I spent the last week on a crew weaning calves. Talk about frustrating and disheartening… The cattle were in groups of 120 to 200 per pasture (largest pasture was only about 4,000 acres). Typical of ranches here . . . . . they spend most of their time in pickups checking water lines and little (if any) time in the cattle. As soon as they get close to the pens they start trying to push them hard (from the back of course) with the expected response of the cattle to stampede and scatter. I saw more cattle roped and loaded into trailers just to get them to the pens than I’ve seen in thirty years.
Yesterday really took the cake. We had another stampede, and I followed one group to the back of the pasture, got them settled and drove them to the pens. The boss opened the gate and six cowboys and the manager come at a run and building their loops. Most of the crew were upset with me for driving the cattle to the pen rather than “cowboying up” and roping them one by one in the pasture.
At that point I just rode off in disgust. I just can’t figure out why these outfits can’t see just how much money they are burning up doing things they way they do.
This is an interview that Grahame Rees conducted in Australia with one of our former Australian students. Many of you folks may remember meeting Grahame at some of our schools here in the U.S. Grahame is now teaching Stockmanship and Marketing in Australia.
Just wanted to share with you some of my experiences this past year. With having you to help me out I figure these are good times to press that limits and good times to try things because we have you as support and advice. This year I started out with a middle aged herd of March calving cows, as well as a group of Aug-Nov calving cows so I had the calves still on them through the winter. In March I sold the cow calf pairs I had wintered first the calves and then the cows three weeks later. I bought back in with bred cows mostly calving in May and June, (mainly late calvers from Feb, Mar, April calving herds, and mostly 3 year old cows) I got them for fat price or in some cases below fat price. So it was good trade for me as the calves that I sold were over valued and the cows sold for fat price. In June it looked like the market on cow calf pairs was up enough to sell pairs however, I did not end up doing very well on the few I sold. It seems breeding cattle are usually better to sell private as I would learn later in the year when I sold my bred cows. Many of the May calvers were ready to breed back,there condition was improving and therefore there conception rate was really good and so they backed up and joined the March calvers. In Sept I sold the March calves and some of the calves from the May pairs as well. The prices were good and I figured if the conditions were right I would like to sell, all my March calvers and wanted them to be in good condition. As it turned out in Nov I was able to trade out of my March calvers and buy cow calf pairs, It basically worked out I was able to trade straight a cross breds for pairs. Right now I have a wide range of calf sizes and not really in a hurry to move on them however the cow market and the feeder market are up, I am waiting on my next trade. So far it is looking like there are some deals on cow calf pairs, bred cows and also buying and keeping heifer calves for replacements looks like a good deal. We will see right now we are still getting some really cold weather and these pairs are doing quite well so I am thinking they will work best for my situation until the weather breaks.
My bills are paid, I am enjoying myself. My stockmanship is improving I would give myself a 6 out of 10. I am learning lots and surviving, there were some highs and some lows. Bud just seems to have a nose for the issue behind the issue, he made me cut to the chase and face it a few times to keep me from giving up. So I give myself a 6 on 10 but the year I give a 10 out of 10, lots of learning going on.
Thanks Bud and Eunice, and also thanks to the many others who are part of this. How many times did it happen were I have a problem and someone asked Bud a question that answered it, seems like it happens constantly.
Bud Williams Stockmanship • Eunice Williams • 1519 E Erie Street, Apt #206
Springfield, MO 65804 • 417-719-4910 • firstname.lastname@example.org