Weaning time varies with how far along the fall crops are. If we are going to have an early harvest we might wait till afterwards to wean, or if it is extra dry like 2012, we wean early. This means a time frame from the middle of September till the middle of October. We use our smaller pens to wean in to keep the calves from running around as much. After about a month we sort and send them to the bigger pens. The biggest steers then get put on full feed by the end of the year, and the replacement heifers and smaller calves remain on grower rations. Ration fed and amount get recorded daily for each pen. This is necessary for ingredient consumption and bunk management. The rations we use include distillers grains from the Ethanol Plant, usually about 30%. The corn is rolled at our farm into a truck mixer (which has a scales). The molasses, distillers and hay are located at the farm as well. Since we have been using the distillers, we grind corn stover that we bale, for our roughage. Our vaccination program includes 5-way IBR, insecticide pour on, and a clostridium shot. A hemopholis shot and nasal IBR are added to sale barn calves coming in. We also have our own semi cattle trailer to haul the cattle to and from pastures and to market.
For each new set of calves started on feed, we calculate a breakeven price. Inputs for this program are starting weight, feeder cost, shrink, death loss %, miscellaneous cost, intake factor, efficiency factor, weather % reduction, interest, feed cost, and a yardage charge. Results from these inputs give us calculations for finished date and weight, sale breakeven, average daily gain, purchase breakeven, and profit/loss per head. This printout also shows each ration amount fed and days on each ration. Many times this calculation shows a loss so then we know where we need to target our sales or cheapen up the inputs, usually with contracts or market strategies.
Here is an example of one of our rations. This one is usually the one we get the calves going on after weaning. It is a Grower 48 Mcal/cwt (G48) ration.
Corn Rolled = 26.47 %
Dist Grains- 70% H2O = 30.00 %
35 HiCal Liquid = 3.80 %
Alfalfa Hay = 2.35 %
Corn Stalks = 37.37 %