Selling Calves at Auction – From Ranch to Market


Hi I’m Mike and today is the one paycheck
of the year that the ranch gets, its sale day on our Wyoming life. As a farmer myself, the day that calves go
to auction is bitter sweet. Lots of work goes into the care little guys but I know that when they leave we’ve done a good job and its gonna keep the farm around for another year This is the circle of life, we provide for
them and they provide for us, in so many different ways I love watching the baby calves grow and when
it time to leave, it can be sad, but they are a part of a much bigger
picture, for us, and the world. This is our Wyoming life, we invite you to
come along with us 3 times per week as we explore the ranch life and escape the ordinary. We weren’t raised here on the ranch, we
weren’t farm kids, but life can sometimes throw you a curveball and we went from working
corporate jobs in the city, to working livestock and the land. My wife Erin takes you into the life of a
market gardener, supporting the ranch by growing thousands of pounds of produce per year, selling
it at farmers market. Fighting hunger and food insecurity by donating
it at local food banks, and community services, such as food pantries and Snap and WIC. On the ranch, I take you through all the aspects
of learning as we go, giving the good and bad and hopefully learning something about
ourselves and life on the way. Years ago when we came here, we had no idea
what we were doing, nor did we know what we were up against. Now I’m proud to say that we can share this
journey with you, and I am glad that you decided to come along, please subscribe as we invite
you to become a part of the ranch with us. Every day of the year on the ranch leads up
to these couple of days. And one day that can make or break the whole
place. A day that is some years makes it all worth
it and other years can leave you wondering if its worth it at all. Today is sale time, this year almost every
calf that was born on the ranch will be sold at auction, they will be sorted off from the
cows and loaded on to a truck and auctioned off to buyers. That’s the down and dirty, but there is
so much more to it then just that. There is blood, sweat and tears that all go
into supporting our family and feeding yours. Long before the big trucks show up in the
driveway, and even long before any new calves are born on the ranch, it all starts with
just a bull and a cow. Mating season on the ranch takes place from
July until September, cows are bred and then are expected to give birth about 9 months
afterwards. Timing is important, as we want calves to
be born in April and May when winter is subsiding and weather will hopefully be easier on them. We preg check cows, checking to see who is
pregnant and who isn’t, when they aren’t pregnant, we figure out why and decide what
needs to happen to them. Some will leave the ranch, some will be given
a second chance but when it come down to it, its about having the most and healthiest calves
we can from our herd. Over the winter, all the cows are fed well. Throughout the winter months their diets will
change, based on what stage of development the calf fetus is in. Earlier on they will receive more filling
diets then, added protein and supplements as they reach the end of their pregnancy. Receiving, nutrients such as cobalt, potassium
and other trace minerals that they need. As spring rounds the corner, calves are starting
to be born. Some healthy and some not so healthy. The calves having trouble are given special
treatment to get them up to snuff. We have the equivalent of enough training
to help get them healthy, administering medications, tube feeding and what ever else may be required
to help these little guys and girls back out with their moms for summer. Over summer, the cows and calves are left
to graze and grow. Our job them becomes to maintain the herd. Fix fence, doctor the occasional sick one,
and make sure that they are healthy and happy. We make or buy the hay over the summer that
they are going to need to grow new calves the following year as the cycle repeats and
as October nears, we know that soon their time on the ranch will come to and end. And that brings us to today. The ranch is the biggest and most important
character in our entire story. Its bigger than Erin or I, its bigger than
any individual cow. The ranch is what has been here for over a
hundred years, doing the same thing we do everyday. Technology changes and methods evolve, but
when it comes down to it, the only way the ranch supports itself is through calves. One paycheck per year, that’s what we work
for and as we begin to gather cows and calves from as far as 3 miles away we start seeing
all that years work come into sight. The entire herd is gathered and pushed toward
home where our corrals and loading chutes are located. Once they are all in, then its back to look
for stragglers, and there is always one or two. Those cows and calves that slept through the
entire process. These are the winners of the booby prize,
they missed the parade but they still get one of their own. Until they are rejoined with their friends. Right here is where all the action will take
place tomorrow, the loading chute. Tall enough for a semi-trailer to back up
to but the calves will have a bit of a climb to get up here. One trick we learned a few years ago was that
the calves didn’t like climbing the wooden floor of the chute. To help them as they come up, we put dirt
down on the floor of the ramp and chute. A more familiar footing for them and making
them more comfortable as they load into the trailer. The cows are now in for the night, penned
up close to home. The loading chute is ready to go and the only
