Advice on building a herd in Central Texas - sale barns vs breeders

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Rafter S

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I'm leery of sheep even though at some point I'll do dorper because karoo lamb. But based on what @callmefence and you are saying there's a significant market for them, I just know that almost every time I talk with folks back home my dad has a story about another Dormer that found a way to commit suicide. Dorper are better though, I'll keep telling myself that. :p . . .

That reminds me of something I heard a vet say decades ago when talking about dairy cattle: "A Guernsey cow spends her whole life walking around looking for a place to lay down and die."
 
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TdJ

TdJ

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I'm not a fan of niche breeds. I know there are folks that make money on them, but from what I've learned as a person starting with nothing is that they tend to be more expensive to get into, you need a market so you have to hustle more and the genetics are harder to find. But some of them are really intriguing and marketed very well.
You really make a good point - this is why I keep going back to Angus or at least figuring out what folks buy and sell locally. I'm hoping to head to a sale barn on Saturday so I can learn, figure out prices vs make/model and add real feel to the theory I'm building.
For sale barn cows, I sent one b/c she didn't have a calf for me last year even after being AI'd and exposed to a bull for months. Another went b/c she had a mass in her uterus. But you talk to some of the guys on here and there's money to be made at the sale barn. (There's guys that buy heavy bred LH type cattle, wean the calf and then run a black bull with them and make money hand over fist).
And here's my newbie question - what is does "LH type cattle" mean? And by black bull you're referencing Angus?
We're adding a cow/calf pair this fall and going back to the guy we bought her from. He's big enough to be picky and back his product, but not too big to only sell through his private auction. There's another place that offered me the ability to buy at their private ranch auction. Found out last week that they were shill bidding at a somewhat recent auction. If it was me, I'd find a guy like that in your area.

Figure out what you want your end product to be. Build your product to meet that goal. Only spend money you can afford to lose. As a hobby guy, you won't get rich quickly.
I'm going to try make it over to my neighbor this week, introduce myself. They have red angus but unsure if leased land or owned.

The goal is build a herd and run a fast turn program as things get ramped up. My visit to the barn is going to need to help me figure both of those out plus all the great advice I've received so far.

@Bestoutwest, much appreciated. Will try to keep it simple.
 

Bestoutwest

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You really make a good point - this is why I keep going back to Angus or at least figuring out what folks buy and sell locally. I'm hoping to head to a sale barn on Saturday so I can learn, figure out prices vs make/model and add real feel to the theory I'm building.

And here's my newbie question - what is does "LH type cattle" mean? And by black bull you're referencing Angus?

I'm going to try make it over to my neighbor this week, introduce myself. They have red angus but unsure if leased land or owned.

The goal is build a herd and run a fast turn program as things get ramped up. My visit to the barn is going to need to help me figure both of those out plus all the great advice I've received so far.

@Bestoutwest, much appreciated. Will try to keep it simple.
By LH I mean longhorn. That's what we started with. This was 2014 when black hided cows were going for $3+/lb at the sale barn. So we went less expensive to try and get our feet wet. I didn't lose money on them b/c I sold them all as freezer beef, BUT! I could have made a lot more money starting in Angus. What I found is that the local gene pool was really shallow, and to drive and buy new genetics but the price of cattle more than the $3/lb to stay local and buy Angus. You can get semen for AI, but most of the AI guys don't stock LH, so I would have had to buy a tank and ship myself. Again, added expense. Then to sell them, the breeder market is pretty saturated, I don't have roper contacts, and the sale barn is not an option. I could go on, but this should give an idea on my thought process.

Yes, black bull is anything angus genetics.

I went black Angus b/c they sell well at my local sale barn. I can get the AI to stick them with a variety of genetics, and I can put hereford in there to get baldies, or Simmental to get Simiangus. Also, within 20 minutes of the house I've got a dozen breeders. Finally, doing freezer beef, they grow well, quickly, and sell easy.

Hope this stuff helps.
 

Caustic Burno

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This is like the little boy that kissed the calf on the ass, everyone to their own taste.
There is one rule that holds fast and true. Run crappy cattle get crappy prices. Only thing worse IMO is getting the reputation of running back forty cows. It’s the same order buyers at the barn every week, you don’t fool a man at his game.
Find someone in your area as a mentor that’s being doing this for decades.
Don’t buy in to all the Angus crap either and I have an Angus standing in my pasture.
I prefer a red cow with some ear. I have options with that cow, Angus Brangus bull black calves, Hereford red baldies, Char bull yellows and yellow baldies. All these sell well in my part of Texas.
If I have black cows I am stuck and they are more expensive.
Now take this and a buck fifty and you might be able to get a cup of coffee.
 

Warren Allison

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And here's my newbie question - what is does "LH type cattle" mean? And by black bull you're referencing Angus?


The goal is build a herd and run a fast turn program as things get ramped up.
LH type means Longhorn and/or Corriente. To start generating money quickly, with minimal investment, the best thing you could do would be to buy Corriente cows and breed them to homozygous for black, polled bulls. These cows will be $500 or less...many times closer to $300. These 700-800 lb cows will wean off a 500-550lb black polled calf in 5-6 mos. Those calves are bringing about $1.50 right now for steers. maybe $1.40 for heifers. You can make money buying a $300-$500 cow and selling her calf for $750. You can do the same with a 900-1000 lb Longhorn cow too, but the calves won't wean any bigger, and the cows will cost a little more initially. They will eat a little more, too. Mature LH cows can have a horn spread of 6 to 8 feet, too, which can add some challenges when it comes to working facilities. What you have to watch for, is LH or Corrs that are part Watusi. Watusi are crossed in with the Corrs sometimes when the goal is to get a bigger set of horns at an earlier age. People breed LH x Watusi too, mostly for ornamental or novelty type cattle. Watusi crosses are often hard to poll, because of the African Horn Gene.

Corriente and LH both, do not have trouble calving. They are disease, insect and parasite resistant. They are heat tolerant and also do well in cold weather. They are about as maintenance free as a domestic animal can be. There is no other breed of cow in the US, that will wean a calf that would bring twice what you paid for her. You can pay $1000's more for other kinds of cows, and spend a lot of money on feed and medicines, etc. You can do all of that conditioning after you wean the calves, etc. , and might sell a steer for more than $750. But, you will NOT make the net profit that you will weaning $750 calves off of $300 cows.

Where you are located, Brangus bulls might work better for you than Angus, since a little ear won't hurt you there in Texas, but either will be fine.

How many cow-calf pairs are you thinking of running, @TdJ ?
 

greybeard

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That's a big number, so there's definitely a market for lamb out here. My wife tells me she can barely find any and when she does it's super expensive. You're swaying me a little fence...
"

He'll come to you as well. You might look into buying stocker lambs and growing them out. You can do 3-4 turns a year and do better than with cattle.
This, if you can keep the predators away from them.
Same with goats. I've seen both go thru the ring at the sale barn and bring good $$, sometimes as good or better than calves/lb and as Fence said, you can get more than one crop of lambs and kid goats/year. Both goats and sheep have a gestation of around 150 days compared to avg bovine gestation of 285 days and twins in goats and sheep are very common and triplets not unheard of at all.

Pay close attention too, to your county's ag exemption requirements. Some counties actually encourage agriculture while others (like mine) fight against ag exemption approval tooth and nail. Here, it's easier to get started in goats than in cattle (fencing perhaps being the exception).

I have a cousin whose husband runs Brangus cattle, sheep and goats on 3 sections out in Nolan county and he has very yearly few inputs compared to where I live but 3 sections is a lot of land even tho the forage available per acre out there is less.

his place:
DSC00030.JPG
 

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