Lighter Calves Bring More

A Cowboy’s Faith

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“They averaged weighing less than a year ago but sold for more per pound.”

So, the amount received for this year’s calf crop set a ranch record high.

Objective is for calves to be heavier than the previous year’s weaning weight.

That was not the case for any certain reason. They received required vaccinations, were healthy, looked fresh, smooth haired, and uniform when sold as a group.

Evidently lower average weaning weight was partially due to inferior grass quality late in the season. Although dry and short, native pasture was considered higher in protein rather than slushy.

Genetics were such the calves should have weighed more than the previous year. However, water supplies were not of the highest quality.

Water was always available, but it was sometimes limited and frequently muddy with cattle forced to consume what there was.

Auction market price per pound was the determining factor of the total calf crop value. It is risky when a whole year’s calf crop is sold all at one time.

There was considerable concern about what the market would be although prices had been going up in recent months. Then fear of a government shutdown lowered prices being paid in days prior to sale time.

Somehow, someway, the market showed remarkable recovery and even increased some for the calves to sell for highest average ever. There have been drastic price fluctuations in the downward trend since sale day and are presently below what was received.

Most business endeavors have a certain level of risk, but cattle are near the top of opportunity to lose money. Regardless of how well an operation is precision managed, many factors influence the level of profitability. Only count the returns when the check is in the bank and all bills are paid in full.

With concerns about having sufficient feed and water for a cowherd, it is tempting to sell the entire calf crop. However, it is essential to save the best heifers as replacements for an operation to continue into the future.

Still heavy culling of old, poorly producing cows is necessary as difficult as that often is. Like many operations, several old cows, some 15-years-old, have been sold in recent months.

Reminded of Deuteronomy 30:9: “Your God, will outdo himself as you get calves, and enjoy a good life.”

+++ALLELUIA+++

XVII–45–11-5-2023

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