Thursday, October 30, 2014

Want to buy some calves. Hating the prices.

Angus bull, my dairy cow, and my hereford heifer cow
I've got a pretty good setup going for winter; I've got enough hay to feed everyone and some surplus, and then i've got 200 tons of corn silage coming.  Between the two of them, i've got extra cow feed.

It helps that I've got a big barn that's easy to clean and all set up to house cows, and ... well, it just seems like it's a good time to buy.  Everyone likes to sell cows now if they don't have forage or hay put up, and I'm used to seeing a little cheaper prices.

A trip to the tuesday night roundup at a local auction cleared that right up for me.  I'd be in the market for 300-600lb well-started beef cows; I'd like to have a couple of steers to raise, and a couple of heifers for calves in a couple of years, but holy cow!  the prices are higher than I've evern seen them.
We're talking $3.20 a pound for a 300lb cow.  That's $960.00 for a good looking calf.  Nine Hundred and SIXTY DOLLARS!

Now if I had calves to sell, that kind of price would cause me to trot them right into the trailer and sell 'em, but I'd like to grow my herd.

The national beef herd is at the lowest point that it has been in 60 years, and at least some of these prices show me that there's a lot of people either betting on $10/lb steaks or they're increasing their herd size.

As it is I'm having to really wrestle with it.  Buy now, at the high price, and hope that in 18 months I can sell at a profit, or wait a while longer, get into winter, and hope that there's some sales later on that are a better price.  Or skip buying cows and just buy bred holsteins.  Even day-old bull calves are going for $200-300.  A bred holstein gives me milk production, a calf, and half the calves (maybe a bit less if they used sexed semen) to sell or raise.

it's $1200-1400 for a 6 to 8 month bred holstein right now; I'm equipped to milk them, and milk replacer is expensive.  Hmmm.

Tim Youngs written a new farming/homesteading book. Help review it

Tim Young over at Natures Harmony Farm has an opinion about farming and over the years he hasn't been shy about sharing it with people.  After a while, he goes and deletes everything he says and hopes that people forget about it, and it's a little funny.  Well, he's at it again, this time in book form.

He wrote this book a couple of years ago under a pseudonym, and it struck me at the time as being a little like one of those ads you saw in the paper.  "Send me $10 and I'll send you the secret to being rich!".  The secret, of course, being that if you put an advertisement out that says "send me $10..." you'll get rich.  So one of the ways to make money homesteading, clearly, is to write about making money homesteading.  Stands to reason, right?
By "dusty bottoms", Tim Young 
Tim (Can I call you that, Tim?) has rehashed something he wrote a couple of years ago called "the farm dreams guide to profitable homesteading", and re-issued it as
The cover is better, and he's getting better at marketing
He's got his farm and cheese business up for sale, and he's closed down his retail store and after trying to raise virtually every animal you could sell to the public, he's closed that down too.

But with all of that said, maybe if the farm sells and he can get out from under that being an author is a good call for this guy.

Here's a link to the current book offering.  Feel free to read the reviews, and if you find one that helps you make a purchase decision, by all means give it your vote.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

the view from behind the produce stand

A pretty funny article about the view from behind the stand at the farmers market.  Some profanity, so keep the kiddies away.

A small-scale organic farmer wants you to know a few things