3 Card Poker


Well-Known Member
Mucky if your fit to buy a 325kg weanling for €700, that’s €2.15/kg.
Keep them for a year and gain 325kg and sell for for €2.23/kg at 650kg.
That’s a gross margin of €750/year.
Sell the suckler cows and go at that full time.
Even it you only got them to today’s weights of 575kg in a year and they came into €1250, that’s €550, a good margin also.
If those those returns can be achieved, I can’t understand why you’d bother calving suckler cows.
You’d surely carry one and half of them,
in place of a cow and a calf. Less work and more margin, lighter stock to carry on your ground too.

It would surely make more money than suckling?
I recall a reply that you made to something that I posted last year when i wasnt happy with the prices that i was getting for weanlings in which you said that if I wasn't happy then I should change my system and truth be told I respected your advice and promised myself, based on what you said, that I wasn't going to sell cattle for a price that I wasn't happy with anymore. Its not a reflection on any finisher or any buyer that ever bought an animal that I produced. Its a reflection of me trying to make more of what I have and having no option but to try to make some type of living out of it. And don't get me wrong, I'm doing what I want to be doing but I want to make it sustainable because selling animals that I make little or nothing on isn't sustainable and that's not a reflection of farmers, feeders or finishers that buy cattle, rather a reflection of beef prices. And maybe I won't always do things right, but as the old saying goes, a man can't keep doing the same thing and expect different results. I find this place and people like yourself a great resource. People posting replies such as @Peter did this morning about finishing continental cattle at heavier weights gets me thinking about how I can change and adapt they system that I have in order to get more from it. Without experience, I rely on agri media and advisory for to set out a plan - in fairness, agri media and advisory appear to me to advise that the way forward is to am for 350kg carcass at as young of age as possible.

At home last year we sat down to set out a plan which saw us cut cow numbers. We have a certain number of cows that will produce calves that leave reasonable profit year on year and we will continue with them. But for other cattle, logistically and time wise, we go with easier calving bulls because we can't always be with them when calving, we go with easier calving bulls on heifers and we put different breeds onto cows to breed replacements.

With less cows we can keep on to the weanlings that we used to sell (often only broke even on them and sometimes lost money) and we can bring them to stores at 18 months or to slaughter. It has a whole load of advantages for us. Animals have little or no stress that they would have if they went through the mart, no weight loss as a result and no lull in thrive. Also less sickness. I'm fattening animals that I know the history of. To me, all that gives me a good advantage over buying weanlings.

Simmental bull has been very valuable to us in recent years. We have introduced a good few breeding females into the herd from him. But the truth is that they don't sell well as weanlings and even as stores they are a bit behind other continentals of the same weight. Looking at online marts over the last few weeks, I have no doubt that you'll buy reasonably good quality simmentals weanling bulls for feeding at €2.00 to €2.20 / kg on average.

To each their own but the system @ithastopay has outlined there isn't a million miles away from what we do here.

Its almost a form of extended cattle dealing. The margins can often be very good, other times not so good. You're at the mercy of the trade but if you watch the trade and hit it right you can work around it.

Hence we sold quite plain cattle in early January while the trade was good, but "we" (not me specifically) had been watching the trade and hit it just before the factories pulled the prices and the trade went back a bit.

I don't mean this the wrong way, but in terms of the Mart option I felt you had missed the boat.

If you like the sucklers then I suppose its hard to move away from them, but our labour content is very low.

mixed fleet

Well-Known Member
Its not about scale here. All animals bought in here have to pay their way and leave some sort of a profit to allow me to stay in business. Any discussion on finishing cattle or buying in cattle in the mart on this forum has gone the same direction. There need to be more content posted about feeding cattle to their full potential. Feeding u grade cattle into dead weights of 350 kg would be knowing playing the wildcat card in poker imo.
It shouldn't have to be all about scale when feeding cattle, but the reality is that, margins are razor thin and the feeders with scale are commanding a nice bit better of a price than you me or mucky will ever get. The factories know where the cattle are, and if there's any slight shortage, (paying poor prices, orders to be filled,inspections, etc) It's the big feeder gets the call. Have 30 cattle here for 7.30 am tmro morning. No point in ringing me . Flat pricing ,Lucrative deals on transport ,agents fees .etc
To finish cattle profitably you would want to be able to feed low cost with by products, waste bread ,biscuits ,brewing, distilling by products ,waste or out of spec vegetables.
In this country we don't have a population big enough to generate the volume required.


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Like you we sit, talk and discuss plans, we compare cattle performance, feeding different breeds, suckler bred, dairy bred,
Hereford, Angus, calf to beef, buying weanlings, buying stores, we enjoy the beef game, we are small at it, make a small margin, for a relatively low work load, we like feeding cattle, finishing cattle, looking at good cattle and eating good steak.

We do things as best we can and we still make mistakes, there’s very little room for errors in finishing cattle.
There’s been beef cattle here all my life, I grew up with it, my father fed them, my uncle fed them, there’s not a day goes by I won’t be talking with someone about beef.

Everyone will have their own opinion, on how best to make money from beef, many of them are not making much money out of it, not much point in taking their advice, I’d be looking at what the best finishers are doing and why they are doing it.

You have a clear advantage with quality home bred stock, against those of us going out to buy store cattle, transport to and from the mart, mart commissions and loss of thrive, hard to put a figure on it, I’d suggest it could be €50 or more.
That will go a a long way towards balancing the higher feed costs you will have based on your location.

Im glad your trying something different and pushing yourself, now you need to decide if you will push the cattle harder and finish them to their full potential, going halfway, option 2 and option 3, you’d be as far on selling them as stores.

Id pay no heed to to what Agri media or advisors are saying about beef, very few of them are making a living out of it.
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Well-Known Member
I'm of the opinion that guys like me with sucklers should get as much as we can out of them growth wise on grass, get them started on meal, condition them abit then sell in the mart. Let the men that specialises in finishing get on with it, and let them deal with the factories. I'll probably have a different opinion tomorrow 🤠