Hi Bud and Eunice. I have been wanting to talk to you for a while but I thought I would wait and see how things shook out for us.
This has been an exciting winter. Everyone wants to talk about cows, I want to talk about feed. We have been working hard at saving our feed for the winter months to make it possible for us to carry dry bred cows if the opportunity presented itself. People were sick about seeing all the grass going to waste, and even asking if they could use it if we weren’t going to. We just told them we were letting it recover and the cows would eat it this winter. We picked up 80 or so bred cows this winter for $950, and put them out on that wasted grass. We had no idea our neighbors kept such good track of us until one said, “Bob said you didn’t start feeding cows till Christmas so I had to drive over and see what you were up to. Your cows were all over and I didn’t see any fences.”
We told him, “Actually we didn’t feed until the end of January. We let the cows out every morning to free range over the grass and alfalfa fields, and the dogs put them back in every night. It sure has made the feed stretch.”
Most of what the cows ate was crop residue. We are still sitting on the stockpile, waiting for the snow conditions improve so they might be able to graze it. That is all I have to say about grass and dogs, except that they rule!
After the first of the year, we sent out feelers to see if anyone was buying bred cows. We called one buyer, and boy was he negative. I think he would have really depressed us had we talked to him before we had learned so much from you. “So you got some cows you’d sell, huh? Well, I know a guy over in Oregon that did the same thing as you. He bought some $1300 cows hoping the price would go up and he brought them home and they were way older than he thought and they calved way sooner and the price isn’t going to go up because there isn’t enough grass in the US because of drought. Nobody wants to buy cows.” This is what he told us.
I told . . . . to ignore everything he said. We did not buy cows hoping the price would go up so I could sell them. We bought undervalued cows that we are prepared to keep. We do not need to sell them. In fact, I hope the prices go down so I can buy some more. Furthermore, I hope they all calve way sooner, and some did and that was a wonderful thing, which I will tell you about in a minute. I don’t know anything about aging cattle, but I guess I’ll learn, and that will be good. I hope for rain for those in the south, but if it doesn’t come, I don’t know a lot about the cattle market, but it might make my calves worth more, since there won’t be as many cows.
Well luck was against us, and the cattle market went up, and sadly, made our cows worth more. We saw the spike, and shipped those 80 cows for next bred cow sale and the sale barn didn’t ship them back home because “nobody wanted them”, they sent us a check for $1500 per cow. Those $950 cows that had the nerve to calve early sold the highest for $1720. We owned those cattle for less than 3 months and never fed them hay. I love to do the math.
What now? We sit and wait. I love grass and I love money. I like cows too, and maybe we’ll buy some more when we see an opportunity. I hope the prices keep going up so our calves will be worth more this fall. I hope the prices go down so I can buy more cows. Farming is so fun. I do feel really bad about that measly $300 check we send you once a year for your web-site. Shall I send you $15,000? We really owe you both a lot.