4H calf-auction or????

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Jan in CO, Aug 5, 2004.

  1. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our granddaughter just finished her first county fair, and wants to do a beef project next year. After checking with beef ranchers in the area, they all seem to have the spring steers priced at about $700 each, which is going to be way above what we planned on spending for two of them. Has anyone successfully used auction barn calves for a 4H project? Those will be about $175-200 each if bought now, and hopefully would catch up and make the 500 pound weight of the others by October/November....IF they survived, that is. Any thoughts?
    I don't begrudge the ranchers their money, just need to go with something we can afford. I'm concerned because all the calves I saw at the sale barn last week were coughing, so I don't want to spend the money and lose one or both. The vet there told me just to give them a shot of LA200 and they would be fine, but I'm just not sure. Thanks, Jan in Co
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Most of the 4H calves are sucking the cow yet and would be over 400 lbs. Your auction calf would never catch up with them. If you bought an auction calf that weighs over 400 lb. you might keep up in the weight catagory, but getting a calf of show quality that way would be rare. Calves in the 500 lb range are going up close to $1.00 per pound at auction here.
     

  3. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sigh, that's what I was afraid of. Maybe we can swing one good one, and one auction calf to be it's buddy. How do kids afford calves that expensive for their first year? Jan
     
  4. pointer_hunter

    pointer_hunter Well-Known Member

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    You could always get a goat or two for his friends. They are a little easier on the wallet.

    Or a deacon calf from a dairy.
     
  5. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jan, you just struck what is a raw nerve for many 4H parents and friends. It isn't unusual to hear of parents who go hundreds of miles to buy a supreme show calf, and spend many times the real value of the calf so their kid can show a grand champion at the fair. Guess who is acting cool and sucking up all the glory. It's not the kid. A little county fair near us has a special show for calves bred in the county. A kid may show some really good calves that are home grown and not even place against the super calves. How fair is that???
     
  6. JanO

    JanO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jan have you considered making arrangements for your grandaughter to raise a calf for a local farmer or breeder? I don't know what the practice is in your area but when I was in 4H, many years ago, I was lucky enough to have my choice of calves out my back door. But, there were many others in my group who weren't so lucky so daddy would offer them to the others to raise for 1 year, free of charge. They would have to take on the expence of vets, feed, etc... If they were sold daddy would split the profits with the kid for their time and expence. If they didn't sell, it was no big deal.

    Granted, we didn't specialize in "show" quality bovine, most of ours were Angus mix.. but that's not what it's all about with 4H. The whole idea is to give the kid the experience and teach them some values and perhaps a skill. Not necessarily just to win a blue ribbon... that's just icing on the cake. And you know what... out of 6 of our calves at the county fair one year, 4 of them brought home blue ribbons. Go figure.... :D
     
  7. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Uncle Will, that really is unfair to the kids who can't buy those show calves, and I don't know what you could do about it, either. There is a classification called Producer, where the county agent has to come and verify your calf is born on your farm while it is still nursing. Don't know much about it, tho. We could see about getting a dairy calf to be the companion to one if she gets one to raise for fair. Next year, she's hoping to be chosen for the catch a calf program, but I think you also have to have one of your own to raise with it. Jan in Co
     
  8. NRS Farm

    NRS Farm Well-Known Member

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    Seems around here you have to decide if you are showing in 4H for the life skills and other good qualities or if you are showing to win. I've gone through this with our children as well. Before they even begin a project we discuss this extensively. When they do not even place with our own livestock raised on the farm I tell them to remember they chose to use an animal that they would learn from and make money with NOT to win any show with. People here in my county are spending around $2500 now for show calves, sheep, and even hogs I hear. From what I have seen the child normally has little say in the project. Some kids are only involved in the last week or so of the project anymore. The parents tell me right up front they spent too much to have a kid raise the animal. Not my idea of what 4H is all about but that's where it is heading. BTW at our local fair, the packers will not purchase the Grand nor the Reserve champion steers anymore. They have found so many problems with the winning steers that they won't buy them anymore.
     
  9. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Went to the livestock auction in a nearby town today, just to see what prices on the calves were, and whew! Little ones, just a few days old, were going for $245 and up. Guess the 700 for a spring born calf this fall isn't as far out of line as I thought. Talked at length with a father of several 4H members who showed calves, and he told me those little ones will never catch up to the calves you buy in the fall for 4H, and that even with paying another 500-600 for feed on top of the purchase price, the kids usually make about 500.00 even if they aren't the grand champions. I'm not as worried about that as having her succeed at raising one, and learn from the experience. Guess we'll keep looking. Did arrange for a couple Boer wethers for her to work with, and of course we have rabbits. She wants to do shooting sports, and was tallking about wanting a Crossbow, but those puppies are pretty expensive. We talked to her about just using her Papa's 22 rifle instead. Here I thought our retirement years would be carefree! Jan in Co