• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

Grass finished beef

A

Anonymous

Guest
Help me out, please. Let's say that right now I run 30 cows, sell the calves at weaning (or background them for 45 days and send them directly to the feedlot). If I decided to go to a grass finishing operation, it seems to me I'd have to cut my cow herd back to 17-18 cows to have the grass for cows, calves, and yearlings. And it probably needs to be a higher quality grass for those growing calves. Am I missing something? Thanks for your help.
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
(User Above)":35uutbuu said:
: Help me out, please. Let's say that right now I run 30 cows, sell the calves at weaning (or background them for 45 days and send them directly to the feedlot). If I decided to go to a grass finishing operation, it seems to me I'd have to cut my cow herd back to 17-18 cows to have the grass for cows, calves, and yearlings. And it probably needs to be a higher quality grass for those growing calves. Am I missing something? Thanks for your help.<p><br>Frankie,you are correct,to run more cattle you need more grass.That,has not changed.<p>Best Regards<br>Benjamin C Roberts<p><p>
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
<br>Yes, you will need to cut back on numbers. You will also need more stored forage, and good quality stored forage for those calves in the winter, and the quality of forage the second summer needs to be really good also, if you are going to 'finish' on it.You also may be running more than one herd, especially if you are 'finishing' heifers. Which means more management, especially for rotational grazing. Finally, you need to have the genetics for grass finishing. Not all animals will do well managed this way, so you will either be breeding animals yourself toward the goal, or buying from other grazing operations. One last thing, to get the highest dollar, you will really need to direct market that beef, especially on that small a scale, and that is another whole set of skills.<p>We are doing it with Murray Greys, organic as well as grass finished, and are very impressed with the results, but as with all niche markets, it takes time and management.<p>Take a look at our girls on cereal rye last winter, after a bad summer drought<p>Alison
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I'd say that if you were to finish the calves you'd have to drop your numbers to 15 or less. <p>Most calves that are truly grass fed don't kill the first year, rather they continue grazing for a full second year.<p>The amount of grass it takes, the inconsistant carcasses and the need to get more profit out of less land drove the feedlot industry.<p>If grassland were to fall back to $50 an acre this might be an option. However, fencing materials and fuel and living costs would need to go down as well.<p>I would need roughly 4 times as much for grassfed animals than for my current management that allows for some grain. That would be an $8000 per head average on my bulls. Not going to happen.<p>Jason Trowbridge<br>Southern Angus Farms<br>Alberta Canada
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
(User Above)":2kxrpmx7 said:
:Thanks for the input, Alison. I've just been running this over and just can't see how I, at least, could expect to be profitable with the extra expenses and lower numbers. I don't see a demand for grass fed beef here; we're a couple of hours from a large town, so I wouldn't expect to get "city folks." Where are you finding your customers? Are you selling whole sides of beef or cuts? Thanks....<p>: Yes, you will need to cut back on numbers. You will also need more stored forage, and good quality stored forage for those calves in the winter, and the quality of forage the second summer needs to be really good also, if you are going to 'finish' on it.You also may be running more than one herd, especially if you are 'finishing' heifers. Which means more management, especially for rotational grazing. Finally, you need to have the genetics for grass finishing. Not all animals will do well managed this way, so you will either be breeding animals yourself toward the goal, or buying from other grazing operations. One last thing, to get the highest dollar, you will really need to direct market that beef, especially on that small a scale, and that is another whole set of skills.<p>: We are doing it with Murray Greys, organic as well as grass finished, and are very impressed with the results, but as with all niche markets, it takes time and management.<p>: Take a look at our girls on cereal rye last winter, after a bad summer drought<p>: Alison<p>
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
(User Above)":2yn45nju said:
