Small Scale Ranching

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C HOLLAND

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Beefy":24koaw9s said:
yeah it doesnt bother me either. people ask me that all the time. its like the first thing people ask when i mention i raise cows.

i would classify me/us as large scale with skinny cows, weeds, and poor fencing.

Weeds??????? dont you need rain to grow them :)
 

C HOLLAND

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MikeC":34jij1ow said:
Was at a seminar a few years ago and listened to several speakers......... from Feedlot operators to Packing house reps, Producers, and all in between.

Their whole message was that small time ranching is ruining the cattle industry as we know it.

In no particular order (from memory)

1-They usually have no working facilities therefore have no health program and raise calves that have high mortality/death rates after they leave the farm. (Everyone, large and small ranches alike pay for the risks that buyers take)

2-Most rob the calves off the cows when they need a few dollars, take them to the sale barn, and are satisfied with the price paid whether it pays the bills or not. (NO marketing)

3-Buy high priced feed in the bag, thus pushing the price up for everyone. Same goes for seed and fertilizer.

4-Usually have crossbred mongrels with inconsistant carcass qualities because of the cheap bulls purchased and/or retained, plus the replacements raised that shouldn't be on the farm to start with.

These guys were merely trying to push the small producer into doing a better job.

1, I had all my handling facilities in place before I purchased my first cow, I had all the meds and supplies and had a med plan suggested by a local vet.

2. I don't need the money that bad, and I sell my calves weaned and they have two rounds of all their shots (much more than most all the big guys here do) The buyers at the local sale barns are in the business to buy as low as they can and by what ever reasoning they can come up with this week is what they use to steal your calves.
I will be sending 10 calves next spring through the farm, to rail program run by the BCIA here in Alabama. I want to know what I am producing and plan to do what I need to improve as I grow.

3. I purchse no bag feed, except when I fed a steer off for slaughter. My cows eat grass and hay but I have some of my new heifers in a corral for a few weeks before I AI them and I do put them on soy hull pellets with MGA feed supplement for the MGA-PG & TAI protocol I use to AI them.

4. I purchase 90% of all my cattle form local seed stock producers (some on this board) and I support the local BCIA and have purchased more than 80% of my cattle through their sales. I aslo only own 1 bull now and I hope that I don't own any in the near future. I only have 24 head now and may cull some more if this drought keeps going.

5. This is still a free country and free enterprise still is the American way and even the little man can make it big, even in a small way.

QUALITY is not just in large numbers.

JMO a small time cattle owner.
 

Frankie

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C HOLLAND":1dve7rtv said:
MikeC":1dve7rtv said:
Was at a seminar a few years ago and listened to several speakers......... from Feedlot operators to Packing house reps, Producers, and all in between.

Their whole message was that small time ranching is ruining the cattle industry as we know it.

In no particular order (from memory)

1-They usually have no working facilities therefore have no health program and raise calves that have high mortality/death rates after they leave the farm. (Everyone, large and small ranches alike pay for the risks that buyers take)

2-Most rob the calves off the cows when they need a few dollars, take them to the sale barn, and are satisfied with the price paid whether it pays the bills or not. (NO marketing)

3-Buy high priced feed in the bag, thus pushing the price up for everyone. Same goes for seed and fertilizer.

4-Usually have crossbred mongrels with inconsistant carcass qualities because of the cheap bulls purchased and/or retained, plus the replacements raised that shouldn't be on the farm to start with.

These guys were merely trying to push the small producer into doing a better job.

1, I had all my handling facilities in place before I purchased my first cow, I had all the meds and supplies and had a med plan suggested by a local vet.

2. I don't need the money that bad, and I sell my calves weaned and they have two rounds of all their shots (much more than most all the big guys here do) The buyers at the local sale barns are in the business to buy as low as they can and by what ever reasoning they can come up with this week is what they use to steal your calves.
I will be sending 10 calves next spring through the farm, to rail program run by the BCIA here in Alabama. I want to know what I am producing and plan to do what I need to improve as I grow.

3. I purchse no bag feed, except when I fed a steer off for slaughter. My cows eat grass and hay but I have some of my new heifers in a corral for a few weeks before I AI them and I do put them on soy hull pellets with MGA feed supplement for the MGA-PG & TAI protocol I use to AI them.

