Breed Selection/Starting up

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Jafruech

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Just an update from my previous posts, I'm Active duty military, and I will be getting out in about a year and staying in Colorado (maybe not the ideal place to start a ranch, but unfortunately I don't have much of a choice due to having primary custody of my son and the pain of trying to move with the court and all).

I will be staying here and I am finally in a position to start buying some heifers/heifer calves/cows this spring. My primary concerns are: Stocking rate, birthing ease, health, decent weaning/growth rate, cost of initial investment/continued growth and marketability. I will basically be using my military and in a year whatever civilian employment I get to finance and grow the herd, and all money from the sales will be invested into more land or replacements.

With that said, there are a couple of avenues of approach on this that I would like some feedback on:

Option 1: Hereford cows/running black angus bull on them.

Pros: It's what I grew up with and I know the breed
Black baldies market well out here from what I've heard
Hybrid Vigor
Cheaper to get hereford cows than angus

Cons: Initial cost and continued replacement cost is fairly high.
Trying to find replacements that have decent genetics seems to be difficult here. I've done some searching and all I've found is open heifers or bad conformation.
Limited on stocking rate till I acquire more acreage or a lease.
I would outgrow my acreage faster than I could buy new land most likely

Option 2: Solid color Longhorn Cows/Running hereford bull on them-Retain heifer calves and run a Terminal Angus bull on them.

Pros: Birthing ease/less loss at birth
Protection of calves/calving from coyotes-all my "neighbors" have horse ranches and do Zero coyote control, so they are an issue. I shoot them when I can (over the objections of the "we should all coexist" neighbors).
Initial startup cost far lower
Stocking rate increased by 20% give or take
More even grazing over some of the weeded areas of the pasture and better land utilization.
The F1 Calves should be decent, and they should be polled and hopefully not take too much of a hit at the salebarn
The F2 calves should have retained birthing ease, decent structure and marbling, and hopefully retain hybrid vigor of the 3 breeds. They should be black and similar to an Angus/Hereford cross and should even have some baldies out of the bunch.
I would be able to limit inputs and increase outputs and grow the herd fairly quickly while still retaining a good balance of grass conservation

Cons
Not much experience with the breed-I've heard good things, but I don't have personal experience with them
Possibly taking a hit at the sale barn depending on the calf crop.


What are y'alls opinions on the 2 options? I would think that the increased stocking rate and birthing ease would somewhat compensate for a bad day at the sale barn in the initial years. I'd love some feedback. Thanks
 

ALACOWMAN

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Old man told me when I first got started, back when I thought I was gonna set the cattle industry on its heels.. """"You'll never do better than a black baldy. """wish I had listen to him now, been miles ahead....
 
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Jafruech

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Alacowman, I absolutely agree if I had your rainfall and stocking rate I wouldn't hesitate to go with my option 1 above. Where I grew up we didn't have to worry about droughts and stocking rates, here it's unavoidable. I'm concerned with how they would do in the drier climate and in drought years (not just stocking rate but foot and just general health).

Part of why I'm considering option 2 is because of the stocking rate, hardiness, eating of rougher forage, ability to still gain on less forage in a rough year, etc.

The F2-F3 calves should carry the same look and characteristics of a baldie (for the most part, while retaining some of the better aspects of the longhorn). I guess I'm just curious what the potential drawbacks would be or if I'm just completely offbase in that thinking?
 

ALACOWMAN

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Jafruech":jrlm6c62 said:
Alacowman, I absolutely agree if I had your rainfall and stocking rate I wouldn't hesitate to go with my option 1 above. Where I grew up we didn't have to worry about droughts and stocking rates, here it's unavoidable. I'm concerned with how they would do in the drier climate and in drought years (not just stocking rate but foot and just general health).

Part of why I'm considering option 2 is because of the stocking rate, hardiness, eating of rougher forage, ability to still gain on less forage in a rough year, etc.

The F2-F3 calves should carry the same look and characteristics of a baldie (for the most part, while retaining some of the better aspects of the longhorn). I guess I'm just curious what the potential drawbacks would be or if I'm just completely offbase in that thinking?
I'd start out with a few Hereford.. You can always sell em if they don't work out...and if you buy them right could even make a little on them....
 

Bullitt

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Jafruech":me5bk417 said:
What are y'alls opinions on the 2 options? I would think that the increased stocking rate and birthing ease would somewhat compensate for a bad day at the sale barn in the initial years. I'd love some feedback. Thanks

How many heifers/cows do you plan to buy at the start?

If possible, I would buy some of each, Black Baldies, Herefords, and solid-colored Texas Longhorns. Black Longhorns would probably be best since black is the most popular color for cattle now.

You can put an Angus or Brangus bull on all those cows. The Black Baldies would have calves that are mostly black with some white markings. The Herefords would produce more Black Baldies, of course.

If you have black Angus or Brangus crossed with black Texas Longhorns and then cross those heifers with a continental European bull that is homozygous black, such as a Limousin or Simmental, you will have calves that are mostly black and should sell well. You can also put that continental bull on the Black Baldies to have another three-breed cross, which really adds growth to calves. As pointed out, it will take time to get the calves you want from Texas Longhorns. But you can sell the Angus or Brangus crossed with Longhorn steers. Although, they will not sell as well as say straight Angus steers.

You are correct that Texas Longhorns or even Longhorn crosses will survive and thrive better than most other breeds in drought conditions. They are also more disease resistant and parasite resistant than most other breeds of cattle.

I would research how well Texas Longhorn crosses sell in the area where you plan to have a ranch. Texas Longhorns are cheaper to buy and raise, but if the crosses sell for too little it will not make financial sense. This is another reason why I suggest also having Black Baldies and Herefords to ensure better income with your first calves.

