Does Justification Make It Right?

I continue to get emails and phone calls from ranchers who do their best to justify what they are doing.  The fact that they call me makes me think they are beginning to question some of the things they have been doing.  They tell me why they have big, high-maintenance, hard-keeping cows that weigh 1200 to 1500 pounds.  They tell me why they still calve in the winter months.  They tell me why their labor and feed expenses are three to four times higher than they really need to be.

Fertility… the Most Important Economic Trait

Cow-calf producers who make a living from their cows know fertility is by far the most important economic trait. University studies have shown reproductive traits are twice as important as growth traits, which are twice as important as carcass traits. Ironically, the status quo beef industry has been selecting almost exclusively for growth and carcass traits for the past 40 years – at the expense of reproduction.

For at least 40 years, academics have told us that the heritability of fertility is very low – so low we shouldn’t waste our time selecting for it.

PCC’s Grass-Fed Alliance

As you know, PCC recently formed an alliance with Tyson Foods and Cactus Feeders to produce a high-quality, grass-finished beef product. This product will be All Natural. It will compete with imported grass-fed beef. There is a difference between grass-fed and grass-finished. Any old cow that eats grass can be classified as grass-fed. Grass-finished beef, on the other hand, is well-marbled beef that provides a very enjoyable eating experience. Most of the imported beef is very lean.

This alliance also includes many PCC customers. We have 2000 calves and yearlings contracted for fall delivery.

Eliminate the Need for Fly Control

The hottest topic within the beef industry is fly control.   When confronted with a problem, most producers are quick to spend an inordinate amount of time, energy and money treating the symptoms – while they totally ignore the problem.   Folks, if we never work at solving the problem, we will never get rid of the problem – and it will continue to become a bigger and bigger problem.

I have always believed many of the problems we encounter in the cow-calf business have a genetic factor.  

What is a Paradigm?

Although the word “paradigm” has been a part of the English language since the 15th century, it never received much use until the 1960s.   We didn’t hear the word used much in agricultural circles for another 20-plus years.   Pronounced “para-dime”, the word has always been defined as “one that serves as a pattern or model.”   Since the 1960’s, we have used the word paradigm to refer to a set of assumptions, concepts and practices that constitute the way we view the world around us.   Therefore, a paradigm shift would involve rejecting one worldview in favor of another one.  

Winter Calving

Without fail, members of the status quo beef industry start talking about calving every January.   Several beef publications start sharing articles and advice on calving.   Members of most internet forums start sharing their stories and thoughts.   There is much talk about calf warmers, blankets and sheds.   There is much talk about calving barns and remote cameras.   There is much talk about calf carriers and sleds to haul the froze-out, newborn calves to the barn – or house.

Soon we will be hearing horror stories about calving in the snow and sub-zero,

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.  

Forage-Developed Bulls

More and more seedstock producers are promoting “forage-developed” bulls.   We have checked into all of these so-called “forage” programs and have concluded that no one has a program that is as tough as PCC’s program.   Several of these forage programs feed large amounts of hay, haylage and/or silage.   Some feed a grain-based ration during the winter months.   Some use self-feeders that are regularly filled by the local Co-op truck.   Most of these so-called “forage” programs have high-maintenance cattle that would quickly fall apart in our program.

Pharo Cattle Company has been developing bulls on grass for 20 years.  

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 well over 10 years.   While other seedstock producers continue to treat the symptoms with toxic chemical insecticides, we are helping you solve the problem.

All of the bulls selling in our two fall bull sales will be 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,

More Drought Thoughts

As expected and as shown in the latest Drought Monitor Map, the northern-plains drought is increasing in intensity and size.   From what I have read and heard, many of the drought-stricken cow-calf producers have procrastinated to the point that they are behind the eight ball.   They should have sold or relocated cattle two or three months ago.   They still have time to take action – but the longer they wait, the greater the damage.

 

Drought is a normal part of life for most cow-calf producers.  

Fly Control

The hottest topic within the beef industry right now is fly control.   When confronted with a problem, most producers are quick to spend an inordinate amount of time, energy and money treating the symptoms – while they totally ignore the problem.   Folks, if we never work at solving the problem, we will never get rid of the problem – and it will continue to get worse.

 

I have always believed many of the problems we encounter in the cow-calf business have a genetic factor.  

Things Are Looking Up (part 2)

Some of the thoughts I shared last week raised a few questions, so I decided to expand this discussion.   Since we have not seen a true bottom to a cattle cycle since 1996, many have forgotten how the cattle cycle works.   For the most part, the cattle cycle is based on supply and demand.   When supply exceeds demand, prices go down – and when demand exceeds supply, prices go up.   Unlike crop production, it takes a few years to significantly change supply in the beef industry.   Cattle prices are also affected by things like widespread drought,

Pharo Phamily Reunion

Last week, I shared a picture of the 24 people who participated in the 2017 Pharo Phamily Reunion.   I then asked if you could pick out and identify the four siblings (Kit, Brett, Kathy and Jen).   We did receive some response to this question.

 

From left to right: Kit, Kathy, Brett and Jen

Increasing Cost of Production

According to the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC), the cost of producing a calf has increased from $384 in 2000 to $883 in 2014.   WOW… it way more than doubled in just 14 years.   Keep in mind, though, that this is an average cost of production.   Some cow-calf producers have a much higher cost of production, while others have a much lower cost of production.

 

I have asked several long-time PCC customers about their cost of production.   I am not surprised to learn that most of these producers have a cost of production that is less than half what the national average is.  

Things Are Looking Up

Cattle prices have been making some remarkable recoveries.   Below is a 60-day Market Trendline created by The Cattle Range for June 2, 2017.   This provides a quick overview of our markets and where they might be headed.   The angle indicates direction and velocity of the trend.

In the latest CattleFax Update, Lance Zimmerman said, The most recent fed cattle cash market rally pushed from last year’s second half low at $98/cwt.

We Believe

We believe… ordinary people can do extraordinary things.   To do so, however, requires that we stop thinking and acting like ordinary people.   We need to think BIG and dream BIG – and we need to be willing to step out of our comfort zone.   Those who are afraid to step out of their comfort zone will never be anything but ordinary.

Rabies in Colorado (part 2)

Last week, I told you about a 2-year-old heifer that showed all the symptoms of rabies – including aggressive behavior, inability to swallow, frothing at the mouth and death.   When she died, we removed her brain and sent it to the lab for diagnosis.   Long story short, she did not have rabies.   We do not know the true cause of death.   The attending veterinarian suspects a toxic weed.

Pharo Phamily Reunion

Several years ago, my brothers and sisters decided we need to have a Pharo Phamily Reunion every other year – on the odd numbered years.   I have two younger brothers and two younger sisters.   It was decided that we would take turns being responsible for this biennial event.   This was Kathy’s year.   She decided to get everyone together at the Pharo Cabin in the Southern Colorado Mountains.

 

Four of the five living siblings were able to attend – with many of their spouses,

Managing Your Time

Ben Franklin once said, “Time is money.”   That’s a good quote.   However, I have come to the conclusion that time is much more valuable than money.

 

Very few things in life are as valuable as time.   In fact, I think it would be correct to say, “Time is life.”   It should not be wasted.   If lost, it will never be found.   We never seem to have enough time – but most of us would have to admit that we fail to make the best use of the time we have.