Why wean calves?

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TCRanch

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sorry if this is a dumb question, I am fairly new to this. But how do buyers know when the calves have been weaned? We have a fairly small operation and like I said we’re new to this. Thank you!
They're not bawling. Look healthy with no snotty noses, droopy ears, etc. And at least the sale barn I use, will always announce whether they're weaned, how long, shots, etc. Plus, seasoned buyers can tell if a calf is weaned.
 

AldacoCattle

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They're not bawling. Look healthy with no snotty noses, droopy ears, etc. And at least the sale barn I use, will always announce whether they're weaned, how long, shots, etc. Plus, seasoned buyers can tell if a calf is weaned.
Thank you! I’m getting ready to send my first set of calves to the barn.
 

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J+ Cattle

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I haven’t personally weaned them. But I think their mommas weaned them off already. I haven’t seen them feeding from their mommas anymore
Lack of milk may meet the technical definition of weaning but in mind there's a lot more to it. Vaccinations to invoke an immunity response to potential diseases, separation from their dam, learning to eat and drink from a trough. It's a stressful time for a calf, they will bawl and walk the fences. A small grass trap or pens with water and feed troughs works nicely, an older yearling that has been long time weaned added to the group will show them the way and teach them what to do.
 

Warren Allison

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Calves between 400 and 499 bring the most per pound around here, with the ones closer to 400 bringing more than the ones closer to 499. About 450 is the sweet spot, and people try to sell their calves in this weight range, right off the mommas. 500-599 is the next best price range, with 500 bringing more per pound than 599. Most calves here are born Oct- March. Those fall calves are ready to wean in the spring when the grass comes on, and the hobby farmers etc, buy them to raise until about now...they sell them when the grass is gone. The fall is alsso when the cow-calf famers sell their March through May calves...again, right off their mommas.

So, back in April I bought 6 Corriente cows for a lady. 750-800 lbs, and the owner said they were 8 and 9 months bred. Hell, one had a calf right after we unloaded her in the pen. I guess she had made the 5 hour trailer ride with her legs crossed! These cows were 5-8 years old. They were all bred to a Brangus x Chi-angus bull . The guy I got them from has been fooling around with this cross. Can't call them Ultra Blacks, because Chi-angus are registered with the Chianina Association, and Ultra blacks are registered by the Brangus Association, and the cross has to be between Registered Brangus and registered Black Angus. The cows are selling well, and performing tremendously well. He had a couple of calves that he didn;t steer, left them as bulls, and used them on his Corrientes, to see how they did before using them on more expensive cows. Anyway, we gave $360 a head for these cows, and by the end of May they had all calved...all black, polled calves.

This week she carried 2 steers to the sale. Both black and polled. One was 517 lbs and close to 7 mos old. ..the one born right off the trailer...and brought 1.59 ( $822.00). The other steer was 487 and brought $1.68 ( $818.00). $800 calves off a $360 cow, and I mean with absolutely ZERO cost other than mineral salt, and bands for the steers. They were waiting around an hour or so for the check to get made out, when 5 Corriente cows came in as weigh cows. Well, 4 Corriente and one that was Corriente x Jeresey. They weighed 750 to the low 800's. the average for the 5 was 795 lbs, and they brought 30 cents a pound, about $240 each. So, she bought them! Dunno if they are bred and to what, but she will breed them to a Brangus bull like she does the 6 I sold her. Very good chance their calves next year, will bring 3 times what she paid for their mommas.
 

Dave

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Calves between 400 and 499 bring the most per pound around here, with the ones closer to 400 bringing more than the ones closer to 499. About 450 is the sweet spot, and people try to sell their calves in this weight range, right off the mommas. 500-599 is the next best price range, with 500 bringing more per pound than 599. Most calves here are born Oct- March. Those fall calves are ready to wean in the spring when the grass comes on, and the hobby farmers etc, buy them to raise until about now...they sell them when the grass is gone. The fall is alsso when the cow-calf famers sell their March through May calves...again, right off their mommas.

So, back in April I bought 6 Corriente cows for a lady. 750-800 lbs, and the owner said they were 8 and 9 months bred. Hell, one had a calf right after we unloaded her in the pen. I guess she had made the 5 hour trailer ride with her legs crossed! These cows were 5-8 years old. They were all bred to a Brangus x Chi-angus bull . The guy I got them from has been fooling around with this cross. Can't call them Ultra Blacks, because Chi-angus are registered with the Chianina Association, and Ultra blacks are registered by the Brangus Association, and the cross has to be between Registered Brangus and registered Black Angus. The cows are selling well, and performing tremendously well. He had a couple of calves that he didn;t steer, left them as bulls, and used them on his Corrientes, to see how they did before using them on more expensive cows. Anyway, we gave $360 a head for these cows, and by the end of May they had all calved...all black, polled calves.

