Whether you’re new to the cattle business or just trying to gain a competitive edge in today’s market, Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association’s Ranching 101 webinars are a must-watch.
The educational sessions, featuring top industry experts, are free to all members. From soil health to theft prevention tactics, the classes cover everything ranchers need to know. Here are five gems of information that I gleaned from this past year’s topics.
Generally speaking, the more hay you make, the lower the quality of hay. In Nutrition — What a Cow Really Needs, Levi Trubenbach explained there’s a negative association between forage yield and forage quality. Producers need to keep this in mind when calculating the quality level of their base forage to adequately determine a cow herd’s nutritional requirements.
Don’t show up with a load at the sale barn without notice. To maximize what your cattle sell for at the auction market, you’ll want to contact the barn a week to two weeks before you sell, said Ron Gill, professor and extension livestock specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. In the cattle marketing session, he explained auction markets make more money if the producer makes more money, so it’s in their best interest to help find buyers for your cattle. If contacted beforehand, the auction barn or commission company can contact prospective buyers that might not routinely attend the sale. Also, in certain times of the year, they can reserve pen space for you that might not be available otherwise.
Carefully name one executor to handle the distribution of property that will pass through your will. Jacqui Davie, estate and planning specialist, cautioned ranchers to be mindful about who they name as executor of their will in the estate planning session. Instead of automatically naming the oldest child, she recommended considering who will be the most organized and capable of handling the business of your estate. She said to talk to your executor to make sure they understand your plan and are willing to carry it out. She also recommended naming a single person because naming co-executors often leads to fighting within the family after someone passes.
It’s cheaper to prevent animal health issues than to treat problems. Dr. Arn Anderson said in the cattle health workshop to contact your veterinarian before you have problems. Your veterinarian will know of issues in your area and can help you develop a health plan to get ahead of problems before they start.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. In the record keeping seminar, Jimmy Curtis said this quote by Peter Drucker rings true to the cattle business. If you are just getting started with record keeping, he recommended to gather all your records and enter the most recent first. He said to input your livestock in this order: 1) active cows and bulls; 2) breeding records; 3) active calves; 4) pasture details such as name and kind of grass; and 5) health treatments. To avoid the burnout of starting with records, he advised to save your historical data to enter on rainy or hot days as you have time.
Whether you’ve been ranching a few months or 50 years, there’s something to learn from these webinars. Ranching 101 seminars are held virtually the third Tuesday of each month from 1 to 2 p.m. Information about upcoming events is emailed directly to members and featured in The Cattleman magazine and TSCRA Update.
Lisa Bryant is a freelance writer from Ada, Oklahoma.