Colored Calves, Heifers, Cows WI SALE!

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Up North, May 28, 2006.

  1. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

    Messages:
    3,841
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    Jerseys, Jersey Crosses, Normande, Normande Crosses, Ayrshires, B&W and R&W Holsteins. TWO Complete herds totalling 160 Head SELL Saturday, June 3rd. Directions: Located 5 1/2 miles west of Coleman, WI on Cty. B to Ledge Lane, then 1 mile North. Look for the Big Cow! P{hone (920)-897-3536 for particulars.... All Grazing based cattle......................15 Calves, 15 open heifers, 15 bred heifers, 35 big bred heifers, and cows...Good Selection!
     
  2. john in la

    john in la Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    219
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Location:
    louisiana
    Two more dairies bite the dust. Happening everywhere. It is going to take some real thinking to compete in today’s market. Just like the row crop guys going GPS and automatic steering tractors the dairy farmer has to adjust to market changes.

    Everyone is talking about going mega dairies like Calif. or high production like N.Z. but I really do not know what will work.

    I saw a article online in one of the pasture mags or something about a guy reverting to grass fed to reduce cost and doing very well.
    I also read a article from our state school's ag center (LSU) about their research. They have converted to a freestall barn and concentrating on the best feed available. They have got their herd up to a average of almost 24,000 lbs (state record). They do not say what the profit margin is. It may be low because of all the trucked in feed.
     

  3. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

    Messages:
    3,841
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    Yes, John, I'm afraid dairy farmers are about to go through the fire once more. I don't know what production model will survive unscathed. Last week the premier Dairy Guru of Illinois Mike Hutchens quoted that dairies there have a $13 cost of production and are receiving $11.50 for their milk. How long can businesses stay viable like that?
    Unfortunately the effects trickle down to folks in your business as well.
     
  4. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

    Messages:
    2,102
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    Types of feed, and your goals will effect profit. If your into planting corn, feeding a lot of grain to get high production, you won't make a dime. If you grow hay, feed hay, feed enough grain to keep them in top shape (doesn't take a lot with good feed), you make money even with lower CWT prices. Fuel prices are higher, but once again, small herd, not a lot of land, you won't be using as much fuel. Electricity, same thing. Less animals, less power used. Also labor, less cows, less labor if any at all, only your own. The way I am doing it is keeping things to a minium. Each year I will buy twine, fuel, grease, oil, and plastic for baleage. For the barn it will be power, vet bills, grain and supplies. Sounds like a lot, remember I don't need a lot. I beleive we use 300-400 gallons a season of fuel, I don't use a lot of twine. I use 15 gallons of oil to change the tractors oil each season. Small herd, less grain as well. I am feeding 16lbs of grain a day to the holsteins in milk, and 12 to the Jersey. I am making more per animal than if I was pumping them with 24-30lbs of grain to get what? 90-100lbs/day?


    Jeff
     
  5. milkinpigs

    milkinpigs Dairy/Hog Farmer

    Messages:
    508
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2005
    Location:
    Catlett Creek Hog Farm Unit 1
    It sounds like we're all on the same page but no water means no grass: can tell you from experience, LOL.The problem gets worse because the western mega daries are STILL expanding and building new ones.Jeff, you are as wise as Up North, lol. We have lost 3 dairies in the past month;in1966 we had 283 dairies in this county, now we are down to12. I'm practicing for my new job, how's this sound...." You want fries with that?"
     
  6. milkinpigs

    milkinpigs Dairy/Hog Farmer

    Messages:
    508
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2005
    Location:
    Catlett Creek Hog Farm Unit 1
    Will they have coes guaranteednot to kick, give 90 lbs. of milk,4.5%bf/3.8%P, and will have a heifer calf every 11 months?
     
  7. JElfering

    JElfering Dairy Dreamer

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I remember our friend who sold his cows last fall. He is still torn up about it. He talks about how he made it through the worst five years of dairy and still survived. He sold because he couldn't find reliable help. He wanted us to buy his farm but it was the old-style stanchion not the freestall. In addition, the farmland is worth a real estate mint. It is near a river and the "shackers" from IL have bought most of the land for recreational log cabins. He is not married and has no one to leave the farm to. His brother wants him to sell for the profit to some builder or realtor. We cannot afford to buy his farm. To begin a dairy farm with a lot of cows is cost prohibitive like Jeff says. We prefer our smaller operation. Less is better.

    Wisconsin is down on dairy too and lost its position to the mega farms in California. This is just another casualty in the techno-world of today. Perhaps they will invent a robot that is self-driven to eat for us too!
     
