What is your percentage of keepers?

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ArmyDoc

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For those of you who keep stock or sell cattle as breeding stock rather than selling everything at the auction for beef, what percentage of a seasons calves are keepers each year? I guess I really have 3 questions:

1) What do your raise?
2) What percentage of bull calves would you keep as a herd sire for yourself, sell as a herd sire to someone else, and sell as beef only?
3) What percentage of heiffers would you keep as breeding stock for yourself, sell as breeding stock to someone else, and sell as beef only?
 

TheBullLady

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1) Simmentals and Simbrahs

2) I've raised one bull calf in the past five years for resale... bull markets are tough to get into, and unless you consign to a registered sale, hard to sell from your pasture. It's equally as hard to get an exceptional one! You have to be really critical of your own cattle to make wise decisions concerning what is good enough for breeding stock, and you also need to know your market and what your customers are looking for.

We generally feed out one a year... don't have the time to spend to do a bunch of them. Also sell a few as show steers to local kids, but the kids have sure changed in the past few years! Very few want to work that hard it seems.

3) Depends on a lot of things.. how many head we have, what the pasture looks like, what prices are, etc. etc. If we can make a good profit selling the heifers, we will. If we have some good ones and the market is low, and plenty of pasture, we'll retain some.. but only the best ones. Last year we retained two heifers.. one out of a cow I'm going to ship this year (old) and the other out of a former show heifer. The year before we held back 11.. which is the most we've kept for years. But the cow herd is getting older, and we've been shipping some of the old ones, so we have room for some replacements now.
 

Angus Cowman

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I raise commercial angus so this ? might not apply to me
I don't keep any replacements because I have a good source to buy replacement hfrs and it is not ecomically feasible (exception gonna keep 15 hfrs this year to show my partner how much it cost to get them to calving)
I keep 5-10 back a yr to sell as slaughter beef mainly because I keep 1 for myself and 1 for my partner and it is as easy to feed 10 as it is 2
 
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ArmyDoc

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I guess what I'm looking for is, if you have purebred stock with good genetics, out of 100 calves, how many are going to be good enough to keep for breeding stock for yourself to improve your herd, how many are going to be good enough that someone else would want to buy them for breeding stock and how many should just be at auction for beef production? I assume the percentages will be different for bulls and heiffers, so, what are the numbers for each?
 

Willow Springs

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Red Angus; a few blacks

We keep about 20% of the bulls for selling to commercial breeders. This is really a function of how many bulls you can sell, how long you've been around, how good of a job you have done on your herd and marketing. I know a lot of breeders that keep 40-50% of their bulls for sale and some even more. Most of those breeders have been in their respective breeds for many years and have a well established cliental. We are relatively new to our area and breed so I keep our bull numbers low at this point. I think that as long as you sell quality there isn't really a percentage you need to aim for.

When it comes to heifers we keep all that meet our criteria; some years that could be 80% some years 40%. Not all bulls work the way you hope. I don't believe in setting a quota, I just keep what I like. Maybe if we got a huge amount of heifers I would cut a little harder but we usually don't seem to get enough. Over the years we are heavy on the bull side; about 60-40 in favour of bulls. Again how many heifers you keep is a function of whether or not you are trying to build your herd numbers, is there a market for selling females and how many cows you need to replace in your herd.
 

dun

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Red ANgus a RA cross. Don;t keep bulls. About 60-70% of the heifers, but it depends. Some cows we never keep heifers from others we keep almost all of them.
 

Aaron

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ArmyDoc":2ppdpbz5 said:
For those of you who keep stock or sell cattle as breeding stock rather than selling everything at the auction for beef, what percentage of a seasons calves are keepers each year? I guess I really have 3 questions:

1) What do your raise?
2) What percentage of bull calves would you keep as a herd sire for yourself, sell as a herd sire to someone else, and sell as beef only?
3) What percentage of heiffers would you keep as breeding stock for yourself, sell as breeding stock to someone else, and sell as beef only?

1) Straightbred and purebred Herefords

2) I keep anywhere between 0-20% of my purebred bull calves as bulls. If they stay bulls, they are for breeding, not beef. Also, if they stayed bulls, it is because I am keen on them and will use them myself to improve my own herd if no one wants them. None of this needlessly keeping bulls to sell just to make a better buck on them rather then as steers. I have even bought back some bulls I have sold.

