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Starting out

Sierra

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Ok, I think I've found the place with the wisdom I need.

We're just starting out and I'd like to hear what you would do if you were in my situation. (Even if the answer is run fast, run far!)

We have 80 acres in central Texas. Mostly coastal, but some is native pasture. I grew up around polled hereford and do admit a soft-spot for the breed. However, I'm not so soft on them that I will make the breed decision based on that. My intention is for this to be a business so profitability is the goal.

Knowing what you know now, looking at empty land... where would you start? First off with "skys the limit" for getting started and then a more reasonable and doable budget to start.

Thanks so much for your help.
 

kerley

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I would start with fences and holding pens with a good head gate.
Tom.
 

Sierra

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Ok, we've got perimeter fence that's in good shape - or soon will be. It's cross fenced by roughly half. Would you cross fence again into quarters for rotational grazing and having an area to wean? We also have a smallish holding area with a chute (I'm working on repairs on that...it's just aging) Got a tank and a water well. Got a stock trailer.

My thought is do I want to go for a registered herd or go with nice cattle, but not registered? Any thoughts on the direct market (selling to individuals for use as opposed to auction)? I'm leaning towards starting off with two separate "herds". One of registered cows with hope of showing and selling them as show/breeding stock. (Start up price would limit this to just a few cows.) Culls of course going for beef. And, a non-registered herd that is solely for grass fed beef - maybe aiming at selling quarters and halves direct to the consumer eventually.

From your experience... Am I out to lunch with this idea?
 

1982vett

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Central Texas.......
What shape are your pastures in? You need good grass before you need any kind of cattle. Hope yours looks better than this....


Might be a shortage of good F1 cows in a few years. BrangusxHereford, BrhamaxHereford, BrhamaxAngus. These all do well here.

What part of Central Texas?
 

Sierra

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Yes, thankfully, the pasture is looking better than the picture. It's Comanche county, we're just north of the really dry areas. Are you stuck in the misery? I've heard that Austin/San Antonio areas are awful. Of course, you never know what next year will bring. Those areas may wash away while we wither on the vine.
 

grannysoo

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Sierra":3uhgt9ln said:
Ok, I think I've found the place with the wisdom I need.

You'll find many pearls of wisdom, you just have to sort out which are and are not them pearls.........

Good fences, good facilities to work them, and good grass.

Best of luck and welcome.
 

Txwalt

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Go sit in on a few auctions before you buy any animals.

Walt
 

Busterz

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I would divide it up a little more (at least 4 paddocks approximately equal in size) and do rotational grazing. Whats the carrying capacity supposed to be in that area? I'd just divide it with electric fence, then you can move it if you need to and its cheaper. I think the rotational grazing gives you a better perspective on the supply of grass you have available. If you are going to do grass fed beef I think you would almost HAVE to do rotational grazing. You would have to have some method of maintaining grass through the winter.

I don't think the breed matters too much as long as you get good cattle, polled hereford would be fine. Whether you get registered or not probably has more to do with how you want to market the cattle. Obviously if you wanted to sell show cattle they should be registered but if you are selling freezer beef it shouldn't matter. But I would try to get purebred cows, then if you want to stay in the purebred business your're okay or if you want to cross them you can get the most benefit from heterosis by crossing pure bred on purebred.

AS to how you want to market it, you probably need to consider what kind of connections you have (do you have any connections for purebred cattle or 4H kids or anything like that?) (or do you have a list of people who would buy beef from you?) I'd probably stick to one herd, I think with 80 acres it would be tough to do more than one. But I think you're on the right track with either selling show/purebred cattle or freezer beef. I think the more you stay out of the sale barn the better chance you'll have for making money. When buying your cattle you may want to see if the seller has a buy back program or if they have some marketing connections you may be able to utilize.
 

1982vett

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Sierra":21l46t7q said:
Yes, thankfully, the pasture is looking better than the picture. It's Comanche county, we're just north of the really dry areas. Are you stuck in the misery? I've heard that Austin/San Antonio areas are awful. Of course, you never know what next year will bring. Those areas may wash away while we wither on the vine.

