Cattle/Grain Squash

Posted June 16th, 2011 — Filed in Marketing

Question: Can you explain how the crush works or should I join your site for more information on this. I have a basic understanding of it but I don’t know how to play the commodities with it. If that makes sense. Maybe it is too risky but I would like to see if it work in the actual commodities market.

Answer: I guess you went to Ann’s class as I don’t use the fat cattle, feeder cattle, grain spread as a way to trade commodities  (I think she calls this a “Squash”).   We don’t talk about how to trade commodities on our site.  Since I’m not a bonded commodity broker I’m not allowed to do that.

I used the  information from that spread  when I was buying cattle for the feedlot in Canada as it really helped tell me what people thought the future cash prices would be.  Not what they would be but what they thought they would be. That helped me know when the middle weight cattle should be sold or kept as well as using over or underpriced.

A commodity broker really likes this spread as it generates a lot of commissions. If you were to study it for several years and knew some of the extremes that it will go to it would probably work alright. Actually there is less risk and more reward to just trade cattle or grain alone, not as a three way spread.

Marketing School

Posted May 5th, 2011 — Filed in Marketing

Bud and I just completed a 2-day Marketing School, and I’m still trying to catch-up.

People attended from Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa, Kentucky, Illinois, Wyoming, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri and Kansas. As usual, after this school Bud and I decided that "This was the best group of students yet."

This will probably be the last Marketing School that we will do. Our daughter and son-in-law (Tina and Richard McConnell) videoed the school. We plan on trying to make it available for sale on DVD sometime in the near future. As usual, it will be pretty crude, but there will be a lot of good information on it.

We gave the folks attending a 2-month, complementary subscription to the website. We’re looking forward to receiving comments and questions from these new subscribers.

How Did Ross Do?

Posted April 19th, 2011 — Filed in Marketing, Stockmanship

Question: Ross did a great job on his essay. Do you know how he did?

Answer: Not surprisingly, he didn’t place. Even though more and more “Individuals” are understanding the benefits of Bud’s methods of Stockmanship and Marketing, the “Livestock Industry” still isn’t ready for this.

The Future of the Livestock Industry is in Good Hands

Posted April 17th, 2011 — Filed in Marketing, Stockmanship, Testimonials

Ross Wahlert is 16 years old and is one of our Stockmanship and Marketing students.  He entered a National FFA Risk Management Contest with the following essay.

Controlled Risks
Risk Management is just one crucial part of the agriculture industry that must be understood.  There are many risks involved in Agriculture, such as droughts, diseases in crops and animals, high fuel prices, and many other situations that could cause a loss of money or could cause you to be less profitable.  Identifying and minimizing these risks can make the difference between a profitable year and a break even year.

Among my Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) in which I trade thirty head of calves, several risks may be found.  The three risks that pose a large threat to me and my SAE are: sickness and death, cattle not gaining well, and not enough net dollars on a trade.  Managing and minimizing all three of these risks has required skill, determination, and the willingness to learn from my mistakes.

Sickness like foot rot, pneumonia, and other diseases in a calf can cause a large number of problems for the time you own the animal.  These diseases can lower the quality of the animal or lead to death.  My strategy for preventing sickness starts as soon as I bring (more…)

More Good News

Posted December 31st, 2010 — Filed in Marketing, Testimonials

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 . . . .

Success Story

Posted December 22nd, 2010 — Filed in Marketing, Testimonials

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!

Bud Williams Marketing School

Posted October 20th, 2010 — Filed in Marketing

Question:     I am trying to find information on the Bud Williams Marketing School. Is Cornerstone Cattle Marketing the course now?

Answer:     I’m afraid that I’m not going to be much help. Allan Nation (editor of Stockman Grass Farmer) talked Bud into putting on a Marketing School in 2002.  These schools proved to be very popular but at our age they were not something that we wanted to continue doing.  We agreed to teach Ann Barnhardt Bud’s methods and to allow her to use Bud’s name in her advertising.  From November 2005 until the Spring of 2010 we were happy to recommend her schools since we knew the material that she was teaching.  For some reason Ann got very upset with us this spring and has taken Bud’s name off of her schools.  We don’t know what else she has changed in her curriculum so we are hesitant to recommend it.

