Producers, buyers contemplate yearlings
By Jerry Nine
(Oct. 23)—Right now there is very big difference in what a yearling will bring and a big calf. It seems to me that most of the buyers buying these feeder cattle feel comfortable and will step up and give a very big price if these big calves have been weaned 60 days.
Sometimes 50 days will work. There are a lot of programs that promote a 45-day weaned calf and for the most part, most calf buyers feel comfortable with that. From the standpoint of a sale barn owner this time of year is frustrating. This year, even more than most, is a big difference in long weaned or yearlings compared to calves or short weaned. Some of these big calves or 30-day weaned feeders look solid like they would not get sick.
However, most buyers are not willing to take the chance. I understand that from the standpoint of order buying feeder cattle for 21 years. The amount you will make is often not worth the risk of losing your job or even getting the feedlot to question whether you know what you are doing. Trust me, they remember the one bad deal and do not remember the 20 good deals.
One time, 20 years ago, I bought a set of steers off grass. I told the seller that I could not use three plainer steers. He said, “I will make you a deal—if you get them back from the feedlot (meaning they rejected them), I will take them back.” I said, “There is no way I am using my orders to try to slide your odds by.” It is not that easy to gain trust from a buyer and convince him you know what you are doing, let alone doing stupid stuff.
Right now a shorter bred cow, middle-aged or older cow, 5 months or more, will go back home, so be sure and impregnate any cow that might be bred and have a good udder.
A rule of thumb—ask the sale barn manager, as that varies from time to time.
A neighbor’s wife passed away and the day of the funeral a friend of the family had a heifer calf born. They named her after this lady. The grandkids asked Grandpa if he was going to buy that heifer. He said, “No, but one of my kids probably will.”
I’m guessing when I die my kids will probably buy a donkey and name it after me for their memory.
Editor’s note: Jerry Nine, Woodward, Okla., is a lifetime cattleman who grew up on his family’s ranch near Laverne, Okla.