Yep, been on the dry end of thing for almost 2 years. We've had a wet July, 4.7 inches. Brings the 19 month deficit to 30.1 inches. Beginning to look like Spring and I hope it stays this way for a while.

 

talldog

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grannysoo":odz0lcpk said:
Sierra":odz0lcpk said:
Ok, I think I've found the place with the wisdom I need.

You'll find many pearls of wisdom, you just have to sort out which are and are not them pearls.........

Good fences, good facilities to work them, and good grass.

Best of luck and welcome.
Great Advice---Good Luck !! :tiphat:
 

Sierra

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Thank you all for the ideas. If you are marketing direct, in general, is the only breed requested angus? Do folks even respond to having a specific breed? Seems the angus folks are the only ones who have branded their breed for have more recognition.

Thanks!
 

IluvABbeef

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Sierra":3lusf3hs said:
Thank you all for the ideas. If you are marketing direct, in general, is the only breed requested angus? Do folks even respond to having a specific breed? Seems the angus folks are the only ones who have branded their breed for have more recognition.

Thanks!

In short, no, not all direct marketed beef is Angus, even though it is the popular breed to date. Direct marketed beef can range from contintenals like Simmental, to other British breeds like Shorthorn and Hereford, with other breeds in between.

As for those responding to a specific breed, that depends on the consumers themselves. Some will, because of the marketing via CAB, but I'm confident that it won't matter to others.
 

jedstivers

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Since you are just starting and cattle are supposedly selling cheap in the dry areas I would find the best brahman crosses I could (very best I think is tiger strip or simbrah but that's just my opinion and its worth what you paid for it). Then you could adjust which ever bull you need for which ever market you end up in and you can still go the pure breed route later if you want, just start with as little capital outlay as you can and still have quality.
 

Busterz

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I don't think you would have to have angus to do direct marketing. Especially with grass fed, those customers are already seeking out a niche product.
 

Brute 23

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I would make sure to spend money you have to spend, not money you plan on making. New facilities and fences are nice, but stick with basic necessities. It will take several years for the cattle to pay themself off... much less thousands of dollars in fencing, equipment, and extravagant working pens. Hunt for the deals, don't be in a rush to do any thing.
 

Keren

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Since you asked it and not many people have commented ... its a very good idea to have a handful of registered, show quality cows to play around with, alongside a commercial herd for selling freezer beef or saleyard. The show game is very expensive and the commercial herd will subsidize your bit of fun, while you build the reputation required to make the show herd financially productive.

If you like poll herefords, then go with them. They are a very versatile breed. If I were in your shoes, I'd buy 3 - 5 registered PH cows, 3 in 1 units if you can manage it, as high quality as you can afford. AI them to a good PH bull when the time comes. Play around with them at the shows.

For the commercial herd, buy as many commercial purebred PH cows (3 in 1's preferably) as you can afford and sustain on your land. Go to the local salebarn and see what sells best. If its black baldies, then find a good black bull to put over the cows - he could be black angus, limousin or even gelbvieh/balancer. If its red baldies find a good red bull - red angus, traditional limo, red gelb/balancer, even shorthorn although you are likely to get some broken coats. If its yellow baldies go with a charolais bull or even simmental. If bos indicus influenced calves sell the best, go for a brahman or brahman influenced bull. So if tigerstripes sell best, go for the brahman. If black calves with a bit of ear sell well, go for a brangus bull etc.

And of course, the fencing and working facilities come before the cattle ;-)
 

cmf1

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Infrastructure and grass is probably the most important thing to consider before you make any stock purchase.
Infrastructure; pens, chutes, handling, etc., will make your time and safety more efficient.
Grass and fences will make your inputs more efficient.
Get to know a local Vet you can be comfortable with.

