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Why I Made the Switch to Stockers – Profit and Flexibility

By   /  February 10, 2020  /  6 Comments

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About three years ago, I decided I would try my hand at raising some purchased stocker calves. I had
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About the author

I was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, however my dad and his brothers still owned the family farm where they were raised about 30 minutes from our house. I spent most of my weekends and summers growing up helping various family members and friends on their farms. I became interested in buying some cattle of my own when I was about 13, so dad and I rebuilt the fences and cleared off the overgrown brush on our farm. When I was a freshman in high school, I bought my first 10 cows with money I had saved over the years. We kept about 60 brood cows between the two of us, made hay all summer, fed hay all winter, and lost money all year like most folks around us did. I graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Agricultural Business Management in 2017, a couple of years after losing my father to cancer. Since then I have restructured my operation into one that focuses on buying livestock that will increase in value with good forage and a little management, and have found much more satisfaction through this method than I did with our old ways.

6 Comments

  1. Jay Levens says:

    I am new to cattle. I found Dr Gordon Hazard while researching on how I wanted to start my cattle operation. I’ve consumed everything of him that I can and have modeled my operation after his or as closely as I can at this time. So great to see others found his work as valuable as I think it is. Thanks for the article and nice read. Would love to pick someone’s brain who has the same approach as myself but with a lot more experience. Maybe help me through the growing pains.

  2. John Marble says:

    Thanks for this, Blake.

    One thing I would mention to other readers is to carefully read the sections on options for profit and risk. Stocker operations require significant experience and skill. Selecting and buying calves, managing a health and nutrition program, running the grazing plan, understanding marketing… these are high-skill ventures, and not for the faint of heart. In your case, Blake, it looks as if you have perhaps ten years of experience and a ton of education.

    Keep up the good work!

  3. Steve Clubine says:

    I think you made the right decision, but I think you could do even better by focusing on native warm-season grasses from May through early to mid-August, even the end of August. I outstanding gains (adg 2.0) during that period when steers would barely gain or lose on csg, a.k.a. tall fescue. I sell everything in September and October. I have no desire to cut ice, feed hay, or repair damaged pastures. I patch-burn graze my native grass so don’t have any interior fences or worry about rotating. The animals do that themselves. I begin in April on csg but move to a big bluestem, little bluestem, indiangrass, and eastern gamagrass mixture the first week of May. I also have bobwhite quail back. My animal performance parallels Dr. Pat Keyser’s (UT) research.

  4. The Grass Whisperer says:

    Care to share some of your “average” profit per head and or expense side? Thanks GW

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