Category: Decision Making

How Much Can You Afford To Spend On Feed?

A midwestern University specialist recently wrote a column for a leading beef industry magazine claiming that winter feeding is the biggest expense in most cow/calf enterprises. That may be true in most cow/calf enterprises, but I doubt it’s true for any of the most profitable cow/calf enterprises. The specialist offered suggestions to “reduce feed costs […]

Read More

A True Story About A Real Manager

About 15 years ago I met an absentee owner who was responsible for a family ranch that was losing money. It had lost between $200,000-$300,000 year after year for a long time. Over those years she’d made several threats to the two managers that if things didn’t turn around, the family would have to sell […]

Read More

Smart Resolutions

A lot of people make New Year’s resolutions. Gym memberships go way up in January. By Valentine’s Day that box of chocolates is looking pretty good and gym attendance is way down. It isn’t that resolutions are bad ideas. They’re not. Or that people can’t change. We can. It is that most resolutions don’t provide […]

Read More

If Someone Is Doing It, It’s Possible

I often hear people joke, “Ranching for profit? That’s an oxymoron.” I get frustrated hearing it, but I don’t blame anyone for thinking it. There is a lot of evidence to support the “ranching isn’t profitable” paradigm. These days ranches are valued more for the scenery than for livestock production. In fact, looking at a […]

Read More

Records Are A Waste Of Time

Some people think that records are THE key to managerial success. Not me. I think most records are a waste of time. Records give us data. We need information. It takes analysis to turn data into useful information.   The problem is we spend 90% or more of our time collecting the data and only […]

Read More

Low Hanging Fruit

Someone called me asking if I was available to do some consulting. I explained that even though our name is Ranch Management Consultants, we actually do very little consulting. After folks have been to the Ranching For Profit School they may need some coaching, but they usually don’t need consulting. When we consult, we only […]

Read More

Which Circle Are You In?

I go to a lot of meetings. I often hear people complain about how tough we have it. The three favorite topics are bad weather, low prices and government regulations (three things you can’t do anything about). Those are followed up by gossip about the neighbor … and if the neighbor is there … it […]

Read More

Survival of the Fittest & Natural Selection

Nature has a strict culling policy. If bulls and bucks don’t breed, or if does and cows don’t wean fawns and calves, their genes aren’t passed on. Survival of the fittest. Most commercial ranchers select for fitness too. If a cow is open or dry, she’s culled. If she’s got a bad udder or isn’t […]

Read More

Boots On The Ground & Eyes Looking Down

I recently participated in a pasture rejuvenation workshop. My presentation on grazing principles was followed by an explanation of a multi-year trial on pasture rejuvenation. I didn’t understand why pasture rejuvenation was such a big issue to the attendees. A well-managed pasture shouldn’t need mechanical, herbicide or seeding treatments to stay healthy and productive. My […]

Read More

Free Money Can Be Expensive

Letting government programs dictate your management and set priorities can be costly. The most obvious example is probably the emergency feed program. In drought impacted areas, this program incentivizes ranchers not to destock. The result has been severe overstocking during drought, when the impacts of bad management are intensified.   Even programs like EQUIP (Environmental […]

Read More