Profit on Heifers in Declining Markets?

Recently we wrote about Wally Olson’s ideas for a no-depreciation cow herd, which include sell-buy accounting and avoiding real depreciation on older cows, which typically begins about five years of age. It also centers on capturing real appreciation in young cows, which often happens prior to that five-year timeframe.

Now, we’re going to show you an example how this type of marketing system could profitably work its way through the downturn of the cattle markets, beginning in 2014.

Profitability in a down-trending market has always been a bugaboo, whether you’re buying and selling cattle or holding onto rapidly depreciating cows. If the cattle business is truly a business, then accumulating net worth must be one of the primary goals. When some of your principal assets — other than land — in the business are dropping in value steadily, that normally eats into net worth. But it doesn’t have to…

The budgets for three years we see here demonstrate how selling “upgraded” or “appreciated” heifers can keep you in the business, plus put money in your bank account — or provide potential to grow your owned equity in the cattle you are buying and selling. These are hypotheticals, but based on a composite of real prices Olson and most others were paying over the three-year period.

If that prime-aged cow, at her peak value when 4 to 5 years old, was sold for $2,900 and a heifer calf purchased to replace her, that would leave a surplus of about $1,335 after one year of carrying the heifer while she grows and gets bred. (Yes, you could and should run more than one heifer in place of that cow, but we’re keeping things simple.)

If that heifer was sold the next year, in 2015, as a bred animal she would have brought about $2,200. If she was once again replaced by a weaned heifer calf, which was would be kept for a year and bred, after cost of carry, that would leave a profit of $640, or a cumulative profit for the two years of about $1,975.

If in 2016, the process had been repeated, with the heifer sold and replaced by a weaned heifer calf, and cost to carry that calf was again figured into the heifer’s value, the profit on the trade would have been about $550, bring the total profit for the three years to about $2,525.

Without the trades, that original cow would now be 6 to 7 years old and steadily depreciating, a cost which must be weighed against the value of each calf she produces.

Of course, Olson stresses repeatedly you must keep track of your inventory of cattle and grass, and you must place a realistic value on those cattle each day, looking for opportunities. At times, sell-buy trades like this will work. At times they will not.

Now that we’ve looked at the potential for this way of thinking, let’s also address some realities of managing such a method. As Olson mentioned in the first article, he uses low-cost breeding and figures about half of the heifers will get settled. Typically, he says, one would sell the open heifers as feeders. However, if you use your ingenuity, you might imagine other ways to peddle these critters. One idea might be to keep them longer, giving them another chance to breed. The potential profit over your costs must always be the deciding factor.

Walking Prices Down

The Cattle Business – Hard Times

In the last 12 months the value of cattle has dropped by about 54%. Looking back, it took from 2010 to 2015 to rise that much. And if you compare the nearby to the far-out months in the feeder cattle contract it says we’re going down 10% more.Wally Olson

This drop in the market really only matters if you were quitting or if you had a bunch of money borrowed from the bank. What is important is positive cash flow. To achieve this positive cash flow you need to be selling premiums and buying or keeping the undervalued animals. With positive cash flow you can continue to operate the ranch and also start building back the equity lost.

In my case, since I was quitting, it is very important that I got out when I did. If you have money borrowed with 20% equity you’re probably in trouble. When you take away your 20% equity from the 54% drop in the market, in theory the bank is into their money by 34%. And let me tell you bankers don’t like getting into their money.

If you are that person in trouble with the bank, maybe I can describe who you are. You’re married in your mid-30s and have some children. You have had six or seven really good years in ranching. And you felt it was time to expand the cow herd, buy some land or build the new house.

So, what do you do?

Working through my problems in a similar situation back in the 1980s, I came up with the 10-year rule. If it really matters in 10 years I will put a lot of effort into it. There are only two main things that are this important, your health and your family. Not everyone made it through the ag crisis of the 80s, not all families stayed together. This round I pray we do better. The biggest thing you need to deal with is your guilt. This is something that I carry with me to this day. My wife worked hard for 10 years and when we moved on we didn’t have much to show for.

There’s a true statement out there: “It’s just business.” There comes a time that it’s over and you need to understand this. The sooner you face up to this, the sooner you can move on. Here’s the attitude I had to develop. You are in the cattle business and it’s not working out very well. The bank is in the loaning-money business and it’s not working out very well for them. You need to do all you can make the bank whole but you also need take care your family. This has happened before; there are laws on how this all needs to be worked out. You need to know your rights.