thing to do is wait for tomorrow, when the trucks arrive, and all that hard work pays
off. The day has come, and its time to finish bringing
the cows in to the corrals for sorting, I’m a big fan of working smarter and not
harder. Hard work is still something you cant avoid
around here but if you can do something to make it a bit easier, then it makes sense. For cows, food is a huge motivator and by
loading up some cake, a nutrional supplement that the cows love, into the gator we can
coax some of them into the corrals. Although its still early, this will keep a
few of them in where they need to be and help bring in the rest. Neighbors arrive to help, just as I do for
them and we start bringing cows in the rest of the way. Moving them slowly and without much pressure,
and soon enough all contained in two large sorting corrals. Our next goal is to sort the calves off the
cows. We aren’t keeping any replacements from
this years calves, and most all of them, aside from the ones we are finishing ourselves are
going. Most of all of our cows have been through
this before, they know the routine and most sort themselves past me, leaving the calves
back in the alley. Cows move up and around the corrals back out
to pasture and the calves are left behind, to be pushed up into another holding corral. A smooth and simple process, with the right
help and one that would take me all day without them. Once done we are left with corrals of calves,
all ready to go. They have water and food while they wait but
they don’t wait long as the trucks show up, right on time. Loading the truck isnt as simple as just pushing
them all, the cattle hauler trailer is divided into many different compartments of different
sizes, and I first get together with our truck driver and figure out how many go in each
one. After the logistics are done, then its time
to load. Counting out each group, moving them up into
the loading pen and then up the ramp and onto the trailer. When one truck is full, another moves into
its place and the process is repeated, until the corrals are empty and last calf is loaded
on, the doors are closed and its time for the trucks to hit the road. Off to the auction, where they are bought
from buyers all over the area. Some years, we follow the calves to auction,
this year we stayed behind on the ranch, to baby sit the cows. As we let them out into a bigger pasture,
they move on with their lives, heading out to eat, grazing on some nice green grass left
over from summer. Although the cows don’t notice their calves
missing now, they soon will, as their milk will continue to come in. Soon, it will become uncomfortable for them,
as they want to be milked. I cant help them with that, they will soon
dry up, but as they look for someway to relieve the pressure they do get loud and sleeping
becomes something that we have only heard of in rumors, at least for a couple of days. Because soon enough, its back to life as normal. The calves are gone, the cows are no longer
eating for two and they can start building themselves back up. Having a 500lb calf to support can really
drag a cow down and these cows are our breeding herd, they are the backbone of our operation. Its with them that the ranch continues each
and every year, and its with their calves that we can afford to do it. Each calf will bring between 800-1000 dollars
at auction. This year, after paying for hay, expenses
that we have accrued over the last year from everything from equipment repairs, to fence
posts, we are lucky to keep about 20% of our total sale price as operating expenses for
this next year, it doesn’t leave much. Talk to any rancher or farmer, and you have
good years and bad. Boom and bust, whatever you want to call it. For some its all about the good years, for
some they need the boom, but for some of us, its about being here. The ranch is a legacy, something that our
kids will hopefully want to continue someday. Over a hundred years of ups and down, some
years your hold a flush, some it’s a pair of twos, but come the next year you are going
to ante up and for us, even if we have to bluff, we are going to succeed. Today is never easy, you get to know calves,
you become attached to all the animals here, because they are all important. I’ll never waiver on that, I’ll never
say a calf is just a calf, or just a paycheck, because that’s not how any rancher thinks,
or should think. Its about the future, of our family, our kids,
and the future of the ranch. When we first came here, I would have never
thought I could be so attached to something that back then I saw as trivial as a bunch
of dirt. Now it means a whole lot more. Calves are our favorite hello on the ranch,
but also our hardest goodbye, with their help our journey will continue, roadblocks will
be set up in our way, we will figure out how to get over or around them and we plan on
bringing you along for the ride. Thanks for coming out to the ranch today,
hanging out with us a little bit and keeping me company. Tonight, a big glass of whiskey is in store,
as a celebration, and a toast to another year, and a toast to you. We just hit 50 thousand subscribers, a number
that blows me away, and I want to say how much I truly appreciate, the fact that you
want to know where your food comes from and the families behind it. Its inspiring to me and keeps me going everyday. We will be back on Tuesday, with another project
list video and we will also announce the winner of the steston hat that we have been taking
entries to giveaway and there is still time to enter, check the description of the video
for the link or go see us on Facebook and click giveaway on the left side. Good luck, and until I see you again, have
a great week and thanks for joining us in our Wyoming life.

