Fall Calf Run Away?

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Fall Calf Run Away?

Postby Stocker Steve » Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:17 pm

Four wts. were over two dollars for a couple weeks. They have dropped back a bit, but light calves are still stronger than expected. I think there are a lot of guys with $2.50 corn, that will be feeding this winter rather than vacationing on the beach. :nod:

Heavies are also hot. Seven to eight weights are going for the same price per pound as five to six wts.. Looks like the five weights are discounted :?: What are you seeing?
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Re: Fall Calf Run Away?

Postby Till-Hill » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:55 pm

Didn't watch much today but nice big group of steers 500# were $176 900# $1.38
300# listed at $2.05

Last week group of 575# weaned fleshy steers reds/blacks/bwf/rwf ones brought $1.39

Watching Presho on Cattleusa.com here now. Pot load Red steers 858# @ $1.6425 $1409.27/head
Mates right off that deal 929# $1.58 $1467.82
Bigger ones 1020# 1.4825 $1512.15
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Re: Fall Calf Run Away?

Postby Brute 23 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:57 pm

Prices are up here. It was pretty doom and gloom a month ago. Took a small load of odd balls today and the guy at the barn told me people are buying up in anticipation of good winter oats, wheat, etc crops. The proof will be in the pudding. If they want to pay 150 for a #500 they can have them all.
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Re: Fall Calf Run Away?

Postby farmerjan » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:20 pm

I'm going to spend a little time at the sale tomorrow. We are looking to ship 15-30 next week. Got a couple of open cows, and both heifers and steers to sell. Anywhere from 4's to 6's. Some January calves that were bought cows, so a variety, some heifers we kept but are looking at turning them into buying back breds now.
Why keep a decent but not super duper, heifer at 550 lbs, worth about $6-700 and feed for another 2 years to sell a calf off her when we can buy some breds for $8-1,000 and have a calf to sell in the spring? Some won't be great calves, but at $1.00 lb as a low for these heifers, that's $550 value. Another 18 months before you even get a calf on the ground is another $5-600 in her, then another 7 months to wean the calf so another $300. If I buy some breds at $900 and sell calves off them in 7 months, I am a year ahead of the timeline. Granted, there is no guarantee the calves will be good, and there will be some salvage value to the cow if I don't like her or the calf.
It is a bit of a trade off, but I think we would do better to not be feeding a growing weaned heifer through the winter with greater nutritional needs. Granted we will keep the heifers we really like and feed, but it may be a smaller group than originally thought. Got some old cows on pasture with calves, 6 I think, and we might just take them too. They look as good as they are going to and cull cows are in the 40-60's. We have quite a bit of stockpiled grass, and are just starting to get fall calves on the ground. Have about 15 so far with about 70 more to go. Rather put the feed into them. Well, will see how the market is tomorrow. They were off last week due to the hurricane Flo and water and flooding, so maybe by next week things will have settled down a bit. We will have more to go later in the fall but they are on grass so no reason to pull too many off now; unless prices are real high, then we will pull more.
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Re: Fall Calf Run Away?

Postby Stocker Steve » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:39 pm

farmerjan wrote:Why keep a decent but not super duper, heifer at 550 lbs, worth about $6-700 and feed for another 2 years to sell a calf off her when we can buy some breds for $8-1,000 and have a calf to sell in the spring? Some won't be great calves, but at $1.00 lb as a low for these heifers, that's $550 value. Another 18 months before you even get a calf on the ground is another $5-600 in her, then another 7 months to wean the calf so another $300. If I buy some breds at $900 and sell calves off them in 7 months, I am a year ahead of the timeline. Granted, there is no guarantee the calves will be good, and there will be some salvage value to the cow if I don't like her or the calf.
It is a bit of a trade off, but I think we would do better to not be feeding a growing weaned heifer through the winter with greater nutritional needs. Granted we will keep the heifers we really like and feed, but it may be a smaller group than originally thought.


It is helpful that some cattlemen are not good at math. Otherwise no one would retain heifers, and we would go out of business. :nod:

Three potential reasons to retain now:
1) Really special cattle. Mine are not.
2) Rising market. Perhaps, but it is likely that we are a little early. Fall of 2019 or 2020 should be better.
3) Return per acre. We are running a bred heifer on 0.9 acres, and and a pair here takes 40 to 60% more. :cowboy:
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Re: Fall Calf Run Away?

