaning them for 60+ days and getting them bunk broke can improve the death loss on a set of cattle by several percent vs just shipping those calves.

Anybody who has bought very many unweaned calves out of the southeast and shipped them has had a train wreck on a load with 15+% death loss at some point in there career. Buying backgrounded calves reduces the odds of that a lot.

In this current market a decent sized group of backgrounded calves are worth at least 8-10 cents more than the unweaned calves of the same weight, some are worth more than that.
 

dieselbeef

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possibly in a potload. sold as a group. but not for guys selling less then 50 yr probly. calves sold here got to a lot in chiefland..quincy cattle..that vaccinates and backgrounds them before they go on the long trip west. they have no idea whether those calves have had any shots or not..or been bunkbroke. castrated is all they can be sure of.
as well the buyer doesn't know me..since I sell less than 20 so I wont take a hit from them due to having a bad reputation. or a a premium for having a good one
 

talltimber

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The guys I know that are going the extra mile are selling to backgrounders that know their cattle, and keep coming back for more, whether it's five head or 75 head. And it's worth doing, at the very least cutting out the shipping, yardage, insurance, commission, and whatever else a barn can charge you for.

This quincy fella must do pretty good down there if he can keep them alive, as haven't you mentioned before about no one vaccinating, cutting or doing anything to calves in that area but loading them bawling?
 

dieselbeef

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that's a lot of what they do and he doesn't have to truck them far to get them on a good program...

he told us he would prefer a 9 mo old steer..that'd be a premium calf
 

talltimber

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I am curious though. It sounded like he was advertising for custom backgrounding. He would background for others for yardage, feed, etc, I assume? If that would be a very popular service to provide in your area, and people would pay to have him do it, why do they not background their own - doing all those things? I mean other than someone who orders calves, pays him to background, then sends to a yard - for whatever reason in a market that may not be prime for retaining by the average guy necessarily?
 

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