Bred Cows Calving on Grass ?

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Bred Cows Calving on Grass ?

Post by Stocker Steve » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:53 pm

Used to be you could buy bred May/June calving cows here for U$S 100 to $ 150 less per head than "in season" March/April calving cows, in the late winter sales.

Recently, the number of operators "calving on grass" has gone up, and the prices are about the same. Are you seeing the same trend?


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Re: Bred Cows Calving on Grass ?

Post by Dave » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:58 pm

Here they are still back $100 or so. The ones that I thought about last year this time was the fall calving cows. Last year they were getting their heads cut off. Only a month and half until grass so not a lot of feed into them. Fall pairs sell for about double the spring kill price.

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Re: Bred Cows Calving on Grass ?

Post by Rydero » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:38 pm

Always used to be the late calving cows were a little cheaper to buy but not sure what they've been this winter. Calving on grass is a definite trend, some really large operations in this area have switched over and seem to really like it. The biggest one that comes to mind backgrounds and markets the calves towards spring, hits a certain weight at a time when there aren't many around and gets a premium. It makes a lot of sense from a disease/workload standpoint but if a person was to do it they need to wrap their head around selling a really small calf or backgrounding everything.

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Re: Bred Cows Calving on Grass ?

Post by Aaron » Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:56 pm

One thing I have noticed as I have been flipping through Simmental bull sale catalogs looking for a new Fleckvieh adventure, is the number of breeders who are calving later. Used to be every fullblood Simmie fella calved in January to take calves to market in October that made Hereford men jealous and Scottish Highlander women into gold digging Simmental-breeder wives. Now a bunch are calving in March to June. If that isn't a statement that the industry is changing, I don't know what is.
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Re: Bred Cows Calving on Grass ?

Post by Stocker Steve » Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:59 am

Late last fall they were selling short breds by the pound here. Would have been a money maker to buy them then (except that hay went up so much).
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Re: Bred Cows Calving on Grass ?

Post by Stocker Steve » Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:02 am

Aaron wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:56 pm
One thing I have noticed as I have been flipping through Simmental bull sale catalogs looking for a new Fleckvieh adventure, is the number of breeders who are calving later. Used to be every fullblood Simmie fella calved in January to take calves to market in October that made Hereford men jealous and Scottish Highlander women into gold digging Simmental-breeder wives. Now a bunch are calving in March to June. If that isn't a statement that the industry is changing, I don't know what is.
Aaron - - Will the hot Highlander women be all over you, after you buy a Fleck bull? :cowboy:
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Re: Bred Cows Calving on Grass ?

Post by Stocker Steve » Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:20 am

[quote=Rydero The biggest one that comes to mind backgrounds and markets the calves towards spring, hits a certain weight at a time when there aren't many around and gets a premium. It makes a lot of sense from a disease/workload standpoint but if a person was to do it they need to wrap their head around selling a really small calf or back grounding everything.
[/quote]

By buying Sim Angus bulls, selling a few dink producing cows, and creep feeding with some home raised oats, I have created a calf fed monster. Many of the steers, and a cut of the heifers, were over 700 pounds when they come off the cow at 8 months. Not reasonable to background that kind nor take them back to grass...

Some 2018 hindsight would have been to sell calves in the fall and buy back some short breds in early winter. Once the bales are set, I just have take a snowmobile ride every other day to check the poly wire. Then check the spring pasture once per day to band and tag calves. :cboy:
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Re: Bred Cows Calving on Grass ?

Post by Aaron » Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:10 am

Stocker Steve wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:02 am
Aaron wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:56 pm
One thing I have noticed as I have been flipping through Simmental bull sale catalogs looking for a new Fleckvieh adventure, is the number of breeders who are calving later. Used to be every fullblood Simmie fella calved in January to take calves to market in October that made Hereford men jealous and Scottish Highlander women into gold digging Simmental-breeder wives. Now a bunch are calving in March to June. If that isn't a statement that the industry is changing, I don't know what is.
Aaron - - Will the hot Highlander women be all over you, after you buy a Fleck bull? :cowboy:
I never said they were hot. In fact I think most need a shave and a bath just like their Highland pets.
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Re: Bred Cows Calving on Grass ?

