Whew, this weather. As I write this, ol’ Mother Nature is giving us a little reminder that winter isn’t over yet. Rain, then snow, with wind, and then tomorrow highs in the single digits. For everyone out there calving, you are definitely in my thoughts.

That said, while the weather is cooling off, the cattle market is hot, hot, hot. Last week I heard of several sales of 4-5 weight calves knocking on that $4 range. Who’d have ever thought? Cow numbers are low and the drought still has a grip on several regions (including this one), so we can certainly look forward to some pretty strong markets for the next couple of years.

Let’s Run the Numbers

Producers that have more calves in their pastures, who are growing faster, are going to have a big advantage come sales time.

Let’s take a look at an example:

Two neighbors, Ole and Sven, each have 100 bred cows to calve out. Ole operates a little tighter ship, so he has a 5% advantage in weaning rate (live calves born and kept alive until weaning). This might not seem like a lot—lets say a difference between 93% and 88%—but in this market?

If they each average 500 lbs at weaning, and the markets stay strong—around that $2.50 mark—then Ole is taking home around $6,000 more than Sven, or about $60 per cow.

That’s assuming that the calves weigh the same.

What if Ole spent a little time and got his calves up and running sooner, did a little better job with managing the pastures and nutrition program, and had an additional 25 pounds of pay weight at weaning?

Another $60 per calf, along with the additional 5 live calves, for an advantage of about $5,500.

All told, Ole outperformed Sven by $11,500—or $115— per cow. Not too shabby.

It's Hard to Get Over a Good Start

At Maddock Ranch Supply, we carry everything needed to get calves up, suckling, and keep them healthy. We have post-calving vaccines, prebiotics and antibiotics, Strong-Start appetite enhancer and scour preventer, Jump-Start Microbial Gel to get their gut up and working, and Opti-Prime colostrum replacer, just to name a few.

The point is that it’s really hard to get over a good start. Calves that get up immediately, start strong, suckle, and don’t get sick are far more likely to stay alive and thrive through the spring, up until weaning. Give your calves the start they deserve, and reap the benefits come sale time.

Best of luck to those who are calving. Weather looks to shape up later this week, but before then, stop by the store in Harvey; or give Lindsay or Amanda a call at 701-324-2402 to learn more about Maddock Ranch Supply’s calving supplies.

Till next time, thanks for considering Maddock Ranch Supply for all of your ranch and livestock needs.

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