The Boys Of Fall

Dated: 11/13/2017

Views: 74

Image title

When most people think of Colorado they think of skiing, rafting, hiking and other outdoor recreation. While those are very prevalent, agriculture continues to be a major part of the state's economy that many people aren't aware of. Farms and ranches comprise nearly half of the state's 66 million acres and contribute more than $40 billion annually, while providing over 170,000 jobs. In our corner of the state, agriculture in Dolores, Montezuma, La Plata and Archuleta counties generates $97 million annually. Cattle production comprises a high percentage of that total.

On most operations, the culmination of that production comes in the fall as calves are weaned and sold. Inasmuch as it's that time of year, it seems fitting to share the following blog, written by Merlin Flake with Sun Up Ranch Consulting.

"Many sources, including one country song, idolize football players as “the boys of fall”. I enjoy football myself, and the weather patterns of the season certainly add to the attraction. There are few events more entertaining than a competitive football game on a crisp afternoon.

The years spent on cattle ranches throughout the West have imbedded in my mind a more significant seasonal event. Each fall as cattle are gathered to wean the calves, ranchers anticipate the measurement of success as calves are moved onto scales for weighing. These steer calves become their “boys of fall”. This practice is the culmination of multiple aspects of cattle ranching.

Weaning weights denote the weather patterns of the season past. Was the grass excellent or did drought pinch the production? Did the weather support an overload of pesky flies or did the cattle gain in peace and contentment? Since precipitation is the primary component of plentiful grass, we compare the rainfall this year to other years.

Weaning weights also evaluate our production system and herd genetics. It becomes obvious if our efforts are successful or not. Once we know how we did we can start to analyze the changes that may be needed going forward. We decide what inputs we can and should change to positively affect a complex production partnership with nature.

A good rule of thumb on cow production is that a cow should wean a calf representing 50% or more of her body weight at seven to eight months of age. If you use early weaning for drought management or other production objectives, your calves will be lighter because they are younger. In such a case the percentage of body weight will be less but there will still be a significant range in your own herd between your most and least efficient cows.

Most importantly, these calves are the financial production for the year. Their weight and quality, coupled with our marketing, determine our ability to pay our bills, service any loans and move forward for another year. This is the annual reconciliation of our spending and our income that determines our viability as an ongoing and thriving business. It is the sum total of our decisions and actions throughout the year and the ultimate measure of our performance as ranchers.

I wish you the best. May your "boys of fall” be a winning team."

Image title

Durango and Bayfield CO Homes For Sale Ellie Flake. I offer professional, personalized services for buyers and sellers and specialize in rural and agricultural properties. Contact me for real estate information in Durango, Bayfield, Ignacio, Mancos, CO and surrounding areas.  Ellie Flake 775-761-0451

Blog author image

Ellie Flake

I have enjoyed investing in real estate over the past few years, and recently took the steps to obtain my real estate license. I enjoy helping buyers, sellers and investors with all aspects of their r....

Latest Blog Posts


Durango CO Homes For Sale, Bayfield CO Homes For Sale, Ignacio CO Homes For Sale. I offer professional, personalized service for buyers and sellers, and specialize in residential,  rural and

Read More

Music In The Mountains

For over 30 years, Music in the Mountains has produced an exceptional summer music festival with musicians of the highest caliber.  They have entertained, educated and delighted audiences

Read More

Bayfield Business Of The Week L Bar J Ranch

L-J Ranch is nestled in the heart of the Pine River Valley, in Bayfield Colorado. For over sixty years this working cattle ranch has been providing the community with the highest quality Natural

Read More

JUST LISTED 1543 Bayfield Parkway

MLS #747560  $499,900 4 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms 2,147 sf    .89 AcreVIRTUAL WALK THROUGHDRONE FOOTAGEHistoric Bayfield home in park-like setting offers small town living at its best! A

Read More