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Building your herd???

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Bfields30

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How did you guys start off how did you build your herd how many cows heifers bulls how did you add year by year and what’s best way to start off for someone young trying to get into the cattle business I have a few cows but I’m also trying to grow my small herd have 2 cows 2 heifers debating on selling them and just buying bred cows that are 3-5 yrs old heavy bred or buying bred heifers or buying replacements heifers and buying a bull I don’t have a bull yet I know it’s a lot but just trying to get steered in the right direction or should I keep What I have and just keep adding little little by little. Need advice a lot of it if possible
 

M.Magis

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Probably no wrong answer. I don’t have much interest in calving out heifers, so I like to buy bred cows in the fall or pairs in early spring, depending on the sales that year. That way I’m fairly confident they know how to calve on their own. I’ve always had my own bull, but it really makes more sense to hire someone to AI them unless you know someone who will rent you a bull.
 

JMJ Farms

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Slowly usually equals little or no debt.
Faster usually equals more debt.
I’ve seen it work both ways but slowly is probably better. Or maybe somewhere in the middle.
 

bball

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Start with your ground first. Make sure you have plenty and well established forage, fertility and pH. Adding the cows becomes the easy part after you have the ground in place. I have added heifers and cows along the way. Heifers equal more risk. Good cows can be had pretty reasonable right now. I agree with JMJ. If youre here asking questions, best to go slow.
 
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Bfields30

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JMJ Farms":1etjm3fd said:
Slowly usually equals little or no debt.
Faster usually equals more debt.
I’ve seen it work both ways but slowly is probably better. Or maybe somewhere in the middle.
If I got a loan i was thinking on like 5 bred cows or on pairs
 
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Bfields30

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M.Magis":yb7u5rdq said:
Probably no wrong answer. I don’t have much interest in calving out heifers, so I like to buy bred cows in the fall or pairs in early spring, depending on the sales that year. That way I’m fairly confident they know how to calve on their own. I’ve always had my own bull, but it really makes more sense to hire someone to AI them unless you know someone who will rent you a bull.
does the bull have to be registered to be a good bull cause i was looking at beefmaster and some brangus ones that weren’t registered but parents were.
As well what’s a good price range for bred cows
 
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Bfields30

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bball":2q9lzw9c said:
Start with your ground first. Make sure you have plenty and well established forage, fertility and pH. Adding the cows becomes the easy part after you have the ground in place. I have added heifers and cows along the way. Heifers equal more risk. Good cows can be had pretty reasonable right now. I agree with JMJ. If youre here asking questions, best to go slow.
yeah I got my ag extension to come out already and they told me everything was good .. my two older cows are 7 and 8 and I have two heifer calfs that are 6 and 7 months old my biggest thing should I stay put with them or sell the heifers for extra cash to buy more or sell the two cows and buy more and a bull I know a lot of questions just want some extra insight
 

bball

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Bfields30":3ashv7mc said:
bball":3ashv7mc said:
Start with your ground first. Make sure you have plenty and well established forage, fertility and pH. Adding the cows becomes the easy part after you have the ground in place. I have added heifers and cows along the way. Heifers equal more risk. Good cows can be had pretty reasonable right now. I agree with JMJ. If youre here asking questions, best to go slow.
yeah I got my ag extension to come out already and they told me everything was good .. my two older cows are 7 and 8 and I have two heifer calfs that are 6 and 7 months old my biggest thing should I stay put with them or sell the heifers for extra cash to buy more or sell the two cows and buy more and a bull I know a lot of questions just want some extra insight

You could flip the heifers and kick in some extra for a couple heavy breds. As far as a bull goes, i would really look into renting one until you get your numbers up enough to justify the cost of keeping one year round.
 

