Mountains Reign Ranch in Peyton, Colorado

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Can a new start beef cattle business be profitable?

  • Yes, if you are not an idiot.

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  • Yes, it isn't that hard.

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Dave

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I am only 20 miles from Colorado Springs, so there is a substantial and growing market here. Why let the buyer slice and dice, vice packaging?
I think what he is referring to is selling halves of beef where the customer tells the butcher how they want it cut and packaged. For you to have the meat cut and sell in individual packages requires USDA inspection. That is USDA inspected slaughter and cutting. Not always available every where and more expensive when you can find it.
I know a couple who have developed a packaged meat business. They are in north central Oregon. They have to haul their cattle about 180(?) miles to a USDA inspected slaughter. Once the meat cools they have to haul it about 100 miles to a place that has a USDA inspected cutting line. Sell beef by the half is a lot simpler but will require moving more animals to make the business click.
 

GoWyo

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Thank you. I have already found multiple uses for the skid steer and other necessary tools of the trade. Do leased land costs exceed any profit potential in the cattle? You recommend registered with good genetics over less expensive cattle? I agree with the marketing and customer service comment, that is the backbone of every successful business. Do you work social media or other platforms?
If you are running red angus cows, I would say you have a couple of ways to go. One would be to keep them red angus using registered sires (with your herd numbers being pretty low at this point a bull is hard to justify, are you planning to AI?). Another route is to AI them to an Akaushi bull, but you may want to feed out all the calves if you do -- I am not familiar with Akaushi crosses as mother cows. I would probably want to keep the cow base red angus though.

If your 80 acres is dryland pasture, 5 cows is probably all it will support and that is with cross fencing and pasture rotations and if you expand you will need to keep them drylotted a good part of the year or find lease pastures. Leases can work well. Having gentle cows, proper grazing management skills and good fencing skills and knowledge of how to use electric fences can lead to grazing smaller properties that the owners currently just mow for fire control. Bad thing about leases is when you lose one and don't have another one lined up it is time to drylot with expensive hay or sell down to capacity.
 

Chevy

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That's a lot of **** Shell. Ken

Maybe or maybe not. Depends on your goals and such.
May want to marry a sugar daddy/mama or at least a side of sugar. Or come from long line of generationary rich folk. Stupid rich folks... the kind their dogs have dogs that walk dogs. Their cowboy boots so clean they don't even step in the pool poo and their poo smells like roses. Bahahahahaha. Initial on their shirt sleeve type rich folks.
We just drive old Chevy trucks, butts Knuckles and butt around here.
 
OP
Diamond - W

Diamond - W

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If you are running red angus cows, I would say you have a couple of ways to go. One would be to keep them red angus using registered sires (with your herd numbers being pretty low at this point a bull is hard to justify, are you planning to AI?). Another route is to AI them to an Akaushi bull, but you may want to feed out all the calves if you do -- I am not familiar with Akaushi crosses as mother cows. I would probably want to keep the cow base red angus though.

If your 80 acres is dryland pasture, 5 cows is probably all it will support and that is with cross fencing and pasture rotations and if you expand you will need to keep them drylotted a good part of the year or find lease pastures. Leases can work well. Having gentle cows, proper grazing management skills and good fencing skills and knowledge of how to use electric fences can lead to grazing smaller properties that the owners currently just mow for fire control. Bad thing about leases is when you lose one and don't have another one lined up it is time to drylot with expensive hay or sell down to capacity.
Either AI or bull lease, agree I can't justify feeding a bull year round yet.
 

Chevy

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8 head and you quit your day job? Military retirement. Thank you for your service.

If you quit your day job to take care of 8 cows I need to change my answer in your poll.

More than one income....
•Cattle
•rental house
•retired
•no loans, minimum bills, used cash to purchase so you know you realize exactly how much your spending now just numbers moving around. A swipe isn't the same feeling as handing over cash money bills.
• odd jobs as needed
• limited spending on entertainment, eating out, purchasing new stuff thats unnecessary, reduce, reuse, recycle ect. Learn to do things yourself instead of paying people.
•education yourself don't believe every thing you hear, research, watch self help video, research products, research projects, research health, research everything, ect. Stay away from social media like Facebook thats non sense entertainment.
 

J+ Cattle

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Because of our small herd size, we are currently planning to keep all cattle through to finish and give a go at farm to table sales.
I'm not sure I follow exactly, 'farm to table' selling fresh or frozen cuts of beef or 'farm to table' selling prepared and cooked food a plate at a time in your own restaurant?
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Welcome to the board! I know you told us WHERE you are located, but a week from now a lot of us (me) won't remember. Please go up to the top of the page and click on your name and put your location so it will always show up under your avatar on the left. Thanks.
Ignore Shell - she doesn't know when to be serious. I think she's our board clown. I don't understand a thing she says - LOL - but others do!!! I'm too old!
I (for one) would not recommend using odd ball breeds. Your Red Angus should produce you quality carcasses. I could recommend my breed - Simmental. Each and everyone has different opinions on breeds. Stick to what you like.
 