Moving forward, it’s your attitude that will carry you. This is a story about why I don’t have bad days anymore. I was in a meeting in Salina, Kansas, dealing with ag crisis. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. And a gentleman got up and told the story. He had lost the family farm, he had lost his family, and he was going down by pond where they had picnicked to kill himself. He said, “The only reason that I’m here today is I’d failed at everything else in life and I was scared that I would even fail at this and I couldn’t live with that.”

From that very point I have not felt sorry for myself and I have not had a bad day since.

When I was growing up, I worked for a gentleman by name Orval Burtis, Sr. He told me before you learn how to make money in the cattle business you need to go broke, or nearly broke.

Moving forward, the most important thing you can have the cattle business is your name and your word. So don’t do something stupid so you lose these things.

I don’t know for sure how you’ll work this out. If you have the right attitude you will work it out. You need to be understood that you can be helped out, but we can’t bail you out. The structure of the business that you’re in is not quite right and it needs to be changed. There are many people out there that have been right in the same spot you are today that would gladly help you out. I know it’s tough to ask for help but humble yourself and do it.

Sell-Buy vs. Buy-Sell

How they work:

Buy-Sell: A plan is developed to own an animal with many assumptions and estimates .What it will cost, how much it will gain and what it will bring. With this hope and that is all there is, we come up with a break even value.There will be a set time frame that we will own the animal. Where I ranch this is buy one in late fall, winter it and sell in late July.

Sell-Buy: Sell some money and buy the most undervalued animal. Carry this animal along to a point that we find a trade that is profitable. We know what our cost to carry is.We can weigh the animal and know what our inventory is and we can get very close to the price. With that knowledge, sell the overvalued one buy the undervalued one. With this transaction you have created cash flow, pick up profit and most of the time bought a smaller animal back. The smaller animal eats less feed and there are fewer pounds at risk if the market goes down.
Continue reading Sell-Buy vs. Buy-Sell

Price vs. Inventory Value Relationships—A New Way to Consider When and What to Sell

Today the price of cattle is high in relationship to where they were. They may be cheap to where they may be going. We don’t know what the market is going to do. What we do know is what the market is today and the relationship of the price to what we have in inventory.

The inventory is made up of three things:

  1. animals that we own
  2. grass
  3. money

Time is a fourth resource we have both from the perspective of what we do with it or how much time we keep an animal before we sell it. There is a risk of the market changing in animals that take a long time before selling so we need to factor that into our decisions.

To find the relationships of the animals that we own, we need to compare the value of them and the cost to carry them to the weight or time frame when they are overvalued. The prices that are used are good only for “TODAY” to compare and find the ones we want to sell and keep.

Cattle Prices

Example, prices from Joplin Sale 2/13/2012:

425#Steers  @$202/cwt     =     $858
425# Heifers @$175/cwt   =     $743
Young Bred Heifers                $1700
6 Year Old Cow
7-9 Years Old Cow                  $1,400
Old Cow 1050#@.89/#       =     $934

Heifers to Steers Comparison

All marketing is based on the numbers and relationship between the values of different classes of animals. The first relationship is steers to heifers. The $115 dollar difference ($858-743) is based on a $27 dollars/cwt difference.

Value to me is a $10 spread between steers and heifers. In other words, when the spread between steers and heifers is over $10 the heifer is undervalued and the better buy. Or, in this case the heifer is the one to keep because she is undervalued to the steer. Because the steers are overvalued to the heifers, they are a sell.

425# TO 475# Steer Comparison

Now that we know the steers are a sell to the heifers, we need more numbers to find out if the time is right to sell them. The numbers that we need are the cost to carry and the value of that gain. My cost to carry a calf on dry native range plus 38% cubes is 50 cents per day. That is the value of the grass at custom rates and the cost of the cubes. They will gain about ¾ pound per day.

425# steer @ $202/cwt  =    $858
475# Steer @ $195/cwt  =    $926
50# gain value                =       $68
50# gain cost                   =     <$33>
Net value                         =        $35

We now know that if we keep the 425-pound steer to a 475-pound steer we will gross $68. It will take 66 days to get there and the sale date will be April 19. At a cost of $33 dollars, the net dollars are $35. The value of gain was $1.36 ($68/50# gain).

