My cousin Alicia is famous for dropping this into conversations.  The first time she did, I looked at her like a crazy person.  What the heck was she talking about?

ROI = Return On Investment

You're probably shaking your head at me, thinking "She should have known that", but I didn't.


Clint and I were talking about heifers this weekend, and how management of replacement heifers and first calf heifers can really pay off big....or can come to bite you in the rear.  In addition to ROI, our discussion made me think about this blog post by Troy Marshall.   Feeding heifers isn't's actually quite an investment.  But it's a case where spending less is different then investing less and ROI is quite important.

Of course I'd like to think that the heifers here at the ranch are managed well.  But the fact is, I'm not an expert in the cattle industry, or cattle nutrition and I don't deal with it every day. 

What I do know is that energy in = energy out.
ROI matters here.  In spades.

A heifer that is bred and growing a calf will require more energy than a cow who is carrying a calf, because the cow has already achieved her mature weight and is only maintaining + growing her calf.  A replacement heifer is still growing herself + trying to grow a calf as well, so of course she requires more energy.  This is why many ranches run their heifers separate from their mature cows, so that they can feed them to their nutrititional needs. 

For instance, at Double M they run replacement heifers as one group, first calf heifers as a second group, 2 and 3 year old cows as a third group, and then the mature cows are split into other groups depending on other factors. 

So back to this whole energy in = energy out.

If you cheat a heifer on feed, because it's cheaper in the short term, most likely you'll cheat that heifer out of feed resources and energy she needs to feed her calf in the long term.  While you may have saved some $ in feed, the potential to reap less $ on calf weaning weights is just as great. 

And this whole concept - it's not just for replacement heifers.

If you cheat a relationship in the short term.....
Pass up on spending time together, only to lose contact with that person later on.....

If you cheat on an investment in quality.....

If you cheat yourself by not focusing on things that bring you joy....
Stressing over having the most & the best, when what is in front of you is more than many have....

Finding the balance - and best return on your investment - is a lot like raising replacements.

We have to maximize the return of our investments, make smart decisions and stay within our financial & emotional budgets.

Again - I'm not the expert here, but I think it's worth thinking about areas in our life where we're being too efficient....and just end up cheating ourselves.

Where does your greatest ROI lie?


  1. Darcy,

    We keep our replacement heifers separate too. In the middle of winter we sort off our 2nd calvers and a few old cows that need some TLC. We put them in with the bred heifers and give them a few more groceries. Before the heifers start calving we sort them off again and kick the others back out with the "running age cows."

    I like your food for ROI thought at the end. I need to work on my relationship/friendships investments. I tend to be a homebody.

    I agree that we need to find a balance between work and things that bring us joy.

    That is one reason I like the blog. I get to take pictures, share my ag story and socialize.

    I am not a big fan of fencing, but don’t mind helping J. I find the stretchers odd and just heavy enough to be hard to handle for my little hands and uncoordinated self.


Post a Comment

I love reading your comments and I know it takes time to write them, so thank you!  I hope you & your day is successful!

Popular Posts