Cull Cow Profits?

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AggieStudent20
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Cull Cow Profits?

Post by AggieStudent20 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:07 pm

I've read several posts on this forum about making money will cull cows and I'm looking for advice on possibly entering this market. I've look over many posts and have found there are three main ways people are making money (or attempting to) with cull cows.

1. Buy Cull Cows in fall, overwinter them, sell them in spring at higher weight for higher price

I've heard old timers calling them "corn stalk cows". Buy cull cows in fall when prices are at there lowest, put weight on them and improve body condition over winter and early spring, then sell them at a point around late spring/early summer. To me this seems like the lowest risk enterprise but least reward.

2. Buying Cull Cows, Improving Condition and Selling them as Bred

Similar to the first venture only cows are bred after condition is improved. My issue with this is that not only do you have to improve condition but you also have to worry about breeding the cows in general. Is the extra profit potential worth all the extra work plus extra costs?

3. Buying Older Cow with Calf on her

I've seen guys brag on here about buying cheap cow-calf pairs, raising the calf to weaning weight and selling both the older cow and calf for a large profit. This don't seem as realistic or easy to me as I'm not sure how "cheap" these pairs actually get. Is this actually true? Viable? Overblown?

My issue with any of these is the cull cows themselves. I know generally these animals are generally sick, very old, and/or hot-tempered. I would not want to buy a batch of them to find out they all have bad teeth or Hardware Disease. Can you get them to put on weight or breed back well if treated right? Is there profit in even messing with them? I seen one guy post on here saying generally if you buy 10 cull cows, 3 will put on weight good, 3-4 will not change much and 3 will most likely die. Any truth to this? Any advice and experience would be appreciated.



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Re: Cull Cow Profits?

Post by Allenw » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:36 pm

There can be money in it if you know what your doing and every thing works out right. If you can tell the difference in a thin cow and a wore out shell of a cow you have a chance. Go into it with an understanding of seasonal prices and an open mind.

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Re: Cull Cow Profits?

Post by AggieStudent20 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:24 pm

Allenw wrote:There can be money in it if you know what your doing and every thing works out right. If you can tell the difference in a thin cow and a wore out shell of a cow you have a chance. Go into it with an understanding of seasonal prices and an open mind.


That's what I've been thinking. I unfortunately don't have an "eye" yet. I do have the open mind though. I have been looking into this because I heard there good compliments to a stocker operation.

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Re: Cull Cow Profits?

Post by Dave » Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:31 pm

I have made good buying older cows to resell. Not all cull cows are real old, sick, or ill tempered. I know big ranches that sell all cows when they get to 10 years old. I know areas with real tough environment that will eat a cow up. Buying those cows and put them on lush pasture that involves very little travel and they will do good. Mostly I bought older bred cows with the plan to get one calf out of them and sell both, but I have bought older pairs too. I have also bought thin cows in the late winter with the plan to sell in June (the top of my hamburger market). I wouldn't buy in the fall for this plan as the wintering cost would eat you up. The closer to grass on this plan the better. The real secret is to be able to tell a thin cow from a real old cow or sick cow. There is as much money made in the buying as there is in the raising and selling.

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Re: Cull Cow Profits?

Post by True Grit Farms » Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:45 pm

I'll tell you this much a pregnant cow will out gain and be worth more than an open cow. My advice is to go to a few different sale barns and the one's you feel the most comfortable with talk with the owner a couple of after sale day. Tell him what you want and are thinking about. Most stockyard owners know when good cows are coming in and will point you in the right direction.
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Re: Cull Cow Profits?

Post by Caustic Burno » Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:10 pm

Opportunity girls are not for rookies IMO especially wintering them. That is when they are the cheapest to buy on the flip side you have to shovel money into them to get a decent BCS. My advice would be to buy SS heavies in the spring and sell off in the fall. Probably the safest way to get your feet wet on salebarn girls.
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Re: Cull Cow Profits?