Post by Dave » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:07 am

One of the locals went to that later calving. He is also grazing stock piled grass all winter. But he is the only one local with the kind of pasture and cow numbers to do it. My neighbor with 4 times more cows was talking about how nice it would be. Of course he is calving now in the cold and snow. His problem like most cattlemen around here is he goes to the hills on BLM in mid April. The way the BLM is set up he has to move cows every three weeks. It is tough to gather and move cows with fresh calves on big rough pastures. I suggested just opening the gates and letting them move themselves. He said that would work good in a couple years once the cows got the hang of it. The problem is BLM wants him to rotate one way one year and the other direction the next year. He would have to put a sign up for the cows, "this year we rotate to the left, please go to the other gate."

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Re: Bred Cows Calving on Grass ?

Post by Dave » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:12 am

Aaron wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:10 am
Stocker Steve wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:02 am
Aaron wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:56 pm
One thing I have noticed as I have been flipping through Simmental bull sale catalogs looking for a new Fleckvieh adventure, is the number of breeders who are calving later. Used to be every fullblood Simmie fella calved in January to take calves to market in October that made Hereford men jealous and Scottish Highlander women into gold digging Simmental-breeder wives. Now a bunch are calving in March to June. If that isn't a statement that the industry is changing, I don't know what is.
Aaron - - Will the hot Highlander women be all over you, after you buy a Fleck bull? :cowboy:
I never said they were hot. In fact I think most need a shave and a bath just like their Highland pets.
Over on the coast we had those same Highlander women.

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Re: Bred Cows Calving on Grass ?

Post by Rydero » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:17 am

Stocker Steve wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:20 am

By buying Sim Angus bulls, selling a few dink producing cows, and creep feeding with some home raised oats, I have created a calf fed monster. Many of the steers, and a cut of the heifers, were over 700 pounds when they come off the cow at 8 months. Not reasonable to background that kind nor take them back to grass...

Some 2018 hindsight would have been to sell calves in the fall and buy back some short breds in early winter. Once the bales are set, I just have take a snowmobile ride every other day to check the poly wire. Then check the spring pasture once per day to band and tag calves. :cboy:
Sounds like a similar setup here. I generally calve in April but we'll be doing some March calving this year. Mostly Angus or Sim/Angus cows bred Charolais. I don't creep but when the grass starts to decline I feed some good hay on pasture for the last month. Most calves sell in mid November in the 500-700lb range. Biggest steer this year was 780lbs. Darn drought, often main steer group will be in the 700's and big guys in the 800's. Anything deemed to be under 500lbs gets shots, ivomec, weaned and brought home. Just sold those yesterday.

I agree they're not really grass calves but here there's a lot of guys who do retain or buy big calves like that to grass. Most operations in the area calve in February and March.

I do what I call modified bale grazing. Take the tractor out once a week(3 hrs to place bales and cut strings incld travel) and put the bales in three areas behind gates. There's Elk in the area so a whole winter worth might be a disaster. I find a 3 day move best when it comes to balancing clean up and making sure they get enough proper nutrition. I drive out close to them every day (had to plow 2 times this winter) to check my solar pump house. Next year planning on swath grazing barley for 60 days after I wean the calves.

I somehow ended up with excess feed in this drought - I make hay here, there and everywhere in my area and had 400 bales fall in my lap at the end of summer. So I decided it's an opportunity to buy breds and expand. The hay is holding and we're getting lots of snow so hopefully it turns out as a good move.

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Re: Bred Cows Calving on Grass ?

