Pulling Together for Something Bigger

September 20, 2023

Christopher LeMaster
Livestock & Forage Agent
Cherokee, Spartanburg, & Union Counties

Cattle at LeMaster Grain & Cattle Co.

Cattle at LeMaster Grain & Cattle Co.

Like most industries, quality, uniformity, and volume rule the market. With over 7800 cattle farms in our state, marketing for uniformity can be challenging. This challenge is further compounded by the lack of scale caused by the State’s average herd size being around 25 head. Most cattlemen do not produce enough calves to take advantage of load-lot prices. In the economics of scale, cattle are traded on loads of 50,000 lbs. These loads can be comprised in many different ways but are often made up of groups of 60 to 80 calves. Many of our producers will not raise that many calves in 5 years. Clemson Extension, with numerous other organizations, have helped our producers pull together similar calves from different farms to take advantage of the higher prices for load lots. In addition to adding scale, most of these organizations will require some form of value-added marketing. This usually includes weaned, dehorned, castrated, vaccinated, dewormed, graded, and fed for at least 60 days. These practices make for much healthier cattle that will perform well in their next stage of life in the feed yard. Cattle buyers recognize this and gladly pay for it. In addition to the economic incentive, these programs have provided excellent educational opportunities for agents to help farmers prepare their cattle for these programs. Please contact me if you would like to discuss ways to add value to your calf crop. These opportunities are all over our state. 

Chris LeMaster


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