  8. john in la

    john in la Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    219
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Location:
    louisiana
    On one hand I have to agree with you all that smaller is better. How can a family operation afford any thing else??

    With urban sprawl land cost are threw the roof. Barns; feed; vets; insurance; government regulations on pollution; ect. You all know very well how it goes. I do not need to explain it.
    I even know of a few dairies that are started lately on leased land. Work all your life paying a rent bill then do not even have the land to sell to retire on.

    But on the other hand every thing needs to change. Is it for the better???? Well the city people think so because of less cost per gallon.
    Just look at the world today. Wal-mart; Home depot; now even 4000 acre row crop farms with tractors that steer them self off of GPS and mega dairies.

    Small dairies or just the family farm as we knew it in general may be a thing of the past soon. I see small operators holding on like those here and the Amish but this is just a small percentage. The mega dairies of Calif. may win out. Raise your cows in the middle of the desert where no one wants to live so land cost are low. This cuts cost. Truck in all hay and feed so you have bidding power on trucking rates. Convert to a system of cows like our ag center. Not just a few cows in a herd but a herd average of 24,000 lbs. This cuts cow cost per cwt.

    It has been playing out for years. Everyone sees the family farm disappearing and the mega farms taking their place so I feel I am not to far off base here. Will it happen tomorrow. NO. But I feel it is coming. Yes some will hang on just like a small hardware does in a town with a Home Depot; but it will take lots of attention to the details to withstand the pressure.

    Now if we all could raise cows like milkinpigs dreams of the family dairy may just make it. LOL
     
  9. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

    Messages:
    2,102
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    Those big dairies need replacements, remember that. It won't be only california the mega-dairies thrive. Locally a farm is shooting for 2000 cows, he is very close to that number. There are other large farms near here. They know, the bigger they get, the chance of getting government subsidies is real. For the small farms, who sell animals, they will benefit in a way to the large farms, because they will need replacements. So, they will come to you and buy them. Most of those large dairies don't raise their own calves. They either send to a grower, or buy. Think of it this way, what do people do with horses? They certainly can't milk them, they are for looking at and riding. Who owns the horses that race at the big races? It isn't the average joe. There will be lawyers, etc etc that will still deal with cows for show only. Many do have farms, but one farm in CT bought show cattle, and is going to farm it not because they have to. They are loaded, and love cattle. It will be the hobby farmer that owns a cow. Sure there will be less, but I found something interesting. There was more cows entered at the fair here last year, than ever before. Roughly 92 more entered than they could handle. This is because many kids are getting involved, you have grand children etc. The 4hers will need animals to show, because most of them don't live on a farm. There will be some benefits out there, and that small dairy tucked away in the hills will survive, because he can, because his costs are lower, and perhaps that dairy sells hay and other products to make up the difference.


    Jeff
     
  10. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

    Messages:
    3,841
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    I think there is quite a big movement going on that is only going to get bigger. #1 is the grassfed meat and and dairy products. Research is proving that these products are far superior nutritionally. Mega dairies can't produce these products. This is were a small farm will have an advantage. They have the pasture to put all of their animals on. #2 I think more and more people are wanting to buy locally. They want to have a connection to their roots and to were their food comes from. They want to know ultimately exactly what is going into their mouths.

    Just my opinion but I think small farmers need to start thinking of getting their paychecks through non-conventional means. They need to start selling directly to their constomers and create a connection for them. We need to tell anybody that will listen why the food you produce is better than what they can buy at the store and then sell it to them.

    I've said this before but I don't think we are going to see an end to the small farmer. Yes, I'm sure there will be some hard times ahead. Yes, I do believe that the way we do buisness will have to change. But it all boils down to the fact that I am still optimistic.

    Heather
     
  11. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

    Messages:
    2,102
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    Ask yourself this, how come farmers markets are becoming very successfull? How come you see more of them, atleast I do around here. There never was one in this town till a couple years ago. It is working extremely well, in fact some sell out their products. There are many who do go to these to sell, and pickup a lot of buisness. If you have a unique product that people want, and they know it is coming from you, the person there at the stand. Then they feel good about that.


    When you go to the store and pickup a cantelope, watermellon, orange juice, milk, cheese, waffles, bread, cereal, etc etc. You don't know where it came from, sure it says "product of ____". But does that tell you where it came from, how it was grown, what grew it, what happened along the way? NO. The people who buy milk from us to feed their pets (a lot of dogs mind you! ;)). Are buying it because they know where it is coming from, they also know the benefits of raw milk (people who are lactose intolerant can't drink pasteurized/homogenized milk, but can drink raw). There is a market for raw cheese, etc etc. We sell ours for $5.00 a gallon, and it will be $6.50 if we supply the containers once we begin shipping milk and filling on demand.