425# TO 525# Steer Comparison

425# steer@$202    =    $858
525# steer  @$182  =    $955
100# gain value             $ 97
100# gain cost               <$66>
Net                                    $31

By adding 100 pounds we got $97. It would take 132 days at a cost of $66. Net dollars would be $31.The value of gain was $.97/pound. When you compare the 475 pound steer to the 525 pound steer, the value of gain drops by $0.58. Carrying the 425 pound calf to 475 pound was good, but the next 50 pounds was not. For me in Northeast Oklahoma, it easy to sell into grass fever which is in April when the 475 pound calf would sell. The 525# calf would sell in June when the fever is out of the market.

What the numbers tell on the steers is that 425# calf is a buy compared to the 475# calf “TODAY” and the 525# tells that “TODAY” the market is not paying as much for the 50# from 475 to 525 pounds as it would for the 50 pounds from 425 to 475. This information tells me I should sell the 475-pound calf.

Heifer vs. 6 Year Old Cow Comparison

When looking at the heifers and cows we see that value of the young cows is higher than the heifers and also the old cows. We will now look at the relationship of the heifers and cows. My cost to carry a heifer to the point it is bred is $255. This cost is based on custom grazing rates for the grass and labor and feed at cost.  The numbers tell us that a 6 year old cow will drop in value as she becomes a 7 year old.

Sell 6 year old cow   =   $1700
Keep 425# heifer      =  $< 743>
Cost to carry             =   $< 255>
Cash from Trade      =      $702

What we have done is sold a 6 year old cow and keep one of our heifers. By doing this we have given up the sale of the calf the cow would have had which at today’s market is worth $720 ($800 calf value x 90% calf crop = $720). By doing this trade we have sold a cow that is ready to drop in value and replaced her with a heifer that is appreciating in value. We also have $702 in cash in the bank. The difference in the cash we have now and the sale of the cow’s calf is $18 dollars. However, there are other gains with this trade including: picked up 4 years in a younger cow, removing the cost of carrying the cow for a year, and reducing the market risk with the time of carry to sale.

7-9 Year Old Cow vs. 10+ Year Old Cow Comparison

Sell 7-9 year old cow =    $1400
Keep heifer                 =    $<743>
Cost to carry               =   $< 255>
Cash                             =      $402

Old cow            =     $943
Keep heifer      =  $<743>
Cost to carry    =  $<255>
Cash                  =    $<55>

The calves from 6 year old cows and older carry a big depreciation cost, but you can see how the longer you hold on to a cow the more costs there are as well.

As I gain more knowledge of the relationships of the market two things are paradigm changes for me.

Paradigm 1

When calving with nature, not only are costs lower, calving rates go up and animals sell into the best markets.

Paradigm 2

Longevity may carry some costs with it. Depreciation is not a straight line. It’s more like going over a cliff. With longevity you need to know the value to you and how you are going to handle the costs along with its benefits.

Inventory Management

The market is always changing and the animals that we own value is changing. This relationship of the market and change(weight gain, weaned, later stage of pregnancy) in the animals creates opportunity to sell the overvalued buy or keep the undervalued animals and pick up the cash difference.

This is very important in a high market. By pulling the cash out of the inventory while maintaining the inventory a cushion is being built in cash reserves for the down turn in the market when it happens.

Example:

What you do: Sell 5 year old cow/calf pair for $2900
Keep Weaned Heifer cost of $1500
$2900 – $1500 = $1400 income
Keep Cow
Calf Sales income of $1250
Annual Cost to Carry: – $1.50/day (heifer eats less than a cow) x 365 days = – $550 – $2.00/day (cow eats more than a heifer) x 365 days = – $750
Annual Depreciation: $0 – $200
Value after one year: We have a bred heifer and $850 cash. We have picked up 4 years and the cash. We have $350 cash and a 6 year old, bred cow.

Business Structure of a Ranch

Bud Williams used to begin his marketing schools by talking about knowing yourself.  Know what you will do and what you won’t do.  If you will not sell a steer before he weighs 800 pounds or sell a perfectly good 5 year old cow, then stick with what you “will” do.

Buy / Sell Sell / Buy
Buy an animal;
then sell and pay expenses;
see if there is profit or loss
Sell an animal and pay expenses;
then buy another animal.
Profit is the difference between the Net Sale and replacement cost.

Example

Buy / Sell Sell / Buy
Buy 515# Steer @ $196.50 = $1011
Sell 750# Steer @ $135.00 = $1012
Expenses $195
Net Loss $194
Sell 750# Steer @ $135.00 = $1012
Buy 525# Bull @ $125.00 = $656
Gross Margin = $356
Expense $195
Positive Cash Flow $161
If we stop right here, we have lost $194. Look to the right, if we then buy the 525# bull calf, we can still make money.

