Comment from a student: The last 4 months of the year were interesting with respect to the cattle markets and marketing. By focusing on the cornerstone of your marketing method [buy the under valued and sell the over valued and let the market tell you what to do] we were able to replace our cattle off grass with lighter cattle. Early in the fall the steer heifer spread was wide so we were buying 60% strs to 40% heifers. As the over all price of calves went up that price gap narrowed and we went to 90-95% strs. Calf prices continued to rise, we were selling calves and replacing them with lighter calves. By the middle of November calf prices were high enough to let us sell calves and trade for solid mouth May calving cows[one for one]. This let us still get the best calf buys and finish loads with cows. Lately cow prices have shot up so it looks like we will sell cows and replace with calves , our winter fed bill paid and profit in the bank. The moral of the story is to have confidence in using the principles of Bud’s marketing regardless of price direction. It can be just as hard to sell in a down market as it is to buy in an up market. In the last 2 years we have become more willing to shift our inventory from calves to cows and vise-versa, taking advantage of the price spread between the two. This year bred cow values lagged the price increase in calves. Creating opportunity. Thanks for opening our eyes, your friends . . . .
Just wanting to wish you and Bud a Happy New Year!
Still use everything I learned from you that weekend we spent together.
The pens we built with the Bud box are wonderful….sooooo easy to
use. Didn’t know it could be so consistently easy and smooth. The only
problem I have had is folks who don’t believe it will work. Skeptics
can really get in the way.
This is from a letter we received from Nancy Lidster (see “Pig Stockmanship” on our Main Homepage).
“A year ago I was ready to call it quits on the handling stuff. I told Don I would give it my absolute best for 6 months and if nothing changed I was going to move on to other things.
It seems things have changed / are changing. I’m getting some work in the states now. We’ve had a couple of companies get me in to do training sessions with all their staff. One company is getting me back for a third time to follow along with their loading crews which lets me be a lot more useful to them and I get to learn a lot just by watching their people progress. . . . . . has the trucking company that hauls most of their pigs putting all their drivers through the online truckers’ course.
Maybe one of the biggest changes is that folks I’ve worked with who had little to say before, are starting to speak up. The procurement manager of the first packing plant I visited gave a presentation in November. I hadn’t heard any comparative figures before and there’s certainly more at play than just my involvement; they’re really committed to doing good handling – not just talking about it. They’ve gone from >10% of carcasses not suitable for their Japanese customers before, to <1 – 2% rejected in the years since. It’s a boost just knowing things like that.
It was a big help getting together with you folks in June and receiving your support and encouragement first hand. Thank you ever so much.
. . . . . As long as there are still people wanting to know more about moving pigs and thinking I can help them with it, I’ll keep giving this my best effort.
Thank you for everything including starting me on this journey.”
Bud and Eunice, inspired by real marketing stories and a post from January 2, 2010 here is my 2010 for review.
Starting in November 2009 and through April 2010 I purchased broken mouth and short solid bred Cows for an average of $514. The value to me was much higher using my costs and the market at the time of purchase to amount to a built in profit on day of purchase of generally $200-300/head.
These old cows were sold on September 2, 2010 for $658 average direct to the packer and their 390# calves for $487 for a total of $1145.
I then turned around a couple weeks later and started buying back. I was able to buy some young to solid mouth Cows for an average of $762 over the course of a month or so.
My costs to run Cows for a year is around $275. So I had sold old Cows and their calves and now had some young cows and up to $108 after my cost to carry.
In November I bought short solid and older bred Cows for .50 and .52/lb or around $650. Here I had Cows and $220 after my cost to carry.
At the end of year I still have money, no debt, and now have replaced my sold Cows with young to old Cows and have money left over. Achieving positive cash flow is not always the easiest to do in an up market but at the last sale there were still nice old cows to buy at significant built in cash flow on today’s market, maybe everyone is out of money and feed after scrambling to buy $1300 young Cows.
Thanks so much Bud and Eunice, Merry Christmas and best wishes in 2011!
We enjoy the website so much I don’t know what we would do without it. It is good to hear of others working through the same problems we are and it is good to hear the answers even if we’ve heard them several times before. I realize that in this learning thing many of us are going through, that our successes do not come in great blazing revelations but rather in little, barely discernable increments and improvements that sometimes can only be recognized by looking back. This makes it a little hard to sit down and put our successes into a story but sometimes it would be nice to hear a little more of this. Some do from time to time. I don’t find it depressing at all to just read of problems because I often times have the same ones, but maybe we could all put forth a little effort this way as a help and encouragement.