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Diamond - W

Diamond - W

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More than one income....
•Cattle
•rental house
•retired
•no loans, minimum bills, used cash to purchase so you know you realize exactly how much your spending now just numbers moving around. A swipe isn't the same feeling as handing over cash money bills.
• odd jobs as needed
• limited spending on entertainment, eating out, purchasing new stuff thats unnecessary, reduce, reuse, recycle ect. Learn to do things yourself instead of paying people.
•education yourself don't believe every thing you hear, research, watch self help video, research products, research projects, research health, research everything, ect. Stay away from social media like Facebook thats non sense entertainment.
I have other irons in the fire with respect to income, just not relevant to this discussion. I really want to make the cattle business work, unsubsidized.
 
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Diamond - W

Diamond - W

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Welcome to the board! I know you told us WHERE you are located, but a week from now a lot of us (me) won't remember. Please go up to the top of the page and click on your name and put your location so it will always show up under your avatar on the left. Thanks.
Ignore Shell - she doesn't know when to be serious. I think she's our board clown. I don't understand a thing she says - LOL - but others do!!! I'm too old!
I (for one) would not recommend using odd ball breeds. Your Red Angus should produce you quality carcasses. I could recommend my breed - Simmental. Each and everyone has different opinions on breeds. Stick to what you like.
Thank you, I do like the reds and from what I have read, they are a pretty healthy breed that brings a good price at market.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Red cattle get discounted at the "sale barn" - that's a fact. Not as bad as odd colored.
But, if you are smart, you will market your males thru freezer trade or find a feedlot that you can sell direct to.
Right now, I think the RA are a better phenotype and structured animal than the BA. A lot of BA breeders have been chasing the numbers for marbling and not looking at their animals. Marbling gene is antagonistic to muscling.
 

Mountaintown Creek Ranch

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It's interesting that you bring up antagonistic traits. A lot of people don't understand how it works and you can beat the system so to speak but it's difficult. Dealing with the wagyu cattle it is easy to marble but adding size is a challenge. Here is a short summary. The following was not written by me.

There's plenty of breeding terminology out there that as part of your tool box you can sound like you know a thing or two but be careful when it comes to the Antagonist Traits, as it's a bit more complex to understand. However, with a little bit of knowledge, you will be head and shoulders above the rest and can add that to your tool box with confidence.
It also helps explain why marbling has been so hard to bring into herds because it has largely been an antagonistic trait to some of the other key commercially valuable traits that we have traditionally selected for.
slice-for-front-cover-suggestion-1024x380.jpg

An antagonist trait or a negatively correlated trait is one that is linked to another trait inversely. One goes up, the other goes down. Unfavourable genetic correlations are sometimes referred to as genetic antagonisms. Genetic antagonisms cause decreases in genetic merit for some traits when single-trait selection is practiced or when failing to consider selection responses in correlated traits that are not directly under selection.
An obvious genetic antagonism is birth weight and calving ease, as birth weight goes up, calving ease goes down. Another less obvious one is Direct Calving Ease and Calving Ease Daughters. Direct calving ease is heightened by using a bull with essentially lower growth, which can sacrifice the growth potential of his daughters, meaning when they are at calving age may not have enough skeletal frame to maintain the calving ease of the herd. That is why we recommend that as a rule progeny from a heifer bull are not kept as replacements. We all like the curve benders that break these rules, those bulls that have inherent calving ease but solid growth out the other side.
Another relevant antagonistic trait is front claw to growth. As we select for higher growth bulls, so do the claws grow faster and if the leg structure is not adequately correct, the rate of growth of the claw is more than the rate of wear and the result is extended claws and lameness. This is a game of risk and reward, where the stud breeder looks to push the envelope in a performance direction but may inadvertently have to deal with a higher degree of culling to sale day if the wrong bull is used.
IMG_4285-1024x683.jpg

