Can I make a living off of cattle

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piedmontese

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Littlesalesman":4xb77vg3 said:
That's 7 years of extra school tho collage will add up enough to where I could start a big herd if I didnt spend alot on collage :???: :bang:
if you have already been to college for 2 yrs and still cant spell ''collage'' then you need to quit now.
 

HomePlaceAngus

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piedmontese":2ams1d2j said:
Littlesalesman":2ams1d2j said:
That's 7 years of extra school tho collage will add up enough to where I could start a big herd if I didnt spend alot on collage :???: :bang:
if you have already been to college for 2 yrs and still cant spell ''collage'' then you need to quit now.
I think he is still in high school. I think what he was saying is to become a vet he would have to go 7 years of collage, in answer to someone saying why not becoming a vet and make some real money.
 
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Littlesalesman

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I'm 15 trying to figure out what to do post high school. Thank you home place angus thats exactly what I was trying to say.
 

Isomade

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Littlesalesman":3fxrr8bn said:
Sorry I didn't spell it right I'm on my iPod and you can make typos very easily.
Don't give it a second thought, this ain't an Honors English forum. When folks say you can't make much money raising cattle what they generally mean is this - the money it takes to get started will take most of your lifetime just to re-coup your initial investment. Like Herf US said, if you have 330k invested in cattle, 70k in equipment, and 24k per year for lease land you are at $424,000 initial investment. If you make $20,000 per year you won't make a dime for over 21 years before you actually turn a profit. In reality, the money is much better invested in another interprise with larger returns. However, the larger you get the better your profit per calf can be. If its your passion and what you really want to do it go for it! Just don't expect to get out of high school and be supporting yourself by the time your 21 if you start from scratch. I suspect you are asking these questions because your father is giving you advice you don't like. The best advice I can give you is listen to
Dad. One day you will think he is the smartest man alive. At 34 I know mine is ;-), but I sure didn't think so when I was 15 or even 20 for that matter.
 

Sean M

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kenny thomas":2sbho81n said:
Littlesalesman":2sbho81n said:
Yes my dad has saw alot of little farms come and go. So your saying that all I would make a year is 20000

You might make 20,000 a year if things go ok. What happens if you have a drought like Texas and Oklahoma did this year? And just think 220 cows at $1,500 per cow is just $330,000. plus all the land, machinery, ect you will need. Be a vet like your dad and make some real money and raise cattle as a hobby.

That's the best advice I've read. Look at it as a part time job and get a qualification in something else. You'll have to borrow a lot of money to get started and I doubt the bank will give it to you if you're just doing cattle. If you can't get into a vet science degree do a vet nurse qualification. You're thinking too short term when it's a long term plan and you sound like you've got plenty of time.
 

Aaron

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TennesseeTuxedo":1s12gj5c said:
All I ever hear or read around this forum is that there is no money in the cattle business and yet there are lots of folks raising them and there is certainly no shortage of beef in the stores. Is everybody in it for the fun alone?

The short answer, yes. The long answer, some of us are actually in it to make a buck, but for the sacrifices that we have to make to do so, scares the sh!t out of 90+% of people so they won't go there. :cowboy:
 

cross_7

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you have gotten some real good advice and a lot negativity.
i'll try a give you some information so you can figure it out yourself.
your biggest investment will be your land, you might be able to lease some land but you will be at someone elses mercy by doing so.
the tough part is getting the land paid for, most times cows won't make the land payment
you don't say where your located so i'll just make up a scenario of how many acres a cow will require.
example

32 cows at 5 acres each equals 160 acres
160 acres x 2000.00 per acre equals 320000.00
a loan with 25% down equals 80000.00 down
240000.00 financed @ 7% for 20 yrs equals
22320.00 a year
still need money to buy cows
say 32 at 1200.00 a head 38400.00
so thats 38400.00
plus 80000.00
out of pocket

32 cows at 90% calving rate is 28 calves
(lots of variables)
lets say everything goes well and you are able to sell all calves(heifers&steers) @ 550# @ 1.30
that equals 715.00 per head x 28 head equals 20020.00
land payment is 22320.00 your short 2300.00

you still have hay cost, salt/mineral, vaccinations, worming, basic fence, water, equipment up keep, fuel cost, and the list goes on and on.

then there is taxes and insurance.


but what if the land was paid for ? :D

there lots better ways to make a living but i've been working entire life with the hopes of some day i can put enough land and cattle together to provide a living for me and my family.
 

Arkansas

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I say you need to get some life experiance behind you first. First off lets say you decide to do this and you get started A.S.A.P and you do it a few years and meet a woman. She ends up being your wife and not liking the cattle business at all. She says its either me or the highway. Lets say for some odd reason you do love this woman. So your going to want to make her happy. That means giving up on cattle all together... Right ? So you can choose to be happy with a woman your in love with or choose a lifestyle that you wanted and spend it alone. At best hope for another woman to come along that will love what your doing. But odds of that happenning is pretty much slim too none. So as I said b4, might wanna get some life experiance. Maybe figure out if you want a family first and then if so go from there. I myself have a great wife that stands behind me in what I am wanting to pursue. And the fact that she wants to see me the rest of her life and is willing to put up with cattle then see me injured or worse in the line of fire and dead. She supports me in whatever I want to do and good thing for me is she is into gardening so that means good compost from the manure for her tomatoes.. Were both happy..lol

But w/e you decide goodluck. Wish you but nothing but the best :)

:welcome: too the boards !
 

highgrit

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Yes you can make a living off cattle. My advice is to get started ASAP. You need the land first, the sooner it's paid for the quicker you will see a profit. I think you need to buy your cows outright, don't borrow money to buy cows with. The hardest part to get is the LAND. Stay focused and work hard you will make it.
 

ddg1263

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I really hate to discourage you from following your passion in life. However, you need to understand the obstacles you will face when tryng to pay key bills to make it through life. The cow Calf business is a very difficult business to make it in financially. Cross 7 did an execellant job showing you some of the cost in a cow Calf operation. Just know that it takes abut 3 to 4 bales of hay to winter a cow. Normally you would spend about 55 dollars a bale for the hay. I put 10 dollars in the price for transportation cost. And you will need some protien in their diet as well. So before you spend the 715 a head to pay for that land you need to subtract the 220 bucks for hay costs... And then you have your protien cost on top of that... It would be hard to set a price on this because it does depend if you calf in the spring or fall.... If your cows are lactating in through the winter they need the added protien to make milk for their babies.