What is the difference?  Only difference is structure of the business.

Buy / Sell is a philosophy that is at the whim of the market.  But you never know if there will be profit.

Sell / Buy is a philosophy that shows when there is a profit to be taken today.  But there is only a profit if you act today.

It is important to know what the market is willing to pay for.

  • Weight
  • Quality
  • Disposition

Skill of Grazier

  • Weaning
  • Steer vs. bull
  • Guaranteed open heifers
  • Guaranteed Bred heifers
  • Packaging (Singles into Groups)
  • Backgrounding
  • How, When, Where you sell

Do you have an unfair advantage?

  • Skills (see above)
  • Low Cost of Gain  –  Summer? Winter?
  • Proximity to source of cattle   (available abundant opportunities)
  • Turnover Time  (How many times a year can you turn your money over?)

Cow-Calf

If the market never moves, the value of your cow herd inventory still changes.

Factors:

  • Cow Depreciation
  • Heifer Appreciation

Follow the life of a heifer calf through the cow herd:

400# heifer calf @ $1.70                =         $680
800# Yearling Heifer @ $1.40       =       $1120
20 month old Bred Heifer             =       $1500
2 Yr Old w/calf                                 =       $2000
3,4,5 Yr old w calf                           =       $2000
6 -7 Yr old w/calf                             =       $1500
8-9 Yr Old w/calf                              =       $1200
10+ Yr Old w/calf                             =      $1000

As the age of the individual cows change, the inventory value changes.

Cost of Carrying animals made simple:  An animal eats its weight every month.

  • 1000# cow eats 1000# of grass / month.
  • 400# calf eats 400# of grass / month.

Ranch Example:  A

This ranch has 50 calving age females, sells 5 cull cows/year, keeps 5 replacement heifers/year.

Heifer calves 400# @ $170          = $680 X 5    =   $3,400
Yearling Heifers 800# @ $140    = $1120 X 5    =  $5,600
2 Yr old                                           = $2000 X 5    = $10,000
3, 4, Yr old                                      = $2000 X10   = $20,000
5 Yr old                                            = $2000 X 5   =  $10,000
6, 7, Yr old                                       = $1500 X 10 =  $15,000
8, 9, Yr old                                       = $1200 X 10 =  $12,000
10+ Yr old                                        = $1000 X 10 =  $10,000

Total                                                         60 Head   = $86,000 Value of Inventory

Sales each year are 45 calves = 5 cull cows

If we continue this program, inventory value is static.  There is no management of Inventory Value.

Ranch Example B:

What If we sell every animal that is at the point of depreciation or beyond and replace with heifer calves to grow into cows.  In the future sell all cows at depreciation point (5 Year/Old)

Sell all 5-10= Year Old Cows     35 head  =    $47,000
Buy 70 400# Heifer Calves       @ $680 =    $47,600

Two years later the Inventory is:

2 Yr Old heifers, 75 Head (5 raised, 70 purchased) @ $2000   = $150,000
3-4 Yr Old cows, 10 Head                                              @ $2000   =   $20,000
Value of Inventory                                                                             $170,000

Plus if we keep all heifer calves to breed those 2 years:

8 Heifer Calves           @   $680 = $5,440
8 Yearling Heifers      @ $1120 = $8,960

Total calves and heifers             $14,400

Total ranch inventory  = $184,400 ($170,000 + $14,400) plus have sold an additional 10, 5 YR old cows = $20,000

Change in Inventory Value is   $184,400  – $86,000  =   $98,400

Sales are:  What do you want them to be?

Sell all calves?  Keep all heifers, sell all high value animals?

What you do with this information is up to you.  The point is to be aware there is a lot of money to be made by actively managing Inventory Value.

  • Cash It In?
  • Let It Ride?
  • You get to decide!

Decrease Expenses or Increase Production?

Income            $100,000
Expense               80,000
Net Income          20,000

Increase Production 10% Decrease Expenses 10%
Income: $110,000
Expenses: 88,000
Net: $22,000
Income $100,000
Expenses: 72,000
Net: $28,000

An Ounce of Grass

What is one ounce of grass worth?

