The Dreaded Horn Fly

Many of the problems we encounter in the cow-calf business have a genetic factor.   Genetic selection is the only way to provide a permanent solution to many of our problems.   Horn flies are no exception.   It doesn’t take a genius to see that some cows have a fraction of the horn flies other cows have.   For one reason or another, some animals have a genetic resistance to the dreaded horn fly.

Dayton Steelman, a retired entomologist at the University of Arkansas,

Replacing the Monkey –

The PCC Discussion Group recently had a very interesting discussion that tied in very well with the “Woe is Me” article in last week’s PCC Update.   While most people know what they should do, very few actually follow through.   Why is that?   What prevents most people from making the changes they know they should make?  I will share a few high points from this discussion.

The discussion thread was started by Jim Gerrish, who is a world-renown grazing expert.   Jim discussed two clients he had worked with.   He helped one client double his carrying capacity and reduce hay feeding by 60% in just three years.  

Drought Update –

I just heard that the state of Colorado is drought free for the first time in 20 years, which means there is no part of the state affected by drought.   I know we have experienced drought conditions many of the past 20 years here at PCC Headquarters.   I did not know, however, there was some drought within the state every week of every year for the past 20 years.

The drought seems to be shrinking everywhere in the US – with the possible exception of the northwest.  

Let the Fun Begin

The Price-Rollback Sale is officially underway.   There are 29 PCC Solar Bulls to choose from – 19 in Colorado, six in Texas and four in Missouri.   These bulls are priced from $4000 to $10,000.   Some of these bulls would have sold for more than $10,000 had they sold in our spring bull sales.   The prices on these bulls will be ROLLED BACK $500 every day until they are sold.

Open the links below for more information.  

Food for Thought

The following quote has been attributed to Thomas Edison.   I think it speaks volumes about the status quo’s herd-mentality way of thinking – or lack thereof.

“Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”

In my opinion… it’s not that 85% of the people would rather die than think; it’s that they are too lazy and/or too afraid to think for themselves.  

Results of Our Australian Bull Sale

Our first-ever Australian Bull Sale is behind us – and we are extremely excited.   Most cow-calf producers in Australia are experiencing the worst drought in their lifetime.   Many (perhaps most) are destocked to less than half their normal carrying capacity.   Some are totally destocked.   More than once I thought, this is the absolute worst time to have our first-ever Australian bull sale – and then I thought, maybe not.   There is nothing like tough times to make cow-calf producers realize they need ultra-low-input genetics to survive in this business.

Tyson and I were surprised when 40 people showed up for our pre-sale get-together.  

Spring 2019 Bull Sale Analysis

We sold 476 low-maintenance, grass-developed bulls in our three spring bull sales for an average price of $5713 – with a range of $2500 to $15,500.   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.

Sitting on the Fence

I have reason to believe many who are reading this are sitting on the fence.   They know they need to make the transition from high-input, break-even ranching to low-input, high-profit ranching – but they are reluctant to get off the fence and make it happen.   Some of you have been sitting on this fence for years.

What is it going to take to get you off the fence?   What is keeping you from moving forward?   The sooner you make this transition, the sooner you will be able to improve your lifestyle and your profitability.  

Making the Transition

The most gratifying part of my job is hearing from people who made the transition from high-input, break-even ranching to low-input, high-profit ranching.   I receive emails on a weekly basis from those who are so glad they made the transition when they did.   Most wonder why it took so long to see the light.   I can remember having the same thoughts over 30 years ago.   Making a paradigm shift of this magnitude is not easy.

I visited with many PCC customers at the Texas and Missouri bull sales.  

Genetic Fly Resistance

No one else in the beef industry has even thought about selecting cattle for genetic fly resistance.   Pharo Cattle Company has been doing it for over 12 years.   While other seedstock producers continue to treat the symptoms with toxic chemical insecticides, we are helping you solve the problem.

All of the fall-born bulls in our Texas and Missouri bull sales have been evaluated and scored for genetic fly resistance.   Since the heritability of fly resistance is very high, this is something you can improve dramatically in a short period of time – if you choose to do so.  

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.   In this book, Seth spends a considerable amount of time discussing the status quo and its fear of change.  

How Big is Big Enough?

According to the USDA Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska, the average Angus, Red Angus and Hereford cow in America weighs over 1,400 pounds.   WOW!   The status quo seedstock industry has successfully out-Simmentalled the Simmentals.   Unfortunately, as cow size has increased, profitability has decreased.   It doesn’t matter how big your cattle are if they’re not profitable.

Why are cows as big as they are?

For the past 50 years… the status quo beef industry has focused almost single-mindedly on increasing production per cow (weaning weight).  

Getting Your Money’s Worth

When you purchase something, you always hope you will get your money’s worth.   That, however, is often easier said than done, isn’t it?   When purchasing bulls, cost is always a factor – but it should not be the only factor.   First and foremost, you should consider the program behind the bulls.   Bulls that were produced in a program that aligns with your long-term goals are worth a whole lot more than bulls coming out of a program that does not align with your long-term goals.

It’s unfortunate, but most bull programs do not align with any commercial cow-calf operations.  

I Can’t Believe It

I look in on a few internet discussion forums on a regular basis just to see what the status quo whiz kids are saying and thinking.   In late February, one forum started a discussion on “Fly Control.”   Really?   In February?   I can’t believe it! I usually don’t see much discussion on fly control until May and June – when it quickly becomes the hottest topic within the status quo beef industry.   Of course, several members of this forum shared their favorite “toxic chemical” solution to the problem.

Step 9 of the Ten Steps to Double Your Profits states: “Use genetics to fix problems – instead of spending money on chemical,

The New Frontier

Throughout history, the most ambitious and adventurous of people have constantly yearned to leave old, overcrowded territories in search of new frontiers.   These are trailblazers, frontiersmen, pioneers and innovators.   They quickly tire of the status quo.   They are anxious to make things happen.

If you are paying attention, you will find old territories everywhere you look.   For example, when an industry stops being innovative, it reaches a point of stagnation and becomes an old, overcrowded territory.   Everyone in that industry is essentially doing the same thing – and has been doing the same thing for many years.

Selecting Bulls to Meet Your Goals

I came across an internet article late last week entitled, “Selecting Bulls to Meet Your Goals,” or something like that.   It wasn’t worth the time it took to open the link – but it did get me to thinking.   I suspect most cow-calf producers have no goals.   They are just doing what everyone else is doing and/or what they have always done.   If you don’t have goals, you have no direction in your life or business.

Do you have business goals?   I’m not talking about ideas or dreams you think about every now and then.

Why Don’t All Seedstock Producers…

• Treat their cows tougher than you treat your cows?
• Refuse to make an excuse for a cow, or give a her a second chance?
• Develop bulls on forage — with nothing but starch-free supplements?
• Evaluate and score bulls for disposition?
• Evaluate and score bulls for fleshing ability, thickness, muscling, masculinity, overall rating, hair coat and fly resistance?
• Evaluate and score bulls for low maintenance, longevity and grass efficiency?
• Evaluate and score bulls for feet and leg conformation?

Momma’s Boy

If you want to produce the right kind of replacement females, you need to be using bulls that were produced by the right kind of momma cows.    Weights, ratios and EPDs serve a purpose, but they don’t tell the whole story.

Although most ranchers tell me they want to produce efficient 1100 to 1200-pound cows that can wean 50% of their own weight for many years without being pampered, they will usually confess to purchasing bulls from seedstock programs with high-maintenance cows that weigh 1400 to 2200 pounds.