Just wondering....

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by sisterpine, Apr 23, 2005.

  1. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

    May 9, 2004
    Zone 8a, AZ
    I know all you cow type folks will think I am an idiot but I am just wondering. Have been thinking about (in near future) getting some bottle calfs, raising them to about 500 pounds and then selling at the local auction. I have a pretty good idea of the cost of doing this (buying day olds and raising etc). What I am wondering is about how much it would cost to have a cow, get her bred and feed both her and the calf till the calf is ready to sell. I know this is what my down mountain rancher friend does. However she has 100 cows and does not know the per unit price of anything. Some of her cows are 12 years old and still bring forth a calf each year, amazing to me. So any old ideas of cost to accomplish this in your area would be appreciated. I can convert to my area if you describe what the costs relate to. Many thanks in advance, KC
  2. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    May 22, 2003
    Zone 7
    Your cow would be capable of rearing more than one calf at a time. She can easily milk enough for 2. If you were to wean the 2 at 4 + months of age you can put another 2 on her before drying her off before she deliveries again. Rather than selling the calves at 500 in your setup you would make more IMO selling more head over the same time period as veal or lighter weight feeders. This week a feeder weighing 320 brought $488 and a heavier steer weighing 445 brought $578. Veals would be higher priced. I cannot address the actual cost in your area as it will vary from state to state. I buy no feed as I am a rotational grass beef operation. My out of pocket expenses are for supplementary minerals and salt and for fertilizer. I can tell you that with the current prices for feeder calves the ratio of expense to gross income is 1 to 5+. I do buy a lot of fertilizer and the price has risen with the price of petroleum with the last fertilizer @ $281/ton for 15-15-15. I buy a lot of fertilizer as I apply twice per year. Hope this helps some.

  3. Kasidy

    Kasidy Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    We are in north central Montana. Beef pairs in decent shape (ie cow not too old or too thin and calf looking healthy) are going for $1200 to $1300 here now. A dairy cow that has the milk---and temperment!!--to raise multiple calves will cost you $1500 easily ( not including calves) A cow will eat 4 to 5 tons of hay a year---assuming you have summer pasture. Plus you will have to get her bred, if you can tell when she is in heat you could get her AI'd or if you know someone who would let you take her to their bull that could work. And she will need grain to raise those extra calves. Now, I am not saying you cannot put extra or new calves on a beef cow, but unless she is very tame (maybe a bottle baby herself) it is much trickier and more dangerous to you than putting them on a dairy cow.
    Holstein steers are bringing good prices right now. Last week I got .88 for some 450 lbs, and .84 for a couple that went 550 lbs. Beef calves the same weight are selling for over 1.30, but of course they cost a LOT more to start with!! But who knows what the future will do to cattle prices. Do be very careful about the condition of the calves you buy, know something about the dairy if you buy holsteins or the feedlot if you buy baby beefs. You can get badly burned if you lose a few calves, or have to give them expensive antibiotics to get them over some of the "bugs" they may come home with.
    That being said we have done well the last few years raising calves on goats milk and on several holstein and brown swiss cows. (Each one easily raised four calves per year.) And there are so many dairies down where you live that if you are carefull you should be able to get all the good calves you need at a reasonable price. Good luck!!
  4. jerzeygurl

    jerzeygurl woolgathering

    Jan 21, 2005
    our oldest jersey had enough milk for four babies, a calf needs no more than a gallon a day , she makes more than five. Ideally we'd like to get a small electric set up and bottle them. but we put 2 on till they drain front , then put 2 on the back. but at the moment bottle babies are selling higher than 6 month old calves go figgure!!!. sold our guys on grass and weened apx 6 months old for apx 3-4oo bucks. and bobbies were going for 280-290.
  5. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

    Dec 13, 2004
    New York
    Interesting to note, a study that was conducted to see how much a calf drinks a day, the number was very high. They took a calf away, and fed it, then they left a calf with a cow so it would feed itself. They found the calf gained 11lbs that was reared by humans, controlled feeding. While the calf that was allowed to drink whenever, gained 30lbs in the same amount of time. This is why, when a calf nurses, they found they nurse up to 7 times a day, in that period, they figured it was getting 22lbs of milk, vs the 8lbs or so per feeding when someone feeds a calf. It is interesting to also note, when you watch a beef calf nurse from its mother, and see how big it gets in 3-4 months, that study is dead on. When our Jersey calved, towards the end of her life, she fed her calf. What we would do, is stick another one on so she would empty. After a while, she would make just enough for one calf, actually the 2nd one would also stick its nose in there. They did well.