raising cattle

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by kringo, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. kringo

    kringo New Member

    Nov 9, 2004
    Hi I live in Wis and my buddy and myself are considering raising calves for beef. Is there any certain kind of cow to get that would be easy to start with??? If it all goes good I would like to get more than the 20 we are considering on getting. Any coment or neg. feed back??? Also is it very expensive???
  2. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

    Sep 12, 2004

    I know several people who buy calves to raise for beef and then resell them. They like to buy weaned steers in the spring and feed them grass until fall. Then they resell them.

    This is probably the least expensive way to raise feeder calves and can produce modest profits.

    Some keep breeding stock to produce their own calves. This is a year round operation.

    Probably the easiest breed to raise is the Dexter, but they are only about half size and produce about 1/2 the beef that an Angus would. If you're going to sell the animals, the Angus and certain Angus crosses have the best resale value.

    Allow about 2 acres per Angus to keep them year round. Augment their feed with grain and hay. Allow about 1 acre per Angus for the Spring through Fall plan. They will eat the grass down but it can recover before the next crop of calves.

    Dexters will need about 1/2 of the acreage and appreciate some woods in their pasture. The market for Dexter beef cattle is not there, but the market for prepared Dexter beef can be profitable. It's dark red, tasty and usually lean. If you can advertise it as "grass fed" and "all natural" it can draw higher prices. Being antibiotic free and hormone free is valuable, too.

    Read "Small-Scale Livestock Farming (A Grass-Based Approach for Health, Sustainability, and Profit)", by Carol Ekarius.



  3. herefordman

    herefordman Well-Known Member

    Aug 24, 2004
    washington/british columbia
    If you've never raised cattle before I would suggest you start with something easy to handle like Herefords, or Whiteface commercial cattle.
    Angus are good cattle but are more aggressive for the newbie and tend to be a bit tougher on fences, etc.
    Herefords are like trees, you wake up in the morning and they are stilll there.
    The Feeder idea to buy weaned cattle and just feed it though the until the Fall works as long as you have the land and access to good quality feed, you only get out what you put in.
    And definitely make sure the steers are steers, if bought at an auction get them cut before they are loaded, if you end up with a load of Angus bulls, your really going to have a fight on your hands.
    Good luck, don't expect to get rich, but you'll cover your expenses.
  4. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2003
    If would say you want to start slow...that way your mistakes won't cost so much!

    Alot depends on your operation and resources. Your costs will depend on how much pasture you have, how long your grazing season is, and how you plan to graze them (rotational or otherwise). Are you just wanting to keep them spring to fall, or over winter them and finish them?

    If profit is your goal, you need to know what sells well in your area. Black usually brings more money, whether they are really angus or not. Baldies sell well in some areas.

    Once you start asking about what breed to get, you'll get many different opinions, usually from the folks who sell breeding stock. Some breeds are more noted for a quiet disposition (I prefer South Devons), but it really comes down to the individual animal. I have plenty of angus cows who are good as gold. Nuttiness is genetic, so if the farm you buy from is full of nuts....go elsewhere!

    If you buy from a sale barn, go to a pre-conditioned calf sale where they've all been vaccinated, etc. It will save you a ton of money and problems, especially if you are new to cattle. They will cost a bit more, but it's worth the money.

    Good luck


  5. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    Western NY
    You don't say what sort of facilities you have, but getting to where you can even get cows may be costly also. You also don't say what your "end" goal is, do you want just some cows for your own beef or do you want to sell beef or you want to raise calves and then sell them? Lots of things to consider for you, and yes, it is expensive, raising livestock is definately not cheap. Do lots of research and ask lots of questions (like you are doing now), try and narrow down which area of livestock you are interested in and then do more research, read all you can get your hands on, talk to your local large animal vet also if you can. Contact your local Extension agent and ask them for all the info. they can give you. Raising your own stock is fun and hard work also, but do your homework, and remember saftey is important also.

    Carol K