Cattle on land away from home, how far is too far?

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SuperDave

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So I am thinking of putting cattle on my family's land that is right now a 45 minute drive from my house.

Please post how far some of you commute to your cattle.

Any comments are appreciated, thanks.
 

Frankie

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SuperDave":2w4jkw11 said:
So I am thinking of putting cattle on my family's land that is right now a 45 minute drive from my house.

Please post how far some of you commute to your cattle.

Any comments are appreciated, thanks.

You don't say where you are. That could make a difference. We have had to drive 45 minutes to check on cattle. It wasn't all that far, just very bad, twisty, oil field roads. But our winters are pretty mild. If you're in a region that would turn that 45 minutes into two hours in a snow/ice storm, when they need some feed, it might be a different thing.
 

randiliana

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For the summer, some of our cows are about 1/2 hour away, and some are 2 hours away. We try to check on them once a week, sometimes it goes longer than that.

We also have people that keep an eye on things, so that if there is a problem between the times we are up there, someone will either take care of it, or let us know. If we are concerned about something we can call them and have them just take a quick check, and let us know what is going on.

I personally wouldn't want to winter cows that far away, not in our climate. Too far to economically travel to feed.

It depends on your circumstances, your neighbours and your experience.
 

Billy Bob

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I currently drive about 25 miles to check on mine just for the reason my newly wed wife and I couldn't find anything closer to the farm that we could afford. Its no too bad but can be a pain if you have problems. Luckly for me, my dad is like 5 mins away from the farm and I have a very watchful neighbor.
 

TheLazyM

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I have cattle 15 miles away. I wont put any cattle any further than that. It only takes 10-15 minutes to get from here to there, but thats close to 2 gallons of fuel a day. At $2.97 a gallon that will eat into profits right fast. My wife tells me I need to pickup this parcel of land we've been looking at its 23 miles away and on my way to work. My problem is week ends when I wont be going that way anyway. The land sure is nice and its cheap, but its going to cost if you make many runs to just the field to check on animals and work 'em.
 

dcara

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I have cattle at the house, some that are 2 miles away, and some that are 32 miles away on some proprty we own that I check at least once a week. So that is 76 miles round trip, 76 x 52 weeks a year is 3952 miles/year. My F250 gets 17 mpg so thats 232 gallons/year at $3/gal is $697/year which is the profit from 2 to 3 calves each year. Why do I do it since its obvioulsy not the greatest of business decisions? I just enjoy the 45 minute drive each week and we sometimes take the horses for the weekend so its kind of a recreational retreat thing also. In short, we just enjoy the property. However, I did loose a calf out there last year. I mean it just disappeared one weekend at about a month old. I have never found any trace of it, and I tend to worry more about the herd out there during calving season.
 

novatech

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There are some full time cattle people around here that have pastures 1 hour apart. Good lease pastures of any size are getting hard to find. The land prices around here are such that any large plots are being bought by corps. for investment or others with very deep pockets.
 

backhoeboogie

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The only problem is when there is a problem. Things like cars running off the road in the middle of the night and tear up the fence. Cows get out and you get a call.
 

sidney411

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We've had cattle as far as an hour (50 miles) away. checked them about every other week. Actually We have put cows on my dad's place, 3.5 hrs away. But they were watched over by my family there. Most of them are within 10 miles.
 

hopalong

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TNMasterBeefProducer":9yaib821 said:
My farm is 5 miles from the house. I can get there in less than 5 minutes if its an emergency. I would go as far as 10 minutes out but since cows need to be checked at least twice per day just because. I wouldnt put them 45 minutes away just for that simple fact.

Why do cows need to be checked twice a day?
If I were to have to check mine twice a day i would never get anything else done.
I have one leased pasture of 320 acres that is 2 1/2 hrs away that I run cattle on and only check once a week.
Unless they are calving I don't spend a lot of time baby sitting them.
Must be nice to have so much free time that it becomes necessary to check cattle twice a day.
 
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SuperDave

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I will actually have a similar situation to some of you here after reading this thread.

The land is occupied by my mom and her husband, both healthy adults that have some experience with dealing with cattle. They used to have 12 head out there and after they(the cows) got too old they sold them and never bought more. That’s why I am looking in to putting more out there.

I’m not taking advantage of them living out there but it will be nice to have them there to keep an eye on them for me.

One of my other concerns is this, the wintertime, we have good shelter out there and a couple ponds so watering wont be an issue until it starts to freeze but I am concerned on feeding them. Do they need to be fed every day of the week on cubes? We have plenty of access to hay so I was going to pay a neighbor to put a round out as needed. If they will need to be fed once a day I’ll also find a younger neighbor to feed them daily as opposed to having my parents do it or driving out there.