100 Replies to “Selling Calves at Auction – From Ranch to Market

  1. Love your work. Keep going wishing you and your family happiness success.
    Greetings from Bern, Switzerland.

  2. I notice that you have horses, yet still work the cattle with the side by side (Gator). That tells a lot about the current usefulness of horses. Here in Texas, horses are pets, yard ornaments and an indulgence.
    Great quality video work.

  3. state-sanctlon-murder-of-poor-sentlent-cows!—you-so-deserve-a-pat-on-bac!—OR-wat-u-really-deserve!

  4. Mike just wanted you to know how much I enjoy watching you and your faimly please dont give up and press on.Your Tn friend Bennie King

  5. Coming from a family of farmers from cows to pigs and having mennonite family to i respect and appreciate were my food comes from and how much hard work and dedication your family and every other farmer does. Thank you

  6. Yes sir Tractor Man I agree, I can recall just loading one cow in a old pickup with side boards at 13 was a chore, having to put your shoulder in her rear hopping and at putting a good twist in their tails

  7. Whoops, dorn fingers. Meet to add after hopping….she or he didn't kick, ouch. Yep, miss that old 40 Acer share cropping farm,,,

  8. Do you have training as a narrator or communicator? You certainly sound like a professional, like it was a previous profession…

  9. Mike, you may want to check with Dr Elane Ingham, to developer a system of compost tea application, be sure to apply the tea at the right time, when you have moisture.

  10. I bale hay in Oklahoma, Prarie hay, and I am amazed that you don't confine your cattle and feed hay in bunkers to save that precious commodity instead of letting half of it get trampled into the snow or dirt or worse yet urinated or defecated on which makes it unpalatable. enlighten me.

  11. A farm that I help out at has a rotation system that greatly reduces their use of hay. They've gone 3 years without needing any! The owner of the farm is always asked to come speak at events and explain his system and how it works. With the amount of land you have, I can see it being a great system for you too! Let me know if you'd like more info!

  12. I worked in a slaughter house when I was young and didn't know any better. Do yourself a favor and visit the kill floor and see up close what happens to your poor calves.

  13. You and your family seem incredible. Attributes that seem are disappearing these days. Keep up the good work Mike

  14. This is so true without Ranchers we would not have our meat chain love Ranchers and farmers I used to work on a Rideing Stable and loved working with the horses and there is a lot of work to it putting up Hay cleaning the Stables takeing care of the horses is a lot of work

  15. I'm amazed at how some people decide to leave the rat race of the corporate world School live on a farm words more quiet and Serene. Then there were those that grew up on the farm and are itching for the big city life. I'm amazed at how people are never satisfied with where they're at the grass is always greener on the other side. I grew up in New York but I've always wanted to live on a ranch but now I'm in my sixties so the idea of ranch life is probably not doable.

  16. I has an experience to raise two cows with female and make calfs. There were feeding their calves and also giving us Two litres of milk at each evening. The calves are feeded in the evening and morning. The cows left with other cows for whole day.In The evening they come to the bath where a fast is waiting for them. The cow has a sense to stop where it is placed. This is a 9 kilo wooded basket with wheat leaves to be available every year in abundance.

  17. I want to thank you for such a good videos it’s a good feeling and watching you and explaining everything in the whole process of you every day life God bless you and your family🙏🙏

  18. ANY and I mean ANY city dweller (like us) who buy from a grocery store when there is a farmers market available, well, you need your head examined. Take the time to get to know the farmer at the market, you can buy farm fresh without all the shelf chemicals the grocery sprays on the vegetables, fresh harvested that day or a day prior.

    The reason I say get to know your farmer at the farmer market is because we had a run here and I'm certain it is not an isolated issues, where an individual (NOT A FARMER) bought wholesale goods from a grocery warehouse and brought it all to the farmers market, representing himself as a farmer and his goods as farm fresh.

    The farmer we use, he will leave roots, vines or anything else he cam to show it was just harvested and the one we use has an D.O. Agriculture permit on site. HELP SUPPORT THE FARMERS WHO PROVIDE FOR US!

  19. I appreciate all you and your family do. Thank you for your service to this country.
    I subscribed and so should EVERY American👍

  20. The way you produce your content is easy to understand for someone like me who knows nothing of this subject 👍

  21. Apparently 142 people did not like your video out of the 6,000 that did like it. Keep doing what you're doing I love your videos. The other hundred and forty-two people can find something else to watch

  22. My God bless you and your families.. Keep up your hard work.. God always hears my prayers.. I pray for your success in the years to come.. I don't know you, and you don't know me.. But we know God.. That makes us family.. Texas.. Iamoftheway

  23. I've subbed and have enjoyed watching quite a few of your videos. I've learned about some of the logistics and costs of running the ranch. The use of four wheel ATV's seems very sensible as they have much less upkeep than horses,but I was dissapointed to realize cowboys don't use horses anymore.

  24. Thanks for sharing that beautiful job that you guys do , God bless your family , your ranch and your job , keep the good work.

  25. No just to point out that you narrate this and make it sound like a children's book

    When in actuality it's like a horror story.

