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Old 02-05-2013, 07:59 AM
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How many people here have cattle, how many head do you have per acre, what breeds are you raising,,,, and other general information.

Now that the timber has been cut from the homestead, I have been thinking about rebuilding the fence rows and get some beef cows.

My location is southeast Texas, I am looking at around a 10 - 13 acre field for the cows.

How much land per cow do you need.

Best ways to keep water for the cattle.

Shelter from bad weather, such as 3 sided pole barn, or should they have a full 4 sided barn?

What is the best grass to plant for meat cattle?
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:48 AM
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Kev.. enjoyed the rant "stupid liberals"! Now about beef cattle? You don't own enough land to raise beef cattle properly. Maybe a cow or two, but the headaches of a bull, no forget it. Milk cow? YES! She will produce milk and excellent meat if artificially bred to angus or hereford. Talk to your local vet. If she is a gentle and you don't really want to milk her, when she becomes fresh, buy a another calf to consume the extra milk. She should adopt another orphan. OK, there you have two beef cows to butcher. Let them grow up on pasture. For the last two months, pen them up and feed grain, at 18 months they should weigh 1200 lbs. You should have babies again by that time to start over.

Or, buy two-three day old bucket calves from dairy farmers to raise. Get them weaned and put on the pasture. Do this semi-annually. Sell all but the ones you want to butcher for your self. The cash will support your hay bill. If you have good grass, it should support 7-8 head. I would recommend a Kentucky 31 grass or equivalent. It will take a beaten and some shade.
I would also recommend a three sided pole barn facing the sun for winter warmth. Maybe a driveway through the middle, 1/2 for slumbering and the other 1/2 for hay. Good place to park ole truck, tractor, or misc.
Good luck.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by kev View Post
How many people here have cattle, how many head do you have per acre, what breeds are you raising,,,, and other general information.

Now that the timber has been cut from the homestead, I have been thinking about rebuilding the fence rows and get some beef cows.

My location is southeast Texas, I am looking at around a 10 - 13 acre field for the cows.

How much land per cow do you need.

Best ways to keep water for the cattle.

Shelter from bad weather, such as 3 sided pole barn, or should they have a full 4 sided barn?

What is the best grass to plant for meat cattle?
Hey Kev,
We raise red and black angus in NE WYoming, but I grew up in NE Texas. The conditions are all pretty much the same allover east Texas. The above poster pretty much nailed it. With 10-13 acres you could run 3-4 head. With fertilizer most of east Tx can run a cow/calf pair to every 3-4 acres give or take. Im guessing that your grasses are coastal and common bermuda with possibly some fescue and clover for winter grazing.

Water is important, but with the low numbers you will be able to run, a simple water trough filled and checked daily should be sufficient. A live creek would also work if you have one.

Here in NE Wy our cattle stay out yr round. We do have a windbreak, but that is all. Unless you have dairy cattle a barn and shelter isnt really needed. Alot of people think it is a requirement, but actually it isnt. We have some pretty harsh conditions in this area, but I I dont know of anyone who brings there cattle in when the weather gets bad. Cattle have been bred for the conditions and do fine without it. Plus, it takes 50-60 acres here to run a cow calf pair and would be almost impossible to gather them everyday and bring them in.

As suggested above, I would advise getting a couple of dairy cows. They will require a little more feed in order to help milk production, but it is worth it. I have had some in the past and with adequate feed could raise 3-4 calves at a time per cow. I would let the cow feed them for about 5 months and then wean the calves. Once I pulled the first set of calves off of the cow I would put 3-4 more on here for five months. At the end of this 10 month period I would dry the cow up and let her recuperate for a couple months before she calved again.

This would require alot of feed to maintain the cows health, but I was raising 6-8 calves per cow. For this type deal, a barn really is needed. You will need a pen for the calves until they get to where they will hustle after the cow. You will also want to get the cow used to coming in to feed so yoou can handle her a little more than you would a beef cow. You will also want to milk her some for your own use.

