Cull cows represent 10 to 20 percent of the gross revenue on a cow-calf operation, points out Ronald Gill, Texas A&M University extension livestock specialist, and you can add to that income through informed marketing. He says to consider some of the following management changes if these appear to be profitable.
1 Add weight to thin cull cows before selling, particularly healthy cows with a body-condition score of 4 or lower at culling. Target for a BCS 5 for light-muscled cows and BCS 5-6 for heavier-muscled cows. This can be accomplished by feeding a high-concentrate ration for 30 to 50 days in a drylot. High-quality forage is another way to replenish muscle mass on cows.
2 Cull old cows before they lose their teeth, decline in body condition and fail to breed.
3 Explore selling directly to a packer on a prearranged price. He adds that producers need to exercise caution since bids typically are competitive at local auction. This should only be attempted by a knowledgeable producer.
4 Sell cows before they become fat, BCS 8-9. Fat cows are typically discounted for low lean yield regardless of their potential to classify as “breaking utility.”
5 Sell cows outside seasonal marketing trends. Cull-cow prices typically are lowest in the fall, October and November. Consider marketing between February and September when there are fewer cows going to market.
6 Consider cull cows as a valuable asset and handle them to avoid bruising, which is a major problem with cull cows that occurs from rough handling and hauling during the time they’re sorted at the ranch until they are processed.
7 Be diligent with withdrawal times when marketing cull cows that have been treated with any kind of pesticide, antibiotic or other chemical compound.