Do a search for Hereford breeders in Colorado and you will see many that sell quality Herefords.
 

Lazy M

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Son of Butch":3a19y4iq said:
option 1
you'll only get about 7 generations in your lifetime and option 2 will waste a couple generations getting to where
you want to be.
Agreed. If it is worth doing, the start up won't be cheap, but you have to pay to play. Go with option 1, and never look back.
 
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Jafruech

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Thanks for the responses and feedback. I understand the paying to play...I have an offer to buy bred hereford heifers for 1500, weaned Hereford heifers for 1000. Just seems a bit steep but it's been a long time since I was buying cattle. Does that sound right?

Also have the chance to buy some solid color Angus or Hereford bred longhorn heifers for 900.

So my initial investment is almost double with Herefords and I lose out on some of the stocking rate potential. Is the extra profit at the sale-barn really going to make up for that?
 

bball

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Jafruech":23zw7v8w said:
Thanks for the responses and feedback. I understand the paying to play...I have an offer to buy bred hereford heifers for 1500, weaned Hereford heifers for 1000. Just seems a bit steep but it's been a long time since I was buying cattle. Does that sound right?

Also have the chance to buy some solid color Angus or Hereford bred longhorn heifers for 900.

So my initial investment is almost double with Herefords and I lose out on some of the stocking rate potential. Is the extra profit at the sale-barn really going to make up for that?

Cheapest i can find quality bred hereford heifers here is $2000 each..2 hours away. IF theyre decent quality, i would buy them if hereford is what your heart is set on.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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If you are worried about calving, you should be looking at buying BRED COWS.
There are quality cattle of all breeds, but the better quality, the more it costs.
If the bred Hereford heifers are grown out well, deep & thick that is a good price - and bred to a calving ease bull.
 

wacocowboy

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Just go get you some good beefmaster cows. The foundation herd is right there in Colorado. You can breed to an Angus bull and get big black calves, or a Char bull for big yellow calves, or stick with a beefmaster bull big red calves or you can even put a Hereford bull on the for red and white calves.
 

Bullitt

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Jafruech":2q3jnnxx said:
Thanks for the responses and feedback. I understand the paying to play...I have an offer to buy bred hereford heifers for 1500, weaned Hereford heifers for 1000. Just seems a bit steep but it's been a long time since I was buying cattle. Does that sound right?

Also have the chance to buy some solid color Angus or Hereford bred longhorn heifers for 900.

So my initial investment is almost double with Herefords and I lose out on some of the stocking rate potential. Is the extra profit at the sale-barn really going to make up for that?

The price seems a little high. Are these registered Hereford heifers?

In my area in Texas, a quality 600-pound beef heifer is selling for an average of about $1.30 a pound. That is $780 for a heifer at that weight. You might check the local livestock auctions, especially if you want commercial cattle. Young, bred cows are selling for about $850 to $1,250 each at the livestock auction.

Few people on this board will support the idea of buying Longhorn heifers. You should find out how Longhorn cross calves are selling in your area and then decide if it is worthwhile.

In the end, you have to make the decision to do what you feel is right for you.
 

ropinranger

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I posted about my experience with lh and lh X cows in the longhorn thread on the "breeds" forum.

short response -- I would do some of both...it's what i did.

longer response - I am in West Texas, so drought resistance and forage quality are issues. I bought my lh cows for around $400, so that helped me make that decision. In just a few years, i have paid for them and the two bulls i have bought, and am making a profit. I put the cows on an angus bull, kept the best heifers for two years, and now have a new bull. I am hoping to get the three way cross goodness that folks speak of....
I also have 5 cows that are angus, angus/char, and angus/romagnola bred. I bought them when i found them for a good price, and will be able to have them fully paid off with profits from selling my lh X calves this year(and still turn a profit).

I am also a retired Soldier, and didn't want to take out a loan to buy cattle with, given the falling market at the time I was starting up. I am happy with the way things are working out. Turning a profit, an owing no $$ in the first 3 years, other than the house/land payment.
 

ropinranger

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Looking at your projected cost of $1500 per beef bred cow to $900 per lh bred cow, i would recommend going the full beef route. As i stated above, i bought my lh cow real cheap(as roping cattle), i was able to buy 3 lh cows to 1 beef cow, therefore I chose that route. You are getting quite as good of a deal as i did.
 

Rangenerd

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If you are looking at hereford angus offspring I would look at putting a hereford bull on some good angus cows. It is a lot easier to find good angus cows that good hereford cows.
 

ALACOWMAN

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Rangenerd":32jp8ela said:
If you are looking at hereford angus offspring I would look at putting a hereford bull on some good angus cows. It is a lot easier to find good angus cows that good hereford cows.
Cause you can't sling a dead cat and not hit one...if you were to stop in front of every angus farm here Just in one day,,you'd wear out a set of brakes..
 
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Jafruech

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Figured I'd post an update. I ended up going with Option 3...There's a guy near me who has been running LH/ANG cross cows for quite a while, and I was able to get some market data on how they do out here (and his do well). After talking with him at length and building that report.. I was able to get some of his 50/50 and 75/25 ANG/LH cross bred cows (2015 models) for a price I couldn't say no to. I am pretty amazed at the maternal traits and docility of these cows...growing up with Herefords and baldies I never knew they could be this easy to handle. I plan on continuing to buy from him for as long as he has heifers and cows for sale. Attached are some of the cows I got from him (the blacks).




 
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Jafruech

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wbvs58":g7norbin said:
They look like they will do the job for you. I see a bit of snow around, I thought Longhorns were more of a Texas breed.

Ken

They are raised and thrive in just about every climate in North America...From West Texas to Canada. Tropics and desert to the Canadian winter. Their hardiness and adaptability are pretty outstanding.
 
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