LESSONS FROM THE OLD MASTER

LESSONS FROM THE OLD MASTER
By Dub Ramsel

One time I called Mr. Carl about a pen of feed lot calves that I ran across that were too heavy for my order most of the packers at this time, back in the fifties and sixties were using handy weight carcasses. The chain stores required this size of beef so that one man could handle a quarter without hoists. This all changed later but this is another story. He met me in Bastrop and went with me to the feed lot in subject. He had places to go with all sizes of fat calves.

When we arrived he commented that they really were full even though they had stood all night without feed or water. He offered the man a good price for them and he accepted with a five percent shrink but to be weighed on his scales at the lot. It was agreed that Mr. Carl had to sort them and pen them in separate pens so they could be delivered as such. The alley to work the cattle was about fifty yards long with cutting gates along the way.
Calves like to run when turned out of their muddy feed lots and that was exactly what Mr. Carl wanted them to do. It took aver .two hours to get the cattle penned the way he wanted them. Then he would look them over and decide to do some more cutting. This took more time and I was afraid the owner of the cattle was going to balk at all the cutting and sorting. Not many people could have gotten away with the extra work, but Mr. Carl was good at handling the public and he did this job in a super manner.

After the calves were weighed and loaded, he looked at me and asked me if I had figured out what he had done. I said that it looked like he had shrunk the bellies a percent or two. He answered that with the five percent he gained another five percent making a total of ten percent, which the calves were due in the first place and not have to lose money when they were butchered. He sold his cattle on the dressed basis. A fat butcher calf ought to dress 59% at least. A full one won't go much over half.
Several years later I was buying packer cows for L&H Packing Co in San Antonio. It was a dry time and plenty of packer cows were coming ill. As usual, the packers were trying to pull the market down. I was told that if I could not buy them at a certain dressed figure, to pass them up, but if I could stay in the money to go ahead. I was going to Marlin that day to buy feeder calves for Van Roach out of Fort Worth and if I did not get any packer cows it wouldn't matter. When I arrived at the sale barn, Mr. Carl greeted me and said that I was the only sacker buyer to be there that day. I told him that my people did not want any very badly and if I could not stay within the money let them pass. I told him the figure I had to work on, and he said for me to just sit tight and bid one time on the cows as he started them. I thought, boy, this is going to cost me my job for sure.

But I did as Mr. Carl said and ended up with over one hundred cows to ship to San Antonio and prayed that they would not blow the roof off the plant. To my surprise I got a call from Dwayne Harold, who was part owner in the business, saying that my cows were right on the money, and that they had no trouble selling the meat for a profit. This made me feel good and I thank that old man with the whip that made it work for me.

I learned a lot of other things from Mr. Carl. For instance if you buy a very poor cow and want her to put on weight fast put her in a chute and pull the hide up on he back so she would not be hide bound. I do not know the explanation, but it works. He also said that fat bull ribs made the best barbecue cooked on slow heat.

Mr. Gistinger went to other sales beside his two. He was in big demand by all the other auction sales. He bought some everywhere he went, but just the fact that he was there gave the sellers confidence that they were getting enough for their stock. We miss

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