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May 26, 2012 | 11:29 31 Being a fairly frugal kind of guy I know I raise cattle fairly cheap, while keeping production relatively decent.
Maybe I have to squeeze that last dime until it squeaks?
I'm not that great on marketing? I wanted to raise cattle and farm.....not be a beef or grain salesman. If I wanted to do that I would have gone and got a job with Cargill or ADM?
But still, I raise my calves pretty cheap compared to most, in the industry. I've figured out how to feed cheap, meet what the market wants, and don't require every new toy in the book!
It doesn't matter.........fuel goes up, machinery repairs/replacement are insane, the county increases my taxes every year no matter what I make, the government requirement drivel increases every year, power/heat/utilities march on!
I'm a little different than many here. I live in an area where the land is desirable for acreages (or even crop production)....when canola is $14/bu and even feed barley is $5.......the question is what am I trying to prove?
Land here is $4,000 /acre! That is actually what the county (notorious cheapskates) is paying me for a road allowance!
Unless I'm a complete idiot...it's time. Reply With Quote
May 27, 2012 | 19:22 32 Tisp and Fip Direct paid out billions. Probably not
enough but it helped a lot. Reply With Quote
May 28, 2012 | 23:49 33 I think the whole feedlot model should be thrown out. Horrible from an environmental, agronomic, animal and people perspective. Money can be made but money can also be made selling heroin. The feedlot industry does a really poor job of everything anyways.

I think there's way too much support of the pharmaceutical and the equipment manufacturers and oil industries. I think animals (livestock and pet horses) get babied and treated like people with people emotions put on them instead of treating them like animals.

I think grazing gets underutilized. Not so much the intensive stuff that some do during the growing season but also the dormant grazing of stockpile grasses. Again, I think it's tied to the pampering of the animals.

I'm also not a fan of calving during a time of year when it's -39 C or common to get a blast of wet snow that can kill off a portion of a calf crop.

Then there's the stockmanship. Which isn't helped when a lot of the people who are "teaching" it can't do it but think that they can.

These are nothing new or anything that I've come up with. I've learned from the few ranchers and cattlemen across North America who are doing at least a few things right. Unfortunately they are of the minority, but possibly growing. Reply With Quote
May 29, 2012 | 06:51 34 Thanks for your insight Tman

At least our operation has shifted since 2001 to partially fit your model of beef production. Reply With Quote
May 29, 2012 | 14:27 35 I agree about the feedlot thing, with a few modifications. Looking at those big huge multi-thousand head lots has always made me think of them as glorified outdoor hog barns. Basically it's the same principle, only exposed to the weather. Pack 'em in, stuff their faces, and get them out. In the meantime they're mixed with strangers and dealing with sicknesses, and stress.

There will always have to be somewhere to finish cattle. The best cow calf land is not always near or suited to a good supply of grain, assuming one wants grain fed beef. Maybe a better way to get that grain fed beef would be to bring in some way of risk management that would make it more appealing for smaller farm feedlots to feed cattle again, like they used to. We background calves, but have no access to any kind of risk management other than Agstability, and we all know how good that is. We can't lock anything in, since we don't have the numbers to be able to do it. We just have to jump in with two feet and risk the farm with every batch, so to speak. It takes the fun out of it, that's for sure.

As well, smaller groups of cattle over larger areas are much more sustainable, IMHO. Better to have fifty locations feeding the cattle than one. That's fifty more operations buying local grain over a larger area. Fifty operations supporting ten or fifteen veterinarians, instead of one on staff at one location. Fifty operations buying supplies in ten or fifteen towns are better than one.

I just don't buy into the bigger is better mentality. Economics of scale is one thing, but there's a point where the benefit starts to be solidified in one set of hands to the detriment of the industry as a whole. I don't think it's sustainable. Sooner or later, something will give, and what happens then?

The more players involved in food production, the safer the food supply is in general. Reply With Quote
May 29, 2012 | 14:32 36 Moving that last post to the tman thread. I should have read that one first! LOL Reply With Quote