Wednesday, October 22, 2014

An excellent article from the Lampasas Dispatch Record examining the cost and value of raising your own replacement heifers vs buying them in today's market environment.  

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
When it comes to replacement heifers in beef cattle operations, producers are faced with a dilemma: Raise them, buy them or sell them and “take the money and run,” said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist.
It’s becoming an all too familiar situation among Texas ranchers, said Stan Bevers, an AgriLife Extension economist at Vernon who recently presented a study at the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course.
Where's the story?PointsMentioned Map2 Points Mentioned
“We looked at what the market is right now for replacement heifers,” he said. “We were targeting heavy bred heifers, and they were anywhere from $1,650 to $2,300 a head. The second number was what it was costing the rancher to raise them themselves.
“One operation we tracked were heifers weaned in 2010 and 2011, what those heifers were and what their accumulated expenses were over the two years to the point where they were heavy bred. Their expenses totaled $1,100 to $1,400 a head. That ranch was pretty efficient and did a good job of reducing their expenses.”
Bevers said since this ranch was located in Oklahoma, one would need to add $300-$400 a head to that for Texasranchers and regional market prices to develop replacement heifers.
“That comes out to $1,400 to $1,800 to develop replacement heifers in Texas,” Bevers said.
He said if you look at the current market price, it shows it’s cheaper to “raise them yourself if you are a pretty efficient, cost-reducing type operator.”
“The final number we looked at is if I have to pay much over market cost for them or if I choose to raise a heifer on my own, what is she going to return me over her life?” he said. “We started with a twoyear old heifer that’s going to be having her first calf and added eight years to that. That means we’ve gone out 10 years into the future, so now she is 10 years old, and we came up with what I can pay for her, which was $2,301 a head.”
Bevers said that leaves three numbers to consider.
“We know the market is $1,650 to $2,300, and it takes $1,400 to $1,500 to raise her, and now she is worth $2,300 in my herd economically.
“What do you do with those numbers? Well, if nothing else, it illustrates how complex this decision is right now,” he said. “It’s not right or wrong. It’s based on what type of operation you have and your costs. You finally have to decide to pull the trigger and say this is what we are going to have to do.”
Bevers threw in a fourth number – what feedlots are paying for commercial heifers destined for the beef market. Right now, it’s about $1.93 to $2.03 a pound, he said.
“You are talking about a heifer in the 750-pound range that’s worth $1,500 on the market, and that’s for beef,” he said. “So, if you don’t keep her as a replacement heifer, you now have a floor price of about $1,500 a head. If you don’t want to take her and put her back in your operation, the feedlot is going to take her for $1,500 and turn her into beef later down the road.”

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Jimmie's Observations on the 2nd Annual MN British White Cattle Sale

I spent some time the past few days watching online auctions of registered cattle, reading through the trade magazines for the results of commercial sales as well as registered, as I'm getting ready to put a group of females and some bulls up for sale. So, I much appreciated Kim Hilty's reporting of sales results at the latest British White auction in MN a few days ago. 
B&B British White Heifers at the MN 2nd Annual Sale

As with most items, live bovines, or goods, the price ultimately reflects the quality of the product, the visual, and of course the demand, and not to be discounted is the sales platform, whether it be the individual or an auction -- presentation and attitude and information are paramount.

You can see in the sales results the buyer's desire for bred heifers or cows vs open ones. I would also say the prices for Fall bred cows are disappointing, perhaps more would have been realized at a sale barn, but as Kim says here, you have to remember that those that were Clean, Good Quality, and halter broke (not my thing, I prefer tail breaking  ) brought the highest dollar and it is just the 2nd annual auction, so the buyers could pick and choose - not so different from a Lowline sale I watched this weekend online. Had there been more buyers, I've no doubt the results would have been greater at that Lowline sale in Athens, Texas.

That said, Kim's reporting of fall bred cows, coupled with what the 8 young bull calves sold for, some of which were weaned upon sale -- not so bad at all. Combine the top fall bred cow with the top bull calf, you've got $3300 in value for the pair, combine the bottom fall bred cow at $1300 with the bottom bull calf at $900 for $2200, again not bad, presumably it was quality and conformation that made the difference. 

Compare these results with the Bohaty sale this last spring, where the base price was I think $2500 for bred heifers But then the Bohaty's have spent years supporting their buyers after the sale, provide 100% of the information a buyer needs to make a decision. . . Visit them on Facebook here: . 
Briarstone bull calves at the 2014 2nd Annual MN British White Cattle auction

See for additional information on the ABWPA that has for many many years provided registry and primary focus on the British White bovine, and gives their full support to the new Minnesota British White Cattle organization.

My best to all British White breeders here in the USA and across the world..........

Friday, October 17, 2014

Foggy Morning Pastures & British White Cattle

My apologies for being out of pocket for some months now. Here's a look at my British White cattle early morning a few days back in a heavy fog, rather peaceful I think. I hope you enjoy it as well. . . .

