Weaning naturally

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Re: Weaning naturally

Postby Lucky » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:24 pm

Grit if you are at $150 per live calf a year that it amazing to me. I’m at around $350 and can’t really figure a way to get it down. At least not figuring the true cost of hay and depreciation on the cow. I’m with you on doing what works for you as I’ve found shat I think works for me even though I get ask about it allot. Sounds like you are doing a good job. How many cows do you run per acre and do you rotate pastures often?
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Re: Weaning naturally

Postby True Grit Farms » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:26 pm

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:Hunter - I just shipped 4 cows on the rail. All open. I could have kept them and bred for a fall calf (losing only 1/2 year). These were top notch cows. Actually, one was a heifer I purchased for real good money. She had bad temperament and turned out to be a sucker. You cannot afford to keep cattle that are not performing.

Grit - I am not arguing your numbers. I understand where you are at with your cows. Sounds like a plan that is working for you. Are your cows actually weaning their calves? Or, have you left yearlings that were sucking at next calving time? I am hard pressed to believe a maternal cow will stop her calf from sucking her. Her calf WILL stop sucking if the cow runs out of milk. IMO, the only reason a cow will run out of milk is nutrition.
I think when you have little or no input, your output is less but your net can be more.
As I said, this is an option for a commercial herd that just wants to glean cash flow with little to no labor/investment.
Obviously, a PB breeder expecting to sell breeding stock would be money lost to attempt this. And I can not or never have been able to buy a cow that would fit into my breeding program for $700 (not even a weaned calf!)
We are talking totally different goals.
But, I am interested in your weaning - or not weaning. Evidently, you wean some, but are you saying the heifers you retain for replacements don't get weaned?

We definitely wean some of the nicest heifers that we sell for a premium or at least try to sell for a premium. This year we had a heifer that was letting it's first calf nurse after she had her second calf. She has since weaned the first calf. My wife give the new calf a bottle a day for a week and he's doing great. I'm planning on selling her as a 3 in 1 this spring. So far we haven't noticed any other weaning problems, besides some calves stealing milk. From what I've noticed some cows put up with the stealing and some don't.
$700 is to to much to pay for a young bred cow in this market at the moment.
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Re: Weaning naturally

Postby True Grit Farms » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:37 pm

Lucky wrote:Grit if you are at $150 per live calf a year that it amazing to me. I’m at around $350 and can’t really figure a way to get it down. At least not figuring the true cost of hay and depreciation on the cow. I’m with you on doing what works for you as I’ve found shat I think works for me even though I get ask about it allot. Sounds like you are doing a good job. How many cows do you run per acre and do you rotate pastures often?

We run a pair to the acre and rotate depending on the grass. I try and drag the pasture asap every time we rotate. If we start to run out of grass I start culling, if we have plenty of grass I'm buying young bred cows. Right now we're overstocked bad, and are planning to hold out till April to sell. I'd of been money ahead if I sold in September like we normally do. But I didn't like the prices then and really don't like them now. Cows aren't terribly perishable but you do need to sell them.
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Re: Weaning naturally

Postby sstterry » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:41 pm

True Grit Farms wrote:
Lucky wrote:Grit if you are at $150 per live calf a year that it amazing to me. I’m at around $350 and can’t really figure a way to get it down. At least not figuring the true cost of hay and depreciation on the cow. I’m with you on doing what works for you as I’ve found shat I think works for me even though I get ask about it allot. Sounds like you are doing a good job. How many cows do you run per acre and do you rotate pastures often?

We run a pair to the acre and rotate depending on the grass. I try and drag the pasture asap every time we rotate. If we start to run out of grass I start culling, if we have plenty of grass I'm buying young bred cows. Right now we're overstocked bad, and are planning to hold out till April to sell. I'd of been money ahead if I sold in September like we normally do. But I didn't like the prices then and really don't like them now. Cows aren't terribly perishable but you do need to sell them.


How much hay do you have to feed down there? I am sure it is not as much as we do.
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Re: Weaning naturally

Postby True Grit Farms » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:40 pm

sstterry wrote:
True Grit Farms wrote:
Lucky wrote:Grit if you are at $150 per live calf a year that it amazing to me. I’m at around $350 and can’t really figure a way to get it down. At least not figuring the true cost of hay and depreciation on the cow. I’m with you on doing what works for you as I’ve found shat I think works for me even though I get ask about it allot. Sounds like you are doing a good job. How many cows do you run per acre and do you rotate pastures often?

We run a pair to the acre and rotate depending on the grass. I try and drag the pasture asap every time we rotate. If we start to run out of grass I start culling, if we have plenty of grass I'm buying young bred cows. Right now we're overstocked bad, and are planning to hold out till April to sell. I'd of been money ahead if I sold in September like we normally do. But I didn't like the prices then and really don't like them now. Cows aren't terribly perishable but you do need to sell them.