3) I would say at least 50%, possibly average 75% and up to 90% if there isn't a lot of heifers in a given year. Again, if I kept them around, I intend to keep them in the herd, unless someone wants to kick their herd up a notch and has the dollars to back it up. In that case, I will give pick of my replacements. :cowboy:
 

SRBeef

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Aaron":1x4uaz6p said:
ArmyDoc":1x4uaz6p said:
For those of you who keep stock or sell cattle as breeding stock rather than selling everything at the auction for beef, what percentage of a seasons calves are keepers each year? I guess I really have 3 questions:

1) What do your raise?
2) What percentage of bull calves would you keep as a herd sire for yourself, sell as a herd sire to someone else, and sell as beef only?
3) What percentage of heiffers would you keep as breeding stock for yourself, sell as breeding stock to someone else, and sell as beef only?

1) Straightbred and purebred Herefords

2) I keep anywhere between 0-20% of my purebred bull calves as bulls. If they stay bulls, they are for breeding, not beef. Also, if they stayed bulls, it is because I am keen on them and will use them myself to improve my own herd if no one wants them. None of this needlessly keeping bulls to sell just to make a better buck on them rather then as steers. I have even bought back some bulls I have sold.

3) I would say at least 50%, possibly average 75% and up to 90% if there isn't a lot of heifers in a given year. Again, if I kept them around, I intend to keep them in the herd, unless someone wants to kick their herd up a notch and has the dollars to back it up. In that case, I will give pick of my replacements. :cowboy:

Aaron,

Are you keeping that many heifers because you are increasing your herd size or do you replace a lot of cows every year?

Jim
 
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ArmyDoc

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Thanks Aaron and Dun.

Would you consider yourselves to be Cow-calf operations, or something else?

Dun, are your using outside bulls, or do you rely on AI?

Thanks again
 

dun

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ArmyDoc":wsg78f5e said:
Thanks Aaron and Dun.

Would you consider yourselves to be Cow-calf operations, or something else?

Dun, are your using outside bulls, or do you rely on AI?

Thanks again
Cow calf, until 3 years ago we were 100% AI, now we use an outside bull for cleanup. Our strong point (if we have one) is the quality of our females. They just seem to generate better heifers then bulls. Since We don;t want to mess with developing bulls it works out very well for us. We generally have a waiting list for both our commercial and registered heifers.
 

mnmtranching

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I have Black Angus and BA cross. When someone wants a bull from me I need to know by the time the new calf crop arrives, then I will save from the best cow or cows. Then they pick up the calf after it's weaned.
On the heifers I usually Winter most. Then as the Winter goes on I select for temperament, looks, etc. Keeping 20-25 out of 60-70. Either keep them myself or sell them off the farm.
I don't keep any cow around that I wouldn't save a heifer calf from. If I don't like the cow for some reason she goes after her calf is weaned, and the calf will also go.
 

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SRBeef":2hbu04dl said:
Aaron":2hbu04dl said:
ArmyDoc":2hbu04dl said:
For those of you who keep stock or sell cattle as breeding stock rather than selling everything at the auction for beef, what percentage of a seasons calves are keepers each year? I guess I really have 3 questions:

1) What do your raise?
2) What percentage of bull calves would you keep as a herd sire for yourself, sell as a herd sire to someone else, and sell as beef only?
3) What percentage of heiffers would you keep as breeding stock for yourself, sell as breeding stock to someone else, and sell as beef only?

1) Straightbred and purebred Herefords

2) I keep anywhere between 0-20% of my purebred bull calves as bulls. If they stay bulls, they are for breeding, not beef. Also, if they stayed bulls, it is because I am keen on them and will use them myself to improve my own herd if no one wants them. None of this needlessly keeping bulls to sell just to make a better buck on them rather then as steers. I have even bought back some bulls I have sold.

3) I would say at least 50%, possibly average 75% and up to 90% if there isn't a lot of heifers in a given year. Again, if I kept them around, I intend to keep them in the herd, unless someone wants to kick their herd up a notch and has the dollars to back it up. In that case, I will give pick of my replacements. :cowboy:

Aaron,

Are you keeping that many heifers because you are increasing your herd size or do you replace a lot of cows every year?

Jim

Both. I am looking at about 200 to 250 cows, up from the current 60 within 5 to 7 years, and my culling standards get more intense each year....so while some would just not cull at all, I cull less, but still cull.

ArmyDoc":2hbu04dl said:
Thanks Aaron and Dun.

Would you consider yourselves to be Cow-calf operations, or something else?

Dun, are your using outside bulls, or do you rely on AI?

Thanks again

Commercial and purebred cow/calf with a little bit of a backgrounding operation. Sometimes I can pencil backgrounding calves to yearling, but its a much sharper pencil than what's needed in the cow/calf side of things.

