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Anonymous

Looking at 89 acres, 60 tillable, about 20 rocky pasture. Will rent or share the tillable acres. Want to stick with Black Angus and pondering two cow- calf pairs. I'm worried about the initial cost the first few years. Would I be better off with larger cows in the 300-500(?) lb range and putting them out as feeders? All I really want to do is break even the first few years and then double the size of the herd yearly, to no more than 30. Can I do this without going broke and suffering an "I told you so" from the wife. I have another source of income(full time employment) and am only looking to supplement the farm pmts down the road. Any info is appreciated.

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Jake

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I'd personally plant about 15-25 acres of your tillable land to pasture grass. What type depends on your soil type, region and such. Check with your local extension office for stocking rates and grass types. As for stock if you start of with 500 to 600 pound heifers, breed them and sell them as bred heifers it will allow a beginner such as yourself not to have to winter your cattle the first few years. Once you start getting the hang of it and show the wife you can make ends meet with the project you could start retaining cattle yearound and make it a cow-calf operation.
Best of Luck
Jake
 

Running Arrow Bill

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Good aspirations! Two cow/calf pairs on 20 acres is not too much as long as you plan to supplemental feed + hay to compensate for the rocky pasture. You might make moe on renting the 60 acres of tillable land. Possibility of putting some of the 60 A in pasture/hay?? Native grasses?

With very good management you should possibly break even in 3-5 years on cattle upkeeep.

Good fencing on cattle acreage is a priority investment. For IRS tax purposes, a very small herd would probably be classified as a "hobby" activiaty and not a "for profit" operation--consult your CPA or Tax Attorney. Renting out the 60A and/or turning some into pasture/hay production would preserve an Agricultural exemption for tax purposes, assuming the property already has an Ag exemption.
 

dd

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Jesse, What you do with the tillable acres is going to have a lot to do with what type of soils you have and where you're located. What is currently grown on the tillable acres ? If you are in a grain producing area you probably paid accordingly for the land and to turn that into pasture might defeat your purpose of breaking even.
 
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Anonymous

Jesse,
The number one rule (to me anyways) is to "feel" your land. Get to know your land first before you do anything! Give your land some TLC before putting cattle on it. First check if there is adequate water. Be sure the water is clean. Take a water sample to your local water quality center. They will tell you if the water is good or not. Although cattle do have a fairly high tolerance for poor water quality. Next, see if your soils has enough nutrients to grow any type of grasses or crop! Take a sample to a nearby biologist (at a university or someplace). They will tell you if the pH level is good (high) or other nutrients is available. All esle is good, ask a neighbor what kind of grass he/she grows because his/her soils should be the same as yours. Local extension offices tend to exaggerate a bit...giving you more advice than you really need. Third, check your fence! Good fence keep cattle home! If its hanging or leaning (even a bit), fix or replace the fence! better yet, hire a professional fence builder. Next, be sure you have adequate cattle faciliates such as a corral, working pens, holding pens, feed/water troughs, sheltered spaces (a barn or cattle shed), and loading/unloading area..... The rest is entirely up to you... I would buy young skinny weanlings and fatten them up until they reach over 1000lbs or before winter settles in...re sell them and get a few bucks back. Even buy a few cheap cow/calf pair...let momma raise the calf and sell them separetely at the salebarn. I think I covered the basics.....
 

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