How much hay do you have to feed down there? I am sure it is not as much as we do.

I figure 4k pounds of hay per cow, our problem is we don't have any fescue. But I do have some really good winter grazing that we can rotate the cows on. In the spring off the oat, winter rye, clover and ryegrass mix we usually get a couple of months of grazing. I cut most of our pastures for hay one time before the cows ever need it. Everything here depends on moisture, no rain no grass. Last year I sold cows in April because of the drought, and bought bred cows in the middle of June because of all the grass. It turned out to be a bad investment thanks to our POTUS and his tarrifs, or could it be the dirt balls that push paper and raise prices on everything and blame it on the tarrifs?
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Re: Weaning naturally

Postby scheff » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:06 pm

So I just have to say that this has been a valuable string of replies... for what was really a hypothetical question. Y’all are awesome and the knowledge/experience shared here is why I come to this site in the first place. Really cool, thank you.
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Re: Weaning naturally

Postby Redgully » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:10 pm

True Grit Farms wrote:
Stocker Steve wrote:
True Grit Farms wrote:Our hay, fertilizer, feed and meds are averaging around $150 per cow now, and 5 years ago it was over twice as much per cow.


What caused this ?

A combination of things, starting with cattle type. We have very few heavy milkers left and only a handful of registered cows. The majority are cross bred smaller frame cows that can make do on less of everything. We quit AI all together, I found it to be very expensive, time consuming and high maintenance. We supplement feed half of what we did 5 years ago, at almost half the price. A WCS and corn feed mix cost $100 less per ton than a custom blend and has more fat and protein. Also using a higher protein feed means you can get by on a lower cheaper hay cost. Fertilizer and weed control was an easy one to save money on. We use broiler litter and spray19e, instead of commercial blends. It never made much sense to spray the whole field just to kill a few weeds. Spot spraying the bad areas and not worrying about a few weeds has saved us time and money. I'm sure we're reaping some of the benefits from 5 years ago. But using a cow and culling those that don't or can't fit into your management is where we're making the most progress. Don't make or accept any excuses for your cows.


I will be interested to see where your farm is at in ten years. If you manage to find a good balance or if your genetics slide or improve. If you can maintain fertile soils or turn it to a waistland. I have run my cows in different ways over the years and have learnt a bit. Definitely cross breed cows are the easiest and most efficient to run and the healthiest too. I don't worm or vaccinate and have never had problems, of course my situation is a bit different. Being a small operator i am very hands on. I am currently (4 years now ) running purebreds and they are a challenge. Much more refined genetic pool to select from. But crosses can only exist if there are people who keep the pure lines going so everyone has a roll to play in the industry.
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Re: Weaning naturally

Postby True Grit Farms » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:22 pm

Redgully wrote:
True Grit Farms wrote:
Stocker Steve wrote:
What caused this ?

A combination of things, starting with cattle type. We have very few heavy milkers left and only a handful of registered cows. The majority are cross bred smaller frame cows that can make do on less of everything. We quit AI all together, I found it to be very expensive, time consuming and high maintenance. We supplement feed half of what we did 5 years ago, at almost half the price. A WCS and corn feed mix cost $100 less per ton than a custom blend and has more fat and protein. Also using a higher protein feed means you can get by on a lower cheaper hay cost. Fertilizer and weed control was an easy one to save money on. We use broiler litter and spray19e, instead of commercial blends. It never made much sense to spray the whole field just to kill a few weeds. Spot spraying the bad areas and not worrying about a few weeds has saved us time and money. I'm sure we're reaping some of the benefits from 5 years ago. But using a cow and culling those that don't or can't fit into your management is where we're making the most progress. Don't make or accept any excuses for your cows.


I will be interested to see where your farm is at in ten years. If you manage to find a good balance or if your genetics slide or improve. If you can maintain fertile soils or turn it to a waistland. I have run my cows in different ways over the years and have learnt a bit. Definitely cross breed cows are the easiest and most efficient to run and the healthiest too. I don't worm or vaccinate and have never had problems, of course my situation is a bit different. Being a small operator i am very hands on. I am currently (4 years now ) running purebreds and they are a challenge. Much more refined genetic pool to select from. But crosses can only exist if there are people who keep the pure lines going so everyone has a roll to play in the industry.