Probably ought to decide if you want to raise "sale barn" cattle, or "private treaty" type cattle. Or a mix.
There's a breed out there that can fit just about any goals you want to accomplish.
You're not too far ( I think) from a ranch that is raising pure and some x bred Red Devon cattle. Polled and horned. A really good grass efficient, good marbling, "docile" breed.
A good Murray Grey breeder in Amarillo. Same kind of breed traits as the devon.
But then again you're in Texas and I imagine any breed you're interested in is readily available not too far away.
Talk to lots of people and find out which breed traits you want to look at and mess with everyday. Cuz once you have'em you probably will.
 

S&WSigma40VEShooter

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kerley":8zpoxz5c said:
I would start with fences and holding pens with a good head gate.
Tom.

Also, a hay barn might be nice if you can afford it. I was watching cattleman to cattleman today and lee leachman and others were talking about cross bred cattle. One of the commentators said cross bred cattle are a cattlemans best friend. I tend to agree it is proven that a cross bred cow will have 1.5-2 more calves in her lifetime and wean a heavier calf year in and year out than straight bred cattle. That said there are lots of good breeds out there. For instance Gelbvieh crossed with Angus is good, char and angus cross are good. Find something that works and stick with it.
 

HerefordSire

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It would be wise to take advantage of heterosis. Without it, you better have an advantage somewhere or you could get crushed.
 

Bez+

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Sierra":ms05q73y said:
Ok, I think I've found the place with the wisdom I need.

We're just starting out and I'd like to hear what you would do if you were in my situation. (Even if the answer is run fast, run far!)

We have 80 acres in central Texas. Mostly coastal, but some is native pasture. I grew up around polled hereford and do admit a soft-spot for the breed. However, I'm not so soft on them that I will make the breed decision based on that. My intention is for this to be a business so profitability is the goal.

Knowing what you know now, looking at empty land... where would you start? First off with "skys the limit" for getting started and then a more reasonable and doable budget to start.

Thanks so much for your help.

How many years you planning to take to do this? I am seeing so much bull schitzen here I am beginning to think your advice and wisdom comes from people who INHERITED their operation rather than started from scratch.

So ......

Buy two animals - raise one for yourself - raise the other as a companion animal - sell it to anyone who will buy it.

Buy a case of beer a month - more if you like it, or are addicted - and sit in the shade and drink it.

Rent the land out to some other fool so he can do all the work and spend all the money you are being advised to spend on this board - and yes, there are all sorts of VERY happy land rental agreements out there.

The positives: You get to sit on your butt in the shade and drink beer, you get to eat your own beef, you get to MAYBE make more money than you ever will on cattle - certainly SAVE more money than if you start an operation on a piddly little 80 acres in an area that knows what drought is - especially if you spend all the dammed money your so called "WISE cattle advisors" on this board are telling you to spend, and you do it all from the shade with a cold beer in your hand.

The negatives: You have to sit on your butt and drink beer and make money while some other guy does all the work - but you have to do it year round - so you might have to find a hobby to keep from getting bored - or drink more beer.

Drought ...... remember that word and consider buying feed ....... or selling cows ....... - or drinking beer and letting the other guy do the worrying.

If you are bound and determined to do it anyways - first things first - go out to the back and run your head into a tree as hard as you can - do it for an hour - when you stop you will feel great. Then get your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, live in lover or whatever to do the same thing - ask that person if it feels good enough to continue doing it TOGETHER for the next 30 years or so.

If they look at you and tell you that you are a dumb schitte for suggesting it - then decide which is more important - you cattle operation or your partner. Make the decision now - or the judge will give it to your partner in a few years anyways - this way is cheaper and just as effective - plus you stand less chance of going to jail for murder.

If you are not on speaking terms with the neighbours - move. You will need them for help once in a while. And they will need yours - it is all for free as well - so no money made there - but perhaps a little spent.

Now go talk to the neighbour about what really works in your area. If they cannot help you, no one can.

Personally I think you need to buy two animals and see if you can handle it - if it works - fine - do it again with three animals - and then again with four.

If it does not work out you are only out a few bucks - do as some of the well meaning but not overly wise folks above have advised above and you will not be a happy camper. And you will be FRIGGING BROKE!!!!!

Trust me - this is pretty sound advice

You will do as you see fit.

Bez+
 

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