Is it Time to Change Horses?

Your survival in the cow-calf business will be dependent on your ability to switch paradigms (horses).   The old-horse paradigm is the result of a time when land was unbelievably cheap – at least by today’s standards.   It is also the result of cheap feed and cheap fuel.   Gasoline could be purchased for 25 cents per gallon in the early 1970s.   Labor was cheap – and equipment was cheap.   The old-horse way of doing things made sense 40 to 50 years ago.   Unfortunately,

Winter Coat –

Most of us have one or two winter coats.   Sometimes we wear more than one coat at the same time.   Winter is a time of shorter days and colder temperatures.   Unless you live in the tropics, you need to wear a coat most of the time during the winter months.

God created cattle to have a summer hair coat and a winter hair coat.   That allows them to survive temperature extremes from 40 below zero to 120 degrees.

I’ve seen lots and lots of calves born – in every season of the year – but I have NEVER seen a calf born with a winter hair coat.  

Tagging Calves –

Many cow-calf producers think it is sacrilegious to not ear tag calves at birth.   Most do it because they have always done it.   Several years ago, the PCC Discussion Group came up with several “Kooky Notions” that the members used to have.   Ear tagging calves at birth was one of those kooky notions.   I’m sure many subscribers are saying, “What’s wrong with tagging calves at birth?” 

To begin with, each and every one of your cows knows which calf is hers – without an ear tag.  

The Three Cs –

Circumstances are where you are right now.   You had no control over some of your circumstances.   Circumstances of your birth and childhood, for example, are not the result of any choices you made.   Other circumstances, however, are the consequence of choices you have made.

Choices are what you make happen to alter your circumstances.   The choices or decisions you don’t make can have as much of an effect on your circumstances as the choices and decisions you do make.

Bottleneck in the Beef Supply Chain –

Several major meat packing plants have had to reduce production capacity because workers are being infected with the coronavirus.   It is believed that much of the transfer of this virus takes place when workers get together after work.   One packing plant in Colorado has 6000 workers that speak 23 different languages.   I’m sure it is difficult to get some of the workers to understand the importance of social distancing.

When production capacity at the packing plants is reduced,

The Ladder of Success –

If success was easy, everyone would be remarkably successful.   Unfortunately, very few people can be classified as remarkably successful.   Success, however, does appear to be very easy for some people – but if you look closer, you will discover that those people make things happen.

They see opportunities that most people miss.   They are not afraid to step outside their comfort zone.   They are not afraid to try what others say cannot be done.   They may experience a few failures,

Spring 2020 Bull Sale Analysis

We sold 427 low-maintenance, grass-developed bulls in our three spring bull sales for an average price of $5777 – with a range of $2500 to $16,100.   Below is a brief analysis of our three sales.   Calving ease, fleshing ability, disposition, overall rating and grass efficiency were evaluated and scored using our unique 5-star system.   In this system, 5-star is the best and 1-star is the worst.

Where’s the BEEF?

The beef industry’s incessant selection for more frame, more growth and more milk has created tall, slab-sided, flat-muscled, hard-keeping bulls that resemble solid-colored Holstein steers.   Where’s the BEEF?

Pharo Cattle Company has thick, easy-fleshing bulls that can BEEF-UP your cattle, as well as your profits.   We’re not going to cheat you on pounds.   We are just gonna put those pounds in a different package – a package with extra thickness and muscle.

Make plans to visit a Pharo Cattle Company cowherd.  

Colorado Bull Sale Results –



Our 30th Annual Colorado Bull Sale is behind us.   We were hoping to spend our 30th Anniversary with 200+ people at the sale barn in Burlington, Colorado.   However, that wasn’t meant to be – so we made the best of the situation and had some fun.

As we did with our Missouri and Texas sales, we conducted this sale as a virtual auction from our living room.   This week, we decided to mask-up.  

Changing Horses on the Run –

For the past month, I have been blessed with at least one phone call per day from a cow-calf producer who is literally ready to set the world on fire!   Most of these producers are 35 to 55 years of age.   They have successfully broken away from the old, outdated paradigm that is focused on increasing production per cow (bragging rights).   They finally came to the realization that this paradigm (horse) was slowly killing their business.  