Yoour region has several dairy operations to buy calves cheap. Also, Sulphur Springs has a big dairy auction. You might find some stock there. You have a moderate winter climate with alot of winter grazing, so you should do ok.

Tex
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:21 AM
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Kev -- Someone else just getting into the business started a thread awhile back. I asked it to be a sticky (?) can we do it now?? Been in the cattle business on small scale all my life and I learn something new everyday.

The biggest problem on this site will be having everyone understand that raising cows is totally different for each location. Several years ago I passed up a golden opportunity to move to Cent America to run a calf crop operation but I couldn't honestly go as an expert due to the MANY differences faced by ranchers down there. The grasses are different, the water sources, even the breeds are different even though they may look alike.

Good example being your location -- 10- 13 acres may not sustain more than 3 head but in Florida with improved pature land I can raise as many as 15- 20 pairs (Mamas and nursing calves) but won't be enough for one standing bull year around. So many varibles involved.

I would love to continue and hope we can on this site, like I said I learn something new everyday. two bits gave great advice but I've never heard of Kentucky 31 grass, so he learnt me something new.

MORE PLEASE
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:51 AM
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Not a cattle expert by a long shot but......one word.......Dexters. Tri purpose cows.....meat, milk and work. The bulls are very gentle ( from a GOOD breeder). Use less feed than other breeds and just easy cows to work with.

Liebrecht
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:56 AM
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Kev -- Someone else just getting into the business started a thread awhile back. I asked it to be a sticky (?) can we do it now?? Been in the cattle business on small scale all my life and I learn something new everyday.
Which thread are you referring to?


Thanks for the help guys. Getting cows is not something I am going to be doing in the next few months. The fence line has to be rebuilt, pole barn has to be built.

But what I can so it start planting the field in some kind of good grass this spring. I would like to spread some fertilizer and plant the grass a year or two ahead of time.

On that Kentucky 31 grass, a couple of websites say the grass produces a toxin.

I will probably call the local extension office and talk to the guy there about the best types of grass to plant.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by protector 6062 View Post
Kev -- Someone else just getting into the business started a thread awhile back. I asked it to be a sticky (?) can we do it now?? Been in the cattle business on small scale all my life and I learn something new everyday.

The biggest problem on this site will be having everyone understand that raising cows is totally different for each location. Several years ago I passed up a golden opportunity to move to Cent America to run a calf crop operation but I couldn't honestly go as an expert due to the MANY differences faced by ranchers down there. The grasses are different, the water sources, even the breeds are different even though they may look alike.

Good example being your location -- 10- 13 acres may not sustain more than 3 head but in Florida with improved pature land I can raise as many as 15- 20 pairs (Mamas and nursing calves) but won't be enough for one standing bull year around. So many varibles involved.

I would love to continue and hope we can on this site, like I said I learn something new everyday. two bits gave great advice but I've never heard of Kentucky 31 grass, so he learnt me something new.

MORE PLEASE
Here is a little info on the Kentucky 31. Hope this helps. A little red top clover sprinlkled in makes good hay for cattle, too.

http://www.fescue.com/info/k31.html
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:06 AM
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Which thread are you referring to?


Thanks for the help guys. Getting cows is not something I am going to be doing in the next few months. The fence line has to be rebuilt, pole barn has to be built.

But what I can so it start planting the field in some kind of good grass this spring. I would like to spread some fertilizer and plant the grass a year or two ahead of time.

On that Kentucky 31 grass, a couple of websites say the grass produces a toxin.

I will probably call the local extension office and talk to the guy there about the best types of grass to plant.
Kev -- I'm not computer savy enuff to put the thread on here but I did find it The thread was started by tyme2bprepped - title -The Cattle Thread -- started on 07-30-2013 at 12:08pm. Thanks for your help!!!
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:19 AM
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Kev -- I'm not computer savy enuff to put the thread on here but I did find it The thread was started by tyme2bprepped - title -The Cattle Thread -- started on 07-30-2013 at 12:08pm. Thanks for your help!!!
Found the thread and made it a sticky.


