As Fall is in full force the colors are changing, there’s little snow on the mountains, and it’s time to bring the cows off Summer mountain pasture to our Fall pasture. This begins a very busy time of the year for us! As we bring the cows and calves home they need to be vaccinated and sorted into groups so when it’s time to sell they are ready to be loaded on the trucks!
By now, Dad, Jessy and I have sat down over a few cups of coffee and made a plan on how we will market our calves. This process usually starts mid-summer watching closely what the market is doing, what the cattle buyers are projecting for fall and also what the boards – stock markets – are doing. It’s not easy! Any cattle rancher will tell you that. You change your mind, you come up with a plan, you change your plan, you sit down over another cup of coffee while thinking of a new plan and the what ifs – I mean this is your livelihood and ranchers get paid ONCE a year – you want to make the right decision. You have bills to pay, pasture to pay for, vet bills, land payments and your family needs to eat! We try to stick with what has worked over the years and usually we are happy with our decision on how we market our cattle and get ready for another year ahead of us! Could you imagine making one decision that makes or breaks your whole year of hard work?
Now you, are probably wondering how we market our calves? We stick to the old fashioned way of running them through the stock yards BUT we also this year, decided to sell a load of heavy steers weighing 680# on the Northern Livestock Video Auction this summer. Why? Because it was a dry summer, we didn’t know how our hay crop was going to turn out, we thought would have to graze the hay early if we ran out of summer pasture and we really needed to make sure we had a sufficient amount of income to get us through the year.
And it all worked out!
The beginning of October we sold our Angus calves off our heifers, this weekend we will load up our Red Angus/Charolais cross calves and sell them through Western Livestock Auction and come November we will put a big load of 80 Angus steer calves weighing 680# on a truck headed to Iowa while the rest will then be loaded up and sold at a special feeder sale the middle of November!
As you see there are so many options and decisions to make to market your calves but remember – it is okay to sit down over another cup of coffee to make the right decision!