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Its disappointing in the margins for cattle producers in this country. Its virtually a year round make work project, and I really have a hard time believing straight cattle guys can exist with these tight margins. I've been a mixed guy with what I believe is a solid producing herd, and the margins aren't there to facilitate what needs to be purchased and used to maintain a good herd. I'm willing to give up the loss to gain grain commodity prices, but starting to think I may not need the extra work just to use marginal land. Tough pill to swallow, especially when I look at beef prices in the store, and wonder WITF is taking all the profit. The consumer is getting fleeced also......big profit companies I fear are making a killing.
 

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Stats Canada has a chart that shows ranchers make about a third of what grain guys make, on money invested, there’s a reason I have a mountain of old equipment that is patched together.
 

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it’s definitely not an easy task to be profitable with a cow/calf operation. Mine is subsidized from other enterprises as well.
 

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A few of our cattle friends are selling as much as they can direct to consumer. The small meat shops are all booked up a year in advance so that seams to be the bottleneck. There is a movement right now to buy local, hopefully it lasts. I know this depends on your location if this is an option or not. Need some population to sell to. Then there are always the dingbats that think producers are wallowing in cash. Just go to the comments section on Facebook.

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We haven’t had a healthy Ag Industry since BSE hit. This idea of growing food to burn in cars and jets is nuts and the fact that are Liberal party thinks burnIng Natural Gas is somehow better then Coal to make power is nuts. But we are building new Coal mines to ship it to China and compete for rail and port capacity with grain seems to be real left environmental stupid thinking
I feel for cow calf guys because I don’t think anyone realizes the fall out coming from sky high feed grain prices on prairies. And somehow the consumer thinks every farmer is getting rich, even some grain guys are starting to think there getting rich In 2021. I’m willing to put money on it that the large food companies are the only ones that end up rich when the sky falls.
 

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I understand your frustration. Every year after Christmas is over I get the books done for the year. When I am lucky the cows are still out grazing and I have a few days to crunch numbers and see how poorly we do on the cow/calf enterprise. Since 2002 when I came back to the farm/ranch there have only been two years that we were ahead running the cow/calf enterprise versus selling our hay and renting out the pasture. These were 2014 and 2015. Kind of hard to believe that we have wasted nearly two decades. Luckily, shortly into the new year we are usually back feeding cows and too busy to think about such things. ;)
The grain operation has done all the heavy lifting since 2006. When people tell me "all you have to do is grab onto the cows tail and they will pull you through" I sometimes feel like telling them that was a decent theory back in 1960, but is now a little out of date.
I do agree that direct marketing could increase your gross income substantially and net income by a HUGE amount if you take time to develop the relationships and market. Otherwise, you have to hold onto the fact that your land has increased in value 3 to 6 times (depending on where you are) in the last 20 years - in nominal dollar terms. If you don't own the land, don't market direct, and have to pay cash for all your feed I am glad you have a sharper pencil than I do. And I feel for you. I suspect a lot of cattlemen would make a lot more profit by selling all their cows and starting a custom grazing enterprise. The only thing is that then you have to pay income tax. And NO ONE hates income tax more than ranchers.
 

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We are our own worst enemy as well. Ever try to buy grass? It’s more profitable to rent. Those on most of the producer boards are old operations that are paid for. A lot of the times they’re old geezers that are out of touch as well. I have a lot of marginal land that doesn’t grow much for grain. It’s better suited to cattle. It might be broke if I keep getting older and the cattle side of the operation doesn’t make as much as it should.
 

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We are our own worst enemy as well. Ever try to buy grass? It’s more profitable to rent. Those on most of the producer boards are old operations that are paid for. A lot of the times they’re old geezers that are out of touch as well. I have a lot of marginal land that doesn’t grow much for grain. It’s better suited to cattle. It might be broke if I keep getting older and the cattle side of the operation doesn’t make as much as it should.
That’s the problem. Lots of geezers hold the keys. Young guys are
We are our own worst enemy as well. Ever try to buy grass? It’s more profitable to rent. Those on most of the producer boards are old operations that are paid for. A lot of the times they’re old geezers that are out of touch as well. I have a lot of marginal land that doesn’t grow much for grain. It’s better suited to cattle. It might be broke if I keep getting older and the cattle side of the operation doesn’t make as much as it should.
Agreed!
Any expectations of earning an acceptable living on solely cow calf operation is delusional. They still fit in mixed operations as a complement to the grain as long as the workload does not interfere with the crop side. In areas best suited for cows grass and feed costs keep pace with inflation but calf prices haven’t. There isn’t a workable solution to save the industry as we know it long term. BSE and preceding drought wiped out a number of up and coming ranchers and set back those who managed to survive. Nothing is ever secure but I never have felt secure ranching. How do you attract entrants with high risk and fleeting reward? Demographics are not in favour neither. A large group of aging ranchers clinging on with little transition to younger generations will bite us in the next 5 to 10 years. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing but I look around at a number of well established large operations almost too much for the young ones to take over if they even want to. Some cases 3 generations working alongside but wonder when grandpa goes.
 

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Our grain outgrew our cattle operation, sold the cows about 10 yrs ago. Best decision ever, way easier to manage only one, and renting grass and selling hay makes as much money as owning cattle or more, as stated above. And no work.
 

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By the cost of a steak in the local store you would think the cattle producer's were high rolling. What a broken system.
 

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Our grain outgrew our cattle operation, sold the cows about 10 yrs ago. Best decision ever, way easier to manage only one, and renting grass and selling hay makes as much money as owning cattle or more, as stated above. And no work.
I disagree - making and selling hay is a lot of work!
 

