Starting Up with Cattle

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shr91chevy

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I am a seventh generation farmer/rancher, but the last person in my family to maintain a successful cattle herd was my grandfather who passed away when I was ten. Therefore, I was never able to "take over the business" as it were. However, I have experience in farming and cattle from ranch hand jobs I have held. Recently I inhereted 200 acres I would like to use to reestablish my family in the cattle business. I hear many people say today that it is no longer possible to be a successful cattleman and I'll just be wasting money, but my dream is to one day become successful enough to expand to a ranch in central Texas I'll be able to retire too.

Does anybody have any general advice to someone who would like to become a successful cattleman in the 21st century or is it even possible anymore?

From my studies of the market, I figure the best option for success these days is crossbreeding, if your not alread an established pure breeder. Is this an accurate observation?
 

cornstalk

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sr:

You are correct....it is very difficult to become a successful and more importantly, profitable cattlemen in todays world. I'm curretly enrolled in a marketing class at my local university..and am astounded at how tight the breakeven margins really are. If you have the land, have the equipment / facilities, feed, and are business minded....anything is possible. Dont be discouraged. If you are going to have to aquire everything as you go, the deck is stacked against you.

Your plan seems logical,....experience may be your best instructor. Good Luck!
 

dun

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Start small and gain experiece. Build your infrastructure so that it can be expanded or modified as you your herd increases. Start with quality beef cattle. There are ocassional bargains to be had, but some of the cliches are still true. Don;t be penny wise and pound foolish and you can;t make a silk purse out of a sows ear. Actaully you can eventually make a pretty good imitation of a silk purse, but it takes a lot of generations to do it

dun
 

backhoeboogie

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shr91chevy":2x75b3r1 said:
Recently I inhereted 200 acres I would like to use to reestablish my family in the cattle business.

200 acres is an excellent start. You are already ahead of many of us right here in this forum. The first thing I would do is get that land in optimum shape for cattle. Mend all fencing and cross fencing. Clean all the brush out that you can. Fertilizer is expensive so get some soil samples in different areas and determine what the land will need based on the vegetation you intend to grow. Check the working chutes and pens and figure out if you need to change any of the configurations. If you don't have any, watch for used equipment auctions or estate sales and take your time acquiring good equipment at the lowest prices you can get it for. If you have cousins, siblings, or good friends in the business, you may work out equipment borrowing/loaning with them. Maybe you buy a disc and they buy a grain drill etc.

If you were buying stock in the stock market, you'd want to buy good secure stock at the lowest possible prices. Buying cattle is no different. Get quality cattle when you start, suited for your climate, at the lowest prices you can. Don't buy when prices are high and don't sell when prices are down, unless you can't feed them. If you can keep a surplus of good hay, feed doesn't become an issue as much.

edit: Remember that everyone does something a little different. I learned from my dad and grandad but I do somethings a bit different than they did.
 

TLCfromARK

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Not knowing anything other than you have 200 acres and a little experence in the cattle business my advice would be the same as Dun's & Boogie's.
Start out small, if you can't repair all your fences maybe try to get 40 - 80 acres in good shape, get your pens, barn in working order, have your equiptment ( or have access to it ) and stock that part with a few cow / calf pairs, whatever the land can carry safely. Then while you're bringing the rest of the place up to speed you can be gaining a lot of experence with the stock you have, seeing what it takes in time / money & effort to make a go of cattle farming. Once you've got a "clear" idea of your cost / profit margins you can decide on whether to expand or how fast you want to grow.
The one thing I wouldn't do is borrow a large chunk of money to jump into this business all at once. Bank payments can be a very big load to shoulder when you're getting started. That being said, banks serve a very needed purpose. Very few people are able to "pay cash" for everything. Just be selective on what is "needed" and what "you'd just like to have".
Good luck,
;-)
 

john250

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shr91chevy":1e2chmz8 said:
I am a seventh generation farmer/rancher, but the last person in my family to maintain a successful cattle herd was my grandfather who passed away when I was ten. Therefore, I was never able to "take over the business" as it were. However, I have experience in farming and cattle from ranch hand jobs I have held. Recently I inhereted 200 acres I would like to use to reestablish my family in the cattle business. I hear many people say today that it is no longer possible to be a successful cattleman and I'll just be wasting money, but my dream is to one day become successful enough to expand to a ranch in central Texas I'll be able to retire too.

Does anybody have any general advice to someone who would like to become a successful cattleman in the 21st century or is it even possible anymore?

From my studies of the market, I figure the best option for success these days is crossbreeding, if your not alread an established pure breeder. Is this an accurate observation?

Yes, it can be done.
200 acres in Indiana would be a heckuva start, don't know about your part of the country. How many cows/acre do folks run there? Volume is everything because your fixed expenses are the same for 20 cows or 100 cows. Operating expense shouldn't be shorted. You can't starve a profit.
Got an off farm job? Cause buying cattle and tools and structures for 200 acres is a heckuva lotta investment and the payments come around regularly.
Good luck.
 
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S

shr91chevy

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Thank ya'll very much. This sounds like great advice. I didn't realize 200 acres was a good start. Most people I know that do Cattle have a 1000 head or more and have at least 500 - 1600 acres. I'm only 24, and luckily I realize I have plenty of time to get it going. I'm not in a hurry and I have a great job working at a local chemical plant down here. Plus I only work 4 days a week and I get up to a month of vacation every year.

Anyway, thank you I look forward to getting to know some of ya'll on this forum and accepting more advice in the future.
 

dun

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shr91chevy":8vohbb8d said:
I didn't realize 200 acres was a good start. Most people I know that do Cattle have a 1000 head or more and have at least 500 - 1600 acres.

