View From My Saddle
This section of our website will be devoted to my thoughts concerning the production of cattle for profit and sustainability. Some of my opinions may be quite different from the practices of other seedstock producers but these principles have worked for us over the last forty plus years.
Along with our ranching enterprise I have had three different jobs in my career. Right out of college I was an extension agent in Todd County, SD. From there I moved to the Federal Land Bank in Valentine, NE. In 1983 I became a farm and ranch real estate appraiser until recently retiring from that line of work. Over the years I have analyzed over 500 farms and ranches and learned a lot from many highly successful cattlemen.
The one thing that has really stuck with me is that low cost producers are the ones that survive the droughts, disasters and the swings in the cattle cycle. The low cost producers that produce a better than average product generally thrive and expand. We have based our operation on that principle.
Minimizing costs need to be practiced throughout an operation including machinery, fuel, repairs and labor, but the highest cost on any ranch is feed. That is the place to apply the most pressure. The easiest way to reduce feed costs is to find a way to feed less. This is where cows that are bred to be more feed efficient can save you a lot of cost. Efficient cows not only eat less forage to produce the same size calf but also require less supplemental protein. They can produce on lower quality forages.
For forty years we have selected for feed efficiency by keeping only those cows that will breed back and produce a good calf on a ration that provides less than their recommended requirements. For the last seven years we have been testing our bulls through a GROWSAFE system which measures individual feed intake in order to find the most efficient bulls. This selection process showed our last crop of bulls to convert at 5.77 to 1 on an 80% roughage ration. One half of that roughage was straw.
If you are looking for bulls to increase the efficiency of your cows, we may have just what you need.