Postby Brute 23 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:08 pm

Its a simple answer... Can you raise the same quality animal cheaper than you can buy it? If you can raise it cheaper you retain. If you can buy it cheaper you buy. Its not rocket science.
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Re: Fall Calf Run Away?

Postby Stocker Steve » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:56 am

Calculating cheaper is an issue. Noble Foundation did some after tax discounted cash flow calculations some years ago on what price you could afford to pay for a retained heifer calf vs. purchased bred. It would surprise you.

I think they included cost of money during the period you grew out a retained heifer, and gave purchased breds credit for using the capital gains tax rates when sold. Is there a CPA here who can update this?
Last edited by Stocker Steve on Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fall Calf Run Away?

Postby True Grit Farms » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:33 am

Stocker Steve wrote:
farmerjan wrote:Why keep a decent but not super duper, heifer at 550 lbs, worth about $6-700 and feed for another 2 years to sell a calf off her when we can buy some breds for $8-1,000 and have a calf to sell in the spring? Some won't be great calves, but at $1.00 lb as a low for these heifers, that's $550 value. Another 18 months before you even get a calf on the ground is another $5-600 in her, then another 7 months to wean the calf so another $300. If I buy some breds at $900 and sell calves off them in 7 months, I am a year ahead of the timeline. Granted, there is no guarantee the calves will be good, and there will be some salvage value to the cow if I don't like her or the calf.
It is a bit of a trade off, but I think we would do better to not be feeding a growing weaned heifer through the winter with greater nutritional needs. Granted we will keep the heifers we really like and feed, but it may be a smaller group than originally thought.


It is helpful that some cattlemen are not good at math. Otherwise no one would retain heifers, and we would go out of business. :nod:

Three potential reasons to retain now:
1) Really special cattle. Mine are not.
2) Rising market. Perhaps, but it is likely that we are a little early. Fall of 2019 or 2020 should be better.
3) Return per acre. We are running a bred heifer on 0.9 acres, and and a pair here takes 40 to 60% more. :cowboy:

Attitude is the main reason for retaining heifers. I had to take half a load of decent cows back because they were to crazy to handle in my catch pen. After this ordeal I think I need to build a roof on my pen but at least they loaded up easy.
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Re: Fall Calf Run Away?

Postby farmerjan » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:13 am

I agree with the attitude and handling aspect. Some of the bought cows we have are not very people friendly. We try to buy more at some of the herd dispersals, and lately have bought some very decent handleable cows. Got a nice chunky bull calf on the ground yesterday out of a bought cow. Too bad it wasn't a heifer, potential keeper.... oh well. We are just looking at some of the pros and cons of keeping some of the heifers we raised/weaned off of cows. We do keep the ones we really like, no question... but the ones that we look at and say, she's an okay heifer, nothing special nothing stands out..... I don't see the advantage of keeping them.

Since we don't feed alot of concentrates, and grow our heifers maybe a little slower than some, for us it is just a matter of economics for the average heifers. Got 5 now, that are just decent heifers.... out of first calf heifers, that all are very calm and handled regularly. But if they are going to be worth 5-700 and still will be 2 years before they have a calf to sell, it is not worth it. If they were really nice ones, then yes... but they are just okay decent ones. At least for me. Someone might think they are pretty nice. I'm kinda hoping that if prices are decent today, that someone might think they are pretty nice next week.

I agree with Stocker Steve, I think it is a little early to see a good return from retained heifers. I am thinking that starting next year we might retain some more and then breed some to sell as breds in 20-21. Or sell with calves by their side. We actually have never sold bred heifers. We usually don't sell anything bred unless they are short bred... but might do it next year or the year after. We either sell as feeders or raise them to breed. So trying to look ahead for the POSSIBLE rise in the cattle cycle. I do know that if we see any big rise in prices like we saw in 2013-2015, there will be alot of cattle leaving our place and then we can start over with a core group.

I know of several farmers that sell off all their calves every year and never retain and then just buy some breds when they have to replenish. I have never understood it if they have some good cattle. But again, many do not have the facilities or want to put in the time/money/effort to raise up their own. We can and do, but I am just getting pickier this year. I am afraid we might have a really bad winter and that will be harder on the weaned youngstock, and more costly. Would rather have the cow/calf pairs and be able to feed the hay and sorghum/sudan rolls to them and supplement a little with some protein and let the cow do the work rather than have a bunch of 5-700 lb weaned cattle needing more feed.