4. I purchase 90% of all my cattle form local seed stock producers (some on this board) and I support the local BCIA and have purchased more than 80% of my cattle through their sales. I aslo only own 1 bull now and I hope that I don't own any in the near future. I only have 24 head now and may cull some more if this drought keeps going.

5. This is still a free country and free enterprise still is the American way and even the little man can make it big, even in a small way.

QUALITY is not just in large numbers.

JMO a small time cattle owner.

I agree with you completely. I know several small timers who pay more attention to genetics, perfromance, and the bottom line than some bigger, long time ranchers. The Noble Foundation is a great resource for small timers. They have several "retired" types who gave up (or retired from) successful careers in other businesses and now want to be "farmers." They're willing to learn, they have the money to start out right. On the other hand, I know one older guy who never buys a bull. He raises them and you Hereford guys would cringe if you could see his cowherd after 50 years of inbreeding. I could get on a pretty good rant about old timers, but I won't. I'll just say that there are good and bad in both. But to paint all newbys/small timers with the same brush is wrong, IMO.
 

MikeC

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Frankie":10qa1rvt said:
C HOLLAND":10qa1rvt said:
MikeC":10qa1rvt said:
Was at a seminar a few years ago and listened to several speakers......... from Feedlot operators to Packing house reps, Producers, and all in between.

Their whole message was that small time ranching is ruining the cattle industry as we know it.

In no particular order (from memory)

1-They usually have no working facilities therefore have no health program and raise calves that have high mortality/death rates after they leave the farm. (Everyone, large and small ranches alike pay for the risks that buyers take)

2-Most rob the calves off the cows when they need a few dollars, take them to the sale barn, and are satisfied with the price paid whether it pays the bills or not. (NO marketing)

3-Buy high priced feed in the bag, thus pushing the price up for everyone. Same goes for seed and fertilizer.

4-Usually have crossbred mongrels with inconsistant carcass qualities because of the cheap bulls purchased and/or retained, plus the replacements raised that shouldn't be on the farm to start with.

These guys were merely trying to push the small producer into doing a better job.

1, I had all my handling facilities in place before I purchased my first cow, I had all the meds and supplies and had a med plan suggested by a local vet.

2. I don't need the money that bad, and I sell my calves weaned and they have two rounds of all their shots (much more than most all the big guys here do) The buyers at the local sale barns are in the business to buy as low as they can and by what ever reasoning they can come up with this week is what they use to steal your calves.
I will be sending 10 calves next spring through the farm, to rail program run by the BCIA here in Alabama. I want to know what I am producing and plan to do what I need to improve as I grow.

3. I purchse no bag feed, except when I fed a steer off for slaughter. My cows eat grass and hay but I have some of my new heifers in a corral for a few weeks before I AI them and I do put them on soy hull pellets with MGA feed supplement for the MGA-PG & TAI protocol I use to AI them.

4. I purchase 90% of all my cattle form local seed stock producers (some on this board) and I support the local BCIA and have purchased more than 80% of my cattle through their sales. I aslo only own 1 bull now and I hope that I don't own any in the near future. I only have 24 head now and may cull some more if this drought keeps going.

5. This is still a free country and free enterprise still is the American way and even the little man can make it big, even in a small way.

QUALITY is not just in large numbers.

JMO a small time cattle owner.

I agree with you completely. I know several small timers who pay more attention to genetics, perfromance, and the bottom line than some bigger, long time ranchers. The Noble Foundation is a great resource for small timers. They have several "retired" types who gave up (or retired from) successful careers in other businesses and now want to be "farmers." They're willing to learn, they have the money to start out right. On the other hand, I know one older guy who never buys a bull. He raises them and you Hereford guys would cringe if you could see his cowherd after 50 years of inbreeding. I could get on a pretty good rant about old timers, but I won't. I'll just say that there are good and bad in both. But to paint all newbys/small timers with the same brush is wrong, IMO.

You folks take things way too personal. No one has, or will ever say that all small cattlemen are poor managers of their cattle.
On the other hand, no one will ever say that the large guys are perfect either.

But none of us can deny that there is an overwhelming majority of those that have a few cows on some small acreage place that do nothing but rob the calves off the cows when they need a dollar, and little else.

