Not counting politics and religion, the only subject I refuse to debate is your preferred method of putting females back into the herd.
The debate of raising versus buying replacements is as old as the cattle business itself. Some swear by raising their own, citing generations of known production history; while others point out that from a dollars and cents standpoint, economics dictate you buy them.
To both arguments I say, to each his own.
This much, I do know. The females you put back into the herd the next couple years have the potential to generate more dollars than ever before. In December, at the Oklahoma City National Stockyards, 638-pound steers averaged $957 per head. At that rate, itâ€™s not going to take long for any female added to the herd to pay for herself. I donâ€™t care how much feed and fuel are, $1,000 weaned calves should make money.
The one aspect of replacement females I will debate with you is whether or not Limousin should be in their breed makeup. I whole-heartedly believe the most under-utilized resource in the commercial cow business is the Limousin female.
Besides their known advantages in efficiency and longevity (which shouldnâ€™t be taken lightly given feed and replacement costs) it should be noted, milking ability, age of puberty, docility and marbling ability have all been improved upon across the entire Limousin population. Throw in one of the more moderate mature sizes in the business as determined by the Meat Animal Research Center, along with documented calving-ease, and you have a low maintenance, efficient, calf-raising machine that with all probability could remain in the herd into her teenage years.
Sure there are exceptions. Iâ€™ve seen some bad ones, but you know what, that can be said for any breed. Besides, call me crazy, but every year there are some women in the Miss America pageant that Iâ€™m not sure how they got there.
The fact of the matter is, with a 25-75 percent commercial Limousin female, you can go just about any direction the industry dictates, simply by changing bulls. When mated correctly, their offspring can qualify for anything from CAB to Lauraâ€™s Lean Beef and anything in between.
As a side note, Limousin are thriving in the all-natural, hormone-free arenas which are currently growing by leaps and bounds. Not to mention, it is my belief that one day in the not so distant future, growth implants and beta-agonists will carry such a negative connotation most producers will be forced to abandon them. If you donâ€™t think that will shake up the overall breed composition on the nationâ€™s commercial cowherd, then I have some property Iâ€™d like to sell you. The view is awesome and the price is right.
The bottom line is, that in my years in this business, Iâ€™ve seen just about every beef breed cross there is, and in my opinion, the ones with some Limousin in them are as good as walks.
But you donâ€™t have to take my word for it, there are plenty of Limousin-cross females getting it done around the country, all you have to do is ask to see them. Just be careful pricing them, those of us that have them arenâ€™t in any hurry to get rid of them.