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.


Anonymous said...

That's crazy. We were looking for two or three day old dairy bull calves this last spring, to bottle feed, and the wean to grass, and grow out. The dairys within 30 min of our farm all wanted over $200 each for them. One guy said he was getting $500. Finally had a guy I talked to the fall before call me up and I was able to get them for about $125 each. Then I got two jersey bull calves for $50 each. That put us at capacity, and just after, some of the guys who said they were getting $250 or more, who I had left my number with, called me to see if I wanted any, for $150 each, or maybe less.... All in about a 30 day period. Seems like everyone want's beef.

Anonymous said...

I paid $1400 for 500 lb Red Angus weaned steers. The price you mentioned for bred dairy heifers seems like a good buy.