Northern Rancher: "I did the big calf thing for ten or twelve years-in fact our last set of Jan. calves averaged 798 the end of August the last ten or twelve years we';ve been calving in May-doing the 'kit' I'd never go back-I can't believe anybody would pay $1.00 U.S a day for grazing-I guess up here were dumb and thrifty. As far as marketing there are way more options with a 450 weight calf than the big early calf your pretty much stuck with -straight to the feedlot no matter what cost of gain is. We spread our marketings out throughout the year-some placed at weaning-some in spring-some off grass etc. I'd place our cattle somewhere size wise between yours and Kits I'm guessing as for thin cattle not being saleable-I have no trouble selling breeding stock in their working clothes-my REPEAT customers tell me they only look better after we get them home. I always thought the Sandhills would be a low input place to ranch but not with those kind of pasture rents."
For starters, we're not calving in January, we're calving mostly in March and early April. We are a lot further south of the Arctic Circle than you are, and though you now calve in May, that might be like calving in this country in March. My cows are not overly big. When we sold a hundred five-year-old pairs on May 19th, the cows weighed 1200 pounds and the calves weighed 250 pounds. The pairs averaged bringing $1603 per pair.
Some folks might think we're crazy paying a dollar a day for pasture rent, and we might very well be. All I know is that is the market in this area at this time. A player either plays the game or gets out. The Sandhills of Nebraska is a premier cattle country. Guess the high price of "doing business," so to speak, is the price we pay for living in one of the best places on God's great Earth.
Another thought on ranching is the pride in doing it right. If my cattle have to look rough haired and hungry so my "bottom line" looks better, count me out.