They are changing horses on the run!  

The Driving Force –

The driving force behind our program is the desire to help cow-calf producers make their business as profitable, enjoyable and sustainable as possible.   That’s what wakes us up in the morning.   That’s what keeps us going.   Once you see and understand what is possible, it’s impossible not to share those possibilities with all who will listen.   The future of most family farms and ranches will be dependent on their ability to think outside the status quo herd.

We have been selling bulls for 30 years… and counting.  

A Mass Movement –

We continue to be excited!   While the coronavirus pandemic has most people hiding in the corner of their bedroom watching the news, we have been witnessing what appears to be a mass movement of cow-calf producers toward a better way of life.   In preparation for our spring bull sales, we have visited with hundreds of cow-calf producers who are totally excited about replacing their old, sick horse (paradigm) with a fresh, new horse.   

The future will always look bright for those who are willing to change with the times.  

One Down and Two to Go –

Our first-ever Virtual Bull Sale went off without a hitch.   It was strange not to have 200+ people in the seats.   Last year, we served lunch to 288 people at our Missouri Bull Sale.   Nearly all the seats were full.   This year, the entire Missouri Bull Sale took place in our living room.

We had 155 Stay-At-Home bidders from 26 different states.   We sold 145 bulls in less than two hours for an average price of $5250 – with a range of $2500 to $13,000.  

Time to Change Horses –

Visualize, if you will, an old cowpoke riding an old plug horse that stumbles along at a very slow pace with its head just a foot off the ground.   I believe the cowpoke in this image represents a lot of today’s cow-calf producers – perhaps most of today’s cow-calf producers.   The old horse represents an outdated paradigm that will not allow the producer to be profitable.   If the producer doesn’t change horses, he will eventually go out of business, or be forced to subsidize his unprofitable business.

Life is What We Make It –

Life is like riding a roller coaster.   It has its ups and downs.   For most of us, life is exciting and thrilling.   It is seldom dull and boring.   Life is what we make it.

In the last two months, however, the roller coaster has been picking up speed.   While this is terrifying to some, it is exhilarating to others.   Life is what we make it.   While some see nothing but problems, others see opportunities.   If you have been watching the news with the proper attitude,

Resistance to Change –

People hate change!   Nowhere is this more prevalent than in agriculture.   It seems to take years for people in agriculture to make simple changes – even though they know the change will be for their own good.   I must confess that I too am reluctant to change.   I may not hate change as much as most people, but it still makes me uncomfortable.

I read a neat little Seth Godin book entitled Tribes.  

Special Announcement –

After much deliberation, we decided we should try having a bull sale – without actually having a bull sale.   Is that possible?   Yep!   We plan to sell a combined total of over 500 bulls in Missouri, Texas and Colorado – without hauling the bulls to town and without gathering up a crowd of people at a sale barn.

Much changed last week in reference to the coronavirus outbreak.   The craziness got crazier – and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.  

Coronavirus… Gone Amuck –

News, around the world, has been focused on the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.   Therefore, we thought we should share some of our thoughts from a little different perspective.   Although serious in nature, I think we can agree the mainstream media has blown this thing way out of proportion.   Unfortunately, the reason for some of this seems to be political in nature.  

Buyer Beware –

There are a few bull marketers who are trying to mimic what Pharo Cattle Company says and does.   We have no problem with that – but we encourage buyers to beware.   I’m sure these bull marketers do some things right – but no one even comes close to doing all the things Pharo Cattle Company does right.

 We have been selling bulls for 30 years… and counting.   We have helped thousands of cow-calf producers put more fun and profit into their business.  

Top the Market – and Lose Money –

I recently received a call from a consultant who claimed to be working with several cow-calf producers in the southeast.  This consultant was interested in helping his clients become profitable and wanted to know if Pharo Cattle Company could help.

 I was surprised when this so-called “consultant” spent so much time explaining the importance of “topping the market” at local sale barns.  He also placed emphasis on cattle with larger frames and higher growth.   I began to wonder if he was consulting for feedyards or for cow-calf producers.