    Hay, the small farmer usually has enough land to make hay, enough for his cows, and enough for sale. There are many many hobby farmers, horse farmers out there. Except for one, all of our hay customers are horse people. One customer needs 300 a week, I can't supply that consistently. However I would like to work towards where I can put up enough feed for me, and 2500-3000 bales to sell @ 4.00-5.00 a bale. With rising fuel costs, probably more like $5.00 a bale for 2nd cutting grass. So what does the small guy do?


    Here is what you do, stay small, and when I mean small, I mean 30 max. Take the extra hay you don't need, and sell it. If you could sell 3000 bales a year, sell some raw milk (pending you get a permit, and live in a state where you can sell it), you could use that money to cover for the grain and electricity costs, amongst other things. The milk check simply adds to what is made off of those other two items. You then can survive. I know of a farm, they log from late fall through the winter into spring. That is their secondary income, they also sell calves. That helps them stay afloat.

    As Heather said, people want to know where their stuff is coming from. Sell a product directly to someone, like raw milk. That will help out more than you can imagine. Some farms run a sugar shack to help. Some grow veggies to help. I know what my goals are, is to do the following.

    Herd size will likely total (milk herd) 27-28. Replacements of my own will be around 10 heifers at a time, all the while selecting the good ones to improve things.

    Sell genetics, even though farms are going, the guys who spend $$$$ on animals aren't small farms. They are the guys making money off of animals.

    Sell milk, sell enough to pay for the grain bill.

    Sell hay, sell enough hay to cover other expenses, and more (hay is extremely easy to sell now adays).

    The key is keeping your fuel costs down, twine costs, oil costs, maintainence costs overall. Keep your power cost down, vet visits down, and your grain costs down, gas if you use a propane hot water heater. Funny it will take me about 300 bales of baleage to go from fall to next summer. A farm I know of, while it isn't big, has 80 head. Takes them 1200 bales. Being slightly smaller does cost a lot less.


    Jeff
     
  12. JElfering

    JElfering Dairy Dreamer

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I have really enjoyed the comments on this thread. I agree whole-heartedly with you. We had more cows come into milk this spring and I thought we would be swimming in milk. It turns out the the word got around that we sell our milk and people have been turning up out of nowhere to get it. We are also having larger farmers select our new heifers as replacement cows. It has all been a surprise. With this activity the thought of going large is not as attractive. Thank you all for the time and comments it has really been a joy to read.
     
  13. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

    Messages:
    3,841
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    MP sounds like that ground grows two viable cash crops - New Houses and Strip Malls! If you can't lick 'em Join 'em mate. Take them cows 100 miles east and then header' North, land's cheaper and have more rain if it's grazing you desire......
    For job training options consider the phrase" Which Dozers need oil analysis kit pulled today?" One phone call and you'd be fully employed with the boys out west. They love them farm boys that know a dipstick from a shiftstick, LOL.
     
  14. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

    Messages:
    3,841
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    *****A cow that never kicks will produce offspring that lay down and die at the slightest adversity. If I went a milking without gettin' kicked at least once, I'd go looking for sick cows, LOL.************************************* Don't want 11 month CI . When you go from 15 months down to 12.5-13 months CI you will have a whole new set of problems. Your calf barns, heifer pens and lots are so full that you are choring night&day and they are eatin' you out of house and home. A finite number of cows sending milk to town can only support so many heifers and steers on a place before they start eating YOUR grocery money! Go to them fertile colored and crossbred cows and you will run into this buzzsaw,LOL
    PS I was wondering if you're MilkinPigs do you do it by hand or have special claws with 14 shells?, LOL Just poking a stick thru da Fence.
     
  15. john in la

    john in la Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    219
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Location:
    louisiana
    I sure hope we have not gotten to off subject or over the heads of the average reader at this site.



    You all make some good points.
    This is just what I was trying to say..........
    Find your nitch that works; stay small; or get out.

    The problem I see with this equation is the fact that you need a milk truck for a dairy.
    Yes you could sell all your milk raw labeled as dog food. Cut production of milk and sell hay. But are you truly a dairy then. You are more like a hay farmer that has milk as a side line.
    Yes there will always be the guy that hangs on with a few cows and sells milk as a side line to a select crowd.
    But I still stand by the point (even though I may be proved wrong in the long run) that the family dairy as I know it is on the way out.
    I see the Amish as the big group that may hold on to small dairies because of their #'s. If you were in a area around them you may benefit from this.

