Buying store cattle this year was not an easy job
Weather-wise, this back-end has turned out to be very good. However, the recent downpours have brought home the fact that winter -- and the time for the housing of cattle -- is fast approaching.
Over the past few weeks, I have been carrying out some much needed repairs on my cattle shed. Some gates have had to be replaced, shutters which had come loose have had to be repaired and in some cases renewed, and other little jobs around the yard, which had been put on the long finger, have also had to be addressed. I never cease to be amazed at how much satisfaction can be gained by doing jobs such as these and how little time it usually takes to get them done.
All my store cattle have been bought at this stage. It has not been an easy job, with the dramatic rise in prices. One outcome of this difficulty is that my average buying weight has dropped back about 6-8kg on last year. However, because I started buying at an earlier stage this year, I am hoping that this weight deficit will have been eliminated before they go into the sheds for the winter.
I have been replacing my cattle immediately after the finished cattle are sold. This is primarily because of the uncertainty of supply of Friesian store cattle resulting from the high number of calf exports last year. In order to do this successfully, I have had to ensure that sales of my finished cattle were managed in an orderly fashion.
Of course, it is very important to get the last cent when you are selling beef, but if the price you pay for these extra few cents is total disruption of your farm management system, then the price could be too high.
Delaying selling beef cattle for a few weeks just to get a few extra cents more doesn't make much sense either if you find that the price of store cattle has risen even more in the meantime.
I learned a long time ago that dealing with far-away meat plants and holding out for a better price can cause a lot of unwelcome disruption to my farming system.
The fact that I am still waiting for that extra 1p/lb promised to me 15 years ago by a factory situated in another province serves as a good reminder to me.