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We now know that if we keep the 425-pound steer to a 475-pound steer we will gross $68. It will take 66 days to get there and the sale date will be April 19. At a cost of $33 dollars, the net dollars are $35. The value of gain was $1.36 ($68/50# gain). ■ 425

lb. vs. 525 lb. Steer:

425# steer @$202 = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $858 525# steer @$182= . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $955 100# gain value. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 97 100# gain cost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . < $66 > Net . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $31 By adding 100 pounds we got $97. It would take 132 days at a cost of $66. Net dollars would be $31.The value of gain was $.97/pound. When you compare the 475 pound steer to the 525 pound steer the value of gain drops by $.58. Carrying the 425 pound calf to 475 pound was good, but the next 50 pounds was not. For me in Northeast Oklahoma, it easy to sell into grass fever which is in April when the 475 pound calf would sell. The 525# calf would sell in June when the fever is out of the market. What the numbers tell on the steers is that 425# calf is a buy compared to the 475# calf “TODAY” and the 525# tells that “TODAY” the market is not paying as much for the 50# from 475 to 525 pounds as it would for the 50 pounds from 425 to 475. This information tells me I should sell the 475-pound calf. ■ Heifer vs. 6-Year-Old Cow: When looking at the heifers and cows we see that value of the young cows is higher than the heifers and also the old cows. We will now look at the relationship of the heifers and cows. My cost to carry a heifer to the point it is bred is $255. This cost is based on custom grazing rates for the grass and labor and feed at cost. The numbers tell us that a 6 year old cow will drop in value as she becomes a 7 year old.

Sell 6 year old cow =. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,700 Keep 425# heifer = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . < $743 > Cost to carry = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . < $255 > Cash from Trade = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 702 What we have done is sold a 6 year old cow and keep one of our heifers. By doing this we have given up the sale of the calf the cow would have had which at today’s market is worth $720 ($800 calf value x90% calf crop= $720). By doing this trade we have sold a cow that is ready to drop in value and replaced her with a heifer that is appreciating in value. We also have $702 in cash in the bank. The difference in the cash we have now and the sale of the cow’s calf is $18 dollars. However, there are other gains with this trade including: picked up 4 years in a younger cow, removing the cost of carrying the cow for a year, and reducing the market risk with the time of carry to sale. ■ 7-

to 9-Year-Old Cow vs. 10-Year-Old+ Cow:

Sell 7-9 year old cow = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,400 Keep heifer = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . < $743 > Cost to carry = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . < $255 > Cash = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $402 Old cow = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 943 Keep heifer = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . < $743 > Cost to carry = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . < $255 >

The calves from 6 year old cows and older carry a big depreciation cost, but you can see how the longer you hold on to a cow the more costs there are as well. As I gain more knowledge of the relationships of the market two things are paradigm changes for me: Paradigm 1 – When calving with nature, not only are costs lower, calving rates go up and animals sell into the best markets. Paradigm 2 – Longevity may carry some costs with it. Depreciation is not a straight line. It’s more like going over a cliff. With longevity you need to know the value to you and how you are going to handle the costs along with its benefits. Wally Olson ranchers near Vinita, Oklahoma. He can be reached at: olsonranch@junct.com

Cows and Pronghorn

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impact will work better than worm poisons to deal with this, and it will avoid the unintended consequences that come with chemicals and poisons. ■ Habitat Fragmentation: Another reason given by the experts for pronghorn decline is habitat fragmentation: The subdivision of huge areas into smaller areas. And yet, we have huge areas of unfragmented habitat across Texas from which pronghorn have completely disappeared. Examples would be the Wildlife Management Areas, state and federal parks, the International Biosphere Reserves, and many vast ranches. All have in large measure been destocked. Large domestic grazers like cows are one (but not the only) common-sense substitute for the missing bison.

In summary, habitat decline and missing protection of large grazers is the root cause of pronghorn decline: not hunting, coyotes, cattle, fences, worms or weather. Pronghorn decline is a symptom of rangeland decline—especially loss of forbs. Animal impact under attentive planning and management is the only effective medicine. Collaborative grazing efforts between neighbors are also critical. These are blocked by prejudice to ‘exotics’, and not just cows. And this brings us to Cows and Quail. We are teaching ranchers, wildlifers and agency personnel what planned graziers have proven worldwide: That domestic animals can bring the plant community to greater health. But here we must pose a major caveat: Unless this tool of planned grazing is applied with an understanding of the needs of all these species, it can harm wildlife. Fortunately, it turns out that the needs of pronghorn, quail and wildlife converge with the needs of cattle. Planned grazing works for all animals provided that we consider the physiology of plants and animals, are attentive managers, and continuously monitor results. Watch for a Cows and Quail near you. Tell us where you think classes like this would be useful. Chris Gill and his family own the Circle Ranch near Van Horn, Texas where they are using cattle to improve wildlife habitat. www.circleranchtx.com

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Land & Livestock

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#146, In Practice, Nov/Dec 2012