CVCA November 2019 Newsletter

— Written By Glenn Detweiler and last updated by
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Catawba Valley Cattlemen’s Association

(meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month)
This month’s meeting is on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, at the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Catawba County office (Ag Resource Center).
GPS address: 1175 South Brady Ave. Newton, NC 28658

6 p.m. – Supper is served.
6:45 p.m. – Business meeting – Mr. Andrew Rector, president
7 p.m. – Educational meeting: Mr. John Langdon, Past President of the State Cattlemen’s Association, His talk will be on:
Personal Experiences Learned by Retaining Ownership of Cattle at Custom Feedlots.
8 p.m. – Meeting adjourned


  • Board meeting after our educational meeting.
  • 80 packs of meat are available for sale.
  • The First Beef & Meat Production Field Day at the Hickory American Legion Fairgrounds is planned for this Saturday, November 9, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Learn how to improve your abilities to make judgments on hay quality, cattle growth, cattle sales, beef meat, & BBQ. The main Educational programs include:  judging live cattle with. Mr. Marcus Harwood, Bandys FFA Showmanship, & more. Twenty Vendors, door prizes, & free freshly BBQ’ed Beef. I look forward to seeing you there!
  • 4-H Dairy Steer Project Informational Meeting, December 9, 6:30 p.m. Do you have a child or grandchild that would enjoy this? Or do you want to be on a list of people to call when families have questions or concerns about their project?
  • Ken Arrowood is reducing his cowherd. There are 7 commercial Angus cow/calf pairs available. Pasture exposed to bull. BCS is ~7. Calves range from 3 weeks to 5 months old. Talk to him at the meeting or give him a call.
  • 2018 Farm-City Week Banquet is November 26, at 6 p.m. at the Catawba Country Club. The 3 speakers are Clarence Hood, Paul Beatty, and Bo Teague. Kiwanis will present the 2018 Catawba County Contributor to Agriculture Award. Cost is only $20 a plate. Should be really good! Call our office at 828-465-8240 for ticket reservations.

Custom feeding refers to the practice of sending calves, stockers, or yearlings to a commercial feed yard for feeding to slaughter weights. It should be viewed as a potential means to add value to your calf crop and/or evaluate the genetic merit of your cow herd. Custom feeding is not without risks.

What Services do commercial feed yards offer? 1) They feed cattle to slaughter weights. 2) They offer financing to their clients for cattle, feed, and other charges. 3) The most important service is marketing your finished cattle. The feed yard manager should have experience in feeding and marketing the kind and type of cattle you are sending to the feed yard. Questions to ask include: 1) How many packers bid on the cattle weekly? 2) Do they sell “live” or ”in the beef”? 3) Do you have access to the feed lot’s formula pricing arrangements, contracts, and alliances for selling particular groups of cattle, and their use of grids? Be sure to ask about getting Carcass data and about any fees associated with it. Check out: West Texas A&M University Beef Carcass Research Center

Other things to think about: If you traditionally market your calves at weaning, and change to retained ownership, income will be delayed six to eight months until slaughter cattle are marketed. Be aware of the tax implications of retaining ownership. Income & taxes probably will need to be deferred for six to eight months because of no income and extra expenses.

So what type of fees can be expected? Three of the most common ways of charging for services are: yardage, yardage plus feed markup, feed markup only. Yardage usually is charged on a $/head/day basis. When only yardage is charged (no feed markup), yardage generally ranges from 35 to 45 cents/head/day. Feed then is sold at cost with this arrangement. In feed yards that charge yardage plus feed markup, yardage charges generally run about 5 cents/head /day. Feed is sold to the customer with a markup ($/ton) included. In yards that only charge feed markup, the markup typically runs $30 to $40 per ton of feed. (Midwest Prices)   Be sure you understand how a particular feed yard charges for these services before placing cattle on feed. In most cases, little difference occurs in total feed plus yardage costs, no matter which fee structure a yard utilizes. You can benefit by understanding the fee structure and charges before placing cattle. Generally, producers pay charges for processing the cattle on arrival and chute usage charges (on a per-head basis) when cattle are worked through the chute. Other fees include medicine, sick pens, vaccines, implants, processing, and other miscellaneous fees. Ask about all other fees so you have no surprises.

Large feedlots prefer to work with “Pot-load” pen sizes or larger. A “pot-load “ lot for 500-pound calves would be approximately 80 to 85 head. However, a number of feedlots will feed 25-to 30 head pens. Ask the manager the minimum pen size required for feeding at a particular lot. Once you have narrowed your selection to a couple of feed yards, call the managers and visit with them, or better visit the feedlot. Observe the conditions of the pens, facilities, and cattle on feed. Neat, clean facilities indicate pride in the feedlot on the part of the owner, manager, and employees. If you have concerns about the financial conditions of a particular feedlot, have your banker call the feedlot’s banker. Your banker may gain insight into possible financial problems at that feedlot and help you avoid problems with a feedlot that is in poor financial conditional. Invest time upfront “interviewing” the manager and asking questions. A successful custom feeding program involves an investment of time from you before cattle are placed on feed. Do your homework and take the time to check out potential feedlots thoroughly. A high degree of trust between the cattle owner and feedlot manager is necessary to ensure successful long-term feeding arrangements. Retained ownership require strategies. In a review of research (Handouts at meeting), not all years are profitable using retained ownership. However, years that are profitable show on average 3x profit of selling at weaning. Successful cow owners will be those who can adjust their programs to changes in market conditions to achieve the greatest returns to their resources. Mr. John Langdon, a North Carolina cattle producer, has some experiences and will share them with us Nov. 12.