Larger producers, in general, either make their living from the cattle business or have other interests that give them the resources to hire someone to at least attempt to properly care for the ranch.

If you are small and do a good job with your cattle my hat's off to you.

But just last winter, I got at least 20-25 calls from part timers that were having calves asking me to check on "Ol' Betsy" while they were at work in town. Very few of these even have a catch pen at all, much less facilities.

Plus, most of these guys buy someone else's cull bulls at the sale barn just to save a few dollars.

If we were to add up all these small time folks' cattle that sell their mongrels right alongside the good ones at the sale barn, and subtract them from the total sold, there would be more money in it for the serious ones who really make an attempt at making a better beef product.
 

Brute 23

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Its alll about what your goal is with YOUR operation.

Are you trying to make the most money you can?

Are you trying to strive for quality of livestock?

Are you trying to keep taxes down, pay to maintain, and maybe add a few improvements to inherited land or owned land?

Are you just in it for the fun of it because you like it?

Around here anything less than 20 cows and you are just trying to keep the grass down.

Less than a 100 head is small, 100-250 is medium, more than that is large.

A big factor is what your time is worth... feed is set, cattle prices are set, ect...

A fat cow will make a calf just like a skinny cow. If I have to spend alot of time going out and feeding, watching, researching, working cows, ect... my profit just went down the tube becuse my time is expensive.

As far as leasing and getting loans on cattle or land. IF you do have the cash to buy a herd and or land you would be stupid to use it. That money will make you alot more, alot quicker invested in the market. Its ok to take a little cash to put down to get loans, low interest rates, low payments ect... but after that let the cattle support themselves... including payng off their own note.
 

Brute 23

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MikeC":1eqet4t4 said:
You folks take things way too personal. No one has, or will ever say that all small cattlemen are poor managers of their cattle.
On the other hand, no one will ever say that the large guys are perfect either.

But none of us can deny that there is an overwhelming majority of those that have a few cows on some small acreage place that do nothing but rob the calves off the cows when they need a dollar, and little else.

Larger producers, in general, either make their living from the cattle business or have other interests that give them the resources to hire someone to at least attempt to properly care for the ranch.

If you are small and do a good job with your cattle my hat's off to you.

But just last winter, I got at least 20-25 calls from part timers that were having calves asking me to check on "Ol' Betsy" while they were at work in town. Very few of these even have a catch pen at all, much less facilities.

Plus, most of these guys buy someone else's cull bulls at the sale barn just to save a few dollars.

If we were to add up all these small time folks' cattle that sell their mongrels right alongside the good ones at the sale barn, and subtract them from the total sold, there would be more money in it for the serious ones who really make an attempt at making a better beef product.

That is their choice... you can't tell them how to run their operation. That's like them telling you how to raise you kids. ;-)
 

AngusLimoX

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Brute 23":2fka7c1p said:
That is their choice... you can't tell them how to run their operation. That's like them telling you how to raise you kids. ;-)

They are raising food for others - if it's food for home fine - food for public consumption should be subject to standards - hobbyists who meet those standards - great.

Consumers will tell all of us how to run our operations - sometimes I think the barns are the worst enemy of beef.

ALX

btw - Good post CH
 

Brute 23

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="AngusLimoX
They are raising food for others - if it's food for home fine - food for public consumption should be subject to standards - hobbyists who meet those standards - great.

Consumers will tell all of us how to run our operations - sometimes I think the barns are the worst enemy of beef.

ALX

btw - Good post CH

Is all beef for human consuption? ;-)
 
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vs_cattle

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MikeC":7sgtlnyp said:
The way that I have heard small scale ranching described is by
"Bull Units".

In other words, when it takes only 1 bull to cover one's entire herd, he is a small rancher.

The speakers at the seminar I spoke of categorized anything above a "5 Bull Unit" ranch as being above average.

These guys held the position, and I agree, that each and every rancher should have a certain number of calves from their operation harvested and graded each year and be paid accordingly.

Reason being, most ranchers have no idea what quality food they are producing.

If we are in the "Food" business, we should know these things.

This idea would cause quality grades to improve very rapidly.