Post by Rydero » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:33 am

Dave wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:07 am
His problem like most cattlemen around here is he goes to the hills on BLM in mid April. The way the BLM is set up he has to move cows every three weeks. It is tough to gather and move cows with fresh calves on big rough pastures. I suggested just opening the gates and letting them move themselves. He said that would work good in a couple years once the cows got the hang of it. The problem is BLM wants him to rotate one way one year and the other direction the next year. He would have to put a sign up for the cows, "this year we rotate to the left, please go to the other gate."
I move my cattle a lot. 5-7 days is pretty standard and I've found leaving the gate open is very hit or miss. Often it's a surprise they don't find it, even on a small pasture. Training the cattle to follow is a bit of a time investment but it works good. I go out to move them find them, call them and show the leaders some grain. Lead them where they need to go. First 10 cows or so get a couple mouthfuls of barley. Every time I call them they get food. I'm sure it helps my winter system involves moving them too. When they see my white truck they come running, it's a pain if I'm just going to check a waterer or something. But if the neighbour's pastures are too big, or they're happy where they are that could be a pain moving them around.

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Re: Bred Cows Calving on Grass ?

Post by Dave » Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:21 pm

Rydero wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:33 am
Dave wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:07 am
His problem like most cattlemen around here is he goes to the hills on BLM in mid April. The way the BLM is set up he has to move cows every three weeks. It is tough to gather and move cows with fresh calves on big rough pastures. I suggested just opening the gates and letting them move themselves. He said that would work good in a couple years once the cows got the hang of it. The problem is BLM wants him to rotate one way one year and the other direction the next year. He would have to put a sign up for the cows, "this year we rotate to the left, please go to the other gate."
I move my cattle a lot. 5-7 days is pretty standard and I've found leaving the gate open is very hit or miss. Often it's a surprise they don't find it, even on a small pasture. Training the cattle to follow is a bit of a time investment but it works good. I go out to move them find them, call them and show the leaders some grain. Lead them where they need to go. First 10 cows or so get a couple mouthfuls of barley. Every time I call them they get food. I'm sure it helps my winter system involves moving them too. When they see my white truck they come running, it's a pain if I'm just going to check a waterer or something. But if the neighbour's pastures are too big, or they're happy where they are that could be a pain moving them around.
The summer range land is probably 2,000 to 4,000 acre pastures. There is probably a single two track quad or 4x4 trail through most of them. Lots of serious up and down broken up ground with some timber tossed in for good measure. Cattle are moved from one pasture to another by 3 or 4 people horseback with dogs.

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Re: Bred Cows Calving on Grass ?

Post by Rydero » Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:33 pm

Chance of them ever finding a gate is pretty low then. Whole different world than the flat land around here. Gotta be a bugger to even find them. Had times where it's hard to find a few animals in 160 acres if there's trees.

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Re: Bred Cows Calving on Grass ?

Post by Silver » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:51 pm

Dave wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:21 pm
Rydero wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:33 am
Dave wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:07 am
His problem like most cattlemen around here is he goes to the hills on BLM in mid April. The way the BLM is set up he has to move cows every three weeks. It is tough to gather and move cows with fresh calves on big rough pastures. I suggested just opening the gates and letting them move themselves. He said that would work good in a couple years once the cows got the hang of it. The problem is BLM wants him to rotate one way one year and the other direction the next year. He would have to put a sign up for the cows, "this year we rotate to the left, please go to the other gate."
I move my cattle a lot. 5-7 days is pretty standard and I've found leaving the gate open is very hit or miss. Often it's a surprise they don't find it, even on a small pasture. Training the cattle to follow is a bit of a time investment but it works good. I go out to move them find them, call them and show the leaders some grain. Lead them where they need to go. First 10 cows or so get a couple mouthfuls of barley. Every time I call them they get food. I'm sure it helps my winter system involves moving them too. When they see my white truck they come running, it's a pain if I'm just going to check a waterer or something. But if the neighbour's pastures are too big, or they're happy where they are that could be a pain moving them around.
The summer range land is probably 2,000 to 4,000 acre pastures. There is probably a single two track quad or 4x4 trail through most of them. Lots of serious up and down broken up ground with some timber tossed in for good measure. Cattle are moved from one pasture to another by 3 or 4 people horseback with dogs.
Sounds similar to here. Only far more timber than open ground. My savior is that my range is narrow but long going north south. This allows me to open gates as required to let them go north, then repeat to allow them to come south. Of course, retained heifers for about 70 years (No new cows) helps with the routine.

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