This week she carried 2 steers to the sale. Both black and polled. One was 517 lbs and close to 7 mos old. ..the one born right off the trailer...and brought 1.59 ( $822.00). The other steer was 487 and brought $1.68 ( $818.00). $800 calves off a $360 cow, and I mean with absolutely ZERO cost other than mineral salt, and bands for the steers. They were waiting around an hour or so for the check to get made out, when 5 Corriente cows came in as weigh cows. Well, 4 Corriente and one that was Corriente x Jeresey. They weighed 750 to the low 800's. the average for the 5 was 795 lbs, and they brought 30 cents a pound, about $240 each. So, she bought them! Dunno if they are bred and to what, but she will breed them to a Brangus bull like she does the 6 I sold her. Very good chance their calves next year, will bring 3 times what she paid for their mommas.
Wednesday and Thursday I sat through right about 5,000 head of feeder calves being sold. At the Wednesday sale a young man I know was telling me about the calves he had hauled in. He told me that they were Corriente X Angus. During the sale I was sitting right in front of 3 big buyers. One of them is generally the buyer to ring the bell at the sales around here. So the first group of the young man's calves come in. About 10 head of 500 pound steers. Bidding was very slow getting started. The calves sold for 30-40 cents under the market. I over heard those buyers talking amongst themselves. They said those calves were either Longhorn or Corriente cross. They were chuckling about the guy who bought them.
 

gcreekrch

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Wednesday and Thursday I sat through right about 5,000 head of feeder calves being sold. At the Wednesday sale a young man I know was telling me about the calves he had hauled in. He told me that they were Corriente X Angus. During the sale I was sitting right in front of 3 big buyers. One of them is generally the buyer to ring the bell at the sales around here. So the first group of the young man's calves come in. About 10 head of 500 pound steers. Bidding was very slow getting started. The calves sold for 30-40 cents under the market. I over heard those buyers talking amongst themselves. They said those calves were either Longhorn or Corriente cross. They were chuckling about the guy who bought them.
Really? I thought it was impossible to discern a hatchet azzed, narrow, shallow gutted Southwestern Exotic cross? Experts will expound on the issue with unlimited virtuosity and praise!
 

WB Angus

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I just have to add my 2 cents and that is that we have local buyers that pay us the top dollar of current market price because we wean and vaccinate our calves. For whatever its worth we definitely find value in weaning. May not be as profitable for all I believe you need to explore your options and find what is profitable to you.
 

Dave

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Here they announce the length of time wean, vaccinations, and the owners name. A couple of times this week I have heard buyers ask if they are weaned and for how long. I have read people on here talking about calves only being in the ring for a second or two. For the heck of it I pulled out my watch and timed a dozen lots. They were actually in the ring 45 to 90 seconds. Bigger lots and ones where the bidding stretched out were there the longest.
 

Brute 23

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Here they announce the length of time wean, vaccinations, and the owners name. A couple of times this week I have heard buyers ask if they are weaned and for how long. I have read people on here talking about calves only being in the ring for a second or two. For the heck of it I pulled out my watch and timed a dozen lots. They were actually in the ring 45 to 90 seconds. Bigger lots and ones where the bidding stretched out were there the longest.
AB that run singles can't do that or they would never get done. They are having big runs down here where they are selling 3000 head in singles. Those calves may never stop in the ring. They will run from one end to the other, in and out.
 

chaded

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AB that run singles can't do that or they would never get done. They are having big runs down here where they are selling 3000 head in singles. Those calves may never stop in the ring. They will run from one end to the other, in and out.

The barn here does singles mostly. If there isn’t a lot that day they will slow them down but if there is a lot you will have people still bidding while the next one is in the ring and the one being bid on is gone.
 

Dave

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Here singles get sold at the end of the sale. By that time most of the buyers have filled all their trucks and price will drop substantially. The exception to that is if you bring a fair number of calves. They sell your matched up steers, matched up heifers, and then any singles you brought in that don't match up with anything else. All of your calves sell before going to the next person's calves. The average size group in the ring is about 15 head (my guess). B sold 260 calves on Wednesday. I only remember 3 that sold as singles. This week the largest group I saw was 175 steer calves going 672 pound average. The ring scale will handle about 25 of them that size. They ran in a draft of 25, weighed them, ran them out, and repeat. The last bunch they sell them. From that same ranch they also sold 143 heifers together. But they sell calves in two drafts or more all day long.
 