Mike,
5 Bull unit Average? cant a bull cover 25 head each easily so 125 + what it takes to be average
 

C HOLLAND

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Mike, I wasn't taking it personal or that it was directed at me, it is just a mindset that the forum seems to get into all to often.

It has been a bad day anyway, the bull is not getting better, I got a dang speeding ticket (the first in 25 years or so) and the dog tore up my favorite hat, and my 6 iron shot will only go 100 yards :)))

But it did rain again this afternoon woooohhhooooooo :)
 

Sir Loin

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To me your title itself (Small Scale Ranching) is all off to begin with by definition.
The key words being “small” and “large”.
To me a ranch is not defined by the number of cattle but instead by the number of acres.
To me large means in excess of 100 acres.


See:
Webster:
Ranch
1 : a large farm for raising horses, beef cattle, or sheep
Farm
4 : a tract of land devoted to agricultural purposes
5 a : a plot of land devoted to the raising of animals and especially domestic livestock
 

Caustic Burno

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Sir Loin":2bbjlq1u said:
To me your title itself (Small Scale Ranching) is all off to begin with by definition.
The key words being “small” and “large”.
To me a ranch is not defined by the number of cattle but instead by the number of acres.
To me large means in excess of 100 acres.


See:
Webster:
Ranch
1 : a large farm for raising horses, beef cattle, or sheep
Farm
4 : a tract of land devoted to agricultural purposes
5 a : a plot of land devoted to the raising of animals and especially domestic livestock


:lol2: In West Texas that would be about a 3 or 4 cow operation.
 

novatech

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Weather one is big or small is a relative question. It is only the openion of ones self or the openion of others. Or a comparison between two or more operations.

A business is an attempt at makeing a profit.
A hobby is just for fun/enjoyment, which may or may not make a profit.
A tax wright off can be either.
 

dun

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novatech":dx6845cp said:
Weather one is big or small is a relative question. It is only the openion of ones self or the openion of others. Or a comparison between two or more operations.

A business is an attempt at makeing a profit.
A hobby is just for fun/enjoyment, which may or may not make a profit.
A tax wright off can be either.

Which leads us back to my original answer, "Pretty much whatever you want it to be"
 

VanC

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If you ask 1000 people the difference between a small operation and a big one you will get 1000 differwent answers. Who cares? Too many people nowadays have to have the biggest, best, most expensive of everything. Sorry folks, but it doesn't make you a better person. Be proud of what you've got, do the best you can with it, live a clean life. If you're not happy with that, you won't be happy with more of it. JMHO.
 

dun

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VanC":28kry34r said:
If you ask 1000 people the difference between a small operation and a big one you will get 1000 differwent answers. Who cares? Too many people nowadays have to have the biggest, best, most expensive of everything. Sorry folks, but it doesn't make you a better person. Be proud of what you've got, do the best you can with it, live a clean life. If you're not happy with that, you won't be happy with more of it. JMHO.

Kind of like, who is the most satisfied, the man will a million dollars or the guy with a dozen kids?
The guy with a dozen kids, he doesn;t want any more.
 

Sir Loin

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CB,
Re:
:lol2: In West Texas that would be about a 3 or 4 cow operation.
And in Alaska, which is bigger then all of Texas,:lol2: :lol2: 100 acres would be a 0 cow operation.
What’s your point?
SL
 

Brandonm2

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Sir Loin":bzvcd6pc said:
To me your title itself (Small Scale Ranching) is all off to begin with by definition.
The key words being “small” and “large”.
To me a ranch is not defined by the number of cattle but instead by the number of acres.
To me large means in excess of 100 acres.

Growing up, we only OWNED 133 acres and then we leased another 40 to 240 and I ALWAYS viewed us as small or medium. We own 456 acres in one location now (the most in family history) and it still feels small to me.....except when I am building fences of course. IF you have a 100 acres of good grass you can run 50 mama cows pretty good. Now if you have 10 acres in the river bottom, 30 acres of slag hills, ~40 acres in timber, some rocky ground, old KY 31 fescue on the good ground ThAT 100 acres might be supporting 20 cows. In Montana a 100 acre place COULD be a guy with six cows all with names and a pet goat. Number of brood cows is a better measurement of an operation than number of acres.
 

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