If you could increase cattle income by 25% by changing the way you buy and/or sell livestock and manage your cattle operation, would you do it?
On Tuesday, I spent the day with Wally Olson in a warm-up session for his upcoming marketing schools. Olson told me recently that about 25% of his income in the cattle business derives from his contrarian marketing methods. In brief, he analyzes the markets and buys undervalued stock and sells overvalued stock.
Olson's methods have their base in the late Bud Williams' marketing methods, which are still taught by his daughter, Tina Williams, and her husband, Richard McConnell.
Olson, of course, has added his own tricks to the repertoire, and his own lifetime of experience in the business, and now he's semi-retired from ranching. One of Olson's tricks is his method of selling middle-aged cows at their peak value and buying back or raising heifer calves cheaply to replace them. We'll cover this idea more in the January issue of Beef Producer, but the gist of it is a possible increase in gross ranch income of up to 40% because you increase appreciation and decrease depreciation.
Olson also teaches how to analyze stocker and feeder markets for value of gain (VOG) to help stocker operators and traders do a better job buying and selling, and to help cow-calf operators do a better job selling their calves.
I particularly enjoyed this section, as I've long believed VOG analysis is critically important in all cattle marketing. In recent years Beef Producer has made available a spreadsheet for VOG calculations using data from your local or regional livestock markets, but the nice thing about Olson's method is some people just prefer paper and pencil over computer spreadsheets. I'm a bit that way myself.
Olson also teaches the sell-buy marketing method, in which your initial capital investment is treated as operating capital and your profit is derived from the difference in cattle you sell and cattle you buy back.
If you'd like to attend Olson's marketing school Sept. 25-27, go to his website and explore.
I have been friends with Olson for many years and discussed marketing and the markets with him many times, yet I learned a tremendous amount from sitting through his school yesterday. Further, I was able to network with other sharp beef producers and this multiplied the learning experience.
I can earnestly recommend it.