Another common antagonistic trait is mature cow weight to growth. As we select for growth, there is a tendency for mature cow weight in the herd to increase, unless you look for bulls where the mature cow weight ebv is less than the 600 day growth ebv. However, selecting bulls with mature cow weight too low can lead to another antagonism of an increase in calving difficulty.
Now on to marbling. There is a reason not all herds (stud and commercial) have chased this trait. It's a very frustratingly antagonistic trait. If anyone knows Wagyu they will attest to this, yes…they marble but it takes an extra year to finish them. Amongst others, marbling is antagonistic to Eye Muscle Area and Yearling Growth (Koots et all, 1994), or if you like, growth and carcass in general. Over the years there have been curve bending bulls that have broken this antagonism but these bulls have only come to light through the efforts of those that have selected for both traits and measured for marbling. These bulls have grown, had carcass weight and marbled.
It's taken us time to start to get consistent marbling across our sales and it's still a work in progress. Commercial breeders have to make the same choice as we did, to either stay traditional or to chase high value carcass traits that now can add up to a dollar per kg premium (potentially over $10K for a unit of cattle – it's been done now!) or make your store stock very sort after (if they are identifiable – use the Angus Pure tags!).
To get IMF into your herd, you've got to do it in a way that doesn't compromise your other commercially valuable traits, such as growth. Look at your bulls and work out what their average IMF ebv is. To lift that you will have to use bulls with an IMF ebv of at least 2 above what you have been using, easier said than done considering only half the genetic lift comes from the male. The bulls we have put into the 2 year old sale have ideally been selected to have good IMF but also above breed average for growth. Also look at using Heifer Select, a genomics tool through Zoetis, to measure IMF potential in your replacements.

Source of some of this interesting stuff – SELECTING FOR CARCASS MARBLING AND MUSCLING BENEFITS AND PITFALLS, Jim Gosey Extension Beef Cattle Specialist Animal Science Department University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
 

1982vett

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You know…profit depends. Hopefully you already know the following.

If you consider:

Land - an investment of its own. Long term it should prove lucrative. Agriculture is how you keep taxes on it somewhat “affordable”.

Equipment and infrastructure - the means to make your work safer, easier, and hopefully more enjoyable. Again, mostly an asset investment that has a long term value. Being a small operation, be thoughtful how you go about setting up your operation. Know the tax code and use it to your benefit.

The cattle - fit them to your end product. You don’t need high dollar, registered stock if your not selling registered breeding stock or selling to the show circuit. Raise what your end buyer wants.

So now you’ve got your investment set up - can you make a profit? Won’t be much based on your 80 acres, but if you’ve been smart about it, I hope you can. Being able to hold onto your land and building it’s value may be your only “profit”. That also depends on the value you place on the lifestyle that comes with it.

I mean, money in the bank makes you a penny on a thousand dollars. What’s the gratification in that?
 

Lee VanRoss

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1982vett said, ''money in the bank makes you a penny on a thousand dollars.'' Then asks what is the gratification in that?
He is correct in that money in a bank is losing value every day. Now that banks can use customer resources for brink , mortar
and ambience they are becoming the Taj Mahals' of the community. Name a commodity or any enterprise that one could not
succeed at if your expense was a half of 1% on $10,000 and you were receiving 3-5 %. On top of this the borrower is required
to put up all assets , his life , wife and first born child. (excessive emphasis acknowledged) The point is the well seems to be getting
deeper but less water is making it to the field. Before you gather up your cudgels I am well aware there are other options that I
can and do use.
 
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Diamond - W

Diamond - W

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You know…profit depends. Hopefully you already know the following.

If you consider:

Land - an investment of its own. Long term it should prove lucrative. Agriculture is how you keep taxes on it somewhat “affordable”.

Equipment and infrastructure - the means to make your work safer, easier, and hopefully more enjoyable. Again, mostly an asset investment that has a long term value. Being a small operation, be thoughtful how you go about setting up your operation. Know the tax code and use it to your benefit.

The cattle - fit them to your end product. You don’t need high dollar, registered stock if your not selling registered breeding stock or selling to the show circuit. Raise what your end buyer wants.

So now you’ve got your investment set up - can you make a profit? Won’t be much based on your 80 acres, but if you’ve been smart about it, I hope you can. Being able to hold onto your land and building it’s value may be your only “profit”. That also depends on the value you place on the lifestyle that comes with it.

I mean, money in the bank makes you a penny on a thousand dollars. What’s the gratification in that?
Thank you very much for the detailed response. This is exactly what I was hoping to get.
 
OP
Diamond - W

Diamond - W

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You know…profit depends. Hopefully you already know the following.

If you consider:

Land - an investment of its own. Long term it should prove lucrative. Agriculture is how you keep taxes on it somewhat “affordable”.

Equipment and infrastructure - the means to make your work safer, easier, and hopefully more enjoyable. Again, mostly an asset investment that has a long term value. Being a small operation, be thoughtful how you go about setting up your operation. Know the tax code and use it to your benefit.

The cattle - fit them to your end product. You don’t need high dollar, registered stock if your not selling registered breeding stock or selling to the show circuit. Raise what your end buyer wants.

So now you’ve got your investment set up - can you make a profit? Won’t be much based on your 80 acres, but if you’ve been smart about it, I hope you can. Being able to hold onto your land and building it’s value may be your only “profit”. That also depends on the value you place on the lifestyle that comes with it.

I mean, money in the bank makes you a penny on a thousand dollars. What’s the gratification in that?
Thank you very much for the detailed response. This is the kind of experienced feedback I was hoping to get.
 
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