In the last few posts I've talked about the things you should consider when you are looking to purchase a new bull. Its great to hear from several clients who said they found that advice helpful as they look for this seasons new sires.
Several of the producers I've been working with have already bought bulls in preparation for Spring joining. I reckon its important to mention the things you need to consider when you bring your new bull home.
The first thing to remember is you own the bull from the moment the hammer falls, so think about how you want him to be cared for and transported home. Consider some transport insurance as well.
When you do get your new bull home, remember he will feel pretty unsettled. Its best to let him into the yards with a few steers or some older cows for company.
If you have bought bulls from different properties, you need to make sure they are put into separate yards.
Give your new bull some hay and make sure there is water in the yards and then leave him (or them) alone to settle down.
Its important to undertake routine health treatments, and you need to speak with the vendor before hand regarding any treatments for worms, fluke, lice and health treatments such as 5 in 1 and Vibriosis vaccinations.
Remember your new bull will take a little while to settle in to his new home.
So when you work him through the yards give him space and time to learn the new way of doing things.
When you do let him put of the yards, let him into a well secured paddock with good feed and water with a few steers for company. Not only do the steers provide some company, but they will help your new bull find the water and settle into his new home with much less stress.
The other good thing to do is to have a quick follow up call to the bull breeder. They do like to know that you and the bull got home safely as well as knowing about how he has settled in to his new environment.
I spent most of last week visiting seedstock producers across the New England and North West Slopes. The opportunity to spend time looking at this years sale bulls is vital for a number of reasons.
A bull makes a contribution to your enterprise which is longer lasting than just next years calf drop.
The influence a bull brings into your herd extends up to three generations. So making sure the bull has the genetic and physical attributues to take your herd forward is a essential step prior to purchase.
I reckon the other important part of pre sale inspections is the chance to develop a relationship with the bull breeder. A strong relationship is good for buyer and seller. You can share information about the bull you need and pass information on regarding performance and suitability.
So in my mind, a week to look at peoples bulls a few months out from sale time does two things. I get to see plenty of good bulls, some of which I'll try and encourage my clients to look at. Secondly I had a chance to catch up and learn about the directions and ideas of our bull breeders, which will help me give better advice to my clients.
If you are looking for a bull this year, and you haven't made your mind up on the right bull for you, I suggest you call your breeder, jump in the car and go and have a look. You might find the right bull, and you might also develop a relationship which helps you out in years to come.
In the last few weeks I've had quite a few people asking me about using White Cottonseed in their supplementary feeding programs.
White Cottonseed is a great feed, and I reckon is one of the more versatile options for graziers undertaking a feeding program. White Cottonseed is rumen friendly, which means it doesn't require introductory feeding or building up an amount each day. White Cottonseed has good energy levels, around 13 MJ/ME and good protein levels, generally around 20% CP.
This means White Cottonseed can help your cattle utilise poor quality pasture more efficiently, and it adds some extra energy into their daily intake.
Because White Cottonseed is fluffy, the grains cling to each other. The practical upshot of this, is you can't store it in a silo or feed it through a self feeder.
You can feed it in dumps straight onto the ground, or in troughs. Ideally you would feed it every second day.
The daily rate for feeding White Cottonseed shouldn't exceed more than 30% of the animals daily intake.
Its also important to know White Cottonseed needs a functioning rumen to be properly digested. This means DON'T feed it to calves under 150kg live weight; to horses or to pigs.
The NSW DPI has really useful fact sheet on feeding White Cottonseed to cattle, It has the recommendations and amounts for all classes of stock.
I think the best part of being the Principal of RaynerAg is the chance to visit and spend time with people on their farms. I take a lot of pride in providing advice which is tailored towards individual enterprises and environments. I reckon the best way to share that advice comes from seeing the farm and looking at your cattle.
Yesterday afternoon was a great chance to visit Nick & Prue Lee who run the Omega3 Red Poll stud at Pine Ridge on the Liverpool Plains in NSW. I had a great afternoon talking to them about their goals for their cattle enterprise and sharing a few ideas about how to achieve those goals more efficiently.