We vaccinate everything to BQA standards. You don't have black leg or Lepto down there? We only worm the calves and the wormy looking cows anymore.
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Re: Weaning naturally

Postby Lucky » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:50 pm

Very interesting the way you run cattle Grit. Wouldn’t work for me but still interesting. My biggest cost is hay and I can’t figure a way to get it much cheaper than I am now. We also have to run a cow to every 4-5 acres. Some years you could run a cow to every 2-3 but you’d probably be selling out the next.
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Re: Weaning naturally

Postby Redgully » Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:58 am

True Grit Farms wrote:We vaccinate everything to BQA standards. You don't have black leg or Lepto down there? We only worm the calves and the wormy looking cows anymore.


We have black leg and lepto but never seen it. We don't have liver fluke in my side of the country which i think if we did would increase the risk of blackleg. We don't get ticks either, or bad ones, so that helps. Further north is a different story where it gets more hot and humid, southern hemisphere thing. I would think lepto would be more of a worry in dairies. I was speaking with a vet who came from the other side of the country who set up a practice here and he was alarmed that many breeders here don't vaccinate. He also said it seems to be ok because he hadn't seen any issues. Another vet said to me, its like having a fire extinguisher, you don't need it unless there is a fire but when there is a fire it is too late to get one. I guess one day..... but for now all good. We do worm egg counts and try to rotate paddocks minimum of 35 days out to keep worm numbers down. Seems to be working. Occasionally, like once every five or six years, i will worm the herd just so nothing sneaky gets started.
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Re: Weaning naturally

Postby True Grit Farms » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:27 am

Redgully wrote:
True Grit Farms wrote:We vaccinate everything to BQA standards. You don't have black leg or Lepto down there? We only worm the calves and the wormy looking cows anymore.


We have black leg and lepto but never seen it. We don't have liver fluke in my side of the country which i think if we did would increase the risk of blackleg. We don't get ticks either, or bad ones, so that helps. Further north is a different story where it gets more hot and humid, southern hemisphere thing. I would think lepto would be more of a worry in dairies. I was speaking with a vet who came from the other side of the country who set up a practice here and he was alarmed that many breeders here don't vaccinate. He also said it seems to be ok because he hadn't seen any issues. Another vet said to me, its like having a fire extinguisher, you don't need it unless there is a fire but when there is a fire it is too late to get one. I guess one day..... but for now all good. We do worm egg counts and try to rotate paddocks minimum of 35 days out to keep worm numbers down. Seems to be working. Occasionally, like once every five or six years, i will worm the herd just so nothing sneaky gets started.

I'm not a big fan of vaccinations and admire your good fortune. We started off using only Covexin 8, and then added Triangle 10 just for good measure. A couple of the heifer sales require using a MLV which we use reluctantly. I feel we've been really lucky with sickness and disease in our herd and can't see the risk of not vaccinating being worth the rewards.
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Re: Weaning naturally

Postby sstterry » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:55 am

True Grit Farms wrote:
sstterry wrote:
True Grit Farms wrote:We run a pair to the acre and rotate depending on the grass. I try and drag the pasture asap every time we rotate. If we start to run out of grass I start culling, if we have plenty of grass I'm buying young bred cows. Right now we're overstocked bad, and are planning to hold out till April to sell. I'd of been money ahead if I sold in September like we normally do. But I didn't like the prices then and really don't like them now. Cows aren't terribly perishable but you do need to sell them.


How much hay do you have to feed down there? I am sure it is not as much as we do.

I figure 4k pounds of hay per cow, our problem is we don't have any fescue. But I do have some really good winter grazing that we can rotate the cows on. In the spring off the oat, winter rye, clover and ryegrass mix we usually get a couple of months of grazing. I cut most of our pastures for hay one time before the cows ever need it. Everything here depends on moisture, no rain no grass. Last year I sold cows in April because of the drought, and bought bred cows in the middle of June because of all the grass. It turned out to be a bad investment thanks to our POTUS and his tarrifs, or could it be the dirt balls that push paper and raise prices on everything and blame it on the tarrifs?


As much as you know I dislike the President, I don't put the low cattle prices on the tariffs. I think it is the natural cycle. We had very little in beef exports to China. Beef inventories are still high and I personally don't see any relief for a while.
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Re: Weaning naturally

Postby True Grit Farms » Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:15 am

sstterry wrote:
True Grit Farms wrote:
sstterry wrote:
How much hay do you have to feed down there? I am sure it is not as much as we do.

I figure 4k pounds of hay per cow, our problem is we don't have any fescue. But I do have some really good winter grazing that we can rotate the cows on. In the spring off the oat, winter rye, clover and ryegrass mix we usually get a couple of months of grazing. I cut most of our pastures for hay one time before the cows ever need it. Everything here depends on moisture, no rain no grass. Last year I sold cows in April because of the drought, and bought bred cows in the middle of June because of all the grass. It turned out to be a bad investment thanks to our POTUS and his tarrifs, or could it be the dirt balls that push paper and raise prices on everything and blame it on the tarrifs?