You mentioned that the subject of creating good movement comes up more than anything and you know, you’ve heard plenty from me on slow gentle cattle. Thank you for your patience in this for me and I’m sure everyone. I think I skipped over this very important step too quickly in anticipation of greater things to come. Well, there is no greater thing. I have sort of left all and returned to this part of creating good motion, and with this practice I seem to be finding that all those great things start to come together and work like they are supposed to. Just a flatter angle, fewer steps and a lot more patience, and the willingness to settle for a hundred feet today and maybe farther tomorrow and I started to see them RESPOND. Now that is something I can put into a story. This response over a period of time is to the point that the other day I left the tractor that I feed with running at the gate, got out and turned the whole herd around and walked them away about a hundred yards. Clumsy ? yes. mistakes ? yes. success ? YES !!! This may not seem huge to some of you out there but I know you’ve been there to. I do not write this as one who feels he has arrived but as one who is maybe just caught a enough of a glimpse to see the awesome potential of all this. I will still have many questions but thanks again for now. Keep at it everyone and Merry Christmas.
Posted December 18th, 2010 — Filed in Miscellaneous
Question: My wife Sarah and I are livestock and grape farmers at Coonawarra in South Australia and we have both (together- Sarah is a Mining Engineer by trade) completed a Low Stress Stockhandling Course with KLR’s Chook Kealey and Nic Kentish a couple of years ago. Also did the KLR Sell/Buy course about 5 yrs ago with Graeme and Rod in Mt Gambier– been having a great time in the cattle market since.
Here is the story.
A few short years ago we were in Thailand and we visited an Elephant farm/park http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/index.htm in the north of Thailand with the aim of proposing to Sarah on the back of an elephant. Little did I know that this was the only place in the whole country where riding is frowned upon. It turns out that the owner (Lek)takes in animals that have had a hard time in both Burma and Thailand and rehabilitates them, both physically and mentally. Most have suffered a lot of abuse and neglect. Some have had feet or parts of feet and legs blown off with landmines. They are fed back to health and reworked back into the herd.
It is quite an experience to feed a mob of elephants and have the little ones pick up fruit right out of your hands. Having visitors feed the big ones directly apparently is not a good practice as if something goes wrong a visitor looses an arm or a head…they are a lot bigger up close than they look. One interesting thing was when we went for a walk in the jungle with a few adults, it is just something to have a 4 ton animal vanish into the undergrowth only a few yards away from you.
The method in Asia to break in an elephant seems that to beat and goad the tethered animal into complete submission. Only then do they start to train them to command.
As a stockman and someone with some experience of the peasant mentality (in both developed and third world countries) I am unable to see how the break in practice can be changed unless a better and cheaper way can be worked out. This also means that Lek has an unending source of poorly looked after elephants to work with but that is another issue.
Here is the question.
Do you think you could work out a method of breaking in elephants that does not involve the current mental and physical technique?
Probably not a lot of elephants in Independence, Kansas to work with but I figure that they are just another herd animal…
Reading one of your musings a while ago I remember you writing that you could get on pretty much any horse after a half hour or so of work. Maybe some similar techniques could be used? (At a later time and place Sarah said yes and now we have Mawson who is our little man and is 5 mths old).
Answer: A method could be worked out to train elephants that doesn’t involve beating and goading the animals, but this would involve changing the whole culture of the local people and that would be the problem. Eunice and have worked for years and now other people are helping to change the attitude in the US and AUSTRALIA. With these many years of work we have changed a very small percentage of the people that own cattle and sheep. The problem is never the animals it is the people.
People try to use fear, force, or treats to train animals and none of these work all that well. This is where the problem starts. People who don’t want to use fear and force try to use treats or their idea of being “good” to the animal. This works just enough to keep people doing it but is not the solution. To work animals without fear, force or treats it takes an understanding of the animals and what they need. This takes time for someone to learn. Since people would prefer not to spend this time to learn they just keep using whatever they have always used. If someone did try to use a different method the other people would criticize and ridicule them until most people would stop the new and go back to what everyone else was doing.
I realize this didn’t help but at least I got to say what I think.
Many trained elephants are used in zoos and shows in the US. I’m sure that they are not trained the way you said. If you are serious about this I would think you could find out more about their training methods.
Posted December 1st, 2010 — Filed in Testimonials
I have just completed a two day course on “Stress Free Livestock Management” in Australia with Mr. Bruce Maynard.
I am totally in awe of this concept and its “great effect on both livestock and handlers”.
The course presenter Bruce was so passionate about the whole idea and was a real credit to your ideas and he beamed the whole course and was so enthusiastic, even in the near 40 degree heat whilst we were all perishing!!
Just wanted to say thank you for sharing this exciting concept and what a wonderful presenter you have in Bruce Maynard.