Selling Spring Calves

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pricefarm
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Selling Spring Calves

Postby pricefarm » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:01 pm

I have a group of spring born calves that will be ready to wean in a few more weeks. What would y'all do with them ? Sell them off the cow, wean them give them there shots and try and get a few more cents per pound from them , or hold them over and sell them next spring ? I have more than enough hay and so far around here hay isn't selling everyone has plenty.
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Re: Selling Spring Calves

Postby farmerjan » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:43 pm

Spring born calves will need some concentrate to keep them growing and gaining. Having enough hay is a big plus. We also have plenty of hay although some is not the best quality due to delayed making in the spring with all the cold and wet.
The best I can say is you need to decide if you have the time and facilities to keep them. Some of the feeder cattle sales offer better prices for weaned and vaccinated, bunk broke, calves. You need to get with a feeder assoc and see what they require. But these sales also cost more in commissions so sometimes it is a trade off. These sales do offer the opportunity for smaller farmers to get some of the advantages of bigger group lots that some of the buyers want.

Another consideration is do you have bills that have to be paid this fall? Sometimes holding them for a small gain might be counter productive to paying off or paying ahead on fertilizer bills for example.

The market is fairly flat. Steer calves are in the 1.35 to 1.65 range. 5-6 wts are bringing near what the smaller ones are. Heifers are in the 1.25 to 1.40 range for most all sizes up to 6 wts. Buyers I have talked to at the Staunton Market say they will remain fairly flat through the fall. With the droughts there are alot of smaller cattle going to market. That could mean that there will be a surplus on feed in the spring in the size that yours will be then and might hurt it, but that is not a given. It is a hard call.

The general talk is this will be a hard winter.... we have not had much snow in several years. It did get cold last year, and stayed cold late into the spring and was so wet, there were more cases of dead calves and some serious pnuemonia concerns with the cold and wet. We held some over til this spring and did not make any more than if we had sold them in the fall at lighter weights after we took off the cost of the feed. That's not counting our time, just actual out of pocket feed/silage/supplement costs.

I want fewer around if the winter is tough. And I don't want alot of 4wts needing alot of added grain or supplement into the winter. Just me. We are not well set up for holding over calves. Plus we calve both fall and spring and I would rather put my effort into fall born calves and their momma's than into feeders. We do keep some replacement heifers and they are enough for us to deal with the increased nutritional needs.

Hopes are that we are at the bottom of the cattle cycle and with droughts in Australia and European countries, beef may be in shorter supply in a couple of years. Even with some of the "tariff" talk, our beef is in demand, and I think we will see an uptick in feeder prices in the next 24 months. The dairy situation is bad and there will be more selling out and that will reduce the amount of dairy beef in a year or two also.
And alot of us are getting older and just getting smaller or getting out.

We are planning to sell most of our earlier spring born calves right off the cows this fall although we are going to leave some on the cows a little bit longer. We have the pasture and grass, and have sold down some on cows so have grazing available longer. The later born spring calves will probably be sold in January all according to how "pregnant" the cows are. Due to several things some places did not get bulls put in as early as we normally do, so the cows will be a little later calving next spring. The cows are all in good shape for the most part so it won't hurt them to have the calves stay on them a little longer.
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Re: Selling Spring Calves

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:00 pm

Jan - great analysis - and in his area. Remember lots of feet can make lots of muddy areas especially in areas that don't freeze up like here. I sell preconditioned calves direct to a feedlot.
You need to develop a market for your calves rather than just shipping them to the local market if at all possible. Check feedlots in your area. See if they will buy direct.
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Re: Selling Spring Calves

Postby Coosh71 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:39 pm

Can't get better advice than that Jan &Jeanne. I'd advise to wean them for at least 30 days. In our area (Texas Panhandle) auctioneers will call out a bunch of bawling calves as fresh off the momma's. They can sell for $.20+/less because of that. We wean in a 100+ acre field with good tall thick grass with mineral and a little feed come Oct /early Nov. I'm not necessarily trying to add a hundred pounds I'm just trying to get them good and weaned back to being 100% healthy with zero bawl. Good luck
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Re: Selling Spring Calves

Postby skyhightree1 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:17 pm

pricefarm wrote:I have a group of spring born calves that will be ready to wean in a few more weeks. What would y'all do with them ? Sell them off the cow, wean them give them there shots and try and get a few more cents per pound from them , or hold them over and sell them next spring ? I have more than enough hay and so far around here hay isn't selling everyone has plenty.


I trailer wean... I have learned if you got them to sell... SELL ... Don't hold cause when you really need them gone prices can be crap..
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Re: Selling Spring Calves

Postby Brute 23 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:35 pm

skyhightree1 wrote:
pricefarm wrote:I have a group of spring born calves that will be ready to wean in a few more weeks. What would y'all do with them ? Sell them off the cow, wean them give them there shots and try and get a few more cents per pound from them , or hold them over and sell them next spring ? I have more than enough hay and so far around here hay isn't selling everyone has plenty.


I trailer wean... I have learned if you got them to sell... SELL ... Don't hold cause when you really need them gone prices can be crap..


:nod: A bird in the hand is better than 2 in the bush. Money in the bank is better than oil in the tank.

