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What should I do? Please Advise-need input fast

Z&J Cattle

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Hello all. Here is my dilema. I have a group of heifers weighing around 650#. We bought them in the fall at around 450-500# at what we thought would be a good price with the hopes that the market would climb by spring. Without getting too deep into all the numbers, we have between $500-$520/hd. in them right now with all the feed/mecicine/etc... costs. Given the current market and based on results from one paticular sale that occured today, these calves should bring around .80/lb which translates to $520/hd. SO, if we are LUCKY, about all we can hope for is to basically break even. A good friend of mine personally talked to the owner of a very large regional sale barn today that sells on Tuesday (tomorrow) and he told him that if you have anything that you are even considering selling, dump them now, because it is only going to get worse in the forseeable future. My concern is that if I wait and try to ride it out, these calves will be well up over 700# when the market comes back up in which case I will really take a hit in price per pound. "Big" calves have been high for the last two years around here because of the cost of feed, and I guess now that feed is backing down, and given the overall economic state, they are going down the crapper fast. So, the bottom line is, do I sell them tomorrow and hope to break even and be glad that I didn't lose too much, or do I hold on to them and take my chances? I know that nobody has a crystal ball and I'm sure that lots of you are faced with very similar situations. So, what would YOU do? The most disheartening part of it is that when we bought these calves, EVERYONE that I know in the cattle business told me that we should really do well given the current market, what we bought them for, and what they expected the market to do this spring. But, I guess what one EXPECTS can be thrown out the window at this point. A friend of mine said that he would like to go back and look at the last 10 years and see what the prices have tradionally done at this time of year and I told him, it makes no difference. We are in a whole other world now than what most of us have ever seen, in the cattle business and otherwise. Any advice or input would be greatly appreciated as always.

Zach
 

hillrancher

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The reason I buy heifers, if I get caught in the situation you are in put a bull with them sell as 3 stage or calve usually by the time they calve market has turned around. As you know the cattle market can turn around in a few week period or has in the past few years. If you are in a position that you have to sell then be prepared to take on the chin.
 

Z&J Cattle

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I hear what you are saying for sure and that is the VERY reason that we bought heifers. We have 23 total and after having them here and closely evaluating them over the last few months, there are about 12 or so that, in my opinion are of breeding quality, at least from a visual standpoint. I would not even think of selling those at this point, but I just don't feel that the other 10 or so should become momma cows, again speaking only from a visual standpoint. These are the ones that are causing my dilema.
 

Caustic Burno

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The only way I see to turn a profit at this time is to be a grass only operation and have enough pasture to hold them until the market turns. I don't see the market turning anytime soon. Americans are going to cut beef from their diet first for chicken or pork as the economy gets tighter. Americans will reduce in areas they can to be able to spend on hobbies, entertainment and etc. Typically here prices go down from spring and fall as fall calvers are selling their crop same thing in the fall.
 

SANDTRAP

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i have the exact problem.
mine weigh 600# and plan to hold until apr/may.
typically in the spring prices get higher for summers stockers here (tx/ok)
if not i feel like i can hold them til they weigh 850-900 before i get docked on price.
at that point i can sell or put the bull in with them
 

Brute 23

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Alot of people are in this same position. I have heifers that were suppose to be sold this spring. Not a good market for that... so, I will leave them on grass and calve them. If every the market changes they can be sold as a pair or what ever.
 

grubbie

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During hard times like we are seeing now, I save every heifer, good or not. Throw a bull in there and sell them later as pairs, 3-in1s, or even keep them another year if thats what it takes for the market to come back. But that depends on your situation, I have a lot of grass.
 

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