I love sharing ideas and discussing opportunities for producers to increase their profit and to achieve their goals.
At this time of the years there's always plenty to talk about. Looking back on my years in the North West of NSW, I reckon the winter months are always the busiest. People are looking for bulls, preparing to calve down cows, manage weaners or utilise a winter crop.
With all these events happening it does help to bounce a few ideas around with someone with an impartial view. If you do need a fresh perspective, feel free to get in touch and I'll be only too happy to visit you on your farm and help put some ideas into practice.
Over the last few months, the industry talk has been about the price being offered to producers. I've been paying a lot of attention to these discussions, particularly as I am passionate about helping producers become more profitable.
So it was timely today to come across a press release from MLA, http://www.mla.com.au/News-and-resources/Industry-news/Kilos-and-costs#hp=highlight2&article=Cost%20of%20production
Knowing your Cost of Production is the first step for any producer focussed on improving their profitability. I was interested to note a big variation in the Cost of Production among the producers identified in the MLA article, ranging from $0.79 to $3.92. The average across the group of 72 producers was $1.22
So what does this mean. I reckon Cost of Production is the first step. The second step is to work out your average price per kilogram of beef sold. The difference between your Cost of Production and your average price per kilogram is your profit margin.
When you know what your profit margin is, then you can start to focus on those enterprise activities which will lead to an improvement on your margin.
As the Principal of RaynerAg, I've been working with several producers on a few exciting ways to improve their profit margin. I reckon we will make some big differences in the next year, and I'm excited about the opportunities we have come up with.
Its great to hear this week of a record price being paid for a Poll Hereford bull. I reckon this signals not just great confidence in the bull, but confidence in the beef industry.
Investing in new genetics does pay off. New genetics offer your herd a permanent and cumulative effect. Which can be a good thing in many instances. But, if you don't do your homework, you can introduce some less desirable traits as well. One bull can influence up to three generations, so it pays to look at all aspects of the bull and make sure you select the right one for your herd and your environment.
I'm looking forward to the Northern Beef Week, which kicks off from the 17th of June, 2013. I reckon its a great chance to drop in and look at some great cattle before the bull selling seasons really kicks off. I have a few places to go and see. I am looking forward to visiting Nick & Prue Lee at Pine Ridge, as well as Bruce & Helen Scrivener at Yarrowitch.
If you are planning on visiting a few places, or you'd like a few suggestions, I'd be happy to help you!
I’m Al Rayner. Welcome to my new blog.
I am really excited about launching my web page and to start a blog. I’m planning on sharing plenty of ideas and stories which I reckon might be helpful to your business, or at least to help you keep in touch with what’s happening in agriculture at the moment.
For the past 17 years I was working as a Beef Cattle Officer with NSW DPI. It was a great career and I enjoyed working with a lot of interesting and inspiring people. I worked most closely with farmers, but I also had plenty of opportunities to work with people in industry positions, researchers, and even schools.
I’m now running my own company RaynerAg. So what do I do?
If there’s one thing I love doing, its working with the people who grow our food and fibre. I love being able to share ideas and work on new ways to be more efficient, more sustainable and more profitable.
I’ve been thinking about the season a lot this week. While there are some predictions for rain on the way, I don’t reckon it will change pasture conditions too much in the short term. So, if you’re not thinking about some strategies for managing your calving cows next month, I reckon you need to get onto that straight away.
If you do need to start feeding, you really want to work out how much feed you’ll need and more importantly, how much it will cost. Planning now will help you manage calving a lot better and keep your cows close to condition for joining in spring.
Make sure you do get some advice about feeding and management strategies. Not all the things you hear about feeding are always exactly right. You don’t want to listen to the wrong thing and waste a lot of money on products you don’t need or are not really the right options for your cows and pasture conditions.
- Are you feeding enough?
- Have you really considered what you are feeding?
- Dont rush to judge during this drought
- Critical decisions for your cows
- Some drought feeding tips
- Using fat scores on farm
- What’s the point of recording that?
- How do you prioritise risk?
- Water has no nutritional value!
- Profit - is it a numbers game?
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