Five years ago I traded 53 Angus and cross-bred pregnant fall calving cows straight across for 53 two-year-old Hereford heifers with Hereford calves at their side. With a 100% calf crop assured, I thought, how can I go wrong on a deal like this? The Hereford calves didn't amount to too much, but being the fact they were Herefords, I didn't expect any different. The Hereford cows were pretty nice, and I bred them to two real nice Angus bulls, figuring the next year's calves would be dandies. They weren't too "bad", but when the dust settled on the next year's calf sales, these good baldy calves out of these three-year-old cows weren't nearly as good as the calves out of our first-calf Angus heifers. Our Angus heifers' calves mostly sold with our older cows' calves. The baldy calves out of the Hereford cows just didn't go with the bunch, and sold as a lighter cut.
To add insult to injury, three of these good Montana-bred Hereford cows prolapsed, three of the cows (not necessarily the same three) died because of "photosynthesis" grazing on meadow aftergrowth, and three more were culled because of cancer eyes. Quite a few came up open the second fall, so were turned into fall calvers. The good bred cows bred to calve the next spring I sold, and later on I sold the cows bred to calve the following fall. I had to sell these cows to save my marriage (tongue-in-cheek)(but not clear in, LOL!).
I can't say I learned a lesson, because I had learned this years ago. It was just an expensive lesson "re-learned". Sorry if a tad bit of bitterness has crept into my spiel.
The reason for our good black cow prolapsing a few days ago was because she had a real big calf, and we were negligent in our calving duties. The calf lived. He was born big, and he will be big when we sell him.