I only rely of natural bulls now. A.I. tank went dry 5 years ago and caused a shift in thinking. A.I. is a lot of work and if your not interested in the show ring game, you don't need big name cattle to have good cattle. Also the cost involved. At an average of $50 a unit and $200 for liquid nitrogen for a year, I can buy a high(er) seller at a bull sale and still be money ahead. :cowboy:
 

bigbull338

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ArmyDoc":1q85jju3 said:
For those of you who keep stock or sell cattle as breeding stock rather than selling everything at the auction for beef, what percentage of a seasons calves are keepers each year? I guess I really have 3 questions:

1) What do your raise?
2) What percentage of bull calves would you keep as a herd sire for yourself, sell as a herd sire to someone else, and sell as beef only?
3) What percentage of heiffers would you keep as breeding stock for yourself, sell as breeding stock to someone else, and sell as beef only?
1.reg beefmasters
2.that depends i have 2 bulls that im raising now.
3.i keep all of the heifers for replacements.
i do have a cow that i wont keep a heifer from.but she is on the cull list for raising crappy calves.
any heifers i sell are sold as reg replacement heifers.
 

grannysoo

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Black Angus. Retaining 90+ % of my heifers right now due to herd building. As to the bulls/steers, I'm swapping those with my brother for his heifers or butchering them.

This probably does not make the most financial sense to most, but it is part of the long term financial plan to get me where I want to be. Within 3 more years, I will have the herd where I want it and we'll be selling cows, not hay.

As to bulls, I buy or swap a new bull every couple of years or so.
 

Bez+

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ArmyDoc":ejnixm59 said:
For those of you who keep stock or sell cattle as breeding stock rather than selling everything at the auction for beef, what percentage of a seasons calves are keepers each year? I guess I really have 3 questions:

1) What do your raise?
2) What percentage of bull calves would you keep as a herd sire for yourself, sell as a herd sire to someone else, and sell as beef only?
3) What percentage of heiffers would you keep as breeding stock for yourself, sell as breeding stock to someone else, and sell as beef only?

Straight and commercial Horned Herfs

I have only ever kept one bull for myself - sold about two to three on an average year - but they better be dammed good or they get cut. All the rest go to slaughter - no matter the breeding.

Papers does not make a good animal - wish more people would realize that.

Last few years year we kept no heifers - not a one made my cut - as we downsized and I got older I got pickier - we have two keepers this year according to my wife.

Sold about a dozen heifers to a neighbour a few years ago who liked them - I told him outright I did not like them and would take them back at the same price up to one year from purchase. He kept them all. One turned out real nice - sorry I let her go - the rest are solid average working cows. All were commercial - I sold all the purebreds for slaughter.

Once upon a time when we were raising cattle in the triple digit numbers I might keep 15 or 20 heifers - at the most. I never advertised bulls - folks wanted them they could come and look - otherwise we cut them at weaning.

I buy in genetics from the bull - keep them for four years and sell them - or kill them and will look around for heifers / cows to bring in but only if I need them - and only after I see their parents and their off spring and they pass MY vets examination. We seldom brought in or bring in cows or heifers though - the culls we had were almost always covered by the young stock we kept.

Cheers

Bez
 

SRBeef

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Bez+":30e8733y said:
...I buy in genetics from the bull - keep them for four years and sell them ...Bez

I like the approach of a closed herd but buy in genetics and a virgin bull every so often. Retain good heifers out of my target smaller cows only and a new bull every two years is my plan. This should over time improve the herd and move to the smaller size I'm looking for.

But how do you keep a bull for FOUR years without breeding their daughters unless you have multiple bulls and can separate the herds? I sure would like to keep my T21 bull for more than two calf crops but I do want to retain some heifers.

I have one bull calf this spring out of one of my smaller target cows who looks fabulous. Easy calf at birth but putting on weight like crazy and has very good phenotype as far as I can judge. We did not cut him at the spring vet visit. So I'm tempted to change the plan already - sell T21 after this breeding season and keep his son.

There is no way I can keep the yearling daughters separate from my bull at bull in time (coming up soon). Suggestions on how to keep a bull for four years?

Jim
 

Bez+

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SRBeef":1ce9lbr2 said:
Bez+":1ce9lbr2 said:
...I buy in genetics from the bull - keep them for four years and sell them ...Bez

I like the approach of a closed herd but buy in genetics and a virgin bull every so often. Retain good heifers out of my target smaller cows only and a new bull every two years is my plan. This should over time improve the herd and move to the smaller size I'm looking for.

But how do you keep a bull for FOUR years without breeding their daughters unless you have multiple bulls and can separate the herds? I sure would like to keep my T21 bull for more than two calf crops but I do want to retain some heifers.

I have one bull calf this spring out of one of my smaller target cows who looks fabulous. Easy calf at birth but putting on weight like crazy and has very good phenotype as far as I can judge. We did not cut him at the spring vet visit. So I'm tempted to change the plan already - sell T21 after this breeding season and keep his son.

There is no way I can keep the yearling daughters separate from my bull at bull in time (coming up soon). Suggestions on how to keep a bull for four years?

