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Anonymous

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Planning to buy 20 -25 cows and a bull. With a small herd it seems to make sense to buy the original cows and replacements. What's the best way to start, e.g., which European crossed with which contintental and as cows or bull.

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Anonymous

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Sure did mean to say British and not continental, otherwise it didn't make much sense. I couldn't spell yesterday, either. I hope that is not the only response I'll get but, if so, that's really all I deserve! Thanks!

> European is the same as
> continental. Did you mean British
> and Continental?

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Anonymous

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If this is your first foray into raising cattle, you might just get a few head of older cows. It is pretty hard to start out with various age groups of female bovines and learn everything you need to know to get heifers ready to breed and calving. Your starting numbers are pretty high, unless you know what you are doing. Have you considered how you are going to shelter, feed, care for.... what buildings do you have to work with... talk to people in your area and find out why they are raising what they are raising. Have a plan for what you want to do with your cattle. Are you going after breeding sales, beef sales, what? Are you really set up to keep a bull... can't run him with the herd all year long, or you will have him breeding his six month old daughters, and you can't breed him back to his daughters. If you have all the chutes, alleys, barns, sheds, equipment you need to run an operation of the size you are suggesting, I can only assume you know more than your question reveals. In our case, we had made a decision to never use a horse to work the cattle.... means we have to do more work with each animal to make them manageable by a human on foot. We started with four six month heifers and a steer for our first year's meat. I made a lot of mistakes as witnessed by the beginner's board, but I sure learned a lot with four heifers. This year, we will have just three mama cows, their four babies and some platter beef on the hoof... we won't be breeding six animals until the spring/summer of 2003... in the meantime, we will continue learning and improving our situation to handle the various age groups you end up with when you have heifers growing for replacement, calves being weaned, cows in gestation, and steers fattening. Does any of this help? There are certainly more professional people on the list. I have gotten a lot of help from my feed store man... the hay guy... and a few ranchers on the road between our place and town. You aren't alone and cattle people LOVE to see others succeed.

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Anonymous

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I suspected that you meant British but wanted to check. Omak gave you some good items to think about. I will add to the list with a couple additional points.

Before you spend even one dollar on your operation make sure you have prepared a business plan. Specifically, what is your marketing plan and which segment of the market do you plan to target. If you have not worked with cattle a lot you would be best to avoid trying to produce purebred animals because of the high startup costs necessary to be immediately successful. A much better angle would be to produce for the meat market. To produce for the meat market you need to decide whether you want to target the generic market or whether you want to try for the high quality market. This decision probably has already been made for you depending on your local market. With 20-25 cows you will probably be selling your calves at the local sale barn. There, for the most part, calves are sold based on weight with small premiums for angus or weaned calves. In this case you would be best to purchase your initial females from a reputable local breeder as inexpensively (notice I did not say cheap) as possible. One item to make sure of is that you get as similar a group (genetically) as you can as it will make your calves more uniform which will bring more when you sell. Another angle is to research bull breeders and purchase a bull from a breeder who will buy back the calves that his bulls sire.

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Anonymous

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> I suspected that you meant British
> but wanted to check. Omak gave you
> some good items to think about. I
> will add to the list with a couple
> additional points.

> Before you spend even one dollar
> on your operation make sure you
> have prepared a business plan.
> Specifically, what is your
> marketing plan and which segment
> of the market do you plan to
> target. If you have not worked
> with cattle a lot you would be
> best to avoid trying to produce
> purebred animals because of the
> high startup costs necessary to be
> immediately successful. A much
> better angle would be to produce
> for the meat market. To produce
> for the meat market you need to
> decide whether you want to target
> the generic market or whether you
> want to try for the high quality
> market. This decision probably has
> already been made for you
> depending on your local market.
> With 20-25 cows you will probably
> be selling your calves at the
> local sale barn. There, for the
> most part, calves are sold based
> on weight with small premiums for
> angus or weaned calves. In this
> case you would be best to purchase
> your initial females from a
> reputable local breeder as
> inexpensively (notice I did not
> say cheap) as possible. One item
> to make sure of is that you get as
> similar a group (genetically) as
> you can as it will make your
> calves more uniform which will
> bring more when you sell. Another
> angle is to research bull breeders
> and purchase a bull from a breeder
> who will buy back the calves that
> his bulls sire.

Scott, appreciate the help from both you and Omak. Can you please help me a bit more on the very last sentence above. Would I be working with single or crossbreeding and would such a breeder want both heifers and bulls? I hadn't thought about this sort of set-up and it seems to have lots of advantages for me.

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Anonymous

Guest
Every situation is different depending on the breeder's needs. From what I have read, the most common setup is where a breeder will buy calves, both heifers and steers, that are sired by their bulls or females that they have sold you. Odds are all of the animals that they will purchase from you will go to a feedlot for eventual slaughter so they will not be interested in purchasing any bulls or animals for breeding. The reason that they are setting up a situation like this is to increase the number of similar animals that they can feed together. You would be paid fair feeder calf prices, not premiums for breeding animals. If you are purchasing bulls for this type of arrangement, the breeder probably will not put a lot of restrictions on cow genetic type as long as they are not dairy or super exotic (ie. double muscle breed). You would be best to purchase cross bred cows from common breeds in your area for a situation like this as they will be more economical, longer lived, and more fertile than straight breds or purebreds. Hope this helps. One item I would suggest is that you become familiar with the cattle cycle. You didn't say when you were planning to purchase your herd but purchasing breeding animals right now may not be a good suggestion if you are trying to make money. If you wait until closer to the bottom of the cycle which should occur about 2007 you will be able to purchase animals much more inexpensively which will reduce you depreciation expense.

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