Tuesday, September 15, 2009
After several months of wavering between selling all of our cows and going strictly with stockers or keeping the cow calf operation, I have decided to keep the cows. The biggest issue was truly the ease of mob grazing stockers versus cows and calves. I am very concerned about the challenges of mob grazing the cows and calves and quite frankly am resigned to the fact that we just won't be able to mob graze them during the calving season. We tried that this year with disastrous results. The only positive was that we fertilized the entire ranch with vulture droppings. We lost about 10% of our calf crop to scours....we've NEVER lost so many. We WEANED a 97% calf crop last year. Maybe it was a bad year for scours, maybe there were other factors, but I am troubled that mob grazing, and the close proximity of calves to other calves, may have had a profound effect. Hence my desire to go to a complete stocker operation. I can tell you it is significantly easier to mob graze stockers than cows and calves and I was really looking forward to 2000 yearlings in one group "nuking" my pastures, brush, weeds and the like. The returns just weren't there to move to yearlings...so we'll stick with cows. The plan as of now is to concentrate on mob grazing August-April while giving the cows plenty of room to roam (and calve) May thru July. I'm disappointed in having to take this step, but there just doesn't seem to be much alternative.