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.  

Being Average

While thumbing through a status quo beef publication, I came across an article about “average producers.”   The leadoff sentence said, “Being average in the cow-calf business means you are probably just breaking even.”   That got my attention, so I read on.

When you look at cow-calf producers across the nation, you will find producers with several thousand cows all the way down to producers with just 20 cows.   Nationwide, most cow-calf producers have small herds that are subsidized by off-farm income.   Their cow-calf programs were never designed to be profitable.  

Competitive Advantage

When a business is able to sustain profits that substantially exceed the average for its industry, that business is said to have a competitive advantage.   We firmly believe having a competitive advantage will be the difference between mere survival and true success in the future of the cow-calf business.   There is no reason you cannot have a competitive advantage – if you want one.   It is up to you!   There are two primary types of competitive advantages – a cost advantage and a differential advantage.A cost advantage exists when a business is able to deliver the same product as competitors but at a much lower cost.  

The Power of Persistence

With the coming of the New Year, it is traditional to look back at what happened, good or bad, in the world around us.   For the cattle industry, one definite change I have seen in the last year is that “cow size” is mentioned more and more and finally given its full due – even in the freebie magazines!   These are the same magazines devoted to following the path of the money laid down by the sellers of inputs who depend on pushing production as opposed to profit.

Going back to the early 1970s,

Profit Per Cow is a Loser

One of the smartest things I’ve heard anyone say was Johann Zietsman’s comparison of corn farming and beef production.   The rancher-consultant from Zimbabwe said if corn farmers thought like beef producers, they would space their plants far apart and try to maximize the number of kernels per ear and the number of ears per plant.   They would think nothing about yield per acre.   In the end, they would surely go broke.

This is pure, sound logic, and yet the cow business has been chasing profit per corn plant …

Easy Money

The easiest money you will ever make is the money you DON’T spend.   Ben Franklin once said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”   Folks, this is just as true today as it ever was – and it applies to every $10, $100 and $10,000 you DON’T spend.   Guess what?   This income is tax-free.   You DON’T have to pay income taxes on the money you DO NOT spend!

Reducing and eliminating expenses is easier than most cow-calf producers think – but it will require a paradigm shift for most producers.  

Tremendous Response

I received a tremendous amount of response to last week’s PCC Update.   This included an inordinate number of unsubscribers.   To be honest, I expected to receive a tremendous response.   Our Cowboy Logic said, “You’re not old until your dreams are replaced by regrets.”   I followed that with an article entitled “Regrets” which was followed by an article entitled “A Cowboy Hat and a Dream.”

All of this was designed to push people out of their comfort zone and challenge them to make the most of their life – before it is too late.  

A Cowboy Hat and a Dream

I am fortunate enough to know several very successful cattlemen who started out with nothing more than a cowboy hat and a dream.  They did what everyone in the status quo herd said could not be done.  I have always been greatly impressed and inspired by such people.  Some of these people did not even have an agricultural background.  In my opinion, that was more of a blessing than a curse.  They were not handicapped or hindered by status quo traditions and ways of thinking.

Fall 2018 Bull Sale Analysis

We sold 381 low-maintenance, grass-developed bulls in our two fall bull sales for an average price of $5509 – with a range of $2500 to $14,000.   Below is a brief analysis of our two sales.   Calving ease, fleshing ability, disposition and overall rating were evaluated and scored using our unique 5-star system.   In this system, 5-star is the best and 1-star is the worst.


Consider the Future

Have you noticed that the most successful and happy people throughout history have been those who made decisions that were based on the future?   It’s true!   Successful people know that nothing stays the same.   The present is different from the past – and the future will be different from the present.   Those who make decisions that are based on the future will always have a HUGE competitive advantage over those who continue to make decisions based on the past and/or the present.

Unfortunately, nearly all people from all walks of life are afraid to make decisions that are based on anything but the past or the present.  

Where Else?

We hope you are making plans to attend and/or participate in our Colorado Bull Sale…

Where else can you purchase coming-two-year-old bulls that have been developed on native grass?   Where else can you find bulls that were produced by efficient, easy-fleshing, moderate-sized cows that have never been pampered?   Where else can you find bulls that can reduce cow size and maintenance costs – without cheating you on pounds?   Where else can you find bulls that come with a One-Year Guarantee?