A Cowboy’s Faith: Calf sale economically important – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith: Calf sale economically important

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Not more than five minutes at one evening’s cattle auction determines the total ranch income.”

For many years, calves produced annually are sold in a special fall calf sale at an area auction barn. With exception of retaining replacement heifers, all calves born in one year are sold at the same time.

Grain is pretty much essential when keeping calves for other forms of merchandizing. None is produced in this operation, and it’s quite high priced to buy.

Fortunately, the marketing method has worked out satisfactorily all things considered. Yes, there are weekly and even daily fluctuations that can influence the amount of the check received.

Of course, there’s never enough, but year in year out, money received for the calf crop has balanced out. It’s easy to get used to “high priced” calves which help pay debt principal faster.

When the market drops like the past several years, there’s hardly enough to keep up. Market rebounds in more recent times have been beneficial to black side of the ledger, creating more cattle business optimism.

It is a complicated equation when evaluating calf crop income. Of course, objective is always for the calf crop to weigh an average of more than the previous year. Likewise, goal is to always top the market in weight category.

Sadly, average weight of the calves was down slightly from the previous year. Yet, when there are more calves, that logically lowers the weight average because some later-born babies are included. However, when the price per pound is higher, total check amount per head can still be above the previous year.

Sale day determines money in hand to pay bills, but there’s much more to it than rounding up calves to sell. Most consumers, those eating the beef, underestimate complexity of raising and selling calves.

There must be a cow and a bull who romance together. Then a baby is hopefully born alive nine months, nine days, nine hours, nine minutes, nine seconds later.

If there are complications in that period or birthing issues occur, all effort is wasted, and money lost.

Still when the calf is up nursing mother, it’s a long ways – castrating, vaccinating, healthcare – before market day roundup six months later.

Reminded of Deuteronomy 28:5: “God’s blessing: the calves of your herd, coming in, going out.”

Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

Powered by WordPress