Fat cows or more cows? Taking rebuilding risks

Taking Stock: Stud breeders chase cows for embryo transfer

Beef
Seedstock producers face the challenge of purchasing recipient females in the current market.

Seedstock producers face the challenge of purchasing recipient females in the current market.

Aa

Do you take the leap and grab any stock you can at any price, and take the risk? Or do you keep searching for what you want and risk pushing back your timeline?

Aa

FARMING and livestock production are not low-risk businesses to get involved in.

But you need a certain amount of risk to make money, as anyone that invests, listens to podcasts, TED Talks or follows business gurus or great producers would know.

At the moment people have 'grass fever' - they are chasing livestock to eat crops or pastures that have come away following good rainfalls.

This means it is increasingly difficult to find suitable runs of young cattle to trade or pregnancy tested in calf females that might help replenish your breeding herds.

As we look back over the past 18 months, people have been forced to destock and/or purchase additional supplement feed, lease country or agistment.

My family and I run a seedstock operation in the Central West and we dropped our numbers to a point where if we went any further, we would've lost genetics and animals we worked years to develop.

So we chose to secure lease country, and continue to feed, and collect embryos like many other stud stock producers did.

Decision making: Do you take the leap and grab any stock you can at any price, and take the risk? Or do you keep searching for what you want and risk pushing back your timeline?

Decision making: Do you take the leap and grab any stock you can at any price, and take the risk? Or do you keep searching for what you want and risk pushing back your timeline?

Moving out of the drought, and having a good autumn break has meant that our cows are fat, but is there really any money in this?

To put it simply, no. It is nice looking at cattle coming out of the drought that are finally not looking like a bag of bones, however it also makes you think of how many extra cows you could be running at a more appropriate body condition score.

From a production perspective, these inefficiencies and 'wastes' are hard to take. Similar to how hard it is at the moment to find a paddock to put mud fat, soon to calve cows on to try and strip weight back and reduce possible calving issues.

But the real challenge is finding cows let alone young stock to utilise feed on hand and re-build our numbers in the current cattle market.

We want to take a risk. Not only do we want to rebuild, we want to expand our stud operation.

Despite the drought we have purchased animals overseas, imported new genetics, and increased production of our core breeding females through collecting embryos, so we have invested and have the tools to grow, but we are missing a key player.

Our growth is now limited by the inability to purchase recipient females, a challenge faced by seed stock producers at this time.

It is nice looking at cattle coming out of the drought that are finally not looking like a bag of bones, however it also makes you think of how many extra cows you could be running at a more appropriate body condition score.

It is nice looking at cattle coming out of the drought that are finally not looking like a bag of bones, however it also makes you think of how many extra cows you could be running at a more appropriate body condition score.

In the drought, scanned empty or entire groups of recipient females were sold by studs in the hope it would help herds hold their registered breeders.

Some would say "just buy any female and stick an egg in her", but as others know it does not work like that. Each producer has their preferences and type of females that suit country; milking ability, fertility, how many past calves they've had, age, breed.

We tend to buy privately from producers, so we know the cattle we are getting and their animal health status. We also try to breed our own recipients.

But investing in breeding stock is difficult when there isn't many around and the current prices. Do you take the leap and grab anything you can for whatever price, and take the risk? Or do you keep searching for what you want and maybe risk pushing back your timeline?

Aa

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