Cow-Calf profit for newbie!

Help Support CattleToday:

Thomas32

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2021
Messages
14
Reaction score
8
Hey everyone! Little back story, currently working as an engineer, make good money but wife wants to move back to her hometown to be with and take care of family. Her grandpa wants us to take over a roughly 90 cattle ranch on about 100 acres in SC due to very old age. He really doesn’t know how much he makes a year off the cattle. I’ve tried researching but have come up with a lot of different answers. We are prepared to put in as much work as it takes but are wondering if one or both of us will need another job as well. Roughly what do people make profit wise per head if everything is paid off? I appreciate any and all replies!
 

SBMF 2015

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2020
Messages
1,089
Reaction score
506
Location
West Central,IL
I try and clear $250/ cow. Some years you do, some years you don't. Someone still needs to work for benefits.

A lot depends on what Cost of Living you are willing to survive on. I live on very little compared to most people my age.
 
OP
T

Thomas32

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2021
Messages
14
Reaction score
8
To answer your question. Yes one of you will need a job. The gross before running expenses is go to be $60,000 at best. Even with everything paid for it still cost money to operate. If you put $30,000 in your pocket you will have done an outstanding job.
Thanks for the quick reply! Would it be possible for us to both work, maybe one of us work as part time or will 90 or so cattle take most of the day to operate?
 
OP
T

Thomas32

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2021
Messages
14
Reaction score
8
I try and clear $250/ cow. Some years you do, some years you don't. Someone still needs to work for benefits.

A lot depends on what Cost of Living you are willing to survive on. I live on very little compared to most people my age.
Thanks for the reply! I completely forgot about the benefits side of it. That’s a good point. We plan to have at least one of us working full time.
 

Warren Allison

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
296
Reaction score
161
Location
Georgia
Thanks for the quick reply! Would it be possible for us to both work, maybe one of us work as part time or will 90 or so cattle take most of the day to operate?
Depends on the condition of your fences and other infra-structure. And hay? Does grandpa grow and bale his own hay? The cattle themselves, if he has good cows and good bulls, won't require anyone full time. A couple of times a year to work them,. but you can plan that for a weekend. All your time, like I said, will be in putting up hay in the summer, and feeding it in the wither.
 
OP
T

Thomas32

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2021
Messages
14
Reaction score
8
Depends on the condition of your fences and other infra-structure. And hay? Does grandpa grow and bale his own hay? The cattle themselves, if he has good cows and good bulls, won't require anyone full time. A couple of times a year to work them,. but you can plan that for a weekend. All your time, like I said, will be in putting up hay in the summer, and feeding it in the wither
That’s good to hear. He has a small field he uses strictly for hay that’s about 5 acres and then purchases more if he doesn’t have enough. Mostly everything is in good standing order. He currently has a few auto filling troughs off city water. Would it be a good ROI to maybe get a few wells dug?
 

bulldog04

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2020
Messages
106
Reaction score
37
Location
West Central AR
That’s good to hear. He has a small field he uses strictly for hay that’s about 5 acres and then purchases more if he doesn’t have enough. Mostly everything is in good standing order. He currently has a few auto filling troughs off city water. Would it be a good ROI to maybe get a few wells dug?
You could both work and it will be fine. I have over a little 100 head and I do most of everything. The only problem is putting out hay after work before it gets dark. Have a good corral and get the cows up in the lot once a week. by feeding a couple sacks of cubes. You will come home from work one day and have a problem that has to be taken care of and you won't have time to spend all evening getting them up
 

bird dog

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
2,190
Reaction score
252
Location
Navarro County, Texas
If you are a engineer it would probably best for you to keep working making an engineer's salary and benefits and hire you a young man to help out around the farm. Like the other say you won't have a lot of time to look over the cows and put out hay in the winter when the days are short. A good FFA student that has some tractor and on the farm experience would fit the bill. You can always do it full time when you get old and wore out like the rest of us.
 
