Sunday, October 9, 2011

2011 Stockers Sold

On October 3, 2011 we sold the stockers that we purchased in May/June thru the Joplin Stockyards. If you recall we purchased 170 head on May 23 and 40 head on June 6...we took all of them to Mickeys and rotationally grazed them (we moved them every 3 or so days) thru some pretty decent grass. Obviously it was very hot and dry, but here are the results: avg weight in - 510 lbs, avg weight out - 575 lbs. The calves gained 14,435 lbs in 26,570 days for an average daily gain of .54 lbs. We lost 4 head that we know of (NOT GOOD), we sold 200, so there are 6 head still at Mickeys that we couldn't get out of the woods. We hope to get them rounded up and sold soon. We made money on these calves but only thru the dumb luck of selling them for a higher price per pound than we bought them for...if we could somehow figure out how to do this consistently, I think we've got a shot at making this stocker thing work.

2010 Calf Crop Sold...

On October 3, 2011 we sold our 2010 calf crop thru the Joplin Stockyards. We sold 353 head of source and age verified B2B calves (we actually sold 365 but 12 were my dad's), a handful came from Sullingers but those are offset by the handful that we didn't get to Joplin because they were left at the Goat Ranch on the neighbors. We will hopefully catch them soon and get them merchandised. Anyway, to keep things simple, let's just agree that we had 353 calves weaned off of the Goat Ranch this year. Those calves included all of the calves that we purchased on the Arkansas heifers and all of the calves that we early weaned and moved to Mickeys for several months. If you recall, those 353 calves were weaned from just over 600 head of bred cows/heifers, an absolutely horrible wean percentage. Scours killed over 200 head of calves in 2010 (you can read all about it in earlier blog posts). The 353 head we sold weighed an average of 568 lbs, brought $1.385 per pound for a total gross of $277,698. After hauling and selling expenses they netted $266,155 for an average net of $753.98 per head. I think it's pretty incredible to be able to gross $277K from around 1500 acres (several hundred acres of that is woods)....while at the same time it's pretty sad to think that the 200 head of calves that died from scours would have meant an extra $150,000 in my pocket. To think we could have earned this type of money from a measly 1500 acres is just astounding...we still did pretty damn good. Had we not tried to mob graze, we would have likely had only 350-400 head of cows and so would have weaned off a very similar number of calves. All in all, this has been a pretty good year. If you aren't lining your pockets in this market, you need to find something else to do.

Our calves likely had an average birth date of May 15th, 2010. So the calves were 16.5 months old when we sold them and weighed 568 lbs. That's just embarrassing. Yeah it was crazy hot and they didn't have the best forage thru the summer but holy crap that's bad. I'm excited to get back to mob grazing some stockers. Don't worry, there will still be plenty of stuff that I will post that will make you all feel very good about your own operations.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dry, Dry, Dry

Conditions at the ranch are much worse than I had imagined. I hadn't been down in several months and although I knew it was dry, I had no idea how bad it actually was. The ponds are lower than I have ever seen them and like my manager said, "you should have seen them before the 4" rain." That 4" rain is the only appreciable rain we've had in months, and it just wasn't enough to really effect much. While the grass is green, it's very deceptive. A closer look shows large areas of dead grass with nothing growing. I have to admit that I feel incredibly lucky that we decided to sell all of the cows off of that ranch earlier this year. We sold the stockers on Monday, so now there is only a handful of heifers left at the ranch and they will be moved to Mickey's soon. We will leave the ranch empty until we feel it's ready to support some stockers...we had hoped that would be February, but I don't see any way we are going to be able to grow any appreciable amount of stockpiled forage to allow for grazing before spring green up. This is very disappointing but I guess it could be much worse. We're not nearly as dry as Texas/Oklahoma...but we're getting there.