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Suckler cows vs runner calves to beef

  • 27-06-2021 2:37pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 87 ✭✭ bosallagh88


    What are peoples thoughts on the profitability of bringing runner calves to strong stores or beef compared to sucklers ? was thinking about continental calves around 200kgs buying in spring or autumn depending on value currently keep sucklers but was thinking maybe these would leave a better margin as they would be easy wintered and you could graze a lot more of them especially in a wet year get them out earlier to make use of spring grass etc


Comments

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 1,620 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Albert Johnson


    What are peoples thoughts on the profitability of bringing runner calves to strong stores or beef compared to sucklers ? was thinking about continental calves around 200kgs buying in spring or autumn depending on value currently keep sucklers but was thinking maybe these would leave a better margin as they would be easy wintered and you could graze a lot more of them especially in a wet year get them out earlier to make use of spring grass etc

    The biggest initial issue imo would be purchase price, those nice 200kg odd suckler runners aren't always that plentiful and are usually dear especially in springtime. You'd probably have a better selection in the autumn and they might be a bit cheaper.

    Management both at grass and over the winter is another deciding factor. A suckler cow is reasonably forgiving in that she'll be suistained by any sort of middling grass or silage provided she gets enough of it. Those sort of small cattle need fresh grass constantly and good quality silage and concentrates over winter to keep them ticking along.

    They'd be a lot easier fed in the first year and even after that they'd be easier kept than a bundle of cow's. You'd also have a lot less work with a bunch of dry cattle compared to sucklers. It's 18 months minimum from when you bull a cow to hopefully having a saleable weanling, 18 months should turn a nice runner into a good forward store for probably less cost and labour.


  • Registered Users Posts: 777 ✭✭✭ older by the day


    I agree, you will have less work. But it depends on your costs I suppose. It's the second winter is the costly one. Hard to buy good cattle cheap. Would an Angus or Hereford finish faster. Or would you finish on grass near 30months? There is no big money in either sucklers or stores but less work in stores. With the new environmental schemes coming in would a low stocking rate and a topper make more money?


  • Registered Users Posts: 87 ✭✭ bosallagh88


    The biggest initial issue imo would be purchase price, those nice 200kg odd suckler runners aren't always that plentiful and are usually dear especially in springtime. You'd probably have a better selection in the autumn and they might be a bit cheaper.

    Management both at grass and over the winter is another deciding factor. A suckler cow is reasonably forgiving in that she'll be suistained by any sort of middling grass or silage provided she gets enough of it. Those sort of small cattle need fresh grass constantly and good quality silage and concentrates over winter to keep them ticking along.

    They'd be a lot easier fed in the first year and even after that they'd be easier kept than a bundle of cow's. You'd also have a lot less work with a bunch of dry cattle compared to sucklers. It's 18 months minimum from when you bull a cow to hopefully having a saleable weanling, 18 months should turn a nice runner into a good forward store for probably less cost and labour.

    Thanks was thinking when there is bigger sales of calf’s they could be picked up for about 550 which might work out cheaper than buying a 300kgs one for 750 to 800 they would be easier grazed than sucklers the first summer but when they reach 500 to 600 kgs would they eat as much as a cow and 2 month old calf say.


  • Registered Users Posts: 87 ✭✭ bosallagh88


    I agree, you will have less work. But it depends on your costs I suppose. It's the second winter is the costly one. Hard to buy good cattle cheap. Would an Angus or Hereford finish faster. Or would you finish on grass near 30months? There is no big money in either sucklers or stores but less work in stores. With the new environmental schemes coming in would a low stocking rate and a topper make more money?

    Yea Angus would be something to consider as well with the bonus and runner type weanlings could be picked up at handy enough money when sales are bigger in the autumn


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 1,620 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Albert Johnson


    Thanks was thinking when there is bigger sales of calf’s they could be picked up for about 550 which might work out cheaper than buying a 300kgs one for 750 to 800 they would be easier grazed than sucklers the first summer but when they reach 500 to 600 kgs would they eat as much as a cow and 2 month old calf say.

    It all depends on what your looking to buy, AAx will be easier bought than CHx, heifers are usually cheaper than bulls ect. The AAx would probably be a better prospect if you were going to finish them but I'd rather a CHx or similar if selling forward stores. If you're buying heifers then you've always the risk of mastitis and unexpected pregnancies.

    You'd probably pick up fair type suckler bred runner's at €500-600 a piece in the autumn, especially if you were in the suckler heartlands. You've a better chance of turning €600 in €1200 than €800 in €1600 in a similar timescale imo, if you could keep them motoring for 18 months it's surprising what those small cattle can do over time. Any sort of a reasonable suckler cow is going to be near 600kg or more (maybe much more) so tbh I couldn't see a good forward store being any harder ran. From observing dry stock compared to cow's I always think that cow's are grazing no matter when you look where as the dry cattle will lie down for longer periods. A man told me the following about horse's once and I think it's applicable to suckler cow's too, "They eat while you sleep, think about the economics of that".


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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,161 ✭✭✭✭ Bass Reeves


    You will often buy runners at value. In spring you need to buy as soon after Christmas as they arrive into the mart. I be prepared to mix what I buy and just watch for value. If selling as stores you need to carry cattle to 500 kgs. It's a matter of just growing enough grass to put weight on them.

    Slava Ukrainii



  • Registered Users Posts: 363 ✭✭ trg


    What LW would AAX heifers be finished at roughly?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 1,620 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Albert Johnson


    You will often buy runners at value. In spring you need to buy as soon after Christmas as they arrive into the mart. I be prepared to mix what I buy and just watch for value. If selling as stores you need to carry cattle to 500 kgs. It's a matter of just growing enough grass to put weight on them.

    You'll buy dairy bred runner's at value but not so much suckler bred types imo, at least not here in the West imo. You'll also sell a bundle of coloured stores locally easier than black and whites. I'd agree about buying in early spring because there's never as many buyers at that time of year and you'd have a good chance of getting those small cattle to grass early and availing of compensatory growth.

    There's truth in looking for value but it all depends on how much time you have to spend and what you'd be prepared to buy. Online sales might cut out some of the leg work but tbh I'd like to see the stock in person first. The runner ring is often a dumping ground for backward stunted yearlings. There's a big difference in a genuine 4 month old calf coming off a cow and a screw of a thing that wasn't registered for 6 months, it's not always noticeable on the camera. The key with those sort of stock is differentiating between badly done and stunted. You want to be buying young and light not aged and starved.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,226 ✭✭✭ Siamsa Sessions


    trg wrote: »
    What LW would AAX heifers be finished at roughly?

    450-500kg according to a local butcher here. He told me he likes 230-260kg dead-weight for the shop.


  • Registered Users Posts: 698 ✭✭✭ minerleague


    Uncle of mine made a good living out of mainly buying AA dairy cross bucket reared runners ( bought at 7 - 9 months ), often bought for little more than they would have made as calves. He would be in 2 -3 marts every week though and played along with dealer types as they knew a cr trailer load was all he'd buy any day. Never knew suckler weanlings would also be called runners, always thought it refered to dairy cross cattle


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