Planning for a Stocker Operation – Homework To Do If You’re Considering This Option

Blake Allen follows up on his first article about switching to and running a stocker operation, going into more detail about considerations for folks thinking about this option. I spent several years reading about and talking to folks about stock calves before I ever bought any animals. Such careful planning and diligent research is critical to success. You must understand the economics and business structure, different types of forages, various illnesses and diseases, facilities, and much more before thinking about buying any animals. If you're considering a stocker operation, here are some of the things you should think about. Start With Your Competitive Advantage Figuring out a profitable and sustainable business model is first and foremost. This begins with determining your competitive advantage in your area. In my part of the world, we have lots of fescue-based pastures and cheap calves in the fall of the year. Buying calves in the fall and wintering them on stockpiled fescue gives me my competitive advantage. For a northern operation, your advantage is likely to be summer grazing. If you have deep snow on the ground from November through April, wintering calves isn’t going to be nearly as easy for you as it is for me. However, grass gains during the warmer months are typically better in northern than southern areas. In the deep south and areas of the southern plains, winter annuals are widely available and grow through most of the winter. Use your forage and

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3 thoughts on “Planning for a Stocker Operation – Homework To Do If You’re Considering This Option

  1. Hey Blake, nice to see a fellow North Carolinian on here. Your dead right about cattle prices being low in the fall here. I run a nursery pig operation here in the eastern part of the state and run cattle on the waste application fields. I held my spring born calves till late winter this year and vaccinated with Triangle 10 and Vision 7 plus wormed them before sale. They had been weaned about 5 months. The steers brought about $.50/ lb. more than the calves Dad sold in the late summer/ fall. So I think you are right on course. Our pasture is bermuda with winter annual overseed for comparison. I grazed corn stalks with a lot of volunteer corn in them last year also.
    Your dead right on thinking things out also. If you haven’t already, I would recommend reading Management Intensive Grazing and Year Around Grazing both by Jim Gerrish as they are very insightful and a good step toward profitability.
    Nice to see another young man farming against the odds, Chad

  2. Blake, I’m brand new to the cattle business. I so new in fact that I’m still working on getting some property leased.
    Reading your articles are making me think about a start up stocker operation on the 33 acres I’m trying to lease. I;m from NE Ohio so I would probably be a spring to Dec. operation.
    Here is the newbie question , Where would be the best place for me to look at to sell off these stockers in the late fall? Thanks Barry

  3. Blake,
    I appreciate your effort in taking the time write the follow-articles to your first one. Your system or managing the stocker operation is what makes it profitable. You’ve clearly invested the time, and money into learning how to create a system that works.

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