I want to encourage you to follow in your dads footsteps and just buckle down and become a vet...once you have that degree no one can take it away from you, and you will always have a way to make a decent living for your family. Vets are known for hard work for little pay, but it sure beats the pay for a rancher. Then use the money you earn from being a vet and start a cattle business. You will never regret the 7 to 8 years you invested in getting this degree. You will meet so many great young people who are at your same age and develop friendships that will last a lifetime. Getting a two year degree in ranching will be a waste of money and time. Set your sites on a specialized field work hard at getting it...

The People who make the good money in the cattle business are the large packer plants. They have the money edge over the whole business cycle, and it can not be pierced in your lifetime. The feedlot guy make decent money too if you are in the right niche, but I have seen them get squeezed out when markets are horrible. However, as a vet you can make a go at these businesses after you graduate. It will actually fit in really well with your degree.

I also want to point out that these market conditions are just temporary. Historically, the cattle market is brutally hard on the cow calf guy. Where people getting 715 a head for a calf now they normally got 515 a head, and that was if all was really good. So be aware that these prices probably will not be available in a couple of years when Texas gets back on their feet...
 

backhoeboogie

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Littlesalesman":ii2jt416 said:
Herford.us I won't have a ton to invest but I would like to slowly grow my heard

That is a completely different scenario than, "Can I make a living off of cattle."

Get yourself some good dairy cows and put bottle babies on them. A dozen cows will net you over 100 market calves every year and it does not take as much acreage. Lots of work too. Even at today's feed prices, you can make money. Your dad's a vet and he can supply you with banamine and nuflour if needed. Personally I don't know of any other sure fire way to make a profit on small property with a small number of cows at your age. Nurse cows and bottle calves are a lot of work and a lot of risk if you don't know what you are doing. No one else has suggested it for a reason. But if you want to, "make a living off of cattle" it can be done. I personally would not buy dairy bottle calves so you are going to have to invest in splits at the sale barn and they are not cheap anymore.
 

Dave

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As has been said the short answer is yes. I am going to take the other side from the negativity. At your age or slightly older I bought into the negative idea that people were tossing at me that it couldn't be done. So I didn't really try. But several of my classmates didn't. They now have ranches and live a good life. Was it easy for them? NO. Did they work hard to do it? YES.
How did they do it?
1. Figure on having a job and running cattle on the side to start with. It doesn't have to be a great job but enough to put beans on the table so that you can put cow profits back into your business.
2. Don't worry about owning land. It is a nice goal but not needed and certainly not to start out. Leasing can be cheaper than owning. If there is no land available to lease in your area search out areas where it is.
3. Learn to make do and do without. Make it a habit to be very frugal.
4. Every area has an unfair advantage. Figure out what that is in your area and take advantage of it.
5. You are a little young for this one yet. But every single successful start from scratch rancher I know found a wife who had the same goal of owning a ranch as he did and they stayed married. It is simple, two people working together to a common goal have a lot better chance of reaching it.

I wish you the best of luck.
 

TxBrangus

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TennesseeTuxedo":31yr2nt9 said:
All I ever hear or read around this forum is that there is no money in the cattle business and yet there are lots of folks raising them and there is certainly no shortage of beef in the stores. Is everybody in it for the fun alone?

I'm in the business because my grandpa was and I would like to keep the land to pass on to other generations. The cows are just a way to keep the AG exemption, and give me something else outdoors to do. Definitely not in it expecting to make a single dime, as along as I break even or gain more times then I take a huge loss I'm happy.
 

TennesseeTuxedo

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That's sort of what will put me in the business eventually TxBrangus. My wife's folks are getting on up there in age and will be handing down a very nice cattle operation to their two children (my wife and her sister) so we've got to decide if we want to keep the farm going or sell it. My brother in law have more interest in keeping things as they are than do our wives but with that being said neither one of them can really bear to part with land that has been in the family since the late 1800s.

Surely to goodness a fella can make a dime or two running 100 head of paid for cattle on several hundred acres of pasture that's completely paid for along with all the hay equipment and tractors, trailers, and other equipment that would be needed.
 

shaz

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Littlesalesman-
There's a guy I grew up with that makes his living in cattle. He's several years younger than me. Last I checked he had 170 mamma cows, no hay equipment and owns no land. He lives in a trailer with his wife on his parents property and I would put his net worth at (170 cows + calves) x whatever the market price is. His quality of life is good I would imagine and I don't know what his debt is like.

FYI: Some of the folks on this board are griping about money but have a fairly high net worth. If you hang around you'll find out whose plan really works. You'll see many more that feed 12% bag feed, have very little land and can't cover costs if they want to buy a squeeze chute. These guys may do well in the freezer beef business though.

I personally have a good day job that allowed me to get started with land being my only debt. My land debt is 3400 a month for the next 2 years for a herd that only brings in 20+K a year.

You need a good job to get started :2cents:
 
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