Acreage requirements vary so much by the climate and the forage growth capabilities. What's considered a big place in one area may be a "ranchette" in aonther. If 2 cows per acre is the capabilities of one place, 200 acres is a lot. If 1 cow per 350 acres is the capabilites 200 acres won;t do diddly.

dun
 

k alton

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So, generally speaking, how many cattle could run on 40 acres of established bahaia that backs up to a creek (flat and relatively low, but it never completely floods) in Central Alabama?
 

Bama

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k alton":2h606vtu said:
So, generally speaking, how many cattle could run on 40 acres of established bahaia that backs up to a creek (flat and relatively low, but it never completely floods) in Central Alabama?

I can get a pair per acre in North Alabama. At times its better than that. Just don't overdo it as it take a while to recover if its been neglected.
 

Family Tradition

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Chevy welcome to the club. I inherited the old fram place about 4 years ago when my Mother & Father passed away. Hence the name Family Tradition. The old home place was homesteaded in 1867 by great ect. Grandad. Been a member of the family on it ever sence. So I've read all the good advise everyone has put on the table for ya and they're all on the money.

The wife and I still lived in the area but wanted to get back to the farm so we sold out rebuilt and moved. Started with 9 head of cattle my father had. You had to sneak up on em to check on em to make sure they were still on the place, a 58 Fordson Dexta, and a bush hog and lots of fence work.

I work for the local fire department so I have more time than most to work on the place and I still come in at dark. Long process getting an old place up in shape. I'm not as young as you are so I feel alittle more pushed to get the job finished. So I can really enjoy it.

All I can tell you is to listen to all these fine people and good luck
 

preston39

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shr91..,

Good advise on this thread.

One added comment.

Check with the herdsmen by you for advice and don't hesitate to ask if they will sell you a cow or two. A young fellow did that around here and ended up with about 30 nice cows making an excellent starter herd that many would envy.
(we were ready to change a bull for genetic line reasons and he got a nice one)
 

Fred

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Good advise already given. I would reccomend you don't let your cattle business get to where it takes all your free time. It can be tough working a full time job and raising cattle.Try to keep that balance and remember your full time job is your main income.Also be carefull with debt.
 

TheBullLady

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Get to know your county extention agent! Texas has a great network of them, and every county has programs they put on designed for producers in that area. If there's something specific you're interetested in learning about, let your extension agent know.
 

C HOLLAND

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Bama":2dv492hk said:
k alton":2dv492hk said:
So, generally speaking, how many cattle could run on 40 acres of established bahaia that backs up to a creek (flat and relatively low, but it never completely floods) in Central Alabama?

I can get a pair per acre in North Alabama. At times its better than that. Just don't overdo it as it take a while to recover if its been neglected.

Same in LA (lower Alabama) I can handle 2 per acre and get 3 with rotational grazing with normal rainfall. I have had 10 on a five acre pasture for the last 30 days and they can't stay up with the growth.
 

fojokin

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shr91chevy":1plosul9 said:
I am a seventh generation farmer/rancher, but the last person in my family to maintain a successful cattle herd was my grandfather who passed away when I was ten. Therefore, I was never able to "take over the business" as it were. However, I have experience in farming and cattle from ranch hand jobs I have held. Recently I inhereted 200 acres I would like to use to reestablish my family in the cattle business. I hear many people say today that it is no longer possible to be a successful cattleman and I'll just be wasting money, but my dream is to one day become successful enough to expand to a ranch in central Texas I'll be able to retire too.

Does anybody have any general advice to someone who would like to become a successful cattleman in the 21st century or is it even possible anymore?

From my studies of the market, I figure the best option for success these days is crossbreeding, if your not alread an established pure breeder. Is this an accurate observation?

Advice? Read, read read read all you can. Knowledge is accuracy accuracy is money. You cross breed for specific purposes, and then there are diffrent types of cross breeding. To be successful cattleman you need to take educated risks, know what you want to do, with 200 acres you could have a cow calf operation, wait 16 months untill a sale or you can make yourslef a feedlot, its quick and if you have the resources you can make good money. But please before you take my advice read and understand the biz. Uh only advice is cross breed for bigger weaning weights (usually due to 40% genertics the rest the enviroment they were raised) more milk always helps, also if you can incorporate black you can get more money when its time for slaughter up here in Kansas (Where im goin to school) around 18-25 dollars more. Uh, good luck though man put allot of work into it and you should do good. NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP! -Stephen.
 

Shoestring

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I am a seventh generation farmer/rancher, but the last person in my family to maintain a successful cattle herd was my grandfather who passed away when I was ten. Therefore, I was never able to "take over the business" as it were. However, I have experience in farming and cattle from ranch hand jobs I have held. Recently I inhereted 200 acres I would like to use to reestablish my family in the cattle business. I hear many people say today that it is no longer possible to be a successful cattleman and I'll just be wasting money, but my dream is to one day become successful enough to expand to a ranch in central Texas I'll be able to retire too.

Does anybody have any general advice to someone who would like to become a successful cattleman in the 21st century or is it even possible anymore?

From my studies of the market, I figure the best option for success these days is crossbreeding, if your not alread an established pure breeder. Is this an accurate observation?
It's old, the advice is the same. Wish I more debt in more land. I wonder if he ran with it.
 

ClinchValley86

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1000 pound heifers are the best buy. Feed for a few months, then direct market them. Make some money.

Take care of your soil. Graze properly. Let forage rest. Put water hydrants EVERYWHERE.
 
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