I am also hoping for some nice calves out of this heavily muscled young Limi bull we bought this past year. Got him on 14 cows that should be bred and I am thinking he will get put on another group this winter. I don't like to over use him, but I think since the 14 should be bred now, and since the pastures he is being rotated around on now are good grass, all he is doing is eating and growing so should be ready for some more ladies by mid Nov.. The biggest thing is disposition of the calves, but I hope to put these cows with his new calves at a pasture in the spring where I will be in and out more and can work on the "calmness" factor. He's not especially high strung, but a little more than the angus we have. But what a build..... and I think we are losing some of the "beefiness" build of our beef cattle. Just me..... I want them built like a tank if they are beef animals, and I like a dairy animal that has a little more "beef" on her than what some want the "dairyness" to look like. But again, my "dairy" cows all have to preform on mostly grass and hay, not a ton of fed silages etc.
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Re: Fall Calf Run Away?

Postby True Grit Farms » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:36 am

farmerjan wrote:I agree with the attitude and handling aspect. Some of the bought cows we have are not very people friendly. We try to buy more at some of the herd dispersals, and lately have bought some very decent handleable cows. Got a nice chunky bull calf on the ground yesterday out of a bought cow. Too bad it wasn't a heifer, potential keeper.... oh well. We are just looking at some of the pros and cons of keeping some of the heifers we raised/weaned off of cows. We do keep the ones we really like, no question... but the ones that we look at and say, she's an okay heifer, nothing special nothing stands out..... I don't see the advantage of keeping them.

Since we don't feed alot of concentrates, and grow our heifers maybe a little slower than some, for us it is just a matter of economics for the average heifers. Got 5 now, that are just decent heifers.... out of first calf heifers, that all are very calm and handled regularly. But if they are going to be worth 5-700 and still will be 2 years before they have a calf to sell, it is not worth it. If they were really nice ones, then yes... but they are just okay decent ones. At least for me. Someone might think they are pretty nice. I'm kinda hoping that if prices are decent today, that someone might think they are pretty nice next week.

I agree with Stocker Steve, I think it is a little early to see a good return from retained heifers. I am thinking that starting next year we might retain some more and then breed some to sell as breds in 20-21. Or sell with calves by their side. We actually have never sold bred heifers. We usually don't sell anything bred unless they are short bred... but might do it next year or the year after. We either sell as feeders or raise them to breed. So trying to look ahead for the POSSIBLE rise in the cattle cycle. I do know that if we see any big rise in prices like we saw in 2013-2015, there will be alot of cattle leaving our place and then we can start over with a core group.

I know of several farmers that sell off all their calves every year and never retain and then just buy some breds when they have to replenish. I have never understood it if they have some good cattle. But again, many do not have the facilities or want to put in the time/money/effort to raise up their own. We can and do, but I am just getting pickier this year. I am afraid we might have a really bad winter and that will be harder on the weaned youngstock, and more costly. Would rather have the cow/calf pairs and be able to feed the hay and sorghum/sudan rolls to them and supplement a little with some protein and let the cow do the work rather than have a bunch of 5-700 lb weaned cattle needing more feed.

I am also hoping for some nice calves out of this heavily muscled young Limi bull we bought this past year. Got him on 14 cows that should be bred and I am thinking he will get put on another group this winter. I don't like to over use him, but I think since the 14 should be bred now, and since the pastures he is being rotated around on now are good grass, all he is doing is eating and growing so should be ready for some more ladies by mid Nov.. The biggest thing is disposition of the calves, but I hope to put these cows with his new calves at a pasture in the spring where I will be in and out more and can work on the "calmness" factor. He's not especially high strung, but a little more than the angus we have. But what a build..... and I think we are losing some of the "beefiness" build of our beef cattle. Just me..... I want them built like a tank if they are beef animals, and I like a dairy animal that has a little more "beef" on her than what some want the "dairyness" to look like. But again, my "dairy" cows all have to preform on mostly grass and hay, not a ton of fed silages etc.

