Horns

It looks like the proposed ten-dollar per head horn deduction has been rescinded. The one-dollar per horn penalty is still in place. Nothing has changed.

My understanding of the confusion is that the Saskatchewan Cattle Feeders Association was behind this initiative. And rightly so, because horns do cause a lot of carcass bruising on finished animals, and the poor cattle feeder has to absorb the bruising discounts.

Most of the bigger feedlots won’t even buy cattle with horns on. It just costs too much to have them dehorned. It costs them too much if they don’t do it too, in carcass discounts from the packers. They won’t bother with them.

Some of the small backgrounders just love buying horned cattle. They don’t have to bid against the big feedlots so they can buy them cheaper. Their time is not as valuable as the big lots. They haven’t penciled out their time and extra care and some antibiotics or the lack of gain on the calves while they are healing.

So they are saying, “Don’t impose a ten-dollar horn penalty. More people might start dehorning. We don’t want that. We make too much money buying cattle with horns on, then dehorning them, healing them up, growing them out, and selling them”.

There goes twenty years of me trying to convince people that they would make more money if they dehorned. Did I convince the wrong people? No, they always knew it. They just let me ramble on because they knew most producers wouldn’t pay any attention to me anyway.

They also convinced the force behind the ten dollar horned cattle penalty to drop it. Really who cares? They should drop the one-dollar per horn penalty too, in my opinion. If people are willing to accept five to ten cents per pound less, because they didn’t get around to dehorning what is another two dollars going to do?

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