Never has there been an industry that has so many ready “advisors.” Some advertise as consultants, some have dozens of years of profitable experience and others may still be sweating down their first free feed store ball cap. Regardless the advice about raising, producing, showing and profiting from Texas Longhorns is abundant. Perhaps it is just a matter of sorting out the valid and the guessulators.
Advice comes in various colored wrappers: there is good advice, bad advice, experienced advice, neophyte advice, professional advice, amateur advice and sometimes no advice is the safest.
President Trump says, “Always try to learn from other people’s mistakes, not your own---it is much cheaper that way!”
If a fortune-teller knew their business, their stock market investments would be a phenomenal profit every time. You know the answer to that one. Why do religious faith healers avoid the big hospitals if they actually do what they say? Perhaps some registered cattle advisors are of a similar breed.
“RAISE WHAT YOU LIKE.” Of all the bad advice, this one crawls under my skin. When entry-level producers are searching for good information they don’t need to be told that they already know it all---just do whatever. Consider the Super Bowl; what if the coach just told the players, “Just go on the field and have fun.”
No one can go into a new business and know as much about it as after they have worked the business for a few years. There are a lot of good sources of valid business info and an equal or larger group of not so good info. Just because someone is free with all the answers and yet don’t have the “chips” to prove it---maybe, hold off on that source of advice. “
If an entry-level producer has no desire to every show a profit---never have any return on investment, RAISE WHAT YOU LIKE, is fine. Yet if there is a desire to show a profit each one must position themselves to carefully learn what the buyer wants. The more successful producers are filling the need of what is wanted the more financial fun each person will have.
As an exampleâ€”where does your information come from?
Auctions are a source of information, but not always the best. Each auctioneer has a dedication of embellishment owed to the consignor to verbalize the merits of each critter to achieve the highest bid. Next week the same glamorous prose may be used on totally different cattle of lesser or even greater quality. Auctioneers, similar to attorneys work for their client. An attorney may pontificate the guilt of a client one day and innocence the next.
An auction with high prices always means the sale manager did a good job and may or may not mean the cattle are good quality. If there are more buyers wanting cattle than numbers of cattle, prices are high.
Futurities are a good place to see cattle values. Exhibitors bring their best to win a futurity, but would not bring their best to dispose of at auction. The weakness of futurities as a learning experience is that judges do not give reasons for their placings.
Ranchers who have bred and raised valuable cattle are a good source of information. All of the hard parts of creating values come with the experience of mating choices, raising and marketing quality cattle.
Recently an entry level producer told me about some advice they had received---to watch an ITLA show being judged, and listening to the reasons. Of all the easy advice, that was a brilliant recommendation. ITLA approved show judges have attended a 6 hour Texas Longhorn judging clinic. They have been in the business for many years and have displayed some success in buying and selling quality Texas Longhorn cattle. The ITLA judge approval process is a serious one with not every applicant being approved and not every judge retaining official statusâ€”some get removed from the list.
As show cattle are judged viewers can evaluate disposition, and the most telling judgment is comparative analysis. Cattle are posed in line on level ground which shows ones that are taller, longer and wider. This factor of comparative analysis puts each entry side by side for easy determination of variables. Comparative analysis is not possible for one single cow in an auction ring or one animal alone being judged in a futurity.
The elite of comparative analysis is to view cattle loose in pastures standing by related stock of the same age---cattle all being fed and with the exact same environment. That is a great way to learn about and judge cattle.
Texas Longhorns are probably the easiest cattle breed to judge as they are value-visual. Learning to judge for attractive anatomy is much easier than looking at a line of black Angus all the same size, color and clipped almost identical.
Advice: Learn to like and raise what buyers like for development of a profitable business.
Advice: For all industry horn data Arrowheadcattlecompany.com, a free site hosted by Craig Perez has the final say. It doesn’t tell about conformation, or weights, but the horn data is dead-on.
Advice: Learn what buyers like then produce cattle toward a long-term planned value-target.
Advice: Go to www.texaslonghorn.com for over 400 articles on Texas Longhorn marketing, management, minerals, casting, nutrition, profiting, judging, photography, mating, starting a herd, purchasing wisely, etc.
“Experience is the best teacher---problem is you won’t live long enough to get all the experience yourself. So be humble and wise enough to learn from other’s experience.” ~ Bob White, Age 99, Lakeland, FL.