  • 43,560 sq ft/acre @ 9 sq ft/yard = 4840 sq yards/acre
  • 4840 yards X 1 oz = 4840 oz
  • 4840 ounces/acre @ 16 oz/lb= 302.5 lbs grass/acre
  • 302.5# grass/acre X 50% utilization rate = 151 lbs grass/acre
  • 151# grass/acre @ 12# grass require/lb of gain =12.6# gain/acre
  • 12.6# gain/acre @ $.50/lb/gain = $6.30/acre

Economic Impact of 1 ounce of grass/ sq yard

  • Oklahoma has 20,783,165 Grazing landAcres = $130,933,940
  • Kansas has        17,905470 Grazing landAcres =   $112,804,460

Today

The Bud Williams Stockmanship and Bud Williams Marketing I learned from Bud are two of three things learned. The third and one which has the greatest “Value to Me” is living life. Bud came with the Stockmanship and Marketing. Bud and Eunice came with the life living. “Life is either an ordeal or and adventure it’s up to you” Eunice Williams said this many years ago.

Live Today

  • Get up with a smile on your face. The back of Jim Lindsey’s caps say, “Attitude is Everything.” I just don’t have many problems anymore just learning experiences.
  • Doing things better; both the big and little. If you don’t, the little get big.
  • Know your inventory; the animals, feed, and money. Understand time and how it is used.
  • Know what profit is. The knowledge gained may be more valued than the money.
  • Know when to take a step back with both people and animals.
  • Understand that in life the adjustments you make with right and wrong are what matters.
  • Use what happens today to prepare for tomorrow.

Appreciation comes before Depreciation in the Cow Business

There has been a lot of discussion about how cow depreciation is one of the biggest costs in the cow calf business, yet cow depreciation and the amount of shrink when selling animals are two of the costs that could be mitigated if they were only tracked.

When I talk about tracking cow depreciation it involves knowing your inventory value so you will recognize when your inventory value begins to drop and depreciation sets in.

First let me give you some background to this thought process.
It dawned on me some time ago that to be able to have depreciation, you also have to have appreciation. If you look at the price of a cull cow and a weaned heifer calf they are the same. At the time I’m writing this, an 1,100-pound cow sells for about $1,210 and a 500-pound weaned calf sells for about $1,205. It is a change in the value of this heifer calf as she grows and matures where the appreciation comes in.

At the time I’m writing this, it is also true the longer you keep a weaned heifer calf the more valuable she is. Keep her to be a yearling, or bred heifer, and she just keeps moving up in value. If she starts giving you calves you can start collecting the calf dividend, too.

Then when she’s 5 or 6 years old she has reached her maximum appreciated value and given you all the calf dividends without a cost of depreciation. After that point, the calves she raises will have to cover the depreciation cost that’s incurred in her inventory value. That’s because she begins to truly depreciate, or decline in value.

To take advantage of capturing appreciation we need to have some shifts in our paradigms — which are the mental maps we have fixed in our minds and which we use to make decisions.

Paradigm one- it costs too much to develop bred heifers.

We as an industry cannot stand an open cow. This is where the heifer development centers came to be. They had great success in getting heifers bred but at a huge cost. And the breed-up on the first-calf heifer was terrible. One of the best profit centers that I was involved in was buying these open first-calf heifers and re-breeding them and either selling them or using them in my own cow herd.

By developing these heifers in sync with the nature you greatly cut your costs and also develop a heifer that matures earlier. By doing this you can rough heifers through the winter and take advantage of compensatory gain in the summer and have a very adequate-sized heifer to breed.

Then you turn the bulls in for a short time and you will have selected for your early maturing heifers that will breed.The ones that won’t breed can be sold as heavy feeder heifers.

This is where the rub within the industry comes: You could have from 30% to 60% open heifers. And let me tell you, as the open pen is filling up and there’s a handful in the bred pen everyone around gets nervous. Everyone talks about selection but very few people do it.

I’ll get on my soap box for a moment –What we  have done in the cow business is made it so that the beef cow has quit working for us and now we work for her with all the inputs that we make available to her, or in other words enable her.

The fact is, my method of buying, raising and breeding heifers is where selection can be done at a reasonable cost. Those open heifers can be sold as feeder heifers or you can put a bull back with them and breed them. Then they have a chance to grow more and they’re just what everybody wants – a big, black, bred heifer. Oklahoma State University research shows that 50% of these heifers will be open again in their lifetime. This is where I have a problem with breeding heifers to calve as 3-year-olds. You have enabled later-maturing heifers to breed and now the ones don’t breed are cows and sell at a discount compared to feeder heifers.