  26. … in the Twilight Zone. If I close my eyes, I hear Rod Serling in your voice! Very smooth! Love these videos!

  27. This is heart breaking but one must eat. Must have been difficult to leave a corporate job for ranching. I'd love to do it but have no clue..hence I enjoy your videos

  28. Very well done video, Mike…Thanks so much for your channel and all you and your family do. Cheers my friend, I'm toasting my glass of whiskey tonight to you and your family and your Channel. Thanks for all you do.

  29. Thank you so much for sharing this with your viewers. I am author who is writing a book based on a cattle ranch. God bless you.

  30. Making it more comfortable with dirt….as the COWS march towards their DEATH!!! I crave some beef! FUK BEYOND MEAT and MEATLESS PRODUCTS!!!!!!

  31. I'm new to your channel and have enjoyed it very much. Excellent storylines, wonderful photography, excellent scripting and well-executed. Do you have a professionally trained voice — sounds like it. Thanks and best wishes, – Dean from Minnesota

  32. I come from far away from the island of malta in the meditteranen. It's a job that I love,and in see it in your eyes that you do your work with passion. Good luck for you,family,neighbours tky for sharing your life with us.god bless America.

  33. I see this is 9 months ago, but I think about your business… We have two cattle ranchers in my valley. One buys his calves, raises them and sells them every 2 weeks. I find it interesting that his contract is for a certain number of cows between a certain weight, too much or too little he is penalized in his price.

  34. Hy i wanna ask where from you and what is the price for 9month pregnant calf, i m from Pakistan i need info how can we import from your farm………… i want to start 100 cow dairy farm….. [email protected]/+923335326641

  35. Yep it makes for a long night when the cows are calling for their gone calfs .
    Especially when you only have 100 acers .. they can't get out of ear shot.

  36. I would like to hear you break down all the different types of Cow operations, like Calf Cow versus feeder cattle(steers) and how they sell them as 5 weight or 6 weight etc. and lay out the different types of Cattle operations.

  37. Hey man, Chase here from Sc. I’d really like to ditch the city life and own a ranch and help keep ranching an American tradition. Apart from learning the ins and outs have you got any advice? Any replies are welcome. Thanks

  38. I stumbled on to our Wyoming Life! As a country boy I love it, great info on the country life. I work in the city (Omaha) I  live in Iowa 60 miles away. City people always ask, how can you butcher a pig  or steer  or raise broiler chickens to butcher, they just don't get it!! This has always been my way of life ,the way I was raised! the greatest way of life ! I know where my food comes from and understand the circle of life.

  39. I used to watch PBS documentaries when I was a kid and these videos are so good and are a very good reminder of that time. Well thought out, great narration, drone footage….. Keep up the great work!!

  40. So… why dont u show ur calf sales amount…..???
    Vs. Ranch cost. ….???
    Or is that top secret …????
    If u can't do that … then you and your….videos are a waste of time……

  41. This documentary was fascinating. You have a wonderful life! Did you say some cows are as far as 3 miles away? How do you protect them from predators when out of sight? Great voiceover!

  42. Each part was fantastic. Except the cows left with milk pressure. I am a farmer myself and i know how painful it could be for a cow to bear that pressure

  43. Love it! As a trucker, I loved going thru Wyoming. Always wondering how was to live there like a rancher. Love open space.

  44. I know ranches can be quite large , however I never pictured one being approximately 3 miles long. Side from watching the beautiful ground roll away and roll backup again I could only imagine what it would look like at night with the stars overhead. Thank you for opening our eyes to more the ranch hand lands again. Looking forward to more videos

  45. I work in a slaughter house, I have seen hundreds of thousands of cows and bulls slaughtered. It used to bother me in the beginning, but a necessity. Now those cattle are more of an object, a number. I have distanced my feelings from their purpose in life, but what still hurts me is to see when get to the company hurt or sickling looking. I don't mind how they are slaughtered, is a super quick and I dare hope is as painless and quick death as it seems to be.

  46. How much does a feeder calf, young right after weaning, go for these day's?
    I've been trying to get my 4 son's & daughter interested in starting their own small homesteads. So I've been sending them homesteading channel's that they & my grandkid's might enjoy. Planting the idea seeds so to speak lol.

  47. Won't be rude and ask the price but how did the weigh on average , steers and heifer .and how did they do compared to last year. Was the year dryer or wetter than last yeat

  48. It looks like you have a good deal of Angus. Do you find one breed better suited than another or does market drive the decision more? Predominately around here the beef cattle are Scottish Highland. There are a few Angus herds so I was wondering how you chose.

  49. I think you and your farm are just awesome. Taking care of all ur animal's and making sure they are good and happy give yourself a pat on the back…… When u have time 👍🤗

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