I sell every thing possible before winter. It never pays for us to keep them and we have very mild winters.
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Re: Selling Spring Calves

Postby JMJ Farms » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:33 pm

Brute 23 wrote:
skyhightree1 wrote:
pricefarm wrote:I have a group of spring born calves that will be ready to wean in a few more weeks. What would y'all do with them ? Sell them off the cow, wean them give them there shots and try and get a few more cents per pound from them , or hold them over and sell them next spring ? I have more than enough hay and so far around here hay isn't selling everyone has plenty.


I trailer wean... I have learned if you got them to sell... SELL ... Don't hold cause when you really need them gone prices can be crap..


:nod: A bird in the hand is better than 2 in the bush. Money in the bank is better than oil in the tank.

I sell every thing possible before winter. It never pays for us to keep them and we have very mild winters.


That’s the problem here too. Some places reward the farmer for his extra work and effort of preconditioning. Not so much here. If the buyer want preconditioned calves they need to get off the pocketbook. I actually enjoy weaning them, giving shots, and getting them started on feed. But I don’t need another job that doesn’t pay just to have something to do. Got enough of those already.
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Re: Selling Spring Calves

Postby Brute 23 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:44 pm

JMJ Farms wrote:
Brute 23 wrote:
skyhightree1 wrote:
I trailer wean... I have learned if you got them to sell... SELL ... Don't hold cause when you really need them gone prices can be crap..


:nod: A bird in the hand is better than 2 in the bush. Money in the bank is better than oil in the tank.

I sell every thing possible before winter. It never pays for us to keep them and we have very mild winters.


That’s the problem here too. Some places reward the farmer for his extra work and effort of preconditioning. Not so much here. If the buyer want preconditioned calves they need to get off the pocketbook. I actually enjoy weaning them, giving shots, and getting them started on feed. But I don’t need another job that doesn’t pay just to have something to do. Got enough of those already.


I like doing all that too. 90% of the times our calves have been weaned and are larger when they are sold. Especially if we have grass. We purposely stock low so we have the option to keep the calves and sell heavy.

.... just not thru the winter. ;-) our calves can be born Feb March so you can get some decent weight on them before selling late in the fall, before you start feeding hay.
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Re: Selling Spring Calves

Postby Lazy M » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:02 pm

I think the real decision point is if you have the numbers to make it worthwhile. If you make $50 more a head after feeding for 60 days it may not be worth it to you slogging through the mud and cold if you have 10 head. If you have 100 head, that extra $50 per hd adds up quickly.. it really doesn't take much more time to feed 100 as it does 10..
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Re: Selling Spring Calves

Postby pricefarm » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:25 pm

Thanks everyone for y'all options. I think I will just wean them on the trailer and sell them. I have some left over ear corn from last year. I ran it through the grinder this evening and mixed in some DDGS with it. Going to dump it in the creep Feeder to see if I can get a few more pounds on them before I sell. I would say they average 500lbs now and I will probably sell in about a month or so.
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Re: Selling Spring Calves

Postby M.Magis » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:25 am

Might talk to the barn you sell at and see if they have any special preconditioned sales, or at least keep them grouped together during normal sale and call out what protocol they've been through. If they don't, I can't see how it's worth your time. Buyers here will make it worth your time, but they seem to want them weaned 45 days, vaccinated and wormed, and on feed before paying much premium.
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Re: Selling Spring Calves

Postby Bfields30 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:04 pm

I have two heifers 9 months and 8 months should I sell before winter or wait till after until after winter
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Re: Selling Spring Calves

Postby TCRanch » Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:26 pm

I weaned yesterday and while we've been in a drought & have a shortage of hay, my calves can graze the brome field in addition to cubes (and a junk bale of prairie for roughage) and put on a lot of pounds. Mine are always preconditioned, heifers guaranteed open, average weaning the past few years has been 60 - 90+ days but I have sold at a minimum 30. When I actually sell them depends on the market & our tax situation. Last year I sold at the end of Dec but had the check held until Jan.
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Re: Selling Spring Calves

Postby Coosh71 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:09 pm

Buyers in our area ALWAYS notice the heady bawling calves in the sale ring. Always sit on their hands til the Auctioneer lowers the bid a bit. We hold ours on grass and cake for a MINIMUM of 30 days and usually longer. They get an additional vac of covexin 8 after weaning and we have had dang near 0 revacs during the holding period before we sell. And usually add some good weight prior to selling. We will weigh and private sell our spring calves last week of October. Our buyers know our calves have had 2 rounds of shots, wormed and been weaned plenty long enough to not have to worry about sick bawling calves. IMO it matters. We sell well above sale barn every year and do not have to haggle on price.
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Re: Selling Spring Calves

Postby MtnCows93 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:30 pm

pricefarm wrote:I have a group of spring born calves that will be ready to wean in a few more weeks. What would y'all do with them ? Sell them off the cow, wean them give them there shots and try and get a few more cents per pound from them , or hold them over and sell them next spring ? I have more than enough hay and so far around here hay isn't selling everyone has plenty.

id sell them, if the sale is anything like here you wont get any extra by weaning and giving shots. if you wanna feed hay just buy some lightweight calves and feed them
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