Robert Wells, Livestock Consultant with the Noble Research Institute offers his idea of 8 characteristics successful, intentional producers share.
For the full article go to: Do You Possess the 8 Characteristics of an Intentional Beef Producer? as published in the January 2020 issue of Noble News and Views.
To keep me focused, i like to reduce the lengthy description of characteristics to 8 bullet points.
- Understand the importance of recordkeeping. The key is to keep records that are meaningful and that you will use to make management decisions. Identify key production and economic metrics you can use to monitor your operation.
- Know animal nutrition management can make or break an operation. The feeding program can account for 40% to 60% of the total annual cost of maintaining a cow in most operations. Match the cow’s time of highest nutrient requirements – early lactation or around 2 months of calf age – to the time of year when the pastures supply the highest-quality and quantity forage of the year.
- Know when and how to market calves. Determine the type of animal you will sell and when you will sell it. No matter how large your outfit is, it can still benefit from selling in a market that has more cattle similar to yours.
- Have a defined outcome for the ranch breeding program. Make sure the calving season is as tight as possible, ideally 60 days or less. If you are a commercial producer, consider the value of heterosis and the advantages built into a well-defined and thought-out crossbreeding program. Identify which individuals which will help reach your goals.
- Have a comprehensive herd health program. Work with your veterinarian to develop a comprehensive vaccination and herd health program. If you do not have documentation, you cannot prove how your cattle were immunized.
- Optimize stocking rate and pasture management. Forages in various paddocks need appropriate rest periods. A cost effective grazing principle is to use standing dormant forages instead of hay during the dormant season.
- Develop a ranch management calendar. The management calendar should include the following dates: bull turn-in and pickup (hence subsequent calving dates), weaning and marketing dates, when to work calves for vaccinations, when to conduct breeding soundness evaluations (for bulls, cows, and heifers). Evaluate and plan the grazing program, knowing that changes will be necessary as the year progresses.
- Remain flexible. Above all else, an intentional producer will learn to be flexible, since so many variables are out of one’s control. Having a plan, working the plan, but pivoting as needed.
Reprinted from Bud Williams’ Musings. Sign up for access to reflections on life and livestock (marketing and stockmanship) at stockmanship.com.
Posted December 8th, 2012 — Written by: Bud Williams — Filed in Bud’s Musings, Marketing
This is a direct quote from an article I read awhile back.
“The name of an article in a non-farm magazine was “Gulf hypoxia thought to be caused by agricultural run off.” Yet this year it was 33% the predicted size and no one knows why science failed to be right.”
No, it was not that science failed to be right, it was that they guessed wrong, and that is not science. Guessing is what people who have an agenda “call” science. Science is when something is studied until they know that it is right and it can be proved. There is so much guessing about things in the future that to try and make the guessing legitimate they call it science, and then try to have it accepted as proven.
This is much like the livestock markets. Most people want to guess what the prices will be in the future. These guesses often fail to be right then it is blamed on something else. Always deal with real things not guesses or hopes. The things that are real are today’s prices not what they may be in the future. There is one thing about today’s prices, they are easy to prove. That must be very scientific. It will be very hard to prove that prices in the future are right until we get there, that must not be very scientific.
Bud Williams died a few years ago, but his thoughts, videos, and stockmanship teachings are kept available by his wife and daughter at stockmanship.com. There is a massive amount of information necessary for becoming competent and improving at developing relationships with animals and people.
Could have played that classic Smithfield Fair song yesterday when i received the call from the highway department guys that the highway is full of sheep! Sheep In the Road. Thankfully, Dallas and I were already up at my farm tending to the cattle when the call came through. Frustratingly, however, just 20 minutes earlier we had been with the sheep cutting down scrub trees and brush in the timber for them to eat. Killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. Nevertheless, all but about 20 head were strung out about a 1/4 of a mile along Hwy Y. Usually, I’m absolutely and totally ticked that the sheep are out. This time was way worse, because they had never been out of the perimeter fence, only before out of the confines I had set for them. Although, I kept the sheep netting ‘hot’ (very well electrified), there was always something knocking it over, sometimes deer, sometimes the guard dogs, sometimes a lamb that decides it’s invincible gets tangled in it and through its struggles wads up and takes down a good section. So, even though the tangled lamb didn’t get out – all the rest do. Untangling a struggling lamb from electric netting can be a challenge, but they sure are happy to get free! The sheep have just become FAR TOO burdensome. I’ve tried for three years to make them work in my system, but they are just too much work. They can certainly be used for pasture management, but the constant threat to their lives (predators, mud, water, heat, getting lost) is more than I’m willing to take on anymore. Add to the fact that sheep are worth far less than cattle right now and the economics and quality of life for keeping sheep are simply not there. So, with this escape, the sheep selling off has been fastracked to hopefully within the next 30 days, although some of the lambs may be too young to sell. However, the vast majority of them should be gone soon. At my age, I’m going to to cut back on work load and the sheep will go. The marketing starts next Thursday, with sorting off all fat ewes (those who have lost lambs, so aren’t suckled down) and the older winter born feeder lambs and they’ll go to Midwest Exchange Regional Stockyards in Mexico, MO. Once those are off, then the feeder lambs’ moms will fatten quickly and then they’ll go to market. After that, I’ll see how the nursing ewes and spring lambs look and make a decision as to when to market them. I’m really disappointed that the sheep won’t work out – I had such high hopes of them being part of my grazing management plan, but they are just too much work and worry Perhaps if they were located closer to our home, it would be better, but driving 35 minutes to check them nearly everyday is more than what i want to spend, plus too many times i’d have to round them up and too much death loss to predation. CHeers! tauna