My family used to have a herd of cattle when I was younger. We purchased four from an auction and eventually grew the herd until we had between 20-30 head of cattle. Then my father decided he was no longer interested in having cattle so he sold them at an auction. These cattle were not serious investments, we merely let them graze on our land and I remember giving them a few shots now and then. And of course castrating the young bulls.
Recently I have been toying with the idea of investing in some cattle. What are the basic things a beginning cattleman should know. If you were me where would you start? What breed would you raise? What are the necessary things to ensure a good herd? Where are some places you would reccomend purchasing and selling? I am looking at this as a potential business not a mere hobby. If you know of some good resources of information I should look at please point me in the right direction.
I would start off with with a few angus cows and a bull myself. Black or red doesn't really matter, they are one of the best beef cattle that a person can raise; however, with the market like it is now (mostly due to gas prices for hauling), weanlings aren't bringing much. The last load my brother took to auction from the ranch he manages were weanlings/short yearlings that averaged anywhere from 400 to 700 pounds. They brought about .21 a pound. That might seem like decent money but after considering the feed needed to care for the cows during the winter, shots, deworming, and possibly paying day labor to get them all worked, there wasn't much profit. Depending on the grass quantity and quality, we will only put about 30 head on a full section (one square mile) so you have to consider how many you can take without overgrazing your land. Probably the best thing that you could do is just do a whole lot of research about proper cow care and look at the market trends. I wish you luck, working with cattle can be very frustrating and very rewarding. :D
smrobs is right, I'd just like to add to what she said. If you'd rather start smaller consider buying one younger steer. Put it with the horses, they eat basically the same stuff anyways. Make sure it's what you want. I'm planning on getting back into cattle by spring if my fence is up to it, if not i'm going to get one and do what I'm telling you to do. One steer a year is a lot of meat. Around here you can also get day old jersey's for free, gotta bottle feed them though. My neighbor does it, too much work for me though.
Also start going to auctions in your area. keep an eye on pricing and talk to some of the old timers there. There's a lot of knowledge out there.
We are partial to Simmentals. More even temperament than the Angus.
Yeah, the market is crap around here, but that was last fall that he took that load. That probably had something to do with it. Nobody buys in the fall, same as horses. The prices will always be higher in spring.
We raise Black Angus.. Cow and calf pairs sale best here and are the most. We ony manage a small herd of 4 cows and 4 calves. Since my dad isn't working a "real" job now he's planning on getting more but that's all we could do with him working a full time job. Last years calves 600lbs or more brought .86 /lb this past summer.
web site www.cattletoday.com Lots of nice people with really good information. Some hobby people,some full time ranchers from Canada to England to Australia.
Thanks for all of the information! Thanks peg 4x4 for the link their is tons of knowledge on that sight. I am planning on reading a lot more up on this. I am thinking that to start out I will purchase 2-3 cows and borrow a bull from someone. Does anyone have any experience with corriente cows? I have narrowed my choices of breeds down to Angus or corriente and am just wondering what your opinion on them are.
We raise Simmental or Simmental/Angus cross. I myself prefer the Simmental. They seem extremely laid back and easier to deal with.
If your looking to start out, I would get a few bred heifers to begin with. (Up here they sell for about $900-$1000.) Make sure they have plenty of pasture and/or hay. We also always keep out mineral for them. (the granular stuff which is $30 a bag but my fiance swears by the stuff.) I would calve out your heifers (sometime between now and say april/may/june depending on what you buy and when they are due.)
I would keep the calves until next Jan and then sell your steers. You could keep back your heifers to increase your herd if you liked and then get a bull then if it seems like your still interested in being in cows.
As for steers. Right now, steers are selling better than heifers. We weaned our calf steers in Nov. On just hay and a bit of oats, They had about 3 lbs gain a day and weighed just over 800 lbs. We got around that $750/head when we sold them a couple of weeks ago.
Good luck! I adore our cows and enjoy everything there is in taking care of them.
If your only getting 2-3 to start with..I'd really suggest buying a bred heifer. Heifer meaning first time calver. This means you don't have to worry when they cycle or if the bull will breed them this time around. This way you can also get a few that are closer together on calving dates so you don't have to spread yourself out through a month. (When it's calving time for us, we will be up every night checking every 2-4 hrs round the clock so we try to bunch ours together so they all calve within a shorter time period. It also means more even weights for calves when you take them to market.)
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