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Splitting Cattle According to Tag Colors

By January 20, 2006May 22nd, 2009No Comments

Here is a problem that seems to get worse every year. Instead of just grumbling about it maybe if we make people aware of it we might get some co-operation. Some people just do not want to get their cattle here for sorting until late in the afternoon or evening. Why? Who knows? We are here before daylight on sorting days all fall and spring to weigh the overnight stand cattle. Then on most sorting days we run out of cattle and sit around waiting for more cattle to show up. Some days we waste three or four hours of daylight then work until ten or eleven at night weighing the twelve or fourteen hundred head of cattle that showed up after four P.M.

We often receive cattle from places like Minton or Dinsmore before noon, yet cattle thirty miles away don’t arrive until after 6 P.M. What is wrong with this picture?

Sometimes cattle are delivered late because the local cattle liner drivers have to make three or five trips here in the day or there are special circumstances such as break downs. That part we can handle and understand. The part that is not necessary is the goose neck and small trailer loads and the one trip liner loads that arrive late. Why wait? Late in the fall or at this time of year the cattle are in the corral anyway.

We assume people take their time getting here so that they can fill their cattle as much as possible before leaving home. If that is your plan, you can get them as full as they are ever going to get, by 9 A.M. so load then. They will arrive here with pot bellies and all covered in manure. We will grade them into the cheaper pens because if they are pot bellied when we grade them they have to go to the pot bellied pens. Maybe people should be more concerned about price per head than fill. The two will not equate.

Almost everyone gets up early all spring during calving so I really can’t understand why they don’t want to get up and get going early on shipping day. That is usually only one day a year. So why not do it? It is the most important day of the year on your ranch.

The sad fact is that it costs us more to work at night. If it costs us more it is going to cost you more. Qualified staff is hard enough to find and keep without working them half of the night too. Margins are thin enough in the auction market business already. What choice do we have, especially when most of this is unnecessary? Usually it is just the result of poor planning or no planning at all.

We are going to have to start charging a bigger handling charge on cattle delivered and weighed late in the day because it costs us more. Either that or give discounts to those who deliver early. Guess which is the most likely.

Some tips on planning ahead:

  1. Book your truck the same day that you book your cattle.
  2. If you are not shipping everything in the corral, do the sorting a day or two ahead of time, so that on shipping day all you have to do is load out the whole pen full.
  3. If you are shipping calves that are not weaned yet, have them in or close to the corral so that all you have to do on shipping day is sort the cows from the calves and load.
  4. Get up and get going early on shipping day. If Roy and the crew are up at 6 A.M. everybody should be. Early to bed and early to rise and all that stuff…
  5. Make sure corrals and loading facilities are in good repair at least a week ahead of time
  6. Hire truckers who show up on time.
  7. Make sure that all C.C.I.A. tags are in several days in advance, so that the trucker doesn’t have to wait for you to finish that job.
  8. If you have some blemished calves that you don’t want to sell, sort them off a day or two ahead of time. If you want to sell them, ship them, we’ll sell them to the highest bidder but don’t complain about the price. However, there are always some cattle that we tag, and then the owners decide that they would rather take back them home again. It would save you time and money if you watched for these calves and didn’t load them at all, unless you really wanted to sell them.

    E.G. cripples, bent legs, post legs, sickle hocked, down hipped, frozen feet, club feet, humped backed, bent necked, crooked heads, bad eyes, lumps, infected navels, urinary tract infections, freemartins, bent faced or crooked noses, lips missing, lop eared, mange haired, wheezers, chronics, sick, dopey, dyers, diseased, old headed runts, tail missing, tail head deformities, twisted tails, water bellies, pencil gutted, pencil necked, and more.