Plans are in process to move closer to the farm, due to my full time job I wont be moving too close as that is farther away.
 

Brandonm2

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I don't know how far away you live or how infirm your parents are or how far north you live; but IF you live in a real northerly climate (unlike my Alabama where this would NEVER be an issue) somebody may need to break the ice for the cows daily in the worst weeks of the winter. Since you seem to be too far away, IF that is the case there, do you think your parents should be out there with an axe busting up 3 foot thick ice??
 
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SuperDave

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Oklahoma winters, can be harsh, can be mild.

Of course I would never ask them to do that, I was raised out there so I have a little bit of knowledge of what to expect.

I will probably invest in a tank and a heater beforehand.
 

TheBullLady

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We had a farm 21 miles away from the home farm up until three years ago. It was a PAIN in the butt, which is why we sold it. We had cars go through the fence in the middle of the night more than once, so had to go fix fence and find any wanderers. It was not unusual to go out there twice a day, especially if something was close to calving. You can keep bred cows there until they get close, and then haul them home, but that takes more time. And time was the issue! We both work full time, plus have cows at the house, and seemed like all we did was drive up and down the road. Spent a night or two sleeping in the pickup waiting for a cow to calve too.. Y U C K. I'm too old for that! Plus the cost of fuel.. hauling feed there, hay and whatever else you need..all time consuming

We could never find anyone reliable enough to take care of the cattle for us. No one will watch them or care for them like you will.. and if there's a problem, who's going to be responsible? How much can your mom and her husband do without needing to call you? Fence work? Pull a calf? Be able to determine if one is sick or not?
 

fourstates

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I'm thinking about supplies...it's not like you can run home and pick up meds or more syringes....or worse calf chains! You will have to keep your truck loaded or have a secure place to store stuff.
 

Brandonm2

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SuperDave":vp2tdm90 said:
Oklahoma winters, can be harsh, can be mild.

Of course I would never ask them to do that, I was raised out there so I have a little bit of knowledge of what to expect.

I will probably invest in a tank and a heater beforehand.

The tank and heater would be good and this should not be too big a problem in Ok. On these boards, the person could be in Montana or Saskatchewan so I thought I would make the point!!
 

randiliana

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Brandonm2":3pljeqpj said:
The tank and heater would be good and this should not be too big a problem in Ok. On these boards, the person could be in Montana or Saskatchewan so I thought I would make the point!!


That is a good point. Our cows are only summered away from home. They go to pasture in May, and come home in the fall. This year it will be tomorrow, last year they came home in September.

I wouldn't consider wintering cows more than 1/2 hour from home, and preferrably within 5 miles of home. depending on how many, and how you are feeding. It would be way too expensive to travel back and forth every day, and with our winters you need to check at least every other day. For calving, I want my cows as close to home as possible. I have travelled 1/2 hour to check calving cows, it is not fun. You worry when you aren't there, and it costs a lot to travel back and forth otherwise.

Different climates mean different management techniques.
 

Brute 23

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The real question is probably how many head you are traveling to. 5 head is not worth it,, 50 might be.

We travel and hour to our furthest place.
 

msscamp

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SuperDave":ty82kvj8 said:
So I am thinking of putting cattle on my family's land that is right now a 45 minute drive from my house.

Please post how far some of you commute to your cattle.

Any comments are appreciated, thanks.

That does not sound unreasonable to me, provided you can check them every day/every other day.

Once again I screwed up. :oops: I should have stated the every day/every other day as being during the summer, but every day during the winter.
 

msscamp

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Brandonm2":j463cf5n said:
I don't know how far away you live or how infirm your parents are or how far north you live; but IF you live in a real northerly climate (unlike my Alabama where this would NEVER be an issue) somebody may need to break the ice for the cows daily in the worst weeks of the winter. Since you seem to be too far away, IF that is the case there, do you think your parents should be out there with an axe busting up 3 foot thick ice??

Actually, 45 minutes is generally not that big a deal even where I live. 4-wheel drive or a tractor will usually surmount anything Mother Nature can deal out. We've wintered cattle at that distance for a number of years, and had very few problems - barring a blizzard. The biggest problem we had was, because our winter pasture was north of a natural pinetree ridge, blizzards would drive the cattle up onto the ridge. When that happened, we simply waited for the blizzard to end, saddled up the horses, and got them down off the ridge before they started eating the pine needles - but that was probably just an environmental thing for our particular area.
 

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