Comment:     Thanks for the information. I am very sad to hear what happened with the marketing program. Most of the times I have seen something like this it is always the same story. The person that learned the method to teach starts out explaining to everyone about how they actually knew nothing about what they are teaching, but were just fortunate enough to learn from the expert, and how they are honored to just have the opportunity to help spread the information. Somehow within a few years they tend to forget where it came from and the fact they really know nothing more than what they were taught in order to teach. The worst part is they forget the fact they are not true experts in the field, and all they have ever done was teach the information. They tend to start finding things they think are flaws in the program. They go into a revision process correcting things when they just don’t know enough about the subject to really understand. The final product tends to become a watered down mess.

Idaho Testimonial

Posted June 24th, 2010 — Filed in Marketing, Testimonials

 I have been studying your math.  Thanks for all the help you give us all.  I thought I would give you feedback.  Your explanations are clear and easy to understand.  I remember sitting in some marketing classes and people would just say their cost was a certain set amount like say $.70.  I was sitting there thinking….mine changes almost everyday.   The more weight we gained the smaller the costs became.  I finally decided these people must run 10,000 stockers or something.  Then I found myself making all marketing decisions based on my cost of gain rather than watching the market.  It was like a disease, and only when my cost got low enough would we ever consider selling.  Luckily, you picked up on this and made this rash statement and it was like getting a giant shot in rear….”if you always sold overvalued and bought undervalued, you would probably never need to even know your cost of gain.”(Bud Williams).  I realized right then that you were trying to help me see that I was ignoring the important thing and focusing on a minor issue.  I think maybe the cattle square is responsible for this because it doesn’t work really well with little or no weight gain, so it is tempting to hold on to overvalued animals waiting until it does work, meanwhile passing up profit potential.

Cost of Gain . . . Cost to Keep (more)

Posted December 20th, 2009 — Filed in Marketing, Testimonials

Comment from a student:   Take a look at El Reno this week.  There is report of 6 #1 LM 558 pound steers that sold for $93.00  (Fleshy)  Just above them was the 557 pound steers at normal flesh that sell for $104.50  The fleshy calf cost $518.94 and the other cost $582.06   This market would have paid me $63.12 to take one pound off the fleshy calves.

This is where I totally get the “cost to keep.”  I have numerous trades where I take fat bawling bulls and turn them into thin yearling steers and loose weight doing it by putting them on cheap, mature grass.  Although I lost weight, I still made a profit.  It still cost me money to take off the weight in grass, time, skill, labor, freight and vet supplies.  But when I took them back to the sale at a lower weight than I bought them, they paid me for negative gain because I replaced them with a heavier, fat bawling bull. 

This may not make sense to anyone but me.  But there is real, spendable cash left over after each trade.

Keep smiling!  I know you mean it.

Cost of Gain . . . Cost to Keep

Posted December 18th, 2009 — Filed in Marketing, Testimonials

Question: . . . . after our visit to you. . .  we went home , and put your stockmanship to work for us, we are very happy for it.    We did not talk alot about marketing, but I was wondering about using cost of keep, verses BPCOG in the winter months? Ann has a article on here Q&A section that says cost of keep is bad, if your creating positive cashflow is this not what you want?

Answer:     Ann doesn’t understand Cost to Keep therefore she thinks that it has to be bad. The example she used had nothing to do with marketing.  The loss was because several died and there was only enough money left to buy what they bought.  We had nothing to do with the trade, didn’t even know it was happening. There are lots of things that don’t fit with the sale barn ticket. 

The BPCOG is just cost of gain with a profit. Cost to Keep is just what it cost plus a profit. They are exactly the same except the BPCOG is using per pound gain in weight or difference in weight and the Cost to Keep just uses the total cost whether there is a weight gain or not.
Use what works for you and makes a profit.

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