How to make a profit with beef cattle?

Discussion in 'General Cattle Discussion' started by Blaundee, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. Blaundee

    Blaundee New Member

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    Do you make a profit on your beef cattle? If so, HOW? I have had many years of caring for & working cattle, but never had any experience on the business side of things, & honestly don't see how you can make a profit selling beef cattle, even if you have winter grazing, & especially not if you feed hay all winter.
     
  2. Blaundee

    Blaundee New Member

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    Let me share where I'm coming from- I raise horses, poultry, goats, & sheep, with the sheep being the most profitable but most of the animals at least earn their keep. With raising sheep, each ewe can PROFIT $300/yr (including feeding the rams for the winter), & that isnt including wool sales or if she has triplets, or using winter pasture- that is assuming one is feeding the sheep hay for 6 months. With cows, however, I can't seem to make it work on paper, the only way it even seems to work is if you feed NO hay ever... which would not always be possible here. One could get by for several months, but not all winter.
     

  3. DBPMAINEANJOU

    DBPMAINEANJOU New Member

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    I dont know what prices are like in your area or what your feed situation is like but the only way to make money here on a small acerage to to have stud cattle which sell for a premium ,selling to the meatworks you will break even at best however there are economies of scale when you have a large enough herd and acerage .
     
  4. Blaundee

    Blaundee New Member

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    How many acres & how many cows do those of you who make a profit have?
     
  5. Blaundee

    Blaundee New Member

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    Cattle price here are usually .80-1.00/lb. We have plenty of room, & intend to get more land. We have several ideas, such as raising dairy calves on my goats' milk, keeping all calves through the winter & selling in the spring when prices are better- we would have the options of leasing winter pasture (when our hay doesnt grow) or growing our own hay. We're thinking to raise Naturalean Piedmontese.
     
  6. CROWEmtnFARMS

    CROWEmtnFARMS New Member

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    You have to look at what opetations bring the most money in your area. Here in upstate sc its feeder calves. Some places its cow calf operations and some its big bulls. Ive got 15 acres and have a breeding herd. I sell all the calves at 6mos or so and have never lost money. When you take 6 or 7 calves to market and bring home 7grand. Its a pretty good day. Im a firefighter and fool with cows on my off days. Pretty good side job/hobby
     
  7. Fairfarmhand

    Fairfarmhand New Member

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    I asked my dh this question last night. His answer...."I don't know." We don't know whether or not we make a profit. I'm kind of scared to run the numbers!

    Basically, most years if we break even we're happy. We do it to help offset our grocery bill, but mostly we do it for the joy of it.

    So much depends on the cost of land, whether it's a dry year or a wet year, whether you have herd health problems that year or not. It can vary so much!
     
  8. ausagventures

    ausagventures New Member

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    This is a really odd question...and I've skipped reading all the answers before I've put my 2 cents in...

    Running a beef cattle enterprise is a business, not unlike running any other sort of agricultural or non-agricultural business. Therefore, to be sustainable it must be socially sustainable, environmentally sustainable and economically sustainable i.e. viable.

    I'm not saying it is easy to make a profit- but I would say these factors help a bit...

    • Not only knowing, but understanding your cost of production
    • Adoption of new technology to increase efficiency & reduce input costs (even though costs of the actual inputs themselves are higher than ever)
    • Understand the market of which you are operating within, including the trends and cycles
    • Good bloody luck :)

    ETA- I've just read your second post...

    Perhaps beef cattle just aren't viable to your operation if you can't make it work. I suppose it's about understanding your financial and environmental constraints (i.e. carrying capacity) and then figuring out what is best to run on your operation. There are a number of farmers I know down here who would love to run cattle, but with the market, and the feeding requirements, it makes so much more sense for them to run sheep and wheat/ barley.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
  9. Blaundee

    Blaundee New Member

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  10. martin1986

    martin1986 New Member

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    ImageUploadedByCattle Forum1391812564.100263.jpg hi this is my first post, I'm in Ireland and farm a small holding, have 11 steers at the min but hope to stock. 30 by spring for summer grazing, buy in at weanling stage around 330 kilos and 6 to 8 months of age, but always better if you can buy them heavier. Very important to pick out the correct shaped weanling bull. I add a pic of one I bought he was a bit over budget but is very correct in every way, regarding profit you have to stock large numbers to make a good profit as your working on numbers.
     
  11. CROWEmtnFARMS

    CROWEmtnFARMS New Member

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    Very correct is right thats a dang good lookin steer. Ive never seen one that stocky here across the pond
     
  12. Fairfarmhand

    Fairfarmhand New Member

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    Nice animal. Is that a Charolais?

    I'm thinking that we will have some comparable ones this year. We;ve had some monstrously large calves this fall/winter, so they will be massive at weaning. I can't wait to see how they turn out.
     
  13. martin1986

    martin1986 New Member

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    He's actually a Simmental cross, more than likely with a Charolais cow. He's lovely, there a picture of a Charolais bull he will be casterated in the next few weeks he's 10 months old and 440kilos ImageUploadedByCattle Forum1392049161.542569.jpg
     
  14. martin1986

    martin1986 New Member

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    ImageUploadedByCattle Forum1392053590.117945.jpg that the pic seems not to have loaded in other comment
     
  15. RanchWife

    RanchWife New Member

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    Do you usually castrate at 10 months???
     
  16. martin1986

    martin1986 New Member

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    Am no depends on a few factors the rest there with him are all steers, it's easier to handle them and they were done at 7 and 8 months. he's the only bull as he was bought just a few weeks ago and has not caused any trouble so I left him till I buy a few more and then get the guy out and get them casterated. Can't really wait to long as he will get to strong and casteration will affect him, I don't want him to lose to much weight, are a lot of bulls kept for finishing in America ?
     
  17. Fairfarmhand

    Fairfarmhand New Member

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    Here in the States, calves are usually castrated at birth or at weaning. At least in my neck of the woods.

    I see that you have that thick soupy mud around your feeders too. So do we. I'm just glad it's thawed enough to have some mud rather than frozen solid. We've had a humdinger of a winter this year.

    What part of Ireland are you from? That;s one place I've always wanted to visit. However, with 4 kids and 30 cows to take care of, it may be awhile before I get the chance.
     
  18. martin1986

    martin1986 New Member

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    Am here it's seems to be different most farmers will sell them on as bulls at weanling stage or keep them for bull beef finishing , the arse is after falling out of the bull beef finishing here as the meat factory's now want bulls under 16 months of age so a lot of farmers are finding it harder to sell there older bulls that are fit for slaughter especially Frisian dairy bulls. So it's all shifting to steers which factory will take up to 30 months after that price drops a lot.

    I'm in Mountrath county Laois if u google it you will see it, its really just a small town with nothing in it haha, oh and the mud is a bitch, it's after raining so much here that the yard is just in muck
     
  19. Fairfarmhand

    Fairfarmhand New Member

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    Yes, here they do ding you at the sale barn for intact males. Especially if they are older. We had a 4 yr old bull that went sterile, so we processed him for our family's meat needs. The only thing is that because of BSE, they won't do certain cuts of meat. Rather than t bone steaks, we had to make do with filet mignon. It was good either way!
     
  20. martin1986

    martin1986 New Member

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    But doesn't the meat get very dark. Though that's why there ain't as many good cuts. Any nice pictures of cattle over there. ?