What I would like to do is get a maybe 3 or 4 calves from a local seller. Fatten the calves up on as much grass as I could, then send them to a butcher. There are some local butchers who will process the whole cow.

There is an old style auction house about 15 miles from my house.

I do not want to deal with any bulls, breeding,,,, nothing like that. Just start off small and go from there.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:52 AM
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I recommend purchasing calves from a reputable farmer who has some to sell. Watch the local paper or bulletin board at the feed store. Word of mouth is best. Also, the butcher may know where good feeders are found. Normally a farmer will sell the best and take the rest to the auction. So you never know what your getting unless you are an experienced cattle man. The feeders/calves are just numbered at auctions, owner is unknown?
I just bought a 1/2 beef, $2.59 lb. If you can raise one cheaper, you will be doing real good. The idea is to raise a beef without any expense/overhead. Only way that is possible in on grass or raise your own grain. Pruchased grain has additives/chemicals and your are controlled by market prices. Oh, the grass fed beef was over $5 lb? wow
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:53 PM
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Thanks for stickying the cattle thread, Kev. I had been bumping it for a while and then forgot about it when the holidays and cold weather got here. It's probably time for me to post a herd status update It's been an interesting winter.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:56 PM
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Don't buy bobby calves, they are an outrageous pain in the arse.

Don't buy a milk cow unless you're mentally ill and want to self-flaggelate. And actually if that's the case, just buy a flail. It's cheaper, less of an incredible hellish nightmare and far less stress on the cow. I cannot believe anyone here is seriously recommending a milk cow to a newbie.

Get weaners. They've had their shots, they haven't died as babies and if they have pot belly you don't buy them.

Just get a batch of weaners and grow them to butchering, so that's 18 months, then knock 'em on the head in their 2nd autumn or end of 3rd spring or whenever you run out of grass.

Your acreage will be very, very location specific. Go down to the stock & station agent and find out. Don't trust any answer you get on the net, get it from some local person's actual mouth.

3 sided barns are okay over here but it will depend on your winters, again ask someone absolutely local. Nearby mountains will change your climate. Anything out of the ordinary. I lived in a climate totally different from the neighbouring town's climate, 20 miles away. I am not kidding.

Over here I would suggest a decent rye/clover mix, again what are your conditions? your local feed merchant will have grass seed around that with luck survives local conditions. If you have a clover in there it will fix nitrogen and share it with the grass.

In my last climate where I had steers it was probably about 2 acres per steer but it all depends on whether you make your own hay or not. Too many variables, I don't think good answers can be got from an internet thread. you might need a really good conversation with a local.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:58 PM
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Which thread are you referring to?


Thanks for the help guys. Getting cows is not something I am going to be doing in the next few months. The fence line has to be rebuilt, pole barn has to be built.

But what I can so it start planting the field in some kind of good grass this spring. I would like to spread some fertilizer and plant the grass a year or two ahead of time.

On that Kentucky 31 grass, a couple of websites say the grass produces a toxin.

I will probably call the local extension office and talk to the guy there about the best types of grass to plant.
Did you say you were in texas? Isn't that hot?

I suspect the locals will sow grass in fall, not spring.

you don't sow in spring in a drought prone environment - grass doesn't have a chance to establish before it's killed.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:10 PM
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I don't mean to change the subject entirely, but have you considered goats? For the reasons you want cows, goats will probably be more feasible. (That assumes I know your reasons )

I currently have beef cows( 20 mommas and a couple of bulls ) and would say I'm a small time cow-calf operation.

I am in the process of converting at least part of my time/land/energies to goats, specifically Kiko meat goats. Reasons? If needed I can butcher a goat and eat it or process it before the meat spoils. I can't do that with a cow or a decent size calf. Regarding return on investment in the meantime, the general rule is 5-6 goats for every "cow's worth" of land. if managed properly that amounts to 10-15 baby goats each "cow unit" when you would only expect 1 calf per year per cow. Plus goats eat alot of weeds and brush that cows dont!

goat meat tastes kinda like deer meat.


