How many run cows for a living?

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circlew
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How many run cows for a living?

Post by circlew » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:49 pm

I have an opportunity to rent 80 acres to go along with the 40 I have now. My grandfather also told me he was thinking of getting out and he wanted me to take over the place. He wants to rent it to me and sale his cows and hay equipment. He has 180 acres, a 60 acre hay field, a 10 acre hay field (no fence), 80 acres of pasture, and 30 acres of pasture/hayfield across the road from the 80 acre pasture. Got to talk money on both places when I get back home this weekend. I have 30 brood cows now and could run another 70 or 80 easily. All three places are within 10 minutes of each other. My question is could I make enough profit to handle all of this? I have always wanted to be able to farm for my share of the living. Thoughts and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


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Re: How many run cows for a living?

Post by highgrit » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:03 pm

No better time than the present to try. Your young and have the want to, don't know any reason you can't make it.
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Re: How many run cows for a living?

Post by Isomade » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:35 pm

Unless you are going to live in a tent and eat beans for every meal I don't see any way you can make a living on 130 cows even if they were all paid for.
The quickest way to lose money in the cattle business is to do it the way grandpa did it.....and the quickest way to lose everything in the cattle business it to forget the way grandpa did it. (Dad)

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Re: How many run cows for a living?

Post by TennesseeTuxedo » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:37 pm

How many head to you reckon it would take ISO? I've often wondered.
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Re: How many run cows for a living?

Post by Isomade » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:43 pm

Depends on the lifestyle you want to live, and you dang sure can't base it on today's calf prices. In 3 months those same prices could drop by 40 cents/lb, on 120 500# calves that's a drop of $24,000. Personally until I owe nothing to anyone and have 350 mamas I wouldn't try it.
The quickest way to lose money in the cattle business is to do it the way grandpa did it.....and the quickest way to lose everything in the cattle business it to forget the way grandpa did it. (Dad)

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Re: How many run cows for a living?

Post by Stocker Steve » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:45 pm

Isomade wrote:Unless you are going to live in a tent and eat beans for every meal I don't see any way you can make a living on 130 cows even if they were all paid for.


Need to sell all the bulls for $7,000 and up :banana:
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Re: How many run cows for a living?

Post by Isomade » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:47 pm

Let me just add that everyone's situation is different. If I was single, and had no kids that depend on me or a wife that had a good job I might lower that number. I don't know Circlews situation, but I still would not try it if I owed on cows.

And I don't run cows for a living so I should probably stop running my mouth. :lol:
The quickest way to lose money in the cattle business is to do it the way grandpa did it.....and the quickest way to lose everything in the cattle business it to forget the way grandpa did it. (Dad)

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Re: How many run cows for a living?

Post by circlew » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:57 pm

Thanks for all the replys. I am blessed enough to have a wife who has an excellent job. I've always wanted to run cows for a living. My goal is 200 to 250 mommas. Might even throw in some chicken houses someday. I was just tossing these thoughts around in my head and I was looking for some unbiased answers. So thanks and keep it coming.
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Re: How many run cows for a living?

Post by 1wlimo » Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:03 pm

I think the number of cows is like asking low long a piece of string is. Rent, will put the number up, but if you do not need to make hay, you will need less.
How much cash and what sort of machines you like will make a big difference

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Re: How many run cows for a living?

Post by Bigfoot » Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:10 pm

I would really really hate to dash someones dreams, but it would be hard to make a living with that number. Even if every cow, the land, and the equipment was free and clear. I especially wouldnt walk away from a good paying job to try it.
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Re: How many run cows for a living?

Post by wbvs58 » Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:07 pm

If you have a supportive wife then 120females would possibly be a good start, always looking for more land to increase that number. In Australia, the minimum stand alone farm seems to carry 300-350 females but you would need minimum debt. If you could purchase a run down block and clean it up and sell it after several years to move onto something bigger and better, using capital gains to help improve your equity would be the way to go. Just don't get too attached to any place.
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Re: How many run cows for a living?

Post by Dave » Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:32 pm

I know some people who are doing real well with 300 pairs. Others not so good. It depends on your cost of operating, debt load, and life style. On the other hand I think you can easily run a 100 cows while holding down a job for a living so everything you make off the cows goes back into growing bigger.

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Re: How many run cows for a living?

Post by Alan » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:44 pm

Probably the worst time in my short years to get into cattle, do yourself a favor an look at the cattle prices right now. A few years ago I sold calves for 46 cents a lb (46.00 cwt) now they are $1.20 a lb plus may be why you can find land. So in short a heifer that would have cost you $500 a few years ago now cost $1200 or so. Rent on top of buying cattle, tough living, no living for someone starting out.

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Re: How many run cows for a living?

Post by JSCATTLE » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:48 pm

Until the drought I had 120 head . Still worked my day job . I think I could make it by my self with 75 head . Land cows tractor baler etc would have to be paid for . And I'm sure I would have to bale fOr others and do odd jobs . But I can live in a 30 by 30 metal building . I pay more of a note and 8 times the taxes on the house I live in than I do on 200 acres of farm land . The things we do for women lol .
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Re: How many run cows for a living?

Post by Aaron » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:56 pm

Can it be done? Yes.

Can you do it? Depends on the numbers your playing with in terms of expenses and debt.

A friend of mine suffices with 60 cows. Bachelor in a teeny-tiny house and no frills on 640 acres, running older equipment. Retains his own heifers, so his gross income is typically around the 30-35k mark selling yearlings and cull cows. Will be higher with the higher prices.
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