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An observation I made today

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Big Swede

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I spent a lot of time at the Valentine Auction today. Last fall when I pregnancy checked my cows I put the bulls back in with the open cows that were 10 years old and younger and sound for fall breeding to try to add some value to those cows. Today I sold both the bred cows and the opens.

The observation I made is that at least half of the 1100 weigh up cows I saw sell today could have been worth a lot more money if they had only been marketed better. The cull cow market usually peaks about this time of year. I don't understand why there were so many underfed skinny cows for sale todáy especially after the winter we just had. Adding weight in a rising market usually pays no matter what feed costs. I read somewhere once how cull cows and bulls make about 30 percent of the average ranches income for the year. Seems like to me we could be doing better.

I've heard Soapweed say many times here how he likes to keep his herd in marketable condition year round. I guess that's all I'm saying. Had a lot of time to think today.
 

ranch77rocket

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We nearly always run our culls on grass for a little while in the spring and sell them in June. They slick up, gain some weight and bring a little more money...at least that's the thought.
 

LazyWP

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Big Swede said:
I spent a lot of time at the Valentine Auction today. Last fall when I pregnancy checked my cows I put the bulls back in with the open cows that were 10 years old and younger and sound for fall breeding to try to add some value to those cows. Today I sold both the bred cows and the opens.

The observation I made is that at least half of the 1100 weigh up cows I saw sell today could have been worth a lot more money if they had only been marketed better. The cull cow market usually peaks about this time of year. I don't understand why there were so many underfed skinny cows for sale todáy especially after the winter we just had. Adding weight in a rising market usually pays no matter what feed costs. I read somewhere once how cull cows and bulls make about 30 percent of the average ranches income for the year. Seems like to me we could be doing better.

I've heard Soapweed say many times here how he likes to keep his herd in marketable condition year round. I guess that's all I'm saying. Had a lot of time to think today.

The boss says she never saw you.
I never have been able to understand why people don't feed their weigh ups. Just doesn't make sense, but then again, how many of those cows wouldn't have been culled if they would have been fed to start out with. I was talking to a neighbor yesterday that said they were losing a cow a week. Part of them were cows taken in from Texas and Oklahoma, last fall, but I would think that by now the cows should be back in decent condition, but who am I to say.
 

littlejoe

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We leave our bulls in to about preg check----more options than with an open cow. Just gotta get them out before hf cvs start cycling.

I don't understand feeding a skinny cow for "maintenance" only. Economically, only chance of getting your feed back is price rise. Shine her up and not only will you get paid for more weight, but probably upgrade her a class or two. Generally, one will pay the upkeep, the other is gravy.

Hardly anything will put weight on as easy as a skinny cow, esp an open one. And the lower the body condition, the more efficient the gain.

I'm not much of a Bible quoter--but I used to tell my kids---'ya, It says man has dominion over the beasts of the field and fish of the sea, etc'----but with rights come obligations---you own them, you're morally obligated to take care of them and treat them right.
 

starvin'dog

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A friend has been buying skinny young cows and re-breeding them the last few years. He did pretty well as he was buying them at around $.60 and they shined up pretty good over the summer. That type of cow is now bringing around a buck from packer buyers. He's buying replacement heifers for less $.
 

littlejoe

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starvin'dog said:
A friend has been buying skinny young cows and re-breeding them the last few years. He did pretty well as he was buying them at around $.60 and they shined up pretty good over the summer. That type of cow is now bringing around a buck from packer buyers. He's buying replacement heifers for less $.

If feed is cheap or you got lotsa stubble, crop aftermath, feed around---about 8 yrs outa 10 buying in the fall 'rush' is one of the better plays i know.

Treat them for parastites toot sweet, some will be bred, you got all kinds of options---and if you just want to turn them, $$ are tied up pretty short term---they're about as cheap as they're gonna get when you buy them, typically a good market about now----and you are generally selling on a higher market, plus have upgraded, plus more weight----
 

JF Ranch

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I took part in what Big Swede is talking about this winter. I sold my cull cows last fall but held 3 head of thin, more crippled type to put a little weight on. I sold them earlier this month before we started calving for just under $1000 per head and one of them was still pretty lame. They didn't gain a lot of weight, just enough to resemble the others sold earlier.

While I agree with most of the above comments, would only add that I couldn't get a chicken to gain an ounce!

Seriously though, we grow absolutely no feed on this ranch other than grass and prairie hay. Any other feed such as grain or processed cake, etc. is purchased. I can do an acceptable job of maintaining our cattle but I am not a "feeder" and any time I've tried to fatten a butcher or two has been disappointing and very expensive.
 

leanin' H

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Mrs. H' and I attended a Cattlemen's Bootcamp at Utah State University in January. We learned a bunch. But one of the best segements was on cull cow marketing. Here is a link to Dr.Feuz's website.
http://cattlemarketanalysis.org/


It contains lots of helpful information. When ya get there, click on "Cowboy Calculators" under market analysis. Then click on cull cow marketing/feeding for the calculator. Follow the instructions to predict the profitabilty of feeding a cull cow versus selling her when she becomes a cull. It isn't perfect but it is pretty close. By increasing body condition score you can get more money when ya sell. But at what cost? This predicts that for you and gives you more ammo!
Hope it helps!

Edited to add the link!! Sorry! :oops:
 

gcreekrch

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Have made money a time or so retaining cull cows to spring and have also experienced a loss of potential profit by dumping them as soon as they were tested open. :roll:

During the BSE years, the sooner a cull left the ranch and regardless of condition was not soon enough. At .13 per lb it is difficult to feed a profit into a cow.
 

Doug Thorson

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I realised the value in feeding open cows for a while in the first of our dry years. Because I was buying hay I wanted to sell every open ASAP. The problem is our vets assistant accidently poured 2. As they both had raised steer calves I just threw them in with the replacement heifers. The market went up and they gained a bunch. Even if I had bought feed for them the profit would have paid my whole yearly vet bill.
 

LCP

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After we preg checked in November, we ran the opens and culls ahead of the rest of the cows on corn stalks for about 45 days. Originally I was just doing it to keep the rest of the herd from foundering. Then when I saw the amount of corn in their manure I figured that was about as easy and cheap (45 cents/day) as anything I could dream of. I had half a mind to go buy a few more at the sale barn, but chickened out. We have plenty of corn stalks in the area, so it might be something I try down the road.
 

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