It’s time to sell the small herd of steers. As a matter of fact, we can not put it off any longer. We have 20 head. The herd is eating a round bale a day and a hundred pound of grain. We can not produce the hay ourselves so it is costing us $13 dollars for the hay and $14 dollars for the grain. At $27 a day the time to sell was back in July.
Even better news. I bought my calves weaned for roughly six hundred a calf at a time when prices were running $3.00 a lb. I kept those calves through two winters. They are now 900lbs. You would think, triple the money, right? Wrong.
The bigger the steer the less per pound they sell. Figure that out. Right now the going rate per pound is .89 cents to a $1.00 a pound.
Let’s take the low end. Eighty-nine cents times 900lbs is a whopping $801.00
Check out the profit line. I paid $2.37 for 250 lb steer.
592.50 for the steer.
162.00 1.35 a day to keep winter feed 120 days
162.00 second winter
54.00 wait out the fall glut 900lbs
100.00 wormer, fence costs, fuel, salt blocks, fly control
1073.50-801= In the hole $200 bucks a piece.
Reality. I got .59 cents a pound for a 857lb pregnant cow.
What this means is, if you can not produce all the hay for your livestock on your own farm steer clear of cows for beef. Get yourself a cute little dexter registered or a mini cow and sell the calves as registered stock. Make your own butter, cheese, soap etc.. then steer any bull calves and butcher it for your meat. There is a difference between dairy and beef, but hamburger is hamburger. If you want angus steak, save up your money, go into the livestock sale the second week of December and you can find farmers like myself who were dumb enough to raise the steer and let them go for .59 cents a pound. You can save all the headaches, round-ups, and calls from the neighbors- telling you the cows are in the road again.
Did I mention cows die? They are not easy to keep. They are stupid and eat nails and baler twine. It is a big fat zero when you find one of those suckers pounded into the ground by a bully, cut to the quick by barb wire or eaten by coyotes. Heck, one of our pregnant cows managed to rip her ear clean off and die from blood loss! Oh, and the one that fell in the creek upside down and drowned in five inches of water. No clue how that happened. Then, God forbid, they get sick.
Oh, and let’s go there with bottle calves. The formula is seventy-five dollars a fifty pound bag and you can plan on four bags and special calf feeds.
So save yourself a lot of headache and steer clear of anything you have to buy feed for that can not give you back a profit; like a small herd of goats. They eat the weeds, give milk for cheese and products like soap. If they kick you you will not go to the hospital. If they knock you down, it’s not likely you will be trampled to death. When you have to really handle the hundred pounds of bleating indignation you sit on it. Try that with a cow!
Oh and birthing a cow- yah- sometimes you need chains and a truck to pop the babies out. Then if you have to work on the calf, just try dealing with a thousand pound pissed off mother cow.
As I watch the herd board the livestock trailer I feel my wallet take a big sigh of relief! No more cows for this farm.