Replacement dairy heifers

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by topside1, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. topside1

    topside1 Retired Coastie Supporter

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    Hi all, looking for some information. I have been raising Holstein bull calves/steers with great success I enjoy watching them grow into feeder calves and beyond. Now I'm looking for a new challenge and feel raising Holstein heifer calves for dairy farmers would be right up my alley. I know this business exists however I have no background on what to charge, how long to raise the calves, do I buy the calves? Do I re-sell back to dairy farmer? Are they on loan? Bottom line how would I get paid and how much should I expect to be paid for performing this service? The reason I am asking is so I can sound reasonably intelligent before approaching the areas large milk producers about my offer. Thanks for your time folks....Tennessee John
     
  2. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    Depends what your after, as far as income. Do you want a consistent income? Or do you want to know you will get some good money for what your raising? If you want the latter, buy registered stock. They can be sold (yearling heifers), for 2000+. That is for holsteins. A farm locally sells their cows for 3000. Different prices in different regions as well. She sells her to individuals (not an auction). If you want an income all the time. I think when the farm locally raised them, I think he received 1.25 or 1.50 per animal, per day. He did not own them, he grew them. If you want, I could pass you a number to a grower, someone that raises animals for a large dairy (local grower). She raises calves from day old to 100 days, then they go back to the farm. Not sure how much she charges, but it might be an idea..


    Jeff
     

  3. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    My neighbor is a rather large scale dairy farmer with holstein and jersey cows. I know a little about his operation regarding the heifers. He has his replacement heifers grown by contract. The heifer calves come from the neighbors dairy herd and are bucket fed until time to wean. At that time they are moved to the contract grower. The contract grower was a dairy farmer but went out so he now grows heifers. The heifers are run on pasture and creep feed. When they reach breeding age and size, the heifers are bred to a low birth weight angus. The contractor continues to grow these bred heifers up until they are near calving. At this time the heifers are returned to the neighbor and start going through the milking parlor to acquaint them with the process. The contractor is paid monthly for each heifer and the fee, IMO, is rather expensive (approximately $1.80 per day). All Vet bills and drugs are extra. I would estimate the heifers are at the contractor for 20 to 22 months.
     
  4. john in la

    john in la Well-Known Member

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    There is several ways of raising dairy replacements.

    The easiest way to get started is to buy week old calves and raise them to springer age and then sell. The problem is getting good calves is very hard. You can find 1/2 holstein 1/2 jersey calves all the time but most dairies want pure holstein cows and pure holsteins are real hard to find. Even if the farmer has one he wants to sell he most likely has someone like myself that will take all he has with just one phone call so you never even get a chance to buy her.

    The other way is to contract with a dairy to raise their replacement heifers. Very hard to get started in this kind of business. Look at it from the farmers point of view.
    I am going to turn over a grade or registered week old calf to you. This calf is my life blood because without her I have no replacements. She needs to be feed properly so she will be big enough to calf at 24 months. Any injuries she may get to her feet/ legs or udder will make her worth less.
    In other words I have my whole lively hood riding on the fact that you do your job correctly. Just because you have raised some steers in the past tells me very little to put this much trust in you.

    Not trying to be mean or put down on your ability. Just stating cold hard facts.
     
  5. topside1

    topside1 Retired Coastie Supporter

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    Outstanding information from everyone especially the reality check from John in LA. Based on all your input I have decided to continue purchasing Holstein bull calves from my local dairy farmer for another season. Maybe in time he (the dairyman) may even toss a heifer-raising contract back at me. Regardless raising steers aint all that bad. Once again, thanks for your knowledgeable feedback.
    Tennessee John
     
  6. john in la

    john in la Well-Known Member

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    Now that you have gotten the reality check it is time to make a business plan instead of giving up and not trying.

    Look at my other post on.................
    Would love some input~ Business proposition
    This will give you a idea of a plan.

    Then confront your farmer friend. Tell him what you want to do.
    He may sell you a few heifers to see how you do.
    He can give you better advise than I can about your area.
    Keep plugging away at it and one day you may get where you want to be.

    As Dad always told me...............
    They can only tell you NO! But you never know to you ask.
     
  7. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    The best bet might be to try your hand with dairy heifers. Buy something young, raise it to a year, then compare it to others (weight and height), also heats. It might be the only way to see if its the same as the steers. I know I could never raise anything for anyone, my methods they would hate (even though I can grow them in some cases, better).


    Jeff