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Another day in the saddle

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Soapweed

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This is the time of year that our saddle horses get a good workout. We are in the process of sorting cattle for color and sex of calf, before turning bulls out real soon.

Due to my harem-scarem ranching "management" (or lack thereof), we have had even more sorting to do this spring. A little over two weeks ago, I went to an all breeds bull sale at Valentine, because we needed three or four more bulls for spares. Listening to the sale report as I drove to town that day, and hearing what pairs were bringing, realization that the cattle market is pretty good right now made me wonder if it would be a good time to sell cow/calf pairs and take life a little easier. Before I left town that day, I told Greg Arendt if he could find a buyer for our whole herd of calved out cows at $1500 per pair, they were sure available. He thought maybe he could. A buyer was supposed to show up yesterday morning, so we spent several days last week shaping things up to be saleable.

The potential buyer thought we had too many red cows, and too many over the age of eight, so he decided not drive several hundred miles to come look. That was okay with me, because with the recent nice rains it looks like there should be ample grass for our herd. Then a wild brainstorm whomped me between the ears, and I thought "why not sell our most salebable hundred cows and their calves and see what happens?" I called Greg and made arrangements to run them through the sale barn this Thursday (day after tomorrow). Yesterday and today was spent sorting out all of our five-year-old black Angus cows. They are a pretty uniform bunch, every one of them five years old, and they have a super nice set of calves at their side. Most of the calves were born in March, and they have already been branded, castrated and vaccinated. If I had thought about making this sale earlier, I wouldn't have worked them, but would have let the new buyer have the privilege of putting his own signature stamp on these nice calves. Anyway the trucks will pull in at seven o'clock tomorrow morning to load. Who needs to go to Las Vegas when it is so easy to gamble from the comfort of one's own home surroundings?
 

Soapweed

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I bought a new six-year-old roan gelding last Friday, and have already had ample opportunity to put a lot of miles on him. He is a good horse, with an intelligent mind. He is quiet and easy to have in the herd, pushing out one cow and one calf at a time, and has plenty of quickness to give when called upon. The first day I rode him, even with everyone else on the crew offering suggestions, an appropriate name was not thought up. He was a perfect gentleman all that day, but as I took off the bridle that night he neglected to open his mouth to allow the bit to drop. He jerked back and took the bridle halfway across the corral before it fell out. That night I dreamed about the happening, and mumbled, "Don't cause a ruckus." Then in my subconcious, I thought, "Ruckus" would be a good name. My next thought was, not Ruckus but "Rufus". I woke up thinking, "Don't cause a ruckus, Rufus." There has got to be a country song in there somewhere with a "hook" line like that. :wink:
 

Jinglebob

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Glad you mad a good buy.

I can't hardly believe it, a rancher selling cows when they are high! :lol:

What will all the neighbors say?! :shock: :lol:

Maybe RR would work for a name instead of rukus or rufus? Maybe poker as he has a closed mouth! Hope you are keepin' ol' Saddle Tramp busy.
 

Soapweed

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Well, we didn't exactly hit a "home run" with the sale of our cows, but did make it past second base. They are all now in the pastures of their new owners. A buyer from Kansas ended up getting forty steer calves and their mothers, for the price of $1650 per pair. A more local buyer from southern South Dakota bought forty heifer calves with their mothers, and the remaining fifteen steer calves with their mothers, at a price of $1575 per pair on the fifty-five pairs. He also purchased the remaining six pairs of heifers and their mothers for $1550 per pair. Altogether, the cattle averaged $1603 per pair and selling expense ate up over forty dollars per pair, which made take home pay of $1560 per pair. Couldda' been better, but couldda' been worse.

There are a few advantages to selling now. For one thing, taxes will hit less hard at this point. On a cow-calf pair, the value of the calf can be plugged into the equation at a more minimal level than if they were sold at weaning time separately from their mother. On the value of the cow, capital gains taxes are figured at the rate of 15% federal, and 7% to the state of Nebraska, totalling 22%. Total taxes on the value of the calf is figured on the basis of earned income, with self-employment taxes also, which could be a tax burden of 40% on the value of the calf.

