Best time of year to buy calves?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by InvalidID, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. InvalidID

    InvalidID Too Complicated For Cable

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    Just wondering if anyone has any insights on market timing. When are beef calves the cheapest generally? I'm addicted and I want more!
     
  2. springvalley

    springvalley Family Jersey Dairy Supporter

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    Most of the time the fall of the year is best time to buy calves because the grass is near done and everyone that has no hay is going to be unloading them before winter. Then the other reason would be dry weather, if people are running out of pasture and hay they will unload cattle. But if you keep a close eye on things, you may get a bargin or two most anytime of the year. You have the cattle bug, there is no known cure for it, God bless you. > Marc
     

  3. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Bottle calves or weaners?

    If you are buying bottle calves buy them so that you wean them just as the grass comes in in the spring.
     
  4. springvalley

    springvalley Family Jersey Dairy Supporter

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    Very Good point Tink. > Marc
     
  5. Cheribelle

    Cheribelle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Calves are cheaper here after fair season is over. In January, up until fair time, people pay Crazy prices for bottle calves for the kids to show at fair.
     
  6. ksfarmer

    ksfarmer Retired farmer-rancher

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    Calves weaning size are generally cheapest in the fall here for the reasons Mark gives. If you don't have a lot of hay on hand you may want to wait till closer to spring pasture time. Of course the price is generally higher then, it's kind of a trade-off to buying hay.
     
  7. tonyb

    tonyb Well-Known Member

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    Are you trying to stick with beef breeds specifically? In our area (probably in all areas I guess) the dairy calves are the cheapest route to go, especially right now. They're usually less than $100 (much less depending on where you are).

    Sometimes you can find a good price on bred beef cows too.
     
  8. FEF

    FEF Well-Known Member

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    If you're wanting bottle calves, probably spring. At least in my area, that's when most beef calves are born. Producers will take orphans or freemartin heifers to the sale barn. Or sometimes they'll spilit a bad uddered cow off from a calf.

    Traditionally in a spring calving area, there will be a dip in prices for weaned calves in October. That's usually when all those spring born calves hit the sale barn. And volume often means lower prices....though the market is pretty crazy recently.
     
  9. InvalidID

    InvalidID Too Complicated For Cable

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    Thank you all for the answers. I was hoping the answer would be fall, as that's when I'll have the rest of my pasture fenced off.

    I've found the biggest auction near me is about 3 hours away, on the far side of the Cascades. Over there they get 4 seasons. Over here on my side we have 2 seasons, raining and not raining as much. This gives me a unique situation where I am in that grass grows nearly year round here. Believe it or not, right now is the worst time for me, as the heat slows growth a bit.

    Marc, there may not be a cure for the cattle bug, but there must be a way to get it under control right? LOL
     
  10. FEF

    FEF Well-Known Member

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    Yes, there's a way to get it under control: Drought.
     
  11. SCRancher

    SCRancher Well-Known Member

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    I don't think InvalidID has to worry about drought much. I lived in the Tri-Cities in WA for about 10 years - then I moved to Tacoma WA - I thought I was going to dye under a pile of mold.

    Anyway I grew up in San Diego and then Eastern WA - the entire year I was in Tacoma I was lost because I could not see where I was due to the trees and the constant ... clouds, mist, rain, and fog.
     
  12. InvalidID

    InvalidID Too Complicated For Cable

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    You ain't kidding SCR. It stopped raining (24/7) about a month ago. It'll start in about 6 weeks....lol
     
  13. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We really do need more details. "Buying calves" can mean a number of things. Bottle calves, weaned dairy feeders, weaned beef calves, etc. There are a number of possible goals also. You can graze to feeder weight (@ 600-800 lbs), graze to grass finished, grain finish, etc. It really would help to know what type of calves you are buying and what your goals are.
     
  14. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Closest I ever came was 600 head of brood cows on pasture, 200 head of first calf heifers in a muddy calving lot, and 30 straight days of rain.
     
  15. InvalidID

    InvalidID Too Complicated For Cable

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    Tink, I'm looking to raise beefs. I'm thinking I'd like to buy either bottle, or started calves. Nothing over 300lbs as I don't see a reason to pay more to fatten em when I can put em on pasture here for free.

    Some I'll keep around until slaughter, others I'll fatten and sell off so I can pay for new calves. Rinse and repeat as I grow out some heifers and get things together.

    I'm really thinking I may want to run some dairy heifers and keep a bull calf a year. He can visit the ladies, then I can eat him...lol

    But for now, I'm kinda going at this in a very ADHD fashion. It's all about more mooing in the fields. :pound:
     
  16. Allen W

    Allen W Well-Known Member

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    Two things for you to think about bigger calves gain weight faster on just grass, and some times the next 100 pound bigger calf doesn't cost that much more. Keep a sharp pencil and an open mind. Find some time to attend a few sales before your ready to buy, different sales do things different.
     
  17. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would buy them so that you can get 2 good seasons of grazing on them. Buy in January or February and have them well started on hay when the grass comes in, graze all summer, maintainnce diet next winter, start them on grain (while still on graze), and finish when the grass peters out.