5 Tips to Starting Beef Cattle Farming
When starting to raise beef cattle for the very first time most individuals think of
starting with a cow-calf enterprise. Here are a few items to help you determine if such an enterprise will be
best suited for you, your facilities and acreage. A little advance research and study may help you solve most of
the problems before they happen.
1. A cow weighing approximately 1100 pounds will consume 22 to 33 pounds of
forage or 1/2 a square bale of grass hay each day. Determine the typical stocking rate for land in your area to
find out how many cows your acreage will support. Locate a source for the additional feed and hay you may need. If
your typical stocking rate for native range is 10 acres per animal unit, then it would take 100 acres to support
ten animal units, assuming all 100 acres produce grass and are grazable. One cow and calf is typically considered
one animal unit.
2. Most cattle breeders consider it may not be economically feasible to own a bull for fewer than
10 to 15 cows. Bulls require even more feed than cows and are hard on facilities and fences.
3. A cow/calf enterprise is not something you can easily discontinue today and start back up next
month with the same exact genetics. When drought reduces available forage, producers must either buy expensive feed
or sell some cows to prevent overgrazing. This is the time when cattle prices are lowest. Then, after rains have
come and grass has grown, producers buy more cows when prices are highest. It will not always be easy to avoid this
sell low/buy high strategy on every operation.
4. Safe and secure facilities will be needed for managing large animals and the expense is pretty
well fixed at about the same total cost for a large or small herd. This may make the cost per animal for small
herds pretty high.
5. A cow/calf operation requires considerable animal husbandry skill. A beef cow represents a
fairly large investment per animal. Naturally, the owner is economically and humanely compelled to care for the
animals. Some newcomers may discover that illnesses, injuries, birthing complications and preventive health
programs often intimidate them or require more training than was expected. Competent large animal veterinary
services close to your farm may be hard to locate in some areas. Animals must be transported to a veterinary clinic
in a trailer or the producer must find a veterinarian willing to make "house calls."
The one thing not mentioned above is how much enjoyment you will get from being a cattle rancher.
Many times this alone can make everything else seem very minor. Do your research though and it will help you get
more enjoyment out of the beef cattle farming if you decide it is for you.
I am not a Goat Farmer but folks tell me they are a profitable enterprise even on small acreage
plots that are too small for Beef Cattle Farming. We hear lots of stories telling us that Boer Goats like the one
pictured above ar selling for around $2000.00 each.
Here is a link to the sales page for a well recommended Guide if you feel like Boer Goat Farming
may be an interesting alternative for you.
These Goats really do look