I also have a pair of pretty tame kiko does (nanny goats) that I plan to milk this spring when they have their babies...

Anyway, just a thought... to keep options open.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:25 PM
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Don't buy bobby calves, they are an outrageous pain in the arse.

Don't buy a milk cow unless you're mentally ill and want to self-flaggelate. And actually if that's the case, just buy a flail. It's cheaper, less of an incredible hellish nightmare and far less stress on the cow. I cannot believe anyone here is seriously recommending a milk cow to a newbie.

Get weaners. They've had their shots, they haven't died as babies and if they have pot belly you don't buy them.

Just get a batch of weaners and grow them to butchering, so that's 18 months, then knock 'em on the head in their 2nd autumn or end of 3rd spring or whenever you run out of grass.

Your acreage will be very, very location specific. Go down to the stock & station agent and find out. Don't trust any answer you get on the net, get it from some local person's actual mouth.

3 sided barns are okay over here but it will depend on your winters, again ask someone absolutely local. Nearby mountains will change your climate. Anything out of the ordinary. I lived in a climate totally different from the neighbouring town's climate, 20 miles away. I am not kidding.

Over here I would suggest a decent rye/clover mix, again what are your conditions? your local feed merchant will have grass seed around that with luck survives local conditions. If you have a clover in there it will fix nitrogen and share it with the grass.

In my last climate where I had steers it was probably about 2 acres per steer but it all depends on whether you make your own hay or not. Too many variables, I don't think good answers can be got from an internet thread. you might need a really good conversation with a local.
What you say may be a fact in your area, but that may not translate here.
I have been involved in the cattle business my whole life and currently run a couple hundred head on about 8500 acres. I would absolutely recommend a milk/nurse cow to a newbie.

They are gentler
Easier to handle ( in Kevs region it is somewhat hard to find cattle that are'nt woofy)
They can raise more than one calf at a time, plus provide milk for the home.
They are a little more hands on providing more learning potential
They dont blow thru fences like some beef breeds
They work really well on smaller homesteads.
They have a higher earning potential.

You are correct in staying away from calves that look bummy (pot bellied). Healthy calves can be found and bought. Just because a calf is older in no way means that it has had any shots. Calves get bummy looking because of improper feeding practices or using a poor milk replacer. In Kevs area holstien bull calves cqan be bought cheap and having a nurse cow onsite he could raise these up for beef with no problem as the holstiens grow out good.

Not all of Tx is desert and depending what type of grass he wants his plating schedule will vary. Winter wheat needs to be in the ground by Sept 15. He can sow bermuda grass, which is the predominant grass in his area, and then he can no-till sow winter wheat for fall and winter grazing.

Good luck.

Tex
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:47 PM
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What you say may be a fact in your area, but that may not translate here.
I have been involved in the cattle business my whole life and currently run a couple hundred head on about 8500 acres. I would absolutely recommend a milk/nurse cow to a newbie.

They are gentler
Easier to handle ( in Kevs region it is somewhat hard to find cattle that are'nt woofy)
They can raise more than one calf at a time, plus provide milk for the home.
They are a little more hands on providing more learning potential
They dont blow thru fences like some beef breeds
They work really well on smaller homesteads.
They have a higher earning potential.

You are correct in staying away from calves that look bummy (pot bellied). Healthy calves can be found and bought. Just because a calf is older in no way means that it has had any shots. Calves get bummy looking because of improper feeding practices or using a poor milk replacer. In Kevs area holstien bull calves cqan be bought cheap and having a nurse cow onsite he could raise these up for beef with no problem as the holstiens grow out good.

Not all of Tx is desert and depending what type of grass he wants his plating schedule will vary. Winter wheat needs to be in the ground by Sept 15. He can sow bermuda grass, which is the predominant grass in his area, and then he can no-till sow winter wheat for fall and winter grazing.

Good luck.

Tex
Well you make some very good points. I see your point about the learning potential for a newbie with a nurse cow... but I do think there are dangers in it.

