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D.R. Cattle

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Over they years I've learned a some things the hard way, others the easy way when it comes to designing cowpens. I need to set up a new package at a newly acquired lease. All my pastures are leased for the time being and I decided to just bite the bullet and do portable panels, with the exception of the crowding area and chute. Any tips or suggestions? I've looked at some designs on the web from various Universities and organizations. I think I could get by with a two pen corral, and I've always liked to have my head catch and chute inside the corral, rather than outside. On my smaller leases I've got only one pen corrals and they just don't offer enough flexibility. What looks good to me is to have a 60' X 60' corral, seperated into 2 pens by the chute, with a parting gate at the end of the head catch to sort into the pens. I want to work them in groups of about 100 head, calves included. Tips or tricks appreciated!
 
A

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I know nothing other than what I’ve read here on these boards about raising cattle. No personal experience, but considering the accumulative knowledge here on the board………I’ve read the archives……..I do have some basic understanding of ranching. I have always dreamed of owning a ranch but every time I read a post about someone having a business plan to start a ranch there is a number of folks that tare apart the plan. This is always done it seems, with the numbers to back up their reasoning why it won’t work. What I always gleaned from these exercises was you needed to own your land to even have a chance of being be profitable. So my question to D.R. is how you do this with leased land.

George
 

eric

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I think it really depends on your location. Most of the drawbacks concern having to buy your land and all your equipment. Land close to the city is becoming very expensive, but the same land can be leased for much less, especially if you find an owner with a large tract of land and you can convince him that he can save quite a bit of $$ in taxes by letting his land becomed zone agricultural usage. I own 18 acres just N of Dallas, land in this area is very expensive....can I ever make enough off my 6 cows to pay for this land? No, but I would live here anyway because my business is in Dallas and my kids really like the schools here. That being said, I am also trying to keep as much of my money in my pocket as I can, so by raising a few cows my land stayed zoned ag instead of residential, thereby saving me close to $10k in taxes each year! I have quite a few neighbors on 5 acre tracts that would love to have someone put a horse or a couple of cows on their pasture land in exchange for the tax savings. So dont let anyone talk you out of raising cows if there is anyway you can afford to. I have gotten immense pleasure the last couple of months just watching / interacting with our cows, the wife and kids hand feed them and they are pretty much pets at this point.
To tie this all in with the subject, as I recall, D R is leasing some land from a landowner for a good price in exchange for the tax writeoff, he just has to spend a small fortune putting a fence around the place.
 

D.R. Cattle

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Cattle business is difficult, like any other agriculture. It's not my only source of income, and I do it mostly because I like it. I could never purchase land and expect the catttle to make the mortgage payments, at least in this area. There are other areas that it could be done, but profits for the cattleman would be slim. At least from a commercial perspective. I think Purebred operators do fairly well with smaller tracts. Do the math. Lease land for $2-$10 per acre/annually. Buy land for $100's or more per acre annually in mortgage payments, plus the taxes. Biggest problem is the uncertainty in leasing. That same uncertainty also causes me to be Joe Pennypacker when it comes to capital expenses such as cowpens and fencing, foodplots and heavy equipment improvements. Doing things the cheap way is despicable to me, but how far can you go if the lease could be terminated in the near future? It's difficult, but it's the only way I can be in the business. Better than not in my mind. I'm a sucker when it comes to cattle!
 

dun

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Doing things cheap is perfectly correct. Doing them poorly isn't. We have over the years learned the use of portable corral panels. If you have the heavy duty ones and the cows are easy to handle, all it takes is a T-post where they meet and the panels chained or even baling wired to them so the can't shift. When you move the stuff, pull the T-posts and load up the panels and leave. Water and perimeter fencing are harder to cut corners on, but it can be done with a little creativity.
A portable headgate and asome corral panels can be moved around pretty easily to be used wherever they're needed.
We have out permanent facilities, but when the cows are in the back pastures, if one needs to be doctored, a couple of panels and the portable headgate get used.
For water to the distant pastures that don't have water, we've made lanes with poliwire to the water facilities or run 1 1/2 black polypipe with a hose bib on the end.
All of our permanent pasture divisions are done with 12 1/2 ga high tensile electric, temps are down with polywire. It takes money, but at least it can be reloacted if need be. You get the tax depreciation but it isn't committed to one piece of property.
Yah you're right. I'm cheap too

dun


D.R. Cattle":gzpzkgic said:
Cattle business is difficult, like any other agriculture. It's not my only source of income, and I do it mostly because I like it. I could never purchase land and expect the catttle to make the mortgage payments, at least in this area. There are other areas that it could be done, but profits for the cattleman would be slim. At least from a commercial perspective. I think Purebred operators do fairly well with smaller tracts. Do the math. Lease land for $2-$10 per acre/annually. Buy land for $100's or more per acre annually in mortgage payments, plus the taxes. Biggest problem is the uncertainty in leasing. That same uncertainty also causes me to be Joe Pennypacker when it comes to capital expenses such as cowpens and fencing, foodplots and heavy equipment improvements. Doing things the cheap way is despicable to me, but how far can you go if the lease could be terminated in the near future? It's difficult, but it's the only way I can be in the business. Better than not in my mind. I'm a sucker when it comes to cattle!
 

txag

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if you're just getting started in the cattle business & aren't lucky enough to be a big businessman in some other enterprise w/money to burn or have inherited land, probably the best way to start is by leasing property. (buying would work if you have another job that pays enough to make your mortgage payments w/o having to rely on the cows to do it.)

we run cattle on both owned & leased land. most of the leased land is land that was inherited by heirs who no longer live in the area but didn't want to sell the property. some are willing to spend more on improvements than others.....seems like those w/single heirs are more likely to spend than those w/multiple heirs (kind of understandable). those that are willing to spend less themselves are the places where we normally don't put as much into it as well because of the uncertainty. maintaining a good relationship is critical for long-term leasing opportunities.
 

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