Post by mayesfarm » Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:37 pm

My plan was to buy thin , healthy , cheap cows regardless of age or color . In TN weight cows are cheapest in Oct-Nov , worm and put them on stockpile fescue with decent quality hay . Sell the ones that won"t make replacements during the "Christmas break" hold the breds til spring and sell them as 5 hd to pot load packages ( have to sort them into matching groups and matching ear tags make them shine) .You can start another set in the spring to sell on the 4th of July burger market and fall calving breds . It's a low investment way to get your feet wet and make a good profit . You have to get them bought right . This worked well for me for 10+ years for me until $100 /acre row crop rents forced me to cut back cattle numbers .

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Re: Cull Cow Profits?

Post by mayesfarm » Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:39 pm

An old trader told me to never let them see a hungry day nor a birthday while I owned them

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Re: Cull Cow Profits?

Post by Caustic Burno » Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:44 pm

Your market must be a lot different than down here. November through December you have to pay to get rid of one.
Your are trying to play with the big boys now.

Good luck.
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Re: Cull Cow Profits?

Post by kenny thomas » Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:46 pm

Sounds like you have some good advice from a trader.
My thoughts only, don't bet the farm on them. KT

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Re: Cull Cow Profits?

Post by BC » Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:04 pm

I use to plant cereal rye and overseed with ryegrass in the fall. Try to start grazing just before Christmas. Plan was to buy older thin cows that had good calves. Goal was to flesh up the old cow and raise a big calf. Learned a lesson that I will share - sell the packer cow by tax day (April 15). School will be out soon and the school lunch program will be through and the price of packer cows drops more than the weight gain. You can leave the calves on the winter pasture and graze it out.

The problem is getting winter pasture up and big enough to graze. Our falls have been erratic.

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Re: Cull Cow Profits?

Post by callmefence » Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:37 am

We typically buy 30 to 50 head every fall.
I prowl the catwalk looking for what I'm after.

Most I buy right out of the kill pen. The majority end up having calves. I do run a bull with them.

I look for thin cows that look like thier calf was recently pulled off.. Till you get a eye for it, you can often look at the cows number then go look through the calves and find calves with numbers close enough to have come from the same load.
Cows that just had a calf pulled off plus they probably just came off short dry pasture. So they have a reason for being poor. I graze them on oat pasture all winter. Even short teeth do okay on a good stand of oats. If I don't think my oats will be good early. I don't buy.

Also pay attention to brands. Some outfits cull just on age. Say 7 years. There can still be alot of work left in those cows. It just takes time to learn who.
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Re: Cull Cow Profits?

Post by Caustic Burno » Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:59 am

callmefence wrote:We typically buy 30 to 50 head every fall.
I prowl the catwalk looking for what I'm after.

Most I buy right out of the kill pen. The majority end up having calves. I do run a bull with them.

I look for thin cows that look like thier calf was recently pulled off.. Till you get a eye for it, you can often look at the cows number then go look through the calves and find calves with numbers close enough to have come from the same load.
Cows that just had a calf pulled off plus they probably just came off short dry pasture. So they have a reason for being poor. I graze them on oat pasture all winter. Even short teeth do okay on a good stand of oats. If I don't think my oats will be good early. I don't buy.

Also pay attention to brands. Some outfits cull just on age. Say 7 years. There can still be alot of work left in those cows. It just takes time to learn who.



Fence I agree with everything you wrote.
There is a huge difference in a seasoned veteran patrolling the catwalk and a rookie.

You couldn’t give me an opportunity girl right now with the hay shortage and pasture condition.
Prices are not there to support them over in my neck of the woods.
This is probably the first time in twenty years I didn’t buy a single opportunity.
My crystal ball doesn’t see any price improvement soon and I hope I am very wrong.
Money doesn’t buy happiness, but the lack does buy misery.

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Re: Cull Cow Profits?

Post by True Grit Farms » Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:15 am

It's not hard to get your money out of a cheap cow. I see commercial cattlemen buying registered culls at production and farm sales for $1k to $2k and wonder what the heck their doing and why? From what I see some commercial cows will have a better calf than a lot of registered cows, especially from someone's registered culls.
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Re: Cull Cow Profits?

Post by BC » Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:50 am

We were short on grass and hay in East Texas and people were selling down their herds. I bought this cow at a sale barn as a bred cow for$300 back in September for a customer. He sent this picture Saturday. That calf will pay for her.

Image

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