In ranching, payday doesn’t come every Friday, every two weeks, or even monthly. Payday comes in the fall when you sell your calves. It is also the time of year that you get to see what all of your hard work over the past 12 months has been for. The late nights calving with no sleep, the cold below zero mornings feeding cows, and late dinners during cow work have all been for this. I have to tell you, watching the gate of a cattle truck close on that last animal feels pretty good.
Up until recently for the Cow Boss and me, selling our calves consisted of a rushed trip to Twin Falls with a horse trailer loaded with a handful of uneven steers and heifer calves. It was more stressful than pleasant, worrying about if we would get enough for them to pay the pasture bill for the year. This fall is different.
Last spring an opportunity fell into our laps to buy some heifer calves. The plan was to breed them this summer and sell part as bred heifers and keep part to increase our herd. We had a place to run them, our only obstacle was getting the money to buy them. We have learned a lot about equity, operating loans, balance sheets, and how to fill out loan applications.
This week, we shipped our heifers we sold. We had enough for ½ a truck load and were able to split a truck with the ranch we work for. It’s the first time we've had a semi for our own cattle. I can now tell you, watching our own heifers load on a truck and the gate closing feels really good, and we are on the hunt for more heifers to buy!