It has recently come to my attention that many cow-calf producers are upset and frustrated with the direction their operation is headed. They have been brought to the realization that other cow-calf producers are two to four times more profitable than they are. Not only are they substantially more profitable, they appear to be working less to accomplish more.
A few of these producers are upset enough they are ready to quit. Others want to change their situation – but they want to change it NOW! They don’t have time to wait. They want to make up for lost time. They are frantically looking for a quick fix. They are impatient. In most cases, this adds to their frustration – which will hinder the process.
In a recent discussion about this dilemma… Tammy, our office secretary, said, “We live in a society that demands instant gratification. No one wants to put in the time required for real change.” Tammy went on to say, “It’s like when someone decides to lose 30 pounds. He will diet and go to the gym for maybe a month before getting discouraged. He is not seeing the change he wants to see. He forgets that it took 10 to 20 years to put on the extra 30 pounds. It’s not going to come off in a month.”
I am reminded of a favorite Lao Tzu quote that says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” If cow-calf producers want to prosper, they will need to make some major changes. The sooner they take the first step, the sooner they will reach their destination. I will review 10 steps required to get on the right road. These steps are not difficult – but they will require a paradigm shift. Making a paradigm shift isn’t always easy.
- Step 1… Focus on pounds and profit per acre – instead of per animal. There is a BIG difference. Trying to increase pounds per animal will always have a negative effect on your profits. The status quo beef industry has been focused on the wrong thing for over 40 years.
- Step 2… Purchase ultra-low-maintenance bulls that will produce cows that fit your environment. This is much easier and much more profitable than artificially changing the environment with expensive inputs to fit your cows.
- Step 3… Increase stocking rates by over 30% with the right size and type of cows. Smaller, more efficient cows will always produce more total pounds per acre – and those pounds will always be worth more per pound. Stocking rate affects profitability, or lack thereof, more than anything else.
- Step 4… Utilize rotational grazing to increase forage production and stocking rates by 50 to over 200 percent.
- Step 5… Do more grazing and less feeding. The easiest money you will ever make is the money you don’t spend – and that money is tax-free.
- Step 6… Remember you are in a solar energy-based business – not a fossil fuel-based business. You don’t need much in the way of vehicles, tractors and equipment. Let your cows do the work for you.
- Step 7… Work with nature – instead of against nature. This can easily increase profits by $50 to $100 per cow.
- Step 8… Use calving ease bulls to reduce death loss, decrease labor, increase enjoyment, improve fertility and shorten your calving season.
- Step 9… Use genetics to fix problems – instead of spending money on chemical, technical and mechanical solutions that won’t last. Parasite problems are a perfect example of this.
- Step 10… Stop associating with whiners, complainers and blamers. In addition to associating with positive people, you need to be careful about what you read. Most of the information that is being circulated is focused on increasing production per individual animal. That is what put you on the wrong road in the first place.
Cow-calf producers who have taken these steps are two to four times more profitable than the average cow-calf producer. They have also substantially increased their enjoyment and improved their lifestyle. They have an operation that the next generation is anxious and excited to become involved in. These producers did not achieve instant success. They simply made the right decisions – decisions that, for the most part, went against the status quo way of thinking.
You can do it! These very successful producers have done nothing that cannot be done by others. Believe it or not, some of these producers did not inherit anything. They created their phenomenal success from scratch – simply by following the steps listed above. You can do the same thing – but you won’t go anywhere until you take the first step. What are you waiting for?
Quote Worth Re-Quoting –
“You will never win if you never begin.” ~ Helen Rowland
We Do More –
Pharo Cattle Company does much more than just sell bulls. We provide a program and a way of thinking that are focused on increasing pounds and profit per acre – in good times and in not-so-good times. Our ultra-low-maintenance bulls are just one part of this program. Our business is helping you – and we take it very seriously. There is a reason our customers are the most profitable cow-calf producers in the world.