Jim

Closed herds are a good idea, but I find that far too many people keep animals they should not. They also tend to believe that registration makes them better - which it does not.

Remember, I have my own veterinarian do a complete health inspection before anything comes in - before it comes to our place - and that includes far more than a once over in the chute and squeeze. They are then quarantined for a period of time - as per the veterinarian advice.

Swap the cows and the bulls around. Separate groups. Helps us tell who is bred to who as well.

I might add we do some AI as well - not a lot - but some - and we never buy the certificates - waste of money in my opinion unless you are in the show game - once again my opinion only.

Our land base and cattle carrying ability is far better than most.

We seldom if ever run yearlings+ with cows and calves at side until it is breeding time - and even then we often separate them. Heifers are usually bred at 14-15 months to a bull - that bull might not be suitable if they are in with the cow herd and a performance bull.

Also - Putting heifers in with cows - I have had probs with moms and kids trying to get back together - and I do not like suckers - which is why we would never consider a 60 day separation and then put them back together. They never go together until they have their own calf at side

We are simply hobby farmers now so we have even more land available than ever.

I understand your difficulties - which is why what we do works for us - and might not work for you.

Everyone has a different system.

Regards

Bez+
 

SRBeef

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Bez, Thanks for the reply.

We are in quite different situations.

With the advice of a knowledgeable poster here, I have worked into a system which seems to be working well on my small land base. At most I can only manage two separate groups and even that is only for part of the year.

I split the herd at weaning time (Nov 1) into two groups, cows, heifers, steers, bull in one group (in corn stalks) and weaned calves in the other group. After 60 days apart and with calving approaching, I put the cows and pregnant heifers back with the heifer calves and separate the weaned steer calves back to being with the bull and yearling steers.

It really was not that hard to move the groups as they all come in and out of the corral pretty readily. just flip gates one way or another.

I remember one of the weaned heifer calves that went up to her mama when I put them back together and tried for a drink but mom gave a quick little kick and that was the end of that. Looked like the cow had pretty well dried up by then anyway.

So back to my bull question. You then keep the kept bulls away from siblings. If I keep a bull calf from T21, this year could I use the bull calf on the whole herd next year, including some retained heifers?

The other option is to keep my current bull after this breeding season and he would be breeding some of his daughters, in addition to the rest of the unrelated cows, as part of the herd in summer 2010.

There is no way I can mess with having two bulls. I questioned my sanity when I decided to buy one!

Thanks for any advice.

Jim

on edit: after thinking about this post, I believe I will just sell my bull after breeding season this summer if I can and buy a new one next spring. Just getting a bit complex for a steel guy who is not really into genetics... I will also see if there is someone in the area who would like this bull calf in the fall or I'll steer him and harvest off of grazed corn over the winter. Thanks.
 

turning grass into beef

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1) We raise registered shorthorns and have a commercial cow herd as well

2) We calve out between 100 and 120 registered cows each year. We only sell 2 year old bulls at our sale each year, in which we sell about 20 bulls per year. We will not sell yearling bulls of the yard, that way everyone that attends know that the bulls have not been picked over. We cull bull calves at birth, at weaning, as yearlings (before we turn them out on grass) and before the sale when they are 2 years old. Every bull we sell must be of high enough quality that we would use him ourselves in our commercial herd, which we do with numerous bulls.
We also keep some bulls ourselves for our purebred herd if we feel that they will improve our herd.

3) We usually keep about 30 -35 yearling heifers to breed. At any time in their lifetime if we feel that they are not of high enough quality to raise a registered calf we then decide to use them to raise a commercial calf. As long as they can raise a good commercial calf they can stay. If not, they go down the road. Some heifers are designated as commercial cows after their first calf, some will be after 2 or more calves.
I purposely didn't say that these females were "moved to the commercial herd" because other than breeding season, our cows all run together in the same herd. You can't make genetic progress by treating your registered cows special.
 

rocket2222

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ArmyDoc":a48ib5jc said:
I guess what I'm looking for is, if you have purebred stock with good genetics, out of 100 calves, how many are going to be good enough to keep for breeding stock for yourself to improve your herd, how many are going to be good enough that someone else would want to buy them for breeding stock and how many should just be at auction for beef production? I assume the percentages will be different for bulls and heiffers, so, what are the numbers for each?

Small herd of Herefords, the good genetics is somewhat debatable, I'm in herd building mode too, still find it hard to keep more than 15 to 20% of my heifers. Usually have at least a commercial market for the heifers I don't keep, I took two to the sale barn earlier this past winter/spring that I didn't feel like they suitable to sell off the farm, and both of those were bought as commercial replacements, judging by who the buyers were. :roll: Bull calves down to around 5 to 10%.
 

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