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It's all broken, $2 for 100 grams of split peas? when did anyone get paid for splits? $3 for a loaf of bread, I've heard they can make up to 100 loaves from a bushel of wheat. I've made beer for 30 years, 5-10 lbs of barley will make 5 gallons, (60 bottles), it depends on what you want for a product.

The media makes us all out to be rich MOFO'ers living of the rest of the people. They will come for what is rightfully theirs in our life time
 

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It's all broken, $2 for 100 grams of split peas? when did anyone get paid for splits? $3 for a loaf of bread, I've heard they can make up to 100 loaves from a bushel of wheat. I've made beer for 30 years, 5-10 lbs of barley will make 5 gallons, (60 bottles), it depends on what you want for a product.

The media makes us all out to be rich MOFO'ers living of the rest of the people. They will come for what is rightfully theirs in our life time
100% agree. As someone who is both grain and cow calf I can honestly say we get raped on both sides, only difference with the cattle is they don't give you any lube.
 

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I usually do just about the opposite of what the latest greatest recommendations are to be profitable. I throw those cattle publications away without looking at them. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a bale of hay or a bushel of grain, but my dad sure did until he sold his cow herd 45 years ago.

Right now the slide value on prices is totally inverted. Why not gently grow them to 900 lbs and take $2,000 ? The answer is, most people don’t have grass hay off marginal land to feed the cows calves and yearlings except the geezers. Almost everybody else sends the cows to pasture for a summer Holliday and then write cheques for 9 months of the year to buy feed or grow it on good land.

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I usually do just about the opposite of what the latest greatest recommendations are to be profitable. I throw those cattle publications away without looking at them. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a bale of hay or a bushel of grain, but my dad sure did until he sold his cow herd 45 years ago.

Right now the slide value on prices is totally inverted. Why not gently grow them to 900 lbs and take $2,000 ? The answer is, most people don’t have grass hay off marginal land to feed the cows calves and yearlings except the geezers. Almost everybody else sends the cows to pasture for a summer Holliday and then write cheques for 9 months of the year to buy feed or grow it on good land.

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There is not a 900 pound calf within Canada right now that is worth 2000 bucks, unless you pin 500 in cash to his tail.
 

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Haystack, it appears somebody in the ag office made a mistake writing that report. This is Heartland Brandon report last week.

Feeder CattleRange
Steers
900-1000150-160
800-900157-168
700-800174-185
600-700193-205
500-600218-230
400-500246-260
300-400266-280
Heifers
900-1000140-151
800-900145-156
700-800155-166
600-700161-172
500-600179-190
400-500197-209
300-400205-221
 

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Figured it was perfectly inversed, or maybe someone was just recycling their own cattle for some hanky panky. Never rule anything out............. ^ outdated term too ^

Oh cool, I’ve got two new calves off heifers and I haven’t started until March ! That little white bugger’s pecker must have been as long as his legs.
 

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It's all broken, $2 for 100 grams of split peas? when did anyone get paid for splits? $3 for a loaf of bread, I've heard they can make up to 100 loaves from a bushel of wheat. I've made beer for 30 years, 5-10 lbs of barley will make 5 gallons, (60 bottles), it depends on what you want for a product.

The media makes us all out to be rich MOFO'ers living of the rest of the people. They will come for what is rightfully theirs in our life time
Here are some numbers that will make us all pissed off!! They get 350 bottles of beer from a bushel of malt barley, average yield here is about 85, which is 29,750 bottles per acre, and is 4,760,000 bottles from a 1/4 section!!! The alcohol tax on that is north of 2.5 million, that goes to our government, while we might make 30k after expenses from that 1/4 of barley!! There is less than 2 cents of barley in a beer, the fricken cap on the bottle is worth more than the barley it took to make that beer!!

As for wheat, the can make approximately 60 loaves from a bushel, so that works out to about 12 cents of wheat in a loaf! So all the middle men between the farm and grocery store all all make more off a loaf of bread. than us farmers who take all the risk, for little reward!!

Now here's one for our climate change gurus who love to fly away on holidays 4 times a year, but bash oil and gas!! A 747 holds about 240,000 litres of fuel which will last for about 15 hours. I farm 2000 acres and that amount of fuel would last me 8 years!! If i grew wheat on those 16,000 acres, I would have close to a million bushels of wheat...take that million bushels of wheat and make bread from it and it would make 60 million loaves of bread...all from the fuel from ONE 15 hour flight of a 747, I could feed 1000's of people!!! But those climate change gurus have no f***ing idea how they get their food, or what it involves to produce it!!

The average age of farmers continues to climb, farms are getting larger and larger, margins have been very slim for the last few years...it's no wonder the next generation of farmers would rather get a 100k a year job, with less stress and not have a huge debt load with no guarantee of even breaking even some years! I tried to make a $100 bet with a stats Canada guy a couple of years ago...I said, I will bet you that there is not a kid coming out of high school in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, or Ottawa that would want to be a farmer. Needless to say...he would not take the bet!! If you are not born into it, chances are you will never be a farmer!! Just my 2 cents on what you brought up NVW.

As for the cattle side it seems to be even more risk with less reward than the grain side! It is tough to make a buck when we have to actually feed for 8 months that the cattle can't be out grazing! Feeding $100 bales of hay, bedding with $25 straw and and and and...leaves little in the end! I got out of the cow/calf side of things 10 years ago and have no regrets!
 
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