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Anonymous

I need a little advice. I plan on getting out of the military and taking over the small family farm in Indiana before long. Trouble is, it's probably going to cost alot. Right now, Dad has about 60 head of black angus on about 95-100 acres of good pasture with plenty of water. It's not a real good operation though, he has a full time job and can only give it enough attention to keep it from falling apart. Is there a rule of thumb as to how many cattle a farm of this size will support? Also, is it better to use some of the pasture to grow hay to feed in the winter (and have less cattle) or buy from someone else and maximize the herd? I'm just trying to figure out how to get the most out of the farm since it has always been kind of a wag in the past. Fences, barns, and water aren't a problem. What other costs should I be looking at - vets? vaccinations?winter feed? I know these are kind of a general questions and depend on a lot of things, but appreciate any advice from anyone with experience.



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Anonymous

If you do not have the equipment to make hay then it would be cheaper to buy it. Look into rotational grazing and stock piling feed for the winter. Contact the local Cooperative extension beef specialist for your area and ask him for Ideas. If your dad has the land and cattle then you need to work on fences, watering system, and genetics of cattle and most importantly your marketing plan. Your dad may have figured out the carry capacity of his farm is around 60 head most years. Talk with your father about the farm and what he would like to see for improvements or possible changes. Visit other beef farms in the general area and see how they do things.

> I need a little advice. I plan on
> getting out of the military and
> taking over the small family farm
> in Indiana before long. Trouble
> is, it's probably going to cost
> alot. Right now, Dad has about 60
> head of black angus on about
> 95-100 acres of good pasture with
> plenty of water. It's not a real
> good operation though, he has a
> full time job and can only give it
> enough attention to keep it from
> falling apart. Is there a rule of
> thumb as to how many cattle a farm
> of this size will support? Also,
> is it better to use some of the
> pasture to grow hay to feed in the
> winter (and have less cattle) or
> buy from someone else and maximize
> the herd? I'm just trying to
> figure out how to get the most out
> of the farm since it has always
> been kind of a wag in the past.
> Fences, barns, and water aren't a
> problem. What other costs should I
> be looking at - vets?
> vaccinations?winter feed? I know
> these are kind of a general
> questions and depend on a lot of
> things, but appreciate any advice
> from anyone with experience.
 
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A

Anonymous

Thanks, pat. There is an old Deere tractor, but the hay making equip is too far gone to fix. What is the average price of hay I can expect to pay if I need to buy? I'm familiar with the basic operation, just trying to figure out the financial aspects to see if I can make it at least self-sustaining if not profitable. I'm interested in what you mean by a marketing plan and the genetics. Dad isn't real scientific, if he thinks he has a few extra cattle, he calls a friend who takes some and basically gives dad whatever this guy decides they are worth to him. I know there's probably a better way. That leads to my other question about what exactly feeder cattle are vs. live/slaughter cattle and how the market prices are determined. Example: if the market says the feeder cattle price is 80.75 - what exactly does that mean? Not for the whole cow, right?

> If you do not have the equipment
> to make hay then it would be
> cheaper to buy it. Look into
> rotational grazing and stock
> piling feed for the winter.
> Contact the local Cooperative
> extension beef specialist for your
> area and ask him for Ideas. If
> your dad has the land and cattle
> then you need to work on fences,
> watering system, and genetics of
> cattle and most importantly your
> marketing plan. Your dad may have
> figured out the carry capacity of
> his farm is around 60 head most
> years. Talk with your father about
> the farm and what he would like to
> see for improvements or possible
> changes. Visit other beef farms in
> the general area and see how they
> do things.



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Anonymous

Prices quoted on market reports are interpreted as either (a) center per pound, live weight; or (b) dollars per hundredweight, live. Ensure your fences and gates are in very good condition for the type of cattle you are running...just good insurance. Bermuda or coastal bermuda hay, depending on one's location, for small square bales can range from $2.50 (you pick up in field) to up to $5.00 or more per bale delivered and put in your barn. Alfalfa hay usually higher, but depends on region. In our Texas Panhandle region, we pay about same for horse quality alfalfa as we do for horse quality bermudagrass--about $4.50 per bale, delivered & stacked. For cattle only, "haygrazer" (usually species of soghrum grass/feed) can range from about $25. to $40. per round bale (about 1,000 to 1,200 lbs each). If you use this method, get a hay ring; otherwise, you'll lose up to 25 to 40% of hay from cattle scattering, tromping it, and soiling it. On haying--unless you have equipment in very good condition and quite a lot of acres to bale, much cheaper and less hassle, frustration to buy hay already baled.

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Anonymous

I can not quote you price of hay for your part of the country. It depends on the growing season and availability. Feeder cattle are cattle usually weigh between 400 to 900 lbs and need to be fed to sluaghter weights around 1300 lb+-. I would suggest you stick with the cow calf business until you get a better handle on the available markets in your area. A marketing plan is figuring out how you are going to sell your cattle ie. sale barn, to a cattle dealer or thru some other method. What weight or age do you plan to sell our cattle? You need some records to help decide if the farm can be self sustaining or not. It will hard to make a living on 60 cow calf pairs.

pat

> Thanks, pat. There is an old Deere
> tractor, but the hay making equip
> is too far gone to fix. What is
> the average price of hay I can
> expect to pay if I need to buy?
> I'm familiar with the basic
> operation, just trying to figure
> out the financial aspects to see
> if I can make it at least
> self-sustaining if not profitable.
> I'm interested in what you mean by
> a marketing plan and the genetics.
> Dad isn't real scientific, if he
> thinks he has a few extra cattle,
> he calls a friend who takes some
> and basically gives dad whatever
> this guy decides they are worth to
> him. I know there's probably a
> better way. That leads to my other
> question about what exactly feeder
> cattle are vs. live/slaughter
> cattle and how the market prices
> are determined. Example: if the
> market says the feeder cattle
> price is 80.75 - what exactly does
> that mean? Not for the whole cow,
> right?
 
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Anonymous

Good info. Sounds like I should stick to feeder cattle at first (which sounds like what dad has been doing) and the prices I were looking at were for a hundred pounds. Makes sense. Fences are very good, 4' woven wire with alternating wood and steel posts around half and double barbed wire around the other. There is a half acre pond and a spring fed stream that never dries up. I think those two things are the best things going for me right now. I'm not looking to make a living from it at first, just enough to make payments, taxes, pay for expenses (hay, etc.) and keep it going. Thanks for offering up the help. I'm sure I'll have more questions as I keep planning.



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