: :Thanks for the input, Alison. I've just been running this over and just can't see how I, at least, could expect to be profitable with the extra expenses and lower numbers. I don't see a demand for grass fed beef here; we're a couple of hours from a large town, so I wouldn't expect to get "city folks." Where are you finding your customers? Are you selling whole sides of beef or cuts? Thanks....<p>Our expenses are pretty minimal. Grazing costs virtually nothing (and we graze from April through December), hay costs only our labor and fuel for our two almost antique tractors, water costs about $50.00 a month, salt and kelp. No vet bills, no implants, no synthetic wormers, no antibiotics, etc. We are 25 miles from a town of 50,000 and it is the largest town by far for over 100 miles. Our customers are our vegetable customers, wanting the same quality in meat that they get in the vegetables they buy from us. We charge $1000/steer, pay processing (about $225), sell by the half or mixed quarter. So for a 1000 (give or take) animal, we get $775 gross profit, and the net is pretty good also. Doable on a large scale ? Probably not. We expect to top out our herd at 15-17 brood cows. But the work load is light (except for May when we are haying), the customers are extremely appreciative, and the beef income is a nice part of our diversified operation. <p>Alison
<br>
<ul><li><a href="http://www.aunaturelfarm.homestead.com/MG_Photos.html">AuNaturel's Murray Greys</a></ul>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Alison, it sounds like you have a good deal that works well for your situation. Especially your customer base. <p>How do you come up with the $1000, is that so much a pound? About what weight and age do your steers finish? Also, do you vaccinate for anything, such as blackleg or respiratory diseases?<p>Don't mean to be nosey, just curious. We also feed out some steers for individuals and I'm always interested in how folks do things in other parts of the country.
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
A couple expenses you forgot though is return on your land and land tax as well as fencing costs. <p>If your land is worth $500 an acre and it takes 10 acres to finish one steer ( you have to feed his momma too, it could take alot more) that's a $5000 investment. Figure an 8% return and your expense on the steer is $400.<p>Here land is worth $800-$1000 an acre and would take 40 acres to raise one steer to finish. That's $32000 at 8% = $2460, more than twice the gross of the steer, and that's just on the land.<p>Another way to figure your grass cost is to count what you could get for it to rent it out. If it's $10 a head per month you have to add that in.<p>It may give you a shock to figure in these costs, but you have to protect your equity. You won't forever be able to raise enough steers to live on, (sickness / retirement), and then selling the land may cause a terrible tax burden leaving you destitute at some point.<p>Jason Trowbridge<br>Southern Angus Farms<br>Alberta Canada
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
(User Above)":3ntdrgr6 said:
: Alison, it sounds like you have a good deal that works well for your situation. Especially your customer base. <p>: How do you come up with the $1000, is that so much a pound? About what weight and age do your steers finish? Also, do you vaccinate for anything, such as blackleg or respiratory diseases?<p>: Don't mean to be nosey, just curious. We also feed out some steers for individuals and I'm always interested in how folks do things in other parts of the country.<p><br>We don't vaccinate - we also maintain a closed herd to make disease less likely. The only animal coming into our herd is a bull every two years (while we're still building), and he will have a health certificate.<p>The $1000 is a per animal price. We figure a 18month old animal, about 1000 lbs. We may have individuals larger or smaller, but not by much. When we actually start selling heifers as well, we may adjust. Most of our customers don't even think about the price, they are thinking about the quality of the meat. It's not a large market, but it is a loyal and profitable one.<p>Alison<br>
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
(User Above)":1sxol3wk said:
: A couple expenses you forgot though is return on your land and land tax as well as fencing costs. <p>: If your land is worth $500 an acre and it takes 10 acres to finish one steer ( you have to feed his momma too, it could take alot more) that's a $5000 investment. Figure an 8% return and your expense on the steer is $400.<p>: Here land is worth $800-$1000 an acre and would take 40 acres to raise one steer to finish. That's $32000 at 8% = $2460, more than twice the gross of the steer, and that's just on the land.<p>: Another way to figure your grass cost is to count what you could get for it to rent it out. If it's $10 a head per month you have to add that in.<p>: It may give you a shock to figure in these costs, but you have to protect your equity. You won't forever be able to raise enough steers to live on, (sickness / retirement), and then selling the land may cause a terrible tax burden leaving you destitute at some point.