In two short weeks we will be ringing in 2017 and putting 2016 to bed. Lots of changes have taken place this past year in the cattle markets, feed grain carryover stocks, US elections, world political landscape, etc. Like every new year, we get a chance at a “fresh” start. To do things differently. To do those things that we never get around to doing. To stop doing things that we should never have done in the first place. To do those things that we know we should be doing, but for some reason have not been able to get them done. To make the time to get what needs to be done… done. And to simply, do the right things. A New Year’s Resolution is defined as a firm decision to either do, or not do, something. It’s completely up to you.
It’s no different for anyone on a ranch or who owns and works with beef cattle. There are countless opportunities for decisions to be made, time to be spent, resources to be committed, things to get done. How can you look at 2017 for a fresh start and prioritize for getting the most out of your operation for you and your family? You will need to do your own soul searching but here might be a few suggested Resolutions that you can choose to either steal, modify, ignore or take under advisement. Happy New Year!
Ranch Resolutions for 2017
- Commit to working safely in 2017 around livestock, equipment, vehicles and others
- Start a performance record keeping program on your cow-herd to help you measure and then manage genetic progress and make replacement heifer selection and cow culling decisions
- Initiate, or keep up with your financial records to make sure you are managing input costs and all expenses that can significantly impact your returns
- Insert a monthly, or at least quarterly reminder on your calendar for evaluating your cow body condition. We happen to have a recently updated, easy to use, App for that.
- Step aside and let the younger generation get their feet wet when the time is right
- Make contact with your local Veterinarian to establish a client/patient relationship that will be required under the new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) program, in order to use approved antibiotics in your feeding program, should the need arise
- Commit to “Life Long Learning” by attending a feeder meeting, cattle seminar or workshop to expand your knowledge of the industry
- Never let your self-fed pasture supplement run out or your mineral feeders run dry
- Go help the neighbor when they can use an extra hand
- Get more cows bred in the first 42 days of the breeding season
- Develop, implement and stay the course with a manageable cross breeding program that you will follow to help maximize production efficiencies
- Pick out a calf-value program where you can profitably participate and increase yo ur returns
- Identify at least one way of improving resource conservation and environmental impact on your operation
- Go fishing with the family at least 5 times this summer
- Take a hard look at expenses and assets that fail to provide an economic return to your operation. Is there a better way? Are they really necessary?
- Don’t let your Cow-herd, replacement heifers, young cows or bulls slip in body condition
- Volunteer to speak to your school or other local community activity as a beef industry advocate representing current production methods and environmental responsibility
- Look for a better horse, dog, truck, tractor, ATV…
- Cull that old cow that caused you the adrenaline spike at calving by pinning you to the corral fence and is responsible for the hitch in your gait.
- Don’t accept the excuses to give those low performing cows, just one more chance…
- Look for ways to get more out of your forages and pastures. Grazing rotation systems, supplement placement, protein supplement, complimentary pastures, annual forages, etc.?
- Incorporate more technology in your cattle operation
- Say thank you often and with sincerity