    For a dairy to exist with the main income from milk you need to ship in bulk. If dairies keep closing at the rate they have over the past few years and truck fuel stays high the small guy will be pushed out because of no shipping avenues.
    A dairy of 30 cows would average about 150 gallons a day.
    30 x 50lbs= 1500 lbs x 305= 457500lbs / 365= 1253/8= 156
    Is a milk truck going to spend $3.00 a gallon on fuel to keep visiting your farm to pick up 150 gallons when the closest next dairy is 20 miles away????

    So the small dairy will convert to a horse hay farm and sell hay and health food to uppies. He may even start growing vegetables; raising healthy pigs; free range chickens; ect. Again finding his nitch to survive.
    But to me this is not the family dairy as we know it where you live off a milk check.

    The main problem we have around here with that equation is urban sprawl. The city guy moves on the land next store that use to be a dairy and then wants to complain about the farm smell.
    Dag if you love the smell of the city why did you move out here???????????
     
  16. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

    Messages:
    2,102
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    There was an article in hoards about lactation. Some farms have gone 2-3 years before breeding their cows again, milking them for that length of time. They found it wasn't as stressfull on them, some averaged 50-60lbs the entire time, and still going strong 2-3 years later. My only concern would be replacements, as those cows die in that time frame, or something happens. You cut yourself out of calves, unless you had some calving within those time frames.


    John does make a good point, who will pick you up, if there isn't a farm close enough? Well the large dairies can't pickup the entire milk consumption throughout the entire country. 10 10,000 cow dairies won't feed the nation. The organic market is exactly like what john said. The next dairy really is 20+ miles away. However, the demand is soo high, supply is low, the milk companies are willing to travel wayyy out to even here, to pickup my small quantity. I am not going organic, but I could transition into it if need be. I won't, because of the posibilities of health, if I was organic I couldn't of saved that red heifer that displaced her growth plate in December. That happening is what changed my mind for good :).


    There is tooo much urban sprawl, no doubt. I know if a city slicker moved next to me and complained, I would tell them to stick it where the sun don't shine, then perhaps ill have some buddies over on each saturday and do some skeet shooting! ;).

    Edit: Forgot to mention. This county had 3000+ dairies a long time ago, had more dairies than all of new england combined. We are down to less than 200.


    Jeff
     
  17. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

    Messages:
    3,841
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    http://www.cheeseonwheels.com/
    Why rely on someone else to pick up your milk and sell it?

    People are trying to something to keep the small family dairy going. There is a new coop in WI that is only buying milk from small family dairies. You have to sign a contract that you do the majority of the farm work yourself and that your cows are treated humanely (which means they are out on pasture among other things). They are not organic either. I'm going to have to search to get their name. Cool idea they have going and I hope it works.

    Heather
     
  18. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

    Messages:
    2,102
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    You might be thinking of "Certified Humane". It is a new movement, which makes more sence than organic. The animals have to be allowed outside, you can treat them to save their life, but can't feed them antibiotics. You can't have anymore than 30 milking animals, beef herd of 50-60 on down. I am not sure about using sprays etc. But it makes a lot of sence.


    Ya know, heather brings up something interesting. Perhaps there will be small coops that start up, buying milk from small farms, paying small farms what they should get, and having the stores carry the milk. A local company called "Stewarts" here in eastern NY picks up from the area, their excess is sold off to other companies. Their biggest farm is 400 head. Companies like that might come into existence.

    Things should get interesting as time goes on.
     
  19. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

    Messages:
    3,841
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    I found it! Grass Point Farms. Check out their website. I really like what they are trying to do for the small family farmer. www.grasspoint.com

    Heather
     
  20. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

    Messages:
    2,102
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    Took a gander at their site, they have some nice cattle. Good condition, good sized as well. I see they also are into baleage, which IMO is "pasture in a bale". I took a bale into the barn, wasn't wrapped. It was a small bale, I hit the friggen lever that opens the gate too damn soon. So I had to wrap the bale and eject it at a smaller size. So I am feeding it out. It has been sitting in front of a fan, so it wouldn't heat and mold (since it isn't wrapped). Let me tell you this, they don't waste much at all, it smells really good as well. Even though that fan is drying down that hay some, it still smells good. Smells like haylage, fresh chopped. Yet it isn't warm, steamy (fan helps). Should be interesting when I pop open a bale of baleage in a few weeks to see how it turned out.


    Also noticed they are certified humane, that is what people should be concerned about, instead of organic. A BST free herd, treated only when needed, grazing, fed grass and some energy needs, and treats them with respect should be peoples concerns. Not whether it was saved with a shot or not :p. Because the public doesn't realise, you treat a cow with something not approved for organic use, bye bye bessy.



    Jeff