Friday, March 31, 2017

2017 Cattle Raisers Convention Common Traits of Successful Ranches

Dr. Rick Machen
King Ranch Institute

Successful Ranches share 1 common trait, and 5 components of that trait. 
Succesful Ranches are Stewards of the Resources
  1. People 
  2. Resources 
    • Natural (soil and water, plants)
    • Animals
  3. Financial
  4. Customers


1. People
*raise
*hire
  • Integrity
  • Work ethic
  • Motivated
  • Competent

A strong work ethic is not inherent, it is learned. The younger the learner,  the stronger the ethic.
People who are successful ranchers are life long learners.
It is easy to be passionate on easy, happy days. Are we passionate on the bad days, such as the people suffering from fires in Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma?

2. Resources
How does that energy from the sun taste? Cattle convert the grass growing from the energy from the sun into high quality protein.
Good Stewarts realize they can't control how much they get, but they can manage what they have. Gracing management is huge, must have a grazing plan.
Have to manage invading species.
In Texas if you remove the juniper canopy, the native grasses come back from the existing seed bank.
They match the production of the cow to the production of the environment.
Performance Measures:
  • Conception rates
    • Cowherd
    • 2nd calf cows
    • 1st calf heifers
  • Calving ease (short season with calving ease service bulls)
  • % calves born in first 30 days
  • % calf crop weaned
  • Pounds of calf per acre

Example ranch that is very successful:
  • 97% calf crop weaned 
  • 350 day calving interval
  • $280 cow cost

Cattlemen have been practicing sustainability for decades. Matching the cow to her production environment.
Diversification will be important as we move forward. Oil, multiple species, recreation, etc.

3. Financial
Hay, supplement fee, depreciation...
Avoid fed feed costs. Has feeding hay become a habit? What can you do to reduce feeding hay?
What is your cost of production? If I make a small change here what is the revenue outcome?
Smart ranches invest wisely, save when possible, expect and prepare for the tough times.
There are certain items we need to have to operate. Too many ranches suffer from  "hardware disease", i.e. lots of equipment, trailers, and other unnecessary purchases.
Never buy what you can lease, never lease what you can borrow.

4. Customers
Have to make sure we are meeting the concerns of today's customers.

5. People (again)
Need to look at generational transfer. Involve them when they are young.
Use teamwork.
"Keep the ranch in the family and the family in the ranch. " -Donnell Brown
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