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Author Topic: Show Steers or Intricate/Expensive/Picky Eaters...Response to "Dont Get Mad"  (Read 11205 times)

Offline Longway Ranch - SK, Canada

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I am not talking about rolling, grinding and doing whatever to certain feeds.  That is normal, that is what feedlots do too.  Im not talking about adding all kinds of vitamins and molasses either.  That is normal.  I am saying, there have been quite a few people on here who have complained about their calves having a poor appetite, or no hair, or not enough muscling.  Instead of suggesting to get a better breeding program...people are suggesting they go to Sullivans, and order up some "Shag, Appetite Express, Oxy Explosion, or Natural Stride".  The thing is...why do these calves need help with their appetites, and strides in the first place.  I know show cattle can be tied up for long periods of time...but really...is it bad enough that you have to push pharmeseutical (sp) crap onto them??  I know I am going to hear from some that these feed addatives are just "horomones and minerals", but why cant the cattle that are needing them just get sent to the sale barn, and not tended to like a newborn child?  Cattlle are supposed to be eaters...they are born, they live to eat, and they get slaughtered for beef.  Pretty simple I thought, but I guess "raising cattle has to be harder than that".   I understand that it gets hot in Florida and Texas, and that you feel you need a rug on your calf to compete with others.  Its sad that all the southern areas cant agree to just show their cattle as is.  All slick shear...or natural coated.  I just feel like the industry is not actually selecting for healthier, more realistic, and actually productive cattle.  It is getting as bad as the human race.  The minute we have a little problem, were running to the medicine cabinet.  Why not just pick up a darn carrot and some spinach for supper every once in a while, instead of a Wendys Double Bacon Cheeseburger??
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Offline kids n chaos

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Bawndoh I think maybe you are looking at this the wrong way.  Someone mentioned before that this is a hobby - I'll even go farther and say it is a project.  If my kids' steer won't eat it is an education process to the kid to find out why and what to do to fix it and what to do better next time.  Will we buy a calf with the same breeding again, maybe not, but in the meantime we aren't going to give up because the calf is a picky eater.  This project has effects on other parts of their lives down the road.  If every picky show steer went to the sale barn and they started all over would they be more apt to give up on the next project too and just start over.  At our house you pick a calf to begin with and you see it through to the end point - through the rough hair, through the picky eating etc.  As far as mixing your own feed or buying bagged feed - we use the bag feed as a base in some cases and add to it if needed - other calves it serves as a complete ration.  Sometimes I think we forget that most steer projects are for the juniors - they need to be learning while they are doing.

Offline SouthWest

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I agree with you Chambero about 10%.  I don't need to see the carcass data from a major show.  I see carcass data on about 2000 head a week.  On a major people go an extra mile to get top quality carcass.  They do it by buying quality cattle and then they have the knowledge to feed the cattle right.  You don't show at a major and penny pinch on the feed.  But a county fair level, what percentage of the cattle are fed right.  When you walk around the barn, how much cattle are fed right?  What percentage of the barn would you pull out, and will grade like that major harvest sheet?  Major showmen have the money to pay more for steer and feed.  County kids tend to have much tighter budgets.  They focus more on the steer making wt. than being fed right.  I see too many worried about breaking the 1200lbs threshold  than its steers finish.  They will cut corners to cut cost even if its to buy a cheaper sack feed. I have seen grower fed to fat steers just because the bag was $2 cheaper.  The 90% always criticize the 10% because their parents have the funds.  I know its not about that.  I teach my kids that it is about doing it right.  That means industry standards.  How many do you see get on a cattle board like steer planet to gain knowledge to feed their calf right?  I don't think its the people that care.  Its the one that don't.  (I am not criticizing all showmen.  I know some don't have the funds and still manage to feed them right.  But some just do it to do a project and don't care.  They are what makes the rest of Show cattle look wrong.)