As much as you know I dislike the President, I don't put the low cattle prices on the tariffs. I think it is the natural cycle. We had very little in beef exports to China. Beef inventories are still high and I personally don't see any relief for a while.

I think your right on everything.....except your dislike. I feel if we stopped importing cheap beef from Mexico and south America we'd see better prices. https://money.cnn.com/2017/11/22/news/e ... index.html
There's no possible way we can compete with Mexico.
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Re: Weaning naturally

Postby Katpau » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:02 pm

True Grit Farms wrote:But I've always asked why to everything, and have never been afraid to try something that I feel might work. Our hay, fertilizer, feed and meds are averaging around $150 per cow now, and 5 years ago it was over twice as much per cow.

sstterry wrote: How much hay do you have to feed down there? I am sure it is not as much as we do.

True Grit Farms wrote:I figure 4k pounds of hay per cow,

When I give an estimate of cost per cow, I include everything...feed, supplies, repairs, insurance, vaccinations, real estate taxes and or land rent etc. When I heard your estimate of $150 per cow it seemed a bit hard to believe, but I thought perhaps your place in Georgia had so much grass that you never had to buy hay. It still seemed rather low, but you were probably not including many of the fixed costs I include. Then you mentioned feeding 2 tons of hay per cow and I really began to wonder about those numbers.

I don't fertilize at all and grain is too expensive to be at all practical in this area. It takes at least 10+ acres here to support a cow, and summer droughts followed by cold winter rains do mean we must supplement the grass with hay for as many as 5 months out of the year. Looking at my records for the last few years, we have been feeding about 3300 pounds (1.67 tons) per bred cow through the winter. That includes about 1 ton of hay per cow and 2/3 tons of ryegrass screening pellets. They are a cheap by product of the grass seed industry and are usually cheaper than hay. We apparently feed less than you do, but our costs are much higher. I imagine our hay is more expensive than yours, but I find it really hard to believe you can buy 2 tons of hay, vaccinations, fertilizer and the fuel and equipment to apply it for $150 per cow. I will assume you are not including supplies, depreciation, fuel, equipment repairs and many of the other costs associated with this business in that $150, but even just the hay and routine vaccinations would cost me more than that in this area.

What does hay sell for by the ton in Georgia?
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Re: Weaning naturally

Postby True Grit Farms » Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:14 pm

Katpau wrote:
True Grit Farms wrote:But I've always asked why to everything, and have never been afraid to try something that I feel might work. Our hay, fertilizer, feed and meds are averaging around $150 per cow now, and 5 years ago it was over twice as much per cow.

sstterry wrote: How much hay do you have to feed down there? I am sure it is not as much as we do.

True Grit Farms wrote:I figure 4k pounds of hay per cow,

When I give an estimate of cost per cow, I include everything...feed, supplies, repairs, insurance, vaccinations, real estate taxes and or land rent etc. When I heard your estimate of $150 per cow it seemed a bit hard to believe, but I thought perhaps your place in Georgia had so much grass that you never had to buy hay. It still seemed rather low, but you were probably not including many of the fixed costs I include. Then you mentioned feeding 2 tons of hay per cow and I really began to wonder about those numbers.

I don't fertilize at all and grain is too expensive to be at all practical in this area. It takes at least 10+ acres here to support a cow, and summer droughts followed by cold winter rains do mean we must supplement the grass with hay for as many as 5 months out of the year. Looking at my records for the last few years, we have been feeding about 3300 pounds (1.67 tons) per bred cow through the winter. That includes about 1 ton of hay per cow and 2/3 tons of ryegrass screening pellets. They are a cheap by product of the grass seed industry and are usually cheaper than hay. We apparently feed less than you do, but our costs are much higher. I imagine our hay is more expensive than yours, but I find it really hard to believe you can buy 2 tons of hay, vaccinations, fertilizer and the fuel and equipment to apply it for $150 per cow. I will assume you are not including supplies, depreciation, fuel, equipment repairs and many of the other costs associated with this business in that $150, but even just the hay and routine vaccinations would cost me more than that in this area.

What does hay sell for by the ton in Georgia?

I wasn't including anything but hay, feed, and vaccinations. I would think we all push the pencil however it's most beneficial to us at the end of the year. I sell hay to a couple of neighbors for $40 a roll so that's what I expense it at, not what it cost. I cut and bale my own hay and guess on the weight of a roll at 1000lbs. I normally feed 3 rolls per cow, but if it's a dry winter or spring I'll need 4 rolls to get by.
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