M.Magis

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Bfields30":55ti0qle said:
M.Magis":55ti0qle said:
Probably no wrong answer. I don’t have much interest in calving out heifers, so I like to buy bred cows in the fall or pairs in early spring, depending on the sales that year. That way I’m fairly confident they know how to calve on their own. I’ve always had my own bull, but it really makes more sense to hire someone to AI them unless you know someone who will rent you a bull.
does the bull have to be registered to be a good bull cause i was looking at beefmaster and some brangus ones that weren’t registered but parents were.
As well what’s a good price range for bred cows
All my bulls have been purebred, but not registered.
Prices are market driven. I bought two nice cow/calf pairs this spring for $1375/pair, and they were near the top end of that sale. On the other hand, I have numerous cows I bought before the market dropped that cost me between $2300-$2700 each as bred cows.
 

mmfd1379

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Where are you located? Are you set for winter grazing and/or feeding if you buy now and load up you may have to turn around and sale in the winter. Is this just a hobby? If so slow and steady don’t buy cheap just because you have the money. Let it be known in your area that your in the looking to buy quality and someone will tell you about some cattle for sale. Shop around. As far as a bull options are endless. I prefer papered just because he’s half your calf crop and you have a little knowledge about him. Maybe this helps.
 

Stocker Steve

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U of Kentucky has some Excel calculators that will answer many of your what to buy questions. For me, it is better to sell bred heifers on Saturdays and buy back bred cows on weekdays.

Borrowing money only makes sense for something that makes you at least 2x the going interest rate. What is your annual cent return on what you have invested so far?
 
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Bfields30

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mmfd1379":2ej1awxp said:
Where are you located? Are you set for winter grazing and/or feeding if you buy now and load up you may have to turn around and sale in the winter. Is this just a hobby? If so slow and steady don’t buy cheap just because you have the money. Let it be known in your area that your in the looking to buy quality and someone will tell you about some cattle for sale. Shop around. As far as a bull options are endless. I prefer papered just because he’s half your calf crop and you have a little knowledge about him. Maybe this helps.
east Tx winnsboro area yeah that’s what I’m going for quality and I have like 50 acres and even though it’s summer grass is tall long and plentiful lol I want more cows to help graze so I don’t have to shred so much
 
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Bfields30

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M.Magis":2giwd0v4 said:
Bfields30":2giwd0v4 said:
M.Magis":2giwd0v4 said:
Probably no wrong answer. I don’t have much interest in calving out heifers, so I like to buy bred cows in the fall or pairs in early spring, depending on the sales that year. That way I’m fairly confident they know how to calve on their own. I’ve always had my own bull, but it really makes more sense to hire someone to AI them unless you know someone who will rent you a bull.
does the bull have to be registered to be a good bull cause i was looking at beefmaster and some brangus ones that weren’t registered but parents were.
As well what’s a good price range for bred cows
All my bulls have been purebred, but not registered.
Prices are market driven. I bought two nice cow/calf pairs this spring for $1375/pair, and they were near the top end of that sale. On the other hand, I have numerous cows I bought before the market dropped that cost me between $2300-$2700 each as bred cows.
When you buy those pairs do you keep those calves or do you resell the calfs in 6 months I know people keep them some sale once they wean.
 
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Bfields30

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bball":37ddi35q said:
Bfields30":37ddi35q said:
bball":37ddi35q said:
Start with your ground first. Make sure you have plenty and well established forage, fertility and pH. Adding the cows becomes the easy part after you have the ground in place. I have added heifers and cows along the way. Heifers equal more risk. Good cows can be had pretty reasonable right now. I agree with JMJ. If youre here asking questions, best to go slow.
yeah I got my ag extension to come out already and they told me everything was good .. my two older cows are 7 and 8 and I have two heifer calfs that are 6 and 7 months old my biggest thing should I stay put with them or sell the heifers for extra cash to buy more or sell the two cows and buy more and a bull I know a lot of questions just want some extra insight

You could flip the heifers and kick in some extra for a couple heavy breds. As far as a bull goes, i would really look into renting one until you get your numbers up enough to justify the cost of keeping one year round.
I’ve looked into renting no one in my area does that anybody that I contacted were over 200/300 miles from me. I’m thinking i might flip the heifers think they will bring more money .
 

