Posted 5/11/2022 11:32 (#9656259 - in reply to #9655339) Subject: RE: Talk a guy through switching from stuffers to tmr for holsteins-long post
As a guy similar in age who thought I’d make a full time job taking Holsteins to 9 weights coming out of college, I don’t know that large capital investments for cattle are best in the future. In my opinion those making the best money in the cattle feeding industry have paid for buildings, feed a lot of raised things beside discount free #2 yellow corn, or are doing it on a part time small scale catching bargains along the way when sourcing calves.
When my family went from 500 to 750 head of calves probably five years ago our additional gains didn’t offset the added work. The best margins were on the first calves sourced at the lowest cost, raised in older paid for barns with enough square footage, and fed with a lot of damaged or slightly wet corn. The last 250 calves meant buying 70-85# calves giving up quality or pushing the top ones because you couldn’t let half go to someone else or buying at higher seasoned times of the year just because that’s when a pen is empty to get two turns in X time. Those 250 then either got kicked out on lots too soon, packed in tighter, or had a custom feeding fee through the muddiest winter months all while eating the better corn that could get hauled to town. We’ve since reduced down to around 300 calves a year to allow more time for the goat feedlot and have enough square feet under roof for all sub 500# calves that’s not rented space.
I’m sure that if I made a capital investment into more buildings and switching to TMR that I would be feeding in 20 years with them but the money could probably get a better return in another sector when I look at how to best invest what I have going forward. Until the packers aren’t allowed to stage or have lucrative deals with large feedlots, the small feed yard is going to be hard to expand without heavy subsidization from other sources.