Offline SWMO

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Bawndoh I think maybe you are looking at this the wrong way.  Someone mentioned before that this is a hobby - I'll even go farther and say it is a project.  If my kids' steer won't eat it is an education process to the kid to find out why and what to do to fix it and what to do better next time.  Will we buy a calf with the same breeding again, maybe not, but in the meantime we aren't going to give up because the calf is a picky eater.  This project has effects on other parts of their lives down the road.  If every picky show steer went to the sale barn and they started all over would they be more apt to give up on the next project too and just start over.  At our house you pick a calf to begin with and you see it through to the end point - through the rough hair, through the picky eating etc.  As far as mixing your own feed or buying bagged feed - we use the bag feed as a base in some cases and add to it if needed - other calves it serves as a complete ration.  Sometimes I think we forget that most steer projects are for the juniors - they need to be learning while they are doing.
(clapping) (clapping) (clapping)

"At our house you pick a calf to begin with and you see it through to the end point - through the rough hair, through the picky eating etc. "

I whole heartedly agree on these being a project and a learning process for the kids.  This is they way it works at our house also.  Have even had a steer not make the sale on the county level.  We all usually learn more from our failures than we do from our successes.


Offline kanshow

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The small numbers make it impossible for us to feed show cattle the same as we do our feedlot cattle.   As someone else mentioned.. feedstuffs have to be kept fresh, etc.    We also are feeding to different end dates/results.   We don't want to have the fat cattle finishing for county fairs.   Then theres the heifers..we don't want all of our replacement heifers as fat as our show heifers and if they aren't a show heifer - they need to be in the pasture utilizing forage.

We do mix our own feed here and we do make periodic adjustments to each animal's ration as needed.     

Offline jeffb1

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Quite simply, those that have figured out the formula for success understand, as in any high level of competition, often times, the little extras we do make the difference in the end. I certainly feel this is true when it comes to feeding, BUT its more than just buying good feed(or supplements). It's feeding it properly in the amounts/types at the right times (both morning and night) and the right "time" for the calf your feeding, i.e., frame, body composition, condition, etc. With regard to show ring selection versus feedlot selection, I would suggest this has more to do with the expertise of the individual on the mic, than the cattle in front of them.No sour grapes just my opinion from observation! To highlight this point, I recall a few years back a family in Ks (that did a bunch of winning consistently) had the champ steer at our big fall show. He was also the champ in the carcass event! I thought that was really getting it done! He looked the part for the showring and he won the carcass contest. Unfortunately this doesn't happen very often. JB

Offline chambero

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I agree with you Chambero about 10%.  I don't need to see the carcass data from a major show.  I see carcass data on about 2000 head a week.  On a major people go an extra mile to get top quality carcass.  They do it by buying quality cattle and then they have the knowledge to feed the cattle right.  You don't show at a major and penny pinch on the feed.  But a county fair level, what percentage of the cattle are fed right.  When you walk around the barn, how much cattle are fed right?  What percentage of the barn would you pull out, and will grade like that major harvest sheet?  Major showmen have the money to pay more for steer and feed.  County kids tend to have much tighter budgets.  They focus more on the steer making wt. than being fed right.  I see too many worried about breaking the 1200lbs threshold  than its steers finish.  They will cut corners to cut cost even if its to buy a cheaper sack feed. I have seen grower fed to fat steers just because the bag was $2 cheaper.  The 90% always criticize the 10% because their parents have the funds.  I know its not about that.  I teach my kids that it is about doing it right.  That means industry standards.  How many do you see get on a cattle board like steer planet to gain knowledge to feed their calf right?  I don't think its the people that care.  Its the one that don't.  (I am not criticizing all showmen.  I know some don't have the funds and still manage to feed them right.  But some just do it to do a project and don't care.  They are what makes the rest of Show cattle look wrong.)

OK - I see where you are coming from.  It sounds like you aren't talking genetics but instead management.  A message ag teachers/agents/etc need to put across is that showing steers is not cheap.  You shouldn't even be planning to make a profit.  Feedlots have an almost impossible time doing it right now with big numbers, so unless you have a really heavily supported county sale, the average calf is not going to turn a profit.  An important message to kids should be if you don't have access to funds to feed a calf correctly, you should look at a project requring not as much money.  Our leaders do a pretty good job on that message.  As a whole in our state, you don't see that problem at county or major shows nearly as much as you did 20 years ago.  

 

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