converting to a beef finishing farm??

Help Support CattleToday:

NY-Farmer

New member
Joined
Jan 21, 2018
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
I've been more or less a hobby farmer for 20 years - thinking of selling off the brood cows and just finishing off calves but would really like to connect with someone who has done this transition. Currently the farm supports 30 - 40 brood cows, calves and a steer or two. Would really like to have a discussion with someone who can shed light and add value to concerns around:
- how many calves to plan on for a two year cycle
- setting up the barn for different age groups
- pitfalls, success, and other concerns

Having a conversation would be very helpful and appreciated. thanks.
 

boondocks

Well-known member
Joined
May 9, 2013
Messages
2,594
Reaction score
3
Location
Upstate NY
:welcome: My operation is a bit different than what you're doing so I'll let others weigh in here. Whereabouts are you generally located? We have several NYers on here.
Stick around, good place to learn.
 

HDRider

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 25, 2011
Messages
6,682
Reaction score
941
Location
NE Arkansas
Welcome.

I hope some folks chime in. It would be an interesting read.

Good luck.

Just to add something of value, maybe, Do you have a good market? I have been running an ad on Craig's List for about 3 weeks, and no nibbles. I am getting a little concerned. I am trying sell wholes and I know that might be a turnoff, but really no one has even got to the point of asking about that. I have compared my prices locally to other sellers. I am not the cheapest, and I am not the highest. I even compared to Kroger's grocery store and all in, processing and all, I am almost 22% below that retail price.
 

dieselbeef

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
5,821
Reaction score
0
Location
myakka city fl
people don't have place for 300 lbs of meat...and most of em only want steaks cuz they don't have money for a whole cow..or even a half...
 

ChrisB

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2004
Messages
1,310
Reaction score
4
Location
MN
Do you raise crops? What type of facilities do you have for finishing? Are you thinking steins or colored cattle? Do you currently finish the calves from your brood cows?

Every farm might have a different advantage they can utilize so it's really hard to give good advice
 

boondocks

Well-known member
Joined
May 9, 2013
Messages
2,594
Reaction score
3
Location
Upstate NY
HDRider":l7qizj8j said:
Welcome.

I hope some folks chime in. It would be an interesting read.

Good luck.

Just to add something of value, maybe, Do you have a good market? I have been running an ad on Craig's List for about 3 weeks, and no nibbles. I am getting a little concerned. I am trying sell wholes and I know that might be a turnoff, but really no one has even got to the point of asking about that. I have compared my prices locally to other sellers. I am not the cheapest, and I am not the highest. I even compared to Kroger's grocery store and all in, processing and all, I am almost 22% below that retail price.

We've struggled with beef sales this year as well. Grocery store prices are very low; really don't know how they can do it. Too, lots of people say they want a quarter or half, but it's really an "aspirational" thing: they WANT to be folks who can buy a quarter of all-natural grassfed beef directly from the farm, but they neither have a big freezer nor enough cash saved up to buy a quarter. Our motto is: "Eat Less Beef. Eat BETTER Beef." Dunno we're getting much traction lol. (Don't steal my trademark). We don't want to go to retail (single piece) sales but may have to. I have a half a cow in the freezer that I'll probably give most of away over the next 6 months.
 

ddd75

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2015
Messages
2,433
Reaction score
1
Location
KY
i think the main thing is people don't want to fork over 1000+ bucks to buy some beef that potentially might taste like crap. the market is flooded with everyone promoting "GRASS FED BEEF - 5lbs of corn everyday" and they havea picture of some scrappy looking half jersey cow that looks like it might go for .20 cents / lb at the market. but YOU can have this amazing meat for only 3.00 / lb !!!!!!

a butcher here was running full page ads saying they had FARM FRESH BEEF (feedlot) for only 2.05 / lb hanging. I'm not sure how they are doing that but thats really cheap. I don't see the ads anymore so I don't even think they sold any even with that insanely low price.

I think selling individual cuts and possibly partnering with a few other people to provide more products for purchase in a single location is the key to getting and retaining customers.
 

jerry27150

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 23, 2005
Messages
2,299
Reaction score
30
Location
northern missouri
don't think he was asking about freezer beef, I used to finish all my calves to 11 to 12 hundred & sell at sale barn. always made out fine in pa. I had my own cow herd, but if you can buy calves reasonably & get corn cheap too you should do fine. lots of corn grown in ny. I would buy it by truckload if you have a place to store
 
OP
N

NY-Farmer

New member
Joined
Jan 21, 2018
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
I'm located in the southern tier / finger lakes area of NY. I currently have about 30-35 brood cows but in doing different scenarios, I'm not at all sure that selling feeder calves is the most profitable way to use what resources I have. As a hobby, loved having the calves and moms but I am looking to transition into a profitable farm, hoping that is not an oxymoron. With 140 acres and a barn, the land will support only so many animals. Just wondering if anyone changed over to just finishing and how that move impacted the bottom line. And yes I've thought about finishing the calves I raise but it becomes a space, food, and numbers game. Agree, selling beef off Craiglist didn't work for me either.
 

ChrisB

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2004
Messages
1,310
Reaction score
4
Location
MN
How many tillable acres? If you have the equipment for raising and storing corn, buying 250-300 pound Holstein steers and finishing them would be something to consider. Whole shelled corn and pellets for feed and corn stalks for bedding/roughage. Figure around 125(?) bu. corn per head.
 
OP
N

NY-Farmer

New member
Joined
Jan 21, 2018
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
That would put you somewhere in the Cortland area if I'm not mistaken. I am a little further down near the South end of Seneca Lake. And to Chris's question - somewhere around 80 acres which isn't including pasture. I currently am only able to do hay but corn could become a possibility with additional equipment. I've been running numbers and the more scenarios that I plot out the less overwhelming decisions become. In posting, I was just hoping to capture ideas and pitfalls that perhaps I haven't considered.
 

HDRider

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 25, 2011
Messages
6,682
Reaction score
941
Location
NE Arkansas
jerry27150":umlkiudi said:
don't think he was asking about freezer beef, I used to finish all my calves to 11 to 12 hundred & sell at sale barn. always made out fine in pa. I had my own cow herd, but if you can buy calves reasonably & get corn cheap too you should do fine. lots of corn grown in ny. I would buy it by truckload if you have a place to store
What percent of their feed was corn?
 

Latest posts

Top