Warren Allison

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This is a weekly sale in NW Ga. They had a special, conditioned calf sale last week. These calves were weaned, vaccinated, steered, I think they had to be on feed either 45 or 60 days. In this sale, they did sell the calves in lots, or pens, all calves in the ring at that time belonged to one person. The largest lot was 23. Most are 1 to 3 at a time. You can also view the reports form the last 2 regular weekly sales. These are trailer weaned calves. Notice that the bull calves bring the same or more than steers. There ARE NO feedlot or processing plant buyers down here. There was barely a tractor-trailer load all put together. The people who bought these calves at the conditioned sale, are the same ones that buy the trailer weaned calves every week. They do not pay more for weaned, conditioned calves over 500 lobs, because there is nothing they can do with them but send them out west, where they would bring the same amount of money. Where-as, buying the 400 and 500 lb class of unweaned calves, they can condition them themselves,. or send them to a conditioner, and then when they have a truck load of like kind and size, they send them out west. https://calhounstockyard.com/current-market-report
 

Silver

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Calves between 400 and 499 bring the most per pound around here, with the ones closer to 400 bringing more than the ones closer to 499. About 450 is the sweet spot, and people try to sell their calves in this weight range, right off the mommas. 500-599 is the next best price range, with 500 bringing more per pound than 599.
According to the Georgia Market Review a 450 pound calf would get about $1.60 so $720. A 600 lb calf $1.41 so $846. Almost 20% more money. But the 450 pound calf is the “sweet spot”. Is there more to this story?
 

Warren Allison

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According to the Georgia Market Review a 450 pound calf would get about $1.60 so $720. A 600 lb calf $1.41 so $846. Almost 20% more money. But the 450 pound calf is the “sweet spot”. Is there more to this story?
This report is an average of 20 auction barns on a given week. They publish it once a week. There probably was a 450 lb calf at one of these barns that brought $1.60 last week. A lot brought less and a lot brought more. There was probably a 600 lb calf somewhere that week that brought $1.41 as well. I just watched one online bring $1.82, one brought $1.12, and one brought 98 cents. Dunno what you are getting at, but at about 450 lbs, they will bring the most per pound average. Depending on your cow and bull, you can wean them at that size in 5-6 mos. Some people may wean a little older, and take 500 and 600 lb calves to the sale. It really doesn't cost them anything to keep them that long as they are nursing off momma. The smaller ones bring more, because there are more pounds to add on them by the conditioning lots and then the feed lots,. before they are ready to send to the packers. 90% of the calves you see every week, arriving 1-3 in a trailer, with the occassional HUGE trailer load of nearly 10, are brought that day because that was the day they were able to borrow a neighbors trailer, and/or had some one there to help them load them.
 

Silver

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I guess what I’m getting at is that dollars per pound mean nothing if the dollars per head aren’t there.

There is a local ranch here that usually sell a couple hundred calves. This year I see they averaged just over 400 lbs. They are very happy with the results because they “topped the sale”. They received less than $900 per steer calf. The poor suckers that hauled in their 600 steers took 30 cent less per pound and had to settle for $1,120.
 

Warren Allison

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I guess what I’m getting at is that dollars per pound mean nothing if the dollars per head aren’t there.

There is a local ranch here that usually sell a couple hundred calves. This year I see they averaged just over 400 lbs. They are very happy with the results because they “topped the sale”. They received less than $900 per steer calf. The poor suckers that hauled in their 600 steers took 30 cent less per pound and had to settle for $1,120.
Up there, are people weaning and then feeding them for 90 days, etc, or are both trailer weaned on sale day?
 

Brute 23

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I guess what I’m getting at is that dollars per pound mean nothing if the dollars per head aren’t there.

There is a local ranch here that usually sell a couple hundred calves. This year I see they averaged just over 400 lbs. They are very happy with the results because they “topped the sale”. They received less than $900 per steer calf. The poor suckers that hauled in their 600 steers took 30 cent less per pound and had to settle for $1,120.
How can you call them poor suckers when you don't know their inputs? The guy that got $900 may have made more profit than the guy who got $1120.

These gross numbers yall keeps talking about don't mean d-squat.
 

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