Another advantage is that the summer grass bill is saved, and also the money can go to work almost six months quicker than if the pairs were split and sold in the fall. At this point, all the calves are present and accounted for, and sold accordingly. Also, the expense and hassle of giving pre-conditioning shots has been eliminated on the 101 calves already sold. Guess a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

I am all in favor of opening the Canadian border, but it is nice to get one more bunch of cattle turned into "money in the bank" before this happens and possibly slightly rocks the boat. :wink:
 

Nicky

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Hey, you can't complain about that!! Not to mention death losses, and anything else that can happen between now and fall. I think you did good :) :!:
 

Jinglebob

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Hopefully one day you'll tell your grandchildren about it and say, "Man, I just wish I would have kept them longer. I would have made $400 more per head!" :D

It never hurts to take a profit.
 

ranchwife

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A day in the saddle??!! okay, i'm jealous :mrgreen: .....sounds like absolute heaven compared to being stuck indoors 12 hours, taking care of half dozen sick folk with nasty dispositions and equally nasty family members!! :wink: :cry: anyway, wish ya the very best!!! sounds like ya did pretty good, all things considered!!
 

Northern Rancher

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Soapweed you did really good-we came within 25 bucks of selling all our cows but our bred heifers in the fall of 2002-kinda wished we had-we've had a bit of hair in our butter ever since.
 

DOC HARRIS

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Soapweed said:
This is the time of year that our saddle horses get a good workout. We are in the process of sorting cattle for color and sex of calf, before turning bulls out real soon.

Due to my harem-scarem ranching "management" (or lack thereof), we have had even more sorting to do this spring. A little over two weeks ago, I went to an all breeds bull sale at Valentine, because we needed three or four more bulls for spares. Listening to the sale report as I drove to town that day, and hearing what pairs were bringing, realization that the cattle market is pretty good right now made me wonder if it would be a good time to sell cow/calf pairs and take life a little easier. Before I left town that day, I told Greg Arendt if he could find a buyer for our whole herd of calved out cows at $1500 per pair, they were sure available. He thought maybe he could. A buyer was supposed to show up yesterday morning, so we spent several days last week shaping things up to be saleable.

The potential buyer thought we had too many red cows, and too many over the age of eight, so he decided not drive several hundred miles to come look. That was okay with me, because with the recent nice rains it looks like there should be ample grass for our herd. Then a wild brainstorm whomped me between the ears, and I thought "why not sell our most salebable hundred cows and their calves and see what happens?" I called Greg and made arrangements to run them through the sale barn this Thursday (day after tomorrow). Yesterday and today was spent sorting out all of our five-year-old black Angus cows. They are a pretty uniform bunch, every one of them five years old, and they have a super nice set of calves at their side. Most of the calves were born in March, and they have already been branded, castrated and vaccinated. If I had thought about making this sale earlier, I wouldn't have worked them, but would have let the new buyer have the privilege of putting his own signature stamp on these nice calves. Anyway the trucks will pull in at seven o'clock tomorrow morning to load. Who needs to go to Las Vegas when it is so easy to gamble from the comfort of one's own home surroundings?
- - -and you have better odds doing this than you would have in Vegas! Besides, the girl in your house is more authentic than the one's in Vegas! and I'll bet better lookin', too!
 

Soapweed

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DOC HARRIS: "- - -and you have better odds doing this than you would have in Vegas! Besides, the girl in your house is more authentic than the one's in Vegas! and I'll bet better lookin', too!"

You are right, I am happy to say. :)
 

Brad S

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Soapweed, it could be argued that your reduction is to soften your grass usage in response to drought, and thus you havr 3 years to replace the cows without incurring income. Ya gotta work hard to make it and just as hard to keep it.
 

Soapweed

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Good to hear from you, Brad. Where have you been hiding?

You are right about "Ya gotta work hard to make it and just as hard to keep it." That is one reason we sold these pairs in the spring instead of splitting them and selling the cows and calves separately in the fall. It is more tax friendly to sell now, by paying only capital gains on the value of the cow vs. earned income and self-employment taxes on the value of the calf. The "taxable value" of the calf can be plugged in considerably lower in the spring.

Our objective is to cut down on cattle by a third, have less work, and not have to put cattle out in the summer-time on any land not owned or controlled by us. In other words, we probably won't be "replacing" the cattle that have been and will be sold.
 

Brad S

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I should have guessed you'd already payed (paid) a visit to the accountant - good job.


I've been hiding out covered up with work and family stuff. With my herd of kids I should almost always be reading a book or catching a ball. My Dad dumped a bunch of the farming on me this year, like farming is going to keep me in Kansas - If I had my way there'd be a bounty out on green tractors, and an 11th commandment about not tractor driving. I keep reminding myself that corn feeds steers and stalks feed cows. Its always wrong to curse a rain, but hard not to when ya get 15 inches on 2nd cuttiing alfalfa laying down.
 

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