If you sell bred heifers make sure to use a CE Angus bull. You can get a bad reputation very quickly in commercial specialty sales. We had a customer that bought some black heifers bred to a CE Hereford and something didn't work out on two calves. We got slammed with questions the next spring about our heifers. I offered to make it right after we found out, but they said don't worry about it. The part that hurts most is they haven't bought anymore heifers from us yet, hopefully that'll change this spring. Mrs Gizmom taught us to follow up on every sale, and don't wait to hear back from the customer.
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Re: Fall Calf Run Away?

Postby farmerjan » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:48 am

We only use CE bulls on all our heifers, and I have not pulled a calf in years from any heifer that we BRED then calved out. Another reason to maybe sell with the calf by her side. This one farm that we buy many of our bulls from, his CE bulls are EXACTLY what he says. Most of our heifers have calves in the 60-70 lb range, just spit them out and up they get, and if the heifer has the milk, they just get on with it. We are not really into the bred heifer business so there won't be very many sold that way I don't think. I DO NOT buy bred heifers.... we got hurt on 2 groups we bought about 10 years ago. "Bred to easy calving bulls" and we pulled nearly a third and lost 3 heifers to boot. Learned my lesson then.
In fact we have only pulled 1 calf in the past 7-8 years and it was breech from a cow, and she could have probably had it on her own, but it was quicker to do it and then we saved the calf too.
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Re: Fall Calf Run Away?

Postby True Grit Farms » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:00 am

farmerjan wrote:We only use CE bulls on all our heifers, and I have not pulled a calf in years from any heifer that we BRED then calved out. Another reason to maybe sell with the calf by her side. This one farm that we buy many of our bulls from, his CE bulls are EXACTLY what he says. Most of our heifers have calves in the 60-70 lb range, just spit them out and up they get, and if the heifer has the milk, they just get on with it. We are not really into the bred heifer business so there won't be very many sold that way I don't think. I DO NOT buy bred heifers.... we got hurt on 2 groups we bought about 10 years ago. "Bred to easy calving bulls" and we pulled nearly a third and lost 3 heifers to boot. Learned my lesson then.
In fact we have only pulled 1 calf in the past 7-8 years and it was breech from a cow, and she could have probably had it on her own, but it was quicker to do it and then we saved the calf too.

We had over a 100 calves from this Hereford bull and only two problems ourselves. One breach and one dead calf, the dead one was a bigger than normal and had a swelled tongue so I figured it was a hard birth. That's not a bad percentage for us.
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Re: Fall Calf Run Away?

Postby farmerjan » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:15 am

True Grit; there is always a chance of a problem as you know. It can happen. A breech is always an iffy, and who's to say why the calf doesn't turn in time for a correct calving position. Sometimes as you know it is the heifers' problem not the bull. Not saying we have never had a problem and like you, our percentages are very good. Did have to pull a relatively small angus calf out of a 2 1/2 yr old brown swiss heifer; she was just a wuss and acted like it was killing her. But the jerseys half her size were spitting out the angus cross calves the same size. She didn't last long here and I will not have any more swiss. Just not my breed.
We have 2 of these easy calving angus bulls from this breeder and have not had one single problem in about 80-100 calves over the past 4-5 years. They are calm, easy breeders and since we raise our heifers a little longer before breeding, so are bigger at breeding and calving, they can handle these bulls even though they are getting a little size now. We have used them on a few cows too when we needed to stick a cow with a late calf in to be bred at a field, and the calves are smaller, but usually grow pretty good. We have kept a few heifers out of them to raise up for our replacements, and haven't seen any that are too small when they get some age to them.
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Re: Fall Calf Run Away?

Postby Till-Hill » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:53 am

all blacks
533# steers 1.70 $906.10
678# steers 1.57 $1064
735# steers 1.54 1102.50
local market here across the river
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Re: Fall Calf Run Away?

Postby Till-Hill » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:57 am

mostly black heifers off them:
666# 1.465 $975.59
535# 1.55 829.25

I only ended up with 3-4 heifers of my own to retain this year. With this current market I shouldn't be buying any open heifers but I've raised the boss' cows for 2-4 generations and know who they are and kind of cows they will be. I'm going to buy 5-6 of them off market price. Should go buy a cow but lots of room for heifers and no room for more cows for winter!
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