A Cow for All Seasons –

Is there such a thing as a cow for all seasons or a cow for all environments?   Based on my 35 years of experience, I say, “Yes, there is a cow size and type that works best in all seasons, as well as in nearly all environments.”   I realize this goes against popular opinion – but so be it.

Some will say, “Since I live in a better environment, I should be able to have large, heavy-milking cows.”   I don’t see what difference that makes.  

Making the Change –

Most cow-calf producers know their cows are too big, hard-keeping and high-maintenance – but they are unsure of the easiest and best way to change their cowherd.   Some want to sell their entire herd and buy back the right kind of cows.   That, however, is much easier said than done.   It’s not easy to find moderate-sized, easy-fleshing, low-maintenance cows – and if you do find them, they probably won’t be for sale.

We think the easiest way to change your cowherd is to start with your replacement heifers.  

The Choice is Yours –

The fact that many PCC customers have been able to significantly increase their profitability in a relatively short period of time gives us reason to believe most cow-calf producers have the ability to do the same thing – IF THEY CHOOSE TO DO SO.   Unfortunately, that’s a BIG IF!

Sadly, it seems many producers would rather fail doing what they have always done than succeed if success requires change.   The beef industry is at a major turning point.   What has worked so well for the last 20 years will not work for the next 20 years.  

Bragging Rights vs. Profit –  

For over 50 years, the beef industry has been single-mindedly focused on increasing pounds per animal (bragging rights) – when it should have been focused on increasing pounds per acre (profit).   There is a BIG difference!   Trying to increase pounds per animal will always have a negative effect on your net profits.   Bragging rights may be fun, but you cannot purchase anything with them.

I know from personal experience, this will be the toughest paradigm shift you will ever have to make.  

What’s a Bull Worth?

In preparation for our bull sales, we visit with hundreds of PCC customers every spring and every fall.   Most have used their PCC Solar Bulls for more years than they ever thought possible.   Many bulls are still working at eight, nine and ten years of age.   Several customers tell us their PCC Solar Bulls successfully cover 60 to 80 cows and/or heifers per year after their first breeding season.

What’s a bull worth that can breed twice as many cows for twice as many years as an average bull?  

Too Much of Anything –

Too much of anything is not good.   You’ve heard people talk about “everything in moderation,” and that is usually pretty good advice.   Just because a little bit of something is good does NOT mean more is better.

You can, and should, apply this line of thinking to your cattle and genetic selection.   It has been extremely difficult for most cow-calf producers to stop at the optimum level for any trait.   Most shoot past the optimum level without even slowing down.  

Who Ya Gonna Call?

 


The Theme Song for Ghostbusters says, “If there’s somethin’ strange in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call?   GHOSTBUSTERS!   If it’s somethin’ weird and it don’t look good, who ya gonna call?   GHOSTBUSTERS!”When you need a bull… who ya gonna call? There are hundreds of seedstock producers who would love to sell you a bull, so how do you decide where to go?   Do you look for a place with pretty white fences,

Whatcha Gonna Do?

 

 

I don’t like to do it – but every now and then we need to talk about things we don’t like to talk about.   Sticking our head in the sand is NOT a very good management strategy!   Our problems will NOT solve themselves!   Procrastination is NOT our friend!

So, what do we need to talk about?   We need to discuss the fact that it is extremely difficult for cow-calf producers to make a decent living.  

Don’t be an Eeyore –

Eeyore the donkey is one of the most lovable of the Winnie the Pooh characters.   There isn’t anything he would not do for his friends.   Unfortunately, Eeyore is extremely pessimistic.   He is always expecting the worst to happen.   In fact, he is surprised when the worst does not happen.   Eeyore is so concerned about all the bad things that might happen that he misses out on all the good things that do happen.   Unfortunately, I know a few people who remind me of Eeyore.

Looking for an Opportunity?

The most successful and wealthiest of business people have a knack for identifying opportunities where everyone else sees problems.   Over the years, I have been blessed with the ability to identify a few hidden opportunities.   Most of the time, however, I do not recognize the opportunity until it is too late.

One of the biggest problems for today’s livestock producers has been a severe shortage of capacity within privately-owned meat processing plants.   These are locally-owned businesses that have the ability to slaughter and process meat animals like beef,

Our Mission –

 

As stated on page 2 of our quarterly newsletters, Pharo Cattle Company’s mission has always been to help ranchers put more fun and profit into their business.   Ranching is a great way of life, but if it is not profitable and enjoyable it will never be sustainable.   Having one without the other won’t last long.

The average cow-calf producer in America is over 60 years of age.  

Are You Interested or Committed?

 

Last week, I watched a short video clip from “Training With Trent.”   Trenton Pierce asked, “Are you interested in or are you committed to your goals?”   Great food for thought!   There is a HUGE difference!   I thought I would expand on his thoughts and maybe make them a little more applicable to most of our subscribers.

We all have dreams and aspirations.   Unfortunately most people never become committed to their dreams and aspirations.   I think this is because they are afraid of failure.  

Already Dead –

 

Henry Ford once said, “The man who is too set to change is dead already.   The funeral is a mere detail.”   I had to read that quote a couple of times before I fully understood how powerful it is – and how appropriate it is to the current beef industry.   You may have to do the same thing.

I want you to think back to the drastic changes that were taking place when Henry Ford made this bold statement.  

Time to Change Horses

Visualize, if you will, an old cowpoke riding an old plug horse that stumbles along with its head just a foot off the ground.   The cowpoke 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 business with outside income.   At that point, the business is no longer working for him.  

Reaching Your Destination –

Imagine, if you will, that you are driving east on a highway with plans to meet up with a friend in a certain town.   You come to a Y in the road.   To continue traveling east toward your destination, you should have taken the left-hand fork – but you mistakenly chose the right-hand fork.

Now you are driving south on a different highway toward a totally different destination.   Once you realize you are on the wrong road, how long will you continue before turning back?  

Solving Problems –

Problems are unavoidable.   They are a part of life and a part of business.   Each and every one of us will eventually have problems to solve.   How do you solve your problems?   Where do you look for solutions?

Most people today have been programmed to spend an inordinate amount of money on chemical, technical and mechanical solutions that are almost always temporary at best.   We often overlook the less complicated solutions previous generations were forced to employ.

The Hottest Topic –

This time of year, the hottest topic within the beef industry is fly control.   Everyone is talking about fly control!   Since flies have become resistant to nearly all of the toxic chemicals that were created to control them, fly problems have done nothing but get worse over the last 50 years.   Every year, everyone is frantically looking for the latest toxic chemical to control their ever-increasing fly problems.   How long do you think the latest control will work?   Not very long.  

Why does the beef industry continue to treat the symptoms of the problem while it totally ignores the problem?  

Dud Bulls and Shy Bulls –

I often have customers call me up to tell me they have a dud bull.   A dud bull is a bull that is not interested in breeding cows.   While cows are riding one another and at least one cow is obviously in standing heat, the bull will be lying down calmly chewing his cud – oblivious to all the action taking place.

I tell the customer that the only way we can know for sure what is going on is to be there 24 hours a day.  

The Willingness to Change –

Whether you want to believe it or not, your long-term success in the cow-calf business will be dependent on your willingness to make some changes.   We all have the ability to change – but not everyone has the willingness to change.   Unfortunately, most producers will not change until they are forced to change.

Cattle prices will continue to go up and down, up and down – while the cost of inputs will continue to go up, up, up.   In the last 50 years,