Sunday, February 25, 2007

Cows and Cattle


Dairy farming is a very hard occupation, and I wouldn’t suggest anyone who is considering an agricultural life. My article on dairy farming can be found here
Everyone Shout Moo

If one has the pasture, one could start small with beef cattle. If you have no experience with cattle, it isn’t something you learn on the fly. I’d suggest you spend a year studying under someone with experience. Learn what they do and why. There are long periods of time when you don’t need to do anything with them, but when you need to do something with them you need to pay attention.

The fencing and equipment requirements for beef come at a high price. You don’t want you beef escaping, nor do you want to handle their hay by hand.

You need to understand their herd mentality. You need to be able to translate their body language. You need to physically assess their condition.

Fortunately beef cattle don’t need shelter. In fact they get sick when confined indoors. They need to be outdoors in the heat, cold, rain and snow.

What they need is lots of forage and water. Grain is an option because some cattlemen are selling grass fed beef. Grain will fatten beef. This is why beef are often put on grain a month before they are sold for slaughter.

If you plan to get into beef production you will be able to sell a run of the mill steer for a couple thousand dollars, but if you get into better breeds like Angus or Limosen you can see your profits increase dramatically. There are also small breeds you can get into but they don’t return much money at all.

There is a lot to learn in the beef industry, and unless you have someone to guide you through your first two years, you may want to consider a different investment.

11 Comments:

Blogger Beth said...

I'm reading and I'm learning.
I had no idea beef cattle would get sick if confined indoors.
Just informed my husband of this as he's reading the morning paper. His response (and he didn't know either) - "When did you develop an interest in beef cattle?"
Ah, I am a woman of many varied interests...

6:22 AM  
Anonymous Moosehead said...

Wellllll...I don't know....but...it sounds like a lot of bull to me. In the absence of smileys, yuk-yuk chortle guffaw titter titter chuckle snicker yuk.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous THartill said...

Have you ever raised cattle Guy?

My family has quite a bit of grass land that has sat idle for many years. How many cattle can you have on say 25 acres of grassland and would it even be worth it?

12:18 PM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

I'm a vegetarian! :)

2:17 PM  
Anonymous THartill said...

Hey Mom...Are you going to answer any questions on your blog?

2:42 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I've had an interest in beef for the last four years, and worked with a fellow who specializes in organic grass fed beef. I've done a lot of reading and decided again this year not to venture in it. Though I may get a steer and farm it out with another rancher and take partners on the the quarters. A quarter beef last us two years.

Tryan, generally you don't want to go any less than 2 acres per animal, and using a good pasture rotation plan that has the least impact on the land you'd want to go up to 4 acres per animan.

Mo3, don't get all tofu smug with us, I know you have four dogs and there are places where they are considered live stock you know ; )

3:59 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Oops, I didn't finish answering your question Tryan. Depending upon what shape the fence is in, you may make out better leasing the pasture for a year or so and let some one elses cows knock it down so you can determine if you have an underlying weed problem that needs to be fixed with new pasture seed.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

Looks like moosehead might just have a touch of the mad cow disease.
Or was that a Clapton tune that I didn't recognise?
:-0

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Hank Hereford said...

I took care of two hundred mama cows for years-had to feed them, depending on the weather, anywhere from 60 to 100 days in the winter and if the weather was really tough(cold), we'd feed'em in the morning and afternoon. Every bale was uploaded and fed out by hand off of a truck or a tractor pulling a trailer. It wasn't that hard. I will take feeding, calving looking after 200 cows over looking after 25 tourists any day of my life.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Tryan Hartill said...

Guy

Is there any chance you could post your entry at night?

I usually take the pictures for the slide show at about midnigh....plus CB, MO3 and I are up later and you would wake up with fresh comments!

12:05 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Yes Gearhead, I didn't want to go there since all the BSE cases lately have been in Canada. But then he's been a bit odd ever since we met him a couple years ago.

Hank, it sure is a nice life, isn't it. Just makes one want to hang out and watch them graze.

Tryan, you do screen shots every night? Damn, that's dedication. I'd like to help you out, but I don't mind an old screen. I have my reasons for posting early. I really like to sleep on the article before I post them. Though I may have written the article weeks earlier, I like to contemplate the posting the night before and the morning of.

8:19 AM  

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