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

British White Cattle on Display for Australia's Beef Week at Shrublands Estate in Thornton, Victoria

This Texas gal went down under to the beautiful southern state of Victoria in Australia.  Besides the utterly beautiful scenery, excellent coffee available every where one looked, bird life that was captivating, and so much more . . . I also saw some very grand British White cows!

It was the occasion of Australia's annual Beef Week, and for the first time ever the British White breed was showcased on beautiful Shrublands Estate which is primarily a Black Angus stud, but with a keen interest in developing a top herd of British White cattle.  

ET Heifer Calves at Shrublands

Shrublands had a couple dozen British White calves on the ground for visitors to delight in.  Much of the folk dropping by were there for the unusual opportunity to learn more about the British White, as for most, it was their first introduction to the breed.

ET Bull Calf at Shrublands, Sired by J.West's Elvis from J.West's Doc's Gal

The British White calves are all the product of Embryo Transfer and the embryos were collected from several females from the herd of J.West Cattle Company, and variously sired by J.West's Elvis and J.West's El Presidente.  Shrublands has a particularly promising young 5 month old bull calf sired by J.West's Elvis that draws everyone's eye and leaves one saying "Wow!"  

Shrublands Estate is located alongside the beautiful Goulburn River in Thornton, Victoria.  Being located in close proximity to Lake Eildon upstream, the Goulburn waters are incredibly pristine and icy cold.  The Eildon Wier (dam) releases waters from the vastly deep man-made Lake Eildon this time of year, Australia's summer, for use in agricultural croplands that rely on the waters of the Goulburn for irrigation.  
Goulburn River at Shrublands Estate

The Goulburn is fully at its banks this time of year, but in the winter the water level of the Goulburn can be so low in this same area that cattle oftentimes stroll across to adjoining pastures on the other side for a visit!  

This slideshow of my visit is a nice overall look at the Shrublands Estate in Thornton, Victoria.  

Sunday, December 29, 2013

What will 2014 bring to American Cattlemen?

The article below is provided in its entirety.  Somehow I was not even shocked to see the Mother Jones headline . . . 

Should We Fight Climate Change By Taxing Meat?

Decreasing the global cattle population would reduce emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

| Sat Dec. 21, 2013 3:00 AM GMT
cows eating
This story originally appeared in the Guardian, and has been reproduced here as part of theClimate Desk collaboration.
Meat should be taxed to encourage people to eat less of it, so reducing the production of global warming gases from sheep, cattle and goats, according to a group of scientists.
Several high-profile figures, from the chief of the UN's climate science panel to the economist Lord Stern, have previously advocated eating less meat to tackle global warming.
The scientists' analysis, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, takes the contentious step of suggesting methane emissions be cut by pushing up the price of meat through a tax or emissions trading scheme.
"Influencing human behaviour is one of the most challenging aspects of any large-scale policy, and it is unlikely that a large-scale dietary change will happen voluntarily without incentives," they say. "Implementing a tax or emission trading scheme on livestock's greenhouse gas emissions could be an economically sound policy that would modify consumer prices and affect consumption patterns."
There are now 3.6 billion ruminants on the planet–mostly sheep, cattle and goats and, in much smaller numbers, buffalo – 50% more than half a century ago. Methane from their digestive systems is the single biggest human-related source of the greenhouse gas, which is more short-lived but around 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide in warming the planet.
Emissions from livestock account for 14.5% of all human-caused greenhouse gases, according to the UN. It estimates that this could be cut by nearly a third through better farming practices.
Pete Smith, a professor of soils and global change at the University of Aberdeen, and one of the authors of the report, said: "Our study showed that one of the most effective ways to cut methane is to reduce global populations of ruminant livestock, especially cattle."
He said methane from livestock could only be reduced by addressing demand for meat at the same time.
The scientists say not enough attention has been paid to tackling greenhouse gases other than CO2, especially in the ongoing UN climate talks, which last convened in Warsaw in November.
The only way the world could avoid dangerous tipping points as temperatures rise would be by cutting methane emissions as well as CO2 emissions from sources such as energy and transport, they argue. Reducing livestock numbers, they point out, would also avoid CO2 emissions released when forests are cleared for cattle farms.
William Ripple, a professor in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, and another of the authors, said: "We clearly need to reduce the burning of fossil fuels to cut CO2 emissions. But that addresses only part of the problem. We also need to reduce non-CO2 greenhouse gases to lessen the likelihood of us crossing this climatic threshold."
The farming industry said the tax proposal was too simplistic. Nick Allen, sector director for Eblex, the organisation for beef and lamb producers in England, said: "To suggest a tax is a better way to cut emissions seems a simplistic and blunt suggestion that will inevitably see a rise in consumer prices.
"It is a very complex area. Simply reducing numbers of livestock–as a move like this would inevitably do–does not improve efficiency of the rumen process, which takes naturally growing grass that we cannot eat and turns it into a protein to feed a growing human population."
Allen said reducing emissions was an important goal for the industry. He added: "Grazing livestock have helped shape and manage the countryside for hundreds of years. They bring significant environmental benefits that can significantly mitigate the negative effect of emissions. It is unfortunate that in recent years they have become an easy scapegoat for emissions, despite the fact that the livestock population is generally falling."