Advice to a first time cattle owner

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Anonymous

I have about 8 acres of pasture plus 70 acres of crops (which is not farmed by myself). I am thinking about getting some cattle (4or6). I am thinking about buying the ones that will calve out this Spring. I am hoping to raise them on only pasture and then hay in the winter. I am thinking about selling the beef to family and friends and also have an idea to use one of the calves for my son's 4-H project. I have been doing a lot of reading but really come out confused. Any help, advice or cautions would be greatly appreciated. Is purebred or cross breeds better? Is selling the beef to individuals better or selling them at the sale barn better? Is "personality" of the cow that important? Is it possible to raise them on only pasture or hay? Thanks in advance for any help.

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Anonymous

Depending on the area you are in, the growing season, type of pasture forage, quality of soil, etc., your stocking ratio sounds a little high. Unless you want to get seriously into the seedstock business, good crossbreds will provide more bang for your buck. Direct marketing will usually put more money in your pocket then salebarns, unless you get into one of the special prevac sales. Direct marketing takes a lot more time and commitment then selling through the salebarn. With high enough quality in your pasture and hay, cows can do just fine without supplements other then a balanced mineral package. Have your infrastructure in place before starting with the animals. Fence, water, working facilities, etc. Buy quality animals, find someone that can mentor you, read, read ,read.

dun

> I have about 8 acres of pasture
> plus 70 acres of crops (which is
> not farmed by myself). I am
> thinking about getting some cattle
> (4or6). I am thinking about buying
> the ones that will calve out this
> Spring. I am hoping to raise them
> on only pasture and then hay in
> the winter. I am thinking about
> selling the beef to family and
> friends and also have an idea to
> use one of the calves for my son's
> 4-H project. I have been doing a
> lot of reading but really come out
> confused. Any help, advice or
> cautions would be greatly
> appreciated. Is purebred or cross
> breeds better? Is selling the beef
> to individuals better or selling
> them at the sale barn better? Is
> "personality" of the cow
> that important? Is it possible to
> raise them on only pasture or hay?
> Thanks in advance for any help.
 
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Anonymous

I agree with everything dun said and also...the personality is important. Nutty cows are a pain in the neck. They don't need to be pets, but they don't need to run through fences either.

Contact the extension office where you live, they can hook you up with someone who can answer your questions about how many cows you can run on your pasture and the quality of the pasture.

Start small. Get two cows. You should have plenty of pasture for that, you'll learn a lot, but without making such a large investment.
 
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Anonymous

I have been on the 4-H circuit all year and there are a lot of factors that you may want to resolve before you begin showing. Some breeds have their own class while others are bunched up in an AOB classification. I have noticed that Angus are the most popular in my area. Also Herford and Bramah. Also you need to consider the expense. My feed bill for one Bull per month exceeds $50.00. They eat 3lb. of feed per hundred pounds of body weight per day. I prefer the Blonde d A'quitaine breed. They are very gentle and easy to halter break and show. They are getting more poplar in my area but they have not qualified for their own class at State. I am heading to LSU today for the State 4-H show. This will be my first State Show.

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Anonymous

If You want cows , visit local that have cows and ask questions..Most will be glad to talk(if they love their cows). I suggest Black Angus or Black white face (angusXherefords crosses) as the cows u get...Then any number of bulls would work for beef calfs...IE.Black Limo, Black Simms., Black Angus, Black Brangus all would be good crosses......alf.. But get out ther and talk....

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Anonymous

There are many good breeds out there, but if you are considering selling freezer beef I would encourage you to have at least 50% British blood in your calves. British breeds (Angus, Hereford, Shorthorn, South Devon) tend to marble better than Continental breeds (Gelbvieh, Simmental, Limousin, Charolais, etc.).

A cross of half British/half Continental makes a very nice cross since the Continental breeds will improve growth rate, muscling, reduce fat, and increase carcass yield.

I have a friend that breeds some of his Gelbvieh/Angus cows to South Devon bulls. He is very happy with the calves. South Devon are a little unique in that they marble like a British, have leaner, more muscular carcasses like a Continental, and also have a reputation for more tender beef.

If you do decide to buy some females, I would encourage you to buy older cows (5 to 8 years old). By that age they have proven whether or not they can wean a good, heavy calf every year and you can also see by then if they have an udder that will hold up well. There is a lot to learn about the cow/calf business, so not having to worry about calving problems with first calf heifers is one less thing to deal with the first year or two.

Best of luck!
 
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Anonymous

> Dun and gary are solid but another thing to consider is pasture and 4H calves are mutually exclusive around here. forage converters tend to be smaller framed and thrifty looking club calves (here) are BIG framey things that can survive on a diet of concentrates for those huge weight gains
 
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Anonymous

considering your son will be using them look for personality but also you or someone else break them in. then they can be taken anywhere and they are comfortable around humans.

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Anonymous

> I have about 8 acres of pasture
> plus 70 acres of crops (which is
> not farmed by myself). I am
> thinking about getting some cattle
> (4or6). I am thinking about buying
> the ones that will calve out this
> Spring. I am hoping to raise them
> on only pasture and then hay in
> the winter. I am thinking about
> selling the beef to family and
> friends and also have an idea to
> use one of the calves for my son's
> 4-H project. I have been doing a
> lot of reading but really come out
> confused. Any help, advice or
> cautions would be greatly
> appreciated. Is purebred or cross
> breeds better? Is selling the beef
> to individuals better or selling
> them at the sale barn better? Is
> "personality" of the cow
> that important? Is it possible to
> raise them on only pasture or hay?
> Thanks in advance for any help. There is an excellent book called Storey's Guide to raising beef cattle. <A HREF="http://www.storeybooks.com" TARGET="_blank">www.storeybooks.com</A> It would answer most of your questions.
 
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