farmerjan

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In this area, right now weaned heifers in the 5 wts are bringing 1.25 to 1.40. So a heifer is worth in the neighborhood 650 give or take. Bred cows are in the range of 650 to 1250 with a few bringing a bit more. The cheaper ones are usually older cows, but we buy some that are in good flesh because if they raise their calf then we will make a little bit when we turn them over. Bought a nice charl 3rd calf, with a decent heifer calf by her side for 850. Breds and cow/calf pairs are cheaper now so it makes more sense to sell the heifers and buy a couple of breds or c/c pairs. But, we have been doing this for awhile and know the risks and are willing to take some with old cows.
We do raise some of our better heifers up for replacements because we know what the dams are and like the bulls they are out of. They often make our better cows and we do also cull for disposition.

Starting out we bought what we could afford, culled what didn't do good, culled what was a nut case or fence jumper. We would buy cows that weren't the greatest, get a calf, make a few dollars and try to buy better the next time. Got soaked a few times and hit a few good ones. Except for 2 times, we have never borrowed to buy cows. We bought 40 and financed them for 2 years. Have some decendents now from them and several are out of the same cows or their first daughters. Most were sold after a few calves. Then we borrowed to buy 75 from a family friend who was dying of cancer and paid them off in 3 years. It was a favor, and gave his wife some consistent income and they were getting some age and we bought them right. As a rule we do n ot borrow to buy. If we were getting into purebreds, show cattle or something, maybe. But the markets are down a bit and it doesn't make sense. 3 heifer calves will buy 2-3 decent bred cows easy right now. A potential for nearly doubling your numbers.

In the beginning we bought the best bull we could afford which wasn't much. Then we would sell him after 1 or 2 years, and buy a better one. Now we mostly buy registered, but not always, so that we know the breeding/bloodlines behind him. Have bought a couple from friends who were going to change bulls and we liked the calves from their present bull. The good thing about that is we could buy him for cull price or a little above, and still get a good bull. Helped to have some neighbors that we could work with. I do some AI and we have raised up a bull or two from that. But it is easier to buy one that is ready to breed. I would think that AI would be your best way to go if you have a chute to catch up the cows, and you won't have to feed a bull for 12 months when you only need him for 2 months. For only 2-5 cows, or even 10 cows it is not economical to own a bull. If you have any neighbors that you could ask if they are going to change bulls and maybe you could buy theirs for pound price that they would get at the stockyard, then use him and sell him in a couple months for about what you have in him. That way you wouldn't have to keep him but for a few months and not have a ton of money in him.
It is true that a bull is half of your calves, and you want calves that are better than their mommas, so that they sell good. So a good decent bull is the smartest way to go.
 

farmerjan

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Don't buy bred heifers because the potential for problems is just too great for someone fairly new in the game. No matter how much they are touted to be bred to an easy calving bull, there are still too many variables for a person new to cattle. We do not buy bred heifers now, have done so in the past and always seem to get hurt or barely break even. For us, after 40 + years, buying bred cows is the only way to go and we do it to accommodate pasture conditions and when we need more to graze, and when it looks like we can turn them over for some profit. We will buy some 1st calf heifers with the calf on the ground, but you can't give me bred heifers. Our own are a different story as we know their background, and we know the bulls they are bred to and we don't calve until they are about 2 1/2 yrs old. They have more size and maturity, and seem to be ready to be mothers and take care of the calf after it hits the ground. It works for us and we haven't pulled a calf in years.
 
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Bfields30

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farmerjan":1a3ryqop said:
In this area, right now weaned heifers in the 5 wts are bringing 1.25 to 1.40. So a heifer is worth in the neighborhood 650 give or take. Bred cows are in the range of 650 to 1250 with a few bringing a bit more. The cheaper ones are usually older cows, but we buy some that are in good flesh because if they raise their calf then we will make a little bit when we turn them over. Bought a nice charl 3rd calf, with a decent heifer calf by her side for 850. Breds and cow/calf pairs are cheaper now so it makes more sense to sell the heifers and buy a couple of breds or c/c pairs. But, we have been doing this for awhile and know the risks and are willing to take some with old cows.
We do raise some of our better heifers up for replacements because we know what the dams are and like the bulls they are out of. They often make our better cows and we do also cull for disposition.