<p>: Jason Trowbridge<br>: Southern Angus Farms<br>: Alberta Canada<p>Land costs aren't too great here. We can figure 3-3.5 acres per cow/calf - and that includes the ground for hay, and both the new calf and the yearling. Land is cheap 'cause it isn't good farming land - about 500-700/acre - unless it's sold for development. Our land was purchased at a time when land in this county was really cheap, our mortgage is less than a very small house on a lot in town, and we have to live somewhere. Also, the cattle are only a small part of our operation, and are on land that isn't usable any other way. With your figures, that is about $1500 per steer/cow/newcalf, at a 8% return, $120.00 in land costs - still not too bad for a profit center that takes about 10 minutes a day during grazing season, and maybe 30 minutes Dec-Feb. In our production system, it works. No one production system will work in all cases - each farmer has to find what works in his/her particular case. I'd hate to be making a living on just cattle, or just vegetables or just cut flowers or just potted perennials, but everything together, it works.<p>thanks for your perspective.<p>Alison<br>
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Alison, <p>I'm glad to hear your Murray Greys are doing well for you. <p>I have to agree with all you've written - the quality of the meat, once sampled, is enough to bring any customer back.
<br>
<ul><li><a href="http://www.murraygrey.com">Rafter L Murray Greys</a></ul>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Alison, is it an "organic" requairement not to vaccinate? Even if you don't bring any new cattle into your herd, here are serious diseases (Blackleg, Vibro) that are water and soil-based diseases that can still make your cattle sick. If they share a fence line with the neighbors cattle, they're exposed to other stuff. I think you would be heart broken to lose some (or all) of your cattle to some sort of preventable disease.<p>: : Alison, it sounds like you have a good deal that works well for your situation. Especially your customer base. <p>: : How do you come up with the $1000, is that so much a pound? About what weight and age do your steers finish? Also, do you vaccinate for anything, such as blackleg or respiratory diseases?<p>: : Don't mean to be nosey, just curious. We also feed out some steers for individuals and I'm always interested in how folks do things in other parts of the country.<p>: <br>: We don't vaccinate - we also maintain a closed herd to make disease less likely. The only animal coming into our herd is a bull every two years (while we're still building), and he will have a health certificate.<p>: The $1000 is a per animal price. We figure a 18month old animal, about 1000 lbs. We may have individuals larger or smaller, but not by much. When we actually start selling heifers as well, we may adjust. Most of our customers don't even think about the price, they are thinking about the quality of the meat. It's not a large market, but it is a loyal and profitable one.<p>: Alison<p>
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
(User Above)":31aex8jb said:
: Alison, is it an "organic" requairement not to vaccinate? Even if you don't bring any new cattle into your herd, here are serious diseases (Blackleg, Vibro) that are water and soil-based diseases that can still make your cattle sick. If they share a fence line with the neighbors cattle, they're exposed to other stuff. I think you would be heart broken to lose some (or all) of your cattle to some sort of preventable disease.<p><br>Nope, not an organic requirement, although you will find a lot of folks that don't prefering to encourage a healthy immune system rather than use a lot of vaccinations. We are aware that we are taking a chance, but in the 11 years we have lived here, we have had no disease deaths and no abortions - doesn't mean it can't happen, but it hasn't. As far as 'across the fenceline', one side is a road and the other is developed, so there is minimal contact with other cattle. I'm afraid we'll soon be a farm within a suburb - something I'd never have guessed would happen 11 years ago when I bought the farm. Wwe're not too happy about it, dogs, kids, etc running wild, but at the price of land for development, we cna understand the farmers who sell that way.<p>Alison
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Frankie,<br>It takes about 20 acres of well fertilized, high quality pasture to grow 30 calves to 1000+ lbs. at long yearling (14-15 months). The key being well fertilized and high quality forage. In fact forage finished beef would be a more accurate name. Most of the rest of the world finish their beef on pasture. They use their best ground with the forage containing a large percentage of legumes( cool-season annual grasses with clovers and warm-season annuals with alfalfa ).<br>Joel Salatin has been selling grass finished beef for over 15 years and says he nets about $600.00 per head on an animal just under 1000#. At grocery store prices, the meat from this animal would gross about $1300.00. To get this kind of money, you need to have the customer base like Joel and Alison have built. That is where the real work is.
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 

Latest posts

Top