We vaccinate our cows with preg guard 10 and pour on Ivermectin in the fall when we pregnancy test. The calves get a 7 way and pasturella shot at branding and the same shots at preconditioning time in the fall while on the cow before weaning.
Now we use Angus bulls that are picked from weaning weight and maternal and carcass characteristics. Some of the bloodlines we like are Predestin, In Focus and 50-50. We usually feed 1-2 lbs of cake a day per cow and graze the middle aged cows. It takes about 35 acres per cow to graze year round.
The coming two’s and older cows are run separate and Chuck feeds them more cake and hay if we have to. The Crago’s are mainly a grass outfit with around 250-300 acres of native hay ground. Hay can be put up if it floods on the creek. We are always buying some hay for the winter for horses and cattle.
The fall calving cows usually calve better from August 25th to Oct 10th so it takes less labor. They winter tougher and take more feed but you sell more pounds of beef when we wean and sell them in July or August. It spreads out the the cash flow some also. It takes a lot of equity, cash flow and a super bank to get thru the tough years. Expenses are high so we mainly hire part time help. Right now we have a full time man that is riding colts and helping with all phases of the ranch jobs and he is working out really good for us.
The area we ranch had also been through years of drought conditions. Through the last 10 years it has been really challenging. We have had 6-8 terrible droughty years from 2000 on. We could grow some grass but had no water. We really relied on dams, but with no gully-washers or snow we didn’t run any water. We started putting in pipelines and water tanks for our livestock with help of Equip -a Government program. Usually with all the bad comes some good. Rarely is there help for the ranchers. Most of all we are very thankful for the prices that 2011 has brought us and the abundant moisture we have received at the ranch and in South Dakota. We have had an outstanding year for moisture and our grass is still green the 1st of September which is never heard of in this country. Our normal rainfall is 10-13 inches a year. But the those 6-8 years about did us in. The last 3 winters have been tough and expensive and some calf crops in 2009 and 2010 were 10-20% below normal because of spring blizzards in March, April and May. We feel really bad for the southern states right now with the drought conditions and for the states with too much rain and dealing with the flooding. Do you sell or buy feed or move your livestock?? TOUGH DECISION!!