2014… A Year To Remember

At the beginning of every New Year I always reflect on the year gone by. What a great year 2014 has been. This year we had record high calf prices and I am so thankful for that. We sold our calves at the beginning of November and the average price of our steer calves (casterated male calves) was 614 pounds and we averaged $2.64 per pound per calf. For our heifer calves (females) they weighed on average 511 pounds and we averaged $2.56 per pound. These prices are incredible considering last year we thought things were good and our average price for steer calves was $1.62. I feel 2014 will be the year to tell my grandchildren about…. Back in 2014…..
In all seriousness though it is such a great boost of optimism of the industry. It also permits us on our family farm to be able to look at improving some production practices like new equipment to make silage instead of hay, that in the past we could not afford to do due to money constraints. One of the reasons prices are so high, is simply supply and demand (among other things) there are simply not as many animals as there were the past. The past 10 years in the beef industry have been a really rough storm to weather, but those who weathered it are benefiting this year!:) Some agriculture statistics companies say that even though prices are so high throughout the industry heifer retention is quite low, so people are seeing these high prices and selling everything and not keeping any replacement heifers to grow their herd. Which, I totally understand especially because the average age of a rancher is 50+, I would probably want to cash in as well, however my family and I are in a very different situation. My dad is in that 50 + category, but my husband and I are far from that and are very keen on taking over the ranch, so we actually kept more replacement heifers this year to grow our herd and are looking to buy more cows. Some people may think this is crazy because yes prices are high and that is good when you are selling, but when you are buying this makes it difficult. This was a business decisions we talked a lot about, but we think it is a good investment because yes the initial cost is higher, but calves are worth more, so it will take less time for that cow to pay for herself. Also, the futures are predicting high prices for the next five years. We are very excited for the years to come in the beef industry.
I am also so thankful for my other half Erika Fossen for all her knowledge and friendship and for doing this blog together and we are so thankful for all of you who are interested in our story and interested in what it really takes to raise food in today’s society. Wishing everyone the very best in 2015!
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(Bringing the cows home from the range in the fall.)
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(A good mom with her huge steer calf, still drinking milk!)
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It still amazes me every fall what an amazing job our mother cows do at raising beautiful calves on a grass diet that they forage for themselves in the mountain. It is hard country up there and would be considered pretty useless if cows couldn’t turn that grass into delicious and nutrias beef!

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5 thoughts on “2014… A Year To Remember

  1. Lavinia Ross says:

    Happy New Year, Erika and Erika, and thank you for your educational blog! Hope 2015 is a good year for your all up there.

  2. Mandy says:

    It’s great to read of cattle farming on the other side of the planet. Keep up the fantastic blogging in 2015.

  3. Love the photos & stories!

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