Paradigm two-Having too many open heifers when breeding them back for their second calf.

Actually, however, this is more a problem of poor marketing and the lack of understanding of the markets than it is one of open heifers.

The open first-calf heifer that weighs 900 pounds is worth about $1,395 at the time I write this, and you’ve weaned a $1,300 calf off her. If she was on inventory for $2,700, you now have a pair that’s worth $2,695. So you take away the $500 cost to carry her on grass from the $2,695 and you have a value of $2,195. That shows we’ve lost $505 on that open heifer.

Another way to look at it is we take that open heifer that is worth $1,395 put $300 additional cost to carry in her now we have a $2,700 bred 3-year-old cow. Now you can add value of the bred cow in the value of her calf and take away the combined carry cost for that longer period. So that would be $2,700+ $1,300- $800 = $3,200. I realize they will not all re-breed, but the fact that we’ve taken a $505 negative to a $3,200 value is positive and it really changes the nature of this business.

The main thing I’m trying to point out here that we put a lot of selection pressure and did it profitably.

Paradigm three- Heavy weaning weights equal profit.

Wrong! There are two paradigms in the cow-calf business that eat up all hope of profit. They are heavy weaning weights and cow longevity.
Heavy weaning weights are eaten up by costs and you don’t get paid for the extra pounds.

Cow longevity is eaten up by depreciation.

I was watching Superior Livestock Auction’s Week in the Rockies sale recently. A ranch sold four lots of steer calves. One lot weighed 365 pounds and brought $4.05/pound = $1,478 each. Lot two weighed 440 pounds and brought $3.67/pound = $1614. Lot 3 weighed 485 pounds and brought $3.15/pound = $1,527 each. Lot four weighed 530 pounds and brought $2.92/pound = $1,547. As you can see in this example the market wasn’t willing to pay for any gain over 440 pounds. The market was telling you that you can make the 365 pound calves bigger and is willing to give you $1.81 for the value of gain.
It’s all about producing the most economic calf that your country can produce. This does not mean you should be the low-cost producer, but the most economical producer.

There is a time when a little bit of inputs will make great gains in the bottom line. An example of this is making sure that the rumen of your cow has all the degradable proteins they need every day of the year.

Then at weaning you can let the market tell you that you need to sell or keep the calves and put more weight on.

This is all about marketing. Understand where the appreciation comes from and where the depreciation goes.

Welcome to Wally Olson’s Pity Party

As most of you know, I sold 95 bred, fall calving cows at Joplin, Missouri on August 1. That same morning I delivered the weaned calves off of those cows.

The pity party: When I got to the stockyards and went back and looked at the cows, they had just melted in the heat. And three of them that were supposed to be bred were open. I had decided to sell these just the Monday before the sale. So I was down in the pecking order as far as when they would sell. As the sale started off, I became very aware that my cows were not near black enough, near big enough, and near fat enough to bring top price. There were many black heifers at 1100 pounds bringing $2800. My heifers weighed about 885 pounds and brought $2250. They were also selling a set of 1400 pound cows that just that morning they’d weaned 700 pound calves off of them. That morning when I delivered, my calves only weighed 530 pounds. At this point I was feeling very sorry for myself.

One of my stated ranch goals is to “run a profitable ranch.”

Everything that I talked about in the prior paragraph does not tell me anything about whether I’m a profitable ranch. What is interesting if you divide both sets of heifers by their price and weight, you’ll find out that they both brought $2.54 a pound. So I guess I got paid for what my heifers were worth. I do not know the costs of the 1100 pound heifers, but I do know what it cost me. It costs me a little under $400. The value of the weaned heifer calf is $1300 plus $400, and I have a heifer ready to calve for $1700. Subtract $1700 from $2250 leaves me with the bred heifer and $550 in cash.

Now for the big weaning weights. The 700 pound steer calves were worth about $2.16, so that equals $1572. My 530 pound steers sold for $2.60 pound and were worth $1378. That is $134 difference for 170 pounds for the value gain is $0.78. If you compare cow efficiency, I should be able to run 1.32 cows on the same area that their 1400 pound cows were run on. When you multiply my 530 pound steers times 1.32, that equals 699.6 pounds.

Kit Pharo’s dad said that an acre will only produce so many pounds of beef. Kit pointed out in his last newsletter the very point that I just showed.

The big calves produced $1570 and the little calves produced $1817. Enough said.