Me and Scout

Me and Scout

21 February 2014

Calf Crop Corner

It’s only been a month, but some numbers have changed since the last entry.  14 calves in the pens has now become 10 heifers and 1 bull turned out, promoted to cows and a bull.  We pulled in an additional heifer for about a month, sold 4 beef calves and have had 8 new little ones.  These appear to be mostly heifers.  I think I am going to take a new approach.  Instead of just holding all the heifers, I will calculate the minimum number of calves needed to sell to cover expenses, then hold only what I need beyond that.  Income has suffered in favor of increased capital, but one can only do that so long.  Cash Flow is becoming paramount.

Of course, the primary concern here is that our calf crop improve.  I discussed this some in my last entry, but it bears a lot of thought.  The most obvious thing is to sell any cow that doesn’t have a calf.  This will definitely improve calf crop percentages over the long term, but will hurt in the short term.  The goal is to at least maintain the number of calves that we have every year.  This may mean that we hold some cows that operate at 50% instead of 85%, but that will be worth it.  If we have 25 cows (as an example) that average 50% (12 calves) and 25 that average 85% (21 calves), then we would have a net loss in actual income if we sell all the 50% cows.  If we only sell a portion of our bad producers each year, then we will maintain a minimum income while improving the quality of our capital.

The other issue is that we only have accurate records of production starting in 2011.  Which means a mature cow will only fit into 5 categories.  0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100%.  Most of the older cows are probably 50%.  The younger ones, of course don’t have complete data and may not breed back after the first year.  Once this year’s calving season is concluded, I should be well armed with data.  The first hurdle is to have more calves this year than last year.  So far, it looks like we will.

We sold one of our cows, kind of by accident.  I had remembered that she did not have a calf since we moved here, but after sending her off to the sale, I checked my records and learned that she had a calf a year ago.  Not great, but not what we want either.  The dumb thing is that I made a decision based on memory, not records.  Rookie mistake, but it worked out.  She did well and it helped us with our personal cash flow.  I had hoped to use the money to get the truck fixed, but it won’t quite cover it.  So, another month or so for that unless God brings something else our way before then.