Mark Bray has one of the toughest jobs in the cattle business. He makes a living buying 370- to 440-pound highly stressed calves from sale barns and turning them into valuable feeder cattle. It's a job that starts the minute the calves step off the trailer at Ridgecrest Farm in Stokes County, N.C.
"We buy thin heifers, the kind nobody else wants. When they come to us, they have that deer-in-the-headlights look. For a few weeks, we're more babysitters than cattlemen," said Bray.
Upon delivery, Bray eases the stressed heifers into a lot with high-quality grass hay, clean ...