There are many reasons.
1. we simply have too many cows
2. we are going to lose some pasture this fall
3. farm help is virtually impossible to find here. My idea of a holiday is getting up at 4 am so that I can get my chores done so that I can spend a day sitting in a meeting.
4. in recent years, 12 cows have been generating over 60 % of the income. For example, we just sent a shipment of embryos to Scotland last week. These embryos were from two donors and this sale put one over $65000 in income in the last 4 years; the other passed the $40,000. We have a waiting list for embryos from each cow and we will only fill the demand if they both flush well for several more months.
5. My dad, is still a partner in this operation. He is now 83... a very young 83 I might add. With labour so far to find, we want to be ready for the day when he cannot help as much as he does now. I am not sure when that will be as he can still tire me out most days.
6. We have been dry for longer than I care to remember. I am tired of constantly looking at the sky to see if I can see some clouds on the horizen. If I reduce my cow numbers it allows me to be not as dependent on the weather. In the good years, i may actually be able to sell some hay.
7. We want to spend more time with our ET program, and maybe find a good co-operator herd to work with. This would be a good way to help a young couple establish a herd and also help use reduce our labour requirement here. We would either purchase all the ET calves at weaning or split them between the co-operator and ourselves at weaning... what ever works for both parties.
8. Reducing our cow numbers would allow me to spend more time trlooking for a few more select donors. I happen to believe that many of the best donors have never seen a show ring, and often are in small herds off the beaten track. The donor I mentioned above who has just passed $ 65,000 in sales came from a small herd and she cost me $2000 to purchase. She is only 6 years old now, so hopefully she will produced for a number of years yet. Who knows, i may end up getting a donor or two from another breed ( such as a Speckle Park)
9. I also publish a Shorthorn magazine here in Canada, and it is getting harder to provide as much time to this as it needs due to the inavailability of help.
These are the reasons that quickly come to mind. There are probably a bunch more. I know my wife could come up with a much longer list!