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Pertinent question for those having a crystal ball

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Soapweed

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How much can a rancher afford to pay to have heifer calves wintered? Any bids I've received so far are around $2.15 per head per day. This makes a winter feed bill from October 1st until mid May cost right close to $500 per head. Will a heifer calf that is now worth X amount be worth X + $500 by the middle of May? Any thoughts on this subject will sure be welcome. :???:
 

3 M L & C

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I think that depends on wheather you are going to sell them or keep them. If your going to sell them as replacement heifers, next spring that might be a bit of a gamble. Depending on the fall and winter moisture on how much demand replacements will be. If they are good quality and you want to keep them, you probably would be better off paying for the wintering cost. It's hard to not take the money now if your going to sell them anyway. I'm no expert, just my thoughts.
 

TTHC

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What is the gain/day going to be? By my calculations from OCT 1 to Mid May is about 225 days. If they gain 1 lb./day then your cost of gain is $2.15/lb. You could take them to a feedyard for less than that per day. However if they are going to gain 2 lbs./day, the cost of gain is $1.07 which is reasonable with feed and corn costs where they are. Look at it like this: Assuming the heifer weighs 550 pounds on October 1st and is worth $1.60/lb at that time. Basis on a 775 pound heifer in mid-May in NE is about -$3/cwt. May Feeder Cattle futures at $155.50 - $3=$152.50

550 lb. Heifer in OCT x $1.60=$880/hd

775 lb. Heifer in MAY x $1.525=$1,118.88/hd

$1,118.88 - $880=$238.88/225 lbs.=$1.06/lb is what the market is rewarding you for adding 225 pounds of gain. Not good considering your cost of gain was $2.15.

However, if they gain 2 lbs./day, then they weigh 1,000 lbs. in mid-May. Using a 4 cent slide means they are $10/cwt back of the May Feeder Cattle futures. May Feeder Cattle futures at $155.50 - $10=$145.50

550 lb. Heifer in OCT x $1.60=$880/hd

1,000 lb. Heifer in May x $145.50=$1,455/hd

$1,455 - $880=$575/450 lbs.=$1.28/lb is what the market is rewarding you for adding 450 pounds of gain. Still not a good deal, but holds the money together better.

These figures are what the futures market is pricing in today. I realize these are probably replacement heifers vs. market heifers but the same rules apply financially speaking. In this scenario, if you can dry lot the heifers and add 450 pounds of gain with a cost of gain below $1.28 it would reward you to do so. Either way $2.15/sounds about double what it should be.
 

Big Swede

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I have done quite a bit of custom feeding Soapweed, and I have run the numbers for my own calves with my own feed. You can about figure this year with the price of feed to take the dollar figure you are used to paying and double it. The quotes you got are not out of line. Now to your question, I have no idea. Lots of help huh? :?
 

Hereford76

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i put out a bid to a couple guys up here and got turned down on heifers to be retained only i was asking 550/hd for a whole year. drop them off weaned around nov 1 and i'll winter them, summer them, breed them, preg them... come pick them up next fall and drop off the new ones for the next year. there was no gain guarantee but i covered any death loss. the way i had it penciled it was as if i had sold the hay for 100/ton and got 30/aum for the grass plus 50 cents/hd/day for doing it. so i just sold the hay.
 

eatbeef

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Just ran a ration the other for ours and it comes out to $1.15 per pound of gain. That was ground hay, wet cake, and yardage. So it depends on how much weight you need to put on them. Our will avg. 550 Oct. 1 and need them to weigh 800 may 1 so we will be shooting for 1.25 gain per day. Usually feed with steers until first of year and they gain 2 to 2.25 and then rough them on grass or stalks w/cubes until March 15 then feed to get in shape to breed April 15.
 

Larrry

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Seems to me you might reconsider selling some of your bred heifers. Keep the breds and sell the young heifers. The breds are almost home in the production cycle.
 

Soapweed

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These would be heifers I'd plan to keep and breed next summer. If they gained a pound and a half per head per day, it would be just right. Even though the $2.15 per head per day seems outlandishly high, it would be hard for me to feed them at home any cheaper, considering that the price of hay is $200 per ton (whether buying or selling it), and 28% cake will cost $380 per ton delivered. If the heifers consumed two pounds of cake per day, that cost would be 38 cents per day. Fifteen pounds of hay per day would cost another $1.50. The total comes to $1.88 per day without allowing anything for labor, machinery, or fuel. Keeping heifers over this particular winter will end up being a very expensive hobby. They would have to be quite valuable a year from now as bred heifers to justify keeping them.

Thanks for the input. Your suggestions are all very helpful.

I might end up using the time-honored method of just flipping a coin. :wink:
 

Soapweed

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Larrry said:
Seems to me you might reconsider selling some of your bred heifers. Keep the breds and sell the young heifers. The breds are almost home in the production cycle.

But they are all in Minnesota, six hundred miles from home. :wink:
 

Larrry

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Soapweed said:
Larrry said:
Seems to me you might reconsider selling some of your bred heifers. Keep the breds and sell the young heifers. The breds are almost home in the production cycle.

But they are all in Minnesota, six hundred miles from home. :wink:

How many dollars a head would it take to get them back
 

Larrry

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I know you are proud of your cowherd so it would be hard to see the tops go down the road. I think when we have years as high inputs and low moisture sometimes they are a blessing.
Sometimes in years when we can do no wrong as everything is rosy we don't have to watch costs as close. The tight years are a reminder to keep our guard up
 

WB

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It really depends how much moisture we all receive in the next 5-8 months If it stays dry as it is mow we will all want out of the cow business.
 

Doug Thorson

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youj don't need a crystal ball all you have to is watch me and do the opposite 8) 8) 8)


ps I am selling my sale heifers in December as weaned to someone with a silage pile. I am keeping the ones I plan to breed aroujnd here. I figured the cost at $1.78 per head and will maybe get to
1 1/4 pounds gain.
 

katrina

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Keep the cream soap..... Meaning sell some of your older cows that are paid for. If your hiefiers arn't better than what you have say old older cows then sell what ever is the poorest.. And pray for rain.....



Edited to add....

What ever you do better do it early as the market will be flooded with cattle.
 

4Diamond

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katrina said:
Keep the cream soap..... Meaning sell some of your older cows that are paid for. If your hiefiers arn't better than what you have say old older cows then sell what ever is the poorest.. And pray for rain.....



Edited to add....

What ever you do better do it early as the market will be flooded with cattle.

Send em south, our markets were flooded months ago and it has started to rain. Good bred hefs could bring $3,000 next spring if the rain keeps up.
 

Faster horses

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If it helps any, we kept our heifers at home and fed them only grass hay
and mineral. No cake, or other supplement. They did fine and bred up
really good. Others do that here as well. By spring we were feeding them
up to 18-20# of hay. We had that scale on the processor so we knew fairly
close what they were getting.
 

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