Change the Cow… Not the Environment –

Cows must fit their environment to stay in production.   Common sense tells us it is much easier, as well as much more profitable, to produce cows that fit the environment than it is to artificially change the environment to fit the cows.

Your environment can only support so much size, growth and milk.   Once you go beyond that point, you will have to reduce stocking rates and/or use expensive inputs to artificially change the environment.   That may have worked when calf prices were ridiculously high a few years ago – but it won’t work now.

In with the New –

Last week, we discussed the year 2020 in our “Out with the Old” article.   Today, we are going to look ahead to the new year.   Some say the first day of the new year is no different from the last day of the previous year.   They may be right – but, in my mind, starting a new year allows me the opportunity to hit the refresh button on my life.   Therefore, I start every year with excitement and anticipation.  

As we say goodbye to one year and hello to the next,

The Sky’s the Limit

The Sky is the Limit –

We believe the business of ranching can be much, much better than most people have been led to believe – but only for those who are not being restrained by outdated traditions and ways of thinking.   We see evidence of this all around us!   It is exciting to watch people do what their neighbors say cannot be done.   It is inspiring to watch ordinary people accomplish extraordinary things.  

We believe the sky is the limit for those who have enough courage to break away from the status quo,

Out with the Old –

The year 2020 will definitely be one to remember!   With the arrival of Rona (co-Rona-virus), life as we knew it was hijacked (unlawfully seized, appropriated, stolen, commandeered).   Although Rona was not the first influenza pandemic to hit the world, she was treated as the first and the worst.

Many people in politics and the news media did their best to take advantage of this crisis – and they succeeded.   It became okay to riot in the streets and destroy private and public property – but it was not okay to enjoy a meal out with your family.  

The Exodus Has Begun –

Because of the drought, we are relocating all of the mature cows at PCC Headquarters – with the exception of a few old teenage cows.   At this point, we hope to hold on to our bred heifers and heifer calves.   We are sending our cows to four different PCC cooperative herds – three in Nebraska and one in North Dakota.   These cows will be loaded on trucks tonight and tomorrow morning.

This brings back some memories of the first 12 years of the 21st century – some good memories and some sad memories.  

Bend in the Road –

Helen Keller once said, “A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.”   That is a very simple, yet profound, statement!   It applies to all people in all walks of life.   It has application for me – and it has application for you!

What word can we use to define a “bend in the road”?   The first word that comes to my mind is “change.”   Change is a normal part of life.  

Ten Steps To Double Your Profits

Cow-calf producers who want to have a prosperous future will need to make some major changes in their business.   The sooner they take the first step, the sooner they will reach their destination.   I will review the Ten Steps required to get on the right road.   These steps are not difficult, but they will require a paradigm shift – which can be difficult.

  • Step 1…   Focus on pounds and profit per acre – instead of per animal.   There is a BIG difference.   Trying to increase pounds per animal (bragging rights) will always have a negative effect on your profits.  

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.  

Create the Future of Your Dreams –

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 easy for some people.   If you look closer, you will discover those people are very driven and focused.   They make things happen.   They see opportunities 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.

We believe there will be more opportunities for you and your family operation to advance in the next ten years than there have been in the last 30 years – but only if you are able to break away from the status quo,

Birds of a Feather –

positive attitude is contagious.   A negative attitude is even more contagious.   Unfortunately, it is extremely rare to find a positive message in agriculture.   You won’t find it at the local sale barn or at the local coffee shop or at the local bank.   You won’t find it in most ag publications and organizations.   Most farmers and ranchers are struggling just to break even.

Misery loves company.   Instead of looking for a positive and encouraging message,

Fall 2020 Bull Sale Analysis

We sold 471 low-maintenance, grass-developed bulls in our three spring bull sales for an average price of $5119 – with a range of $2000 to $12,500. 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.




More for Less –

What makes it possible for so many PCC customers to be two to five times more profitable than all of their neighbors?   They produce more for less!   In other words, they produce more pounds per acre than all of their neighbors – and their cost of production is less than all of their neighbors.

With the right size and type of momma cows, most of today’s cow-calf producers have the potential to increase their stocking rate by at least 30%.  

Attitude is Most Important –

When it comes to happiness and success, nothing is more important than attitude.   I love to spend time with positive and optimistic people because their attitude is contagious.   Unfortunately, negative and pessimistic attitudes are also quite contagious.

People with the right attitude tend to be innovative.   They are independent thinkers who are not afraid to think outside the box.   They are not afraid to step out of their comfort zone.
People with the right attitude will often be entrepreneurs and trailblazers.  

The Cost of Land –

In most places, the cost to buy or lease land is unbelievably high – and it seems to be going up all the time.   Never before has it been so important to maximize production per acre.   Unfortunately, most cow-calf producers remain focused on increasing production per animal (bragging rights).   They continue to purchase bulls that were bred to increase production per animal.   As they increase production per animal, their profit continues to fall.

“If corn farmers thought like beef producers,

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?