OP
T

Thomas32

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2021
Messages
14
Reaction score
8
Profit is slim to none. Dont leave the engineering job with out another engineering job to replace it IMO. You can do both no problem
If you are a engineer it would probably best for you to keep working making an engineer's salary and benefits and hire you a young man to help out around the farm. Like the other say you won't have a lot of time to look over the cows and put out hay in the winter when the days are short. A good FFA student that has some tractor and on the farm experience would fit the bill. You can always do it full time when you get old and wore out like the rest of us.
That may be a good idea. Listening to other it sounds like it won’t make full time money anyways so at least that way we could continue and keep the ranch within the family while not having to put too much labor into it ourselves for the time being. Thanks!
 

Brute 23

Brute 23
CT Supporter
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
9,309
Reaction score
756
Location
Gulf Coast of South Texas
That may be a good idea. Listening to other it sounds like it won’t make full time money anyways so at least that way we could continue and keep the ranch within the family while not having to put too much labor into it ourselves for the time being. Thanks!
Pretty much. With out debating costs for 5 pages I'll give you the cliff notes which should be enough. Even if I'm a little off the results are the same.

90 calves gross roughly $75k-45k (high to low). Profit will will vary roughly 40% to 0% (high to low)... not counting Uncle Sam's cut. Do any of those numbers sound like numbers you can live on? Oh ya, and those are not consistent year end and year out, either. You will never know what you made that year until it's too late. 😄
 

Lee VanRoss

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Messages
472
Reaction score
461
90 cows on 100 acres with 5 acres of hay and a wife that wants to go back to South Carolina to be with her family,
and your agricultural experience is? God bless your efforts of good will.
 

Hpacres440p

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 14, 2019
Messages
226
Reaction score
112
For some extra income, if your wife wants to be primary caregiver for grandpa, there are programs that allow her to earn pay as a caregiver. Check with your state department of health or social services. Might be a little “best of both worlds” and let her monitor cattle during the day
 

Caustic Burno

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 26, 2004
Messages
26,571
Reaction score
1,167
Location
Big Thicket East Texas
I try and clear $250/ cow. Some years you do, some years you don't. Someone still needs to work for benefits.

A lot depends on what Cost of Living you are willing to survive on. I live on very little compared to most people my age.
The last workshop I attended before the world lost its mind, the national average was 100 bucks.
 

sstterry

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
3,722
Reaction score
769
Location
Bulls Gap, TN
Everyone else is spot on with their responses. Let me add here that the hay situation will depend entirely on where you are in SC. The climate in Greenville-Spartanburg is a whole lot different than say Charleston. But, 5 acres is not much.

Also, just because you are getting all of the equipment free, does not answer the question to be asked. What condition is the equipment in? Does the equipment need substantial repairs or will it need replacing in the near future?

Good luck, and there are plenty of people here that can give great advice. Definitely keep your job.
 

simme

Old Dumb Guy
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
606
Reaction score
887
Location
South Carolina
Something not right about the numbers. 90 cows year round is probably too many for 100 acres. Depending on many factors, 30 to 50 might be a better number. With 90 cows on 100 acres, you will probably need WAY more than 5 acres of hay. Investigate the numbers more. Is it 90 cows? How many bulls does he have? How many hay bales does he feed per year? How many bales did he buy last year? How many calves does he sale each year? Where did he sell them last year? How much did he get for them? What kind of tractor and equipment does he have? Regardless of the answers, I think you will find that the best case would result in income less than the poverty level.
Are there engineering jobs in that area? There are some counties in SC with mostly timber and farming and little other employment opportunities. Don't quit your job and relocate without a business plan - which I think will require a lot more information than you have so far.
If the goal is to take care of family and keep some cattle, look at cutting way back on the cow numbers in order to have minimum input costs. If there is some year round grass, look at cow numbers that eliminate or minimize hay usage. Maybe that is only 10 or 20 cows. Find a good job first. You then have adequate income, able to take care of family, able to still look out in the pasture and see some cattle, able to keep grandpa's cattle operation going, just at a much reduced level. You won't be a cattle baron on 100 acres.
 

Latest posts

Top