Complete novice here - raising a steer or three

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Rickstir, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. Rickstir

    Rickstir Well-Known Member

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    I have two pastures next to the house. One has 5 acres and other 6. There are no fences worth holding cattle. The pastures have been limed and fertilized, primarily fescue but overseeded with clover, lespideza and orchard grass. Both had the hay harvested this year. One pasture has access to our 3.5 acre lake and we can fence that off so they just have a small cove. Long range plans are to build small ponds (good drainage sites in both). The pasture that has the access is in front of the house, and other is on the west side.

    We have a neighbor across the gravel road that is in the Black Angus cattle business with 200 cow/calf pairs. Another to the south is a breeder of Herefords. So we access to steers.

    The plan also includes a horse barn at the top end of the front pasture. This will have stalls, water and electricity. The barn will be 36 X 36. We plan to have 2 or 3 horses.

    The mission is to get 3 steers into a rotation. Buy when weaned, put meat on them and butcher; using 2 for meat and one to cover the expenses of preparation. Then start another group so we are butchering every year. If I get weaned calfs in August, and winter them over, will they be ready for butchering by the next August? Also we want to keep chemicals to a minimum which also means handling equipment if possible. All of this is to start next year.

    Any thoughts, advise, criticisium is welcomed. Thanks for your time.
     
  2. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    2 for meat - how many in your family?? I prefer my steers about 18 months old when butchering. A steer won't "marble/finish" until it stops growing in size and most need more than one year. Have the farmerwiththeangus breed the opther farmers cows for you and take black baldie cross for your beef. Hybrid steers will grow fastest and hard to beat hereford angus cross.
     

  3. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    Yes, if you buy weaned calves at about 6 months, they should be about ready in a year. Are you going to raise them strictly grassfed? Or, are you planning to grain them to finish them out? You can grass finish steers IF you have the right genetics in your steers AND the right forages for them to graze. Otherwise, you'll have better success to grow them off on the grass with a little grain, and then finish them out the last couple of months with mostly grain.
     
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    With your acreage and using rotational grazing you can carry more than three steers IMO. Do you have access to a couple of steers in the Spring was well as in August? If so, I recommend that you consider buying 2 in Feb and then hold until August and buy 2 more. This will give you a staggered size and it will create a situation where you always have 2 ainimals on the premises that are familiar with the property. Young animals learn behavioral traits from older animals and this arrangement would have merit as the animals would be more manageable. You would sell the Spring calves the next Spring and you would sell the August calves in early Fall 12 to 14 months later. This would reduce and somewhat balance the load on the pasture. This load would not be more than what 3 August purchased steers would consume and would be distributed throughout the year. Additionally this method would stagger the marketing to twice a year. This would give you an average price of the 2 sales periods so it will reduce risks and would also create 2 purchase periods that should also average the 2 time periods prices. The extra income would help offset the purchase of some grain and would enable putting a better finish on the steers
     
  5. Rickstir

    Rickstir Well-Known Member

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    Great information, thanks. Agmantoo we never thought of the 2 and 2 method you described. We will definately give that some thought. The beef here is for our whole extended family. We are talking 5 families and 15 people. We do plan on finishing with grain. I am sure the neighbors will help us with selection and questions too. Thanks everyone.
     
  6. Gideon's War

    Gideon's War Well-Known Member

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    Agman,
    Would you normally finish with grain or would you go with a pastured finish?
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I would feed some grain for the last 90 days prior to the road trip. I like the flavor grain fat imparts during cooking.
     
  8. Gideon's War

    Gideon's War Well-Known Member

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    Any certain amount or start small and build up?
     
  9. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

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    When we finish calves we start small and work up making sure that plenty of hay is available.
     
  10. zshamrock

    zshamrock New Member

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    So much info. on this panel. I do salute the knowledge base here, and envy all the contributors. I soon will start a second half of life, leavin' the hassle of city struggles, and " retiring " to 80 acres in OK. All pasture land with 3 ponds and live springs on it. Hope to raise a few beef cattle , and such. All this information is so valueable to me, and priceless!! Agmantoo, great suggestions, and I am taking notes ! Got a lot to learn , but got another lifetime to do it in ! Thanks,,Norm