Starting out we bought what we could afford, culled what didn't do good, culled what was a nut case or fence jumper. We would buy cows that weren't the greatest, get a calf, make a few dollars and try to buy better the next time. Got soaked a few times and hit a few good ones. Except for 2 times, we have never borrowed to buy cows. We bought 40 and financed them for 2 years. Have some decendents now from them and several are out of the same cows or their first daughters. Most were sold after a few calves. Then we borrowed to buy 75 from a family friend who was dying of cancer and paid them off in 3 years. It was a favor, and gave his wife some consistent income and they were getting some age and we bought them right. As a rule we do n ot borrow to buy. If we were getting into purebreds, show cattle or something, maybe. But the markets are down a bit and it doesn't make sense. 3 heifer calves will buy 2-3 decent bred cows easy right now. A potential for nearly doubling your numbers.

In the beginning we bought the best bull we could afford which wasn't much. Then we would sell him after 1 or 2 years, and buy a better one. Now we mostly buy registered, but not always, so that we know the breeding/bloodlines behind him. Have bought a couple from friends who were going to change bulls and we liked the calves from their present bull. The good thing about that is we could buy him for cull price or a little above, and still get a good bull. Helped to have some neighbors that we could work with. I do some AI and we have raised up a bull or two from that. But it is easier to buy one that is ready to breed. I would think that AI would be your best way to go if you have a chute to catch up the cows, and you won't have to feed a bull for 12 months when you only need him for 2 months. For only 2-5 cows, or even 10 cows it is not economical to own a bull. If you have any neighbors that you could ask if they are going to change bulls and maybe you could buy theirs for pound price that they would get at the stockyard, then use him and sell him in a couple months for about what you have in him. That way you wouldn't have to keep him but for a few months and not have a ton of money in him.
It is true that a bull is half of your calves, and you want calves that are better than their mommas, so that they sell good. So a good decent bull is the smartest way to go.
Thanks for that and I was looking for that, I was leaning in the direction of buying a lil bit older cows then shipping them once they calf but in between trying to build as well, I’m thinking I should go between buying 3-6 yr old heavy bred for now or just bred and go from there and buy a few heifers 3 weight or steers 3 weight and keep them for a couple months. As well then resell.
 
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Bfields30

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farmerjan":3da435ga said:
Don't buy bred heifers because the potential for problems is just too great for someone fairly new in the game. No matter how much they are touted to be bred to an easy calving bull, there are still too many variables for a person new to cattle. We do not buy bred heifers now, have done so in the past and always seem to get hurt or barely break even. For us, after 40 + years, buying bred cows is the only way to go and we do it to accommodate pasture conditions and when we need more to graze, and when it looks like we can turn them over for some profit. We will buy some 1st calf heifers with the calf on the ground, but you can't give me bred heifers. Our own are a different story as we know their background, and we know the bulls they are bred to and we don't calve until they are about 2 1/2 yrs old. They have more size and maturity, and seem to be ready to be mothers and take care of the calf after it hits the ground. It works for us and we haven't pulled a calf in years.
Im also interested in buying pairs like you just said that heifers just had or buying just pairs in general
 

okiek

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Since you are from TX, I'll throw this in....The RA Brown Ranch had a sale this spring that was perfect for adding to your herd if you like Red Angus. They offered lots of 10 (I would split a lot with someone who needed to) commercial Red Angus heifers that were bred to calve about sale time. The catch is, they kept the heifers until all had delivered and guaranteed live calves to every lot. That's a hard deal to beat for someone not equipped (Or who has no desire) to deal with heifer calving.
 

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