If you buy some weaners and train them up on feed nuts you can get some pretty socialised little animals, although when you say 'woofy' I admit I do not know just how 'woofy' you mean...

Also if you are buying something you will kill fairly shortly you can survive a few mistakes.

I think the maintenance for a milk cow could very quickly become a nightmare to the uninitiated, who have no idea what they are biting off, let alone how to chew it.

If you buy weaners and grass feed till they get shot there is very little you have to do for them, and when you feed out to them they become tame.

I suppose that'll depend on how Kev cuts up his homestead. How big the paddocks will be, if he'll use paddocks and pasture rotation, or just leave them to wander. If they wander then I guess they may not become tame.

Oh well Kev - good luck whatever you do.
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:00 PM
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Your acreage will be very, very location specific. Go down to the stock & station agent and find out. Don't trust any answer you get on the net, get it from some local person's actual mouth.


In my last climate where I had steers it was probably about 2 acres per steer but it all depends on whether you make your own hay or not. Too many variables, I don't think good answers can be got from an internet thread. you might need a really good conversation with a local.
Would have to agree with the above.
From my kiddie days in Lush New England a 45 acre farm, could graze 20 head CATTLE easy, but that and additional 60 acres was leased for grain and hay, as well as grazing on the neighboring farm ( free fertilizer for him) You cant lease now, as it pays more to let the land sit via the Government. And I'm not milking diary cows that's hole 'nother business [email protected]
The farm also had small orchard with sheep, 6 sows on average, and four kinds of poultry or fowl . And they still had to buy in feeds. I cant see how small guy could raise for profit, and I understand the steak post SHTF. I cant see how its feasible for a small guy. ( and the truth is you have to make the land pay) If I were doing it today for meat production i look at the leaner "posh" meats...since white tail thrive ( buy special license/permission here) and the rich like venison as status, the lambs bring twice the price and wool, and Goat is becoming more popular. It might be better options. But the I don't know about TEXAS. I think the idea of home grown for self homesteader might be better left to a round up of free range after the SHTF, otherwise it might cost more to raise than it is worth on small scale. Otherwise barter a bit with a bigger guy for a few each year. It might pay to think and re think that one, but you got the time.
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:35 PM
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I have cattle and I bought all of them online using DVauction.com. Essentially I bought heifers from 400 to 600 pounds to keep my costs low with an expectation of no production for 2 years. I then bought a bull from the auction as well to service the cattle. I do not buy hay they eat grass and some range cubes to keep them friendly. They get their shots once a year and produce calves to be sold the next year. Breed was not a consideration only that they were meat cows that were much like the cattle being sold at the location auctions. I make 28% on my money year over year.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:21 PM
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We have one Guernsey for milk and two dairy breed bull calves that will be going into the freezer when they are ready. They graze over 7 acres but I'm learning to grow grass and rotate them better. I just ordered an herbal ley from Countryside Organics that is mixed for cattle-not sure if it's for beef or dairy cattle-but it looks promising. For now they live on the fescue that was here when we moved but after learning more about getting the pasture right for raising cows on grass (no more baling hay, ect) the pasture will offer almost all they need all year round. It just takes time to do get it up to par.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:54 PM
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My location is southeast Texas, I am looking at around a 10 - 13 acre field for the cows.

How much land per cow do you need.
Depends on your grass. Could be anywhere from 1 to 4 acres per cow assuming you have OK grass.

Quote:
Best ways to keep water for the cattle.
Split your fields into sections with all of the sections butting up against a water trough in the center. then move your cows every week or so into the next field.

Quote:
Shelter from bad weather, such as 3 sided pole barn, or should they have a full 4 sided barn?
Mine are in Mo and they have no shelter. If you lived in Nebraska you might need shelter. Plant some fruit trees for shade and fruit. Skip cherries though and make sure to fence the trees. the cattle will rub on them and eat them if you do not.

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What is the best grass to plant for meat cattle?
Check out this flyer. But do keep in mind that some cattle can be poisoned by some breeds of Bermuda grass.
http://animalscience.tamu.edu/files/...ed-grasses.pdf
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