Archive for the ‘Roy’s Bullpen’ Category

Old Cows

Monday, February 2nd, 2004

Let us not forget how this whole border closing mess started.

We are having a little problem at the auction markets and probably the slaughter plants too, now that there are subsidies available on slaughter cows. Some people want to bring in any old cow that can still drag herself along. They know that she is not worth anything but they want her to go through the system so that they will be eligible for their subsidy.

Would you want to be the producer that wrecked a multi-billion dollar industry for a $159.00 subsidy? I certainly don’t want to be the market operator who was involved.

A small lump, a slight limp, curly feet and things like that are not the problem. Ancient, hide and bone types, cancer eyes, weak, big-bellied types, major broken lump hole-in the-jaw types and cows of this nature should not come to the auction. The euthanasia should take place somewhere else. The days of dumping this crap off at the auction market are over, and have been since May 20 2003.

Mileage on Manifests

Monday, February 2nd, 2004

Sometimes I think that we offer too much service. Certainly some consignors expect more service than is reasonable. Here is a problem that we and other markets keep running into. They forgot to write on their manifest the mileage/ kilometers the cattle were hauled.

Most of the real cattlemen have it figured out and do it right. My thanks to them for paying attention and doing things right. For the few that can’t get it right, and want to blame everyone else for their ineptness, please read the following several times. Or in some cases have someone read it to you. (more…)


Monday, February 2nd, 2004

It looks like the proposed ten-dollar per head horn deduction has been rescinded.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?


Monday, February 2nd, 2004

[note: This article was written in February, 2004 after B.S.E. was detected in Alberta the previous year.]

Have you ever seen a business that is influenced by emotions as much as the cattle business? I don’t mean just emotions like anger and frustration when you go to load or sort cattle at home with poor or antiquated facilities. In these cases, I have heard of emotions erupting, people leaving the corral, the dog is hiding under the truck and the loudest person out there is left standing lonelier than the Maytag repairman. Time spent designing and building a more efficient corral system has saved more than one man half of his assets. (more…)

Auction Method

Thursday, January 29th, 2004

It may be a little known fact that I was raised on a Purebred Horned Hereford ranch. My grandfather Jake Rutledge homesteaded about twelve miles east of Consort Alberta around 1914.Whether by accident or design I spent most of my youth working with and/or traveling with Jake, whose house was in the same yard as my parents’ house. (more…)

Why are calves with frozen ears and tails discounted at sale time?

Monday, October 15th, 2001

When the ears and the tail are frozen, quite often the feet have been frozen a bit too. Some times the feet are frozen so bad that it is obvious. Sometimes you have to look closely. Other times it is not noticeable until the cattle are pushed with grain. Then the feet start flattening out. The cattle walk and stand and feed similar to foundered cattle. Of course cattle like this do not convert as well and are not of the same value as healthy cattle. (more…)

Prelisting Calves

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2001

Most people have got used to the idea of prelisting or prebooking their calves for the big presorted sales. This is good business for both the sale yard and the consignor. We can make appropriate arrangements for crew, bedding, feeding, etc. We can do some premarketing with the order buyers, and they in turn can do some premarketing of their own. Even the local buyers like to know in advance what we expect in for the sale. This all means stronger orders on your calves. (more…)

Feedback on Horns, Bullcalves from Order buyers and Feedlots

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2001

Cattlepersons Here is some information or feedback that we get from the feedlots and order buyers that money minded cattle people might be interested in. Starting Jan.1 2000 some of the major finishing feedlots will no longer accept any cattle with horns. Horns cause too much carcass bruising. Horned cattle take up more bunk space. The cost of de-horning feeder cattle including the lack of weight gain during the recovery period is just not efficient for the bigger operators. (more…)

Some misconceptions about marketing cattle

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2001

Every year there are some misconceptions about marketing cattle that lead us to believe that not everyone understands the business. Bred heifers are a good example. Every fall, we and other markets have bred heifer sales. For the most part, if these heifers are bred right, are of good quality and over a thousand pounds at sale time, they sell well and the seller is seldom disappointed. (more…)

Why do we have to sort calves the way we do at presorted sales?

Thursday, January 18th, 2001

Occasionally our competitors promote the idea that we get too tough or too particular, when grading calves into the top cut pens. They sort for speed we sort for accuracy. Wyatt Earp used to say “Fast is fine, but accuracy is final”. Some of the buyers think we could pay even more attention and be even more accurate.

When I say buyers most people think of order buyers. But what about local buyers? Maybe they do the buying themselves, or have an order buyer buy for them. They may get several loads of calves. How do they view the performance of these calves over the winter? (more…)