What would you do?

Discussion in 'Beef Cattle Discussion' started by dylcyp, May 8, 2014.

  1. dylcyp

    dylcyp New Member

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    Hello I am new to the forum. I thought I would get some ideas from other users. Our family owns 2000 acres in nor cal , with good water and over 800 acres of irrigated pasture. Hay has been grown here and it does well. Also cattle have been raised there. I want to start a cow calf operation ,but I wonder what would be best as a beginner and limited funds. Should I start a cattle herd or put my money into starting a haying operation. We have some equip but all machine need much repair. We are more equipped for cattle than hay. Any opinions? With a budget of 20,000 what would you do?
     
  2. Dion

    Dion New Member

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    This is just talk, so just take it for what it's worth and don't be too serious about things. You really don't have much money to get involved in the cattle market right now. The prices are sky high. And you have more land than it takes to support the amount of cattle you can purchase for 20K.

    So, assuming that you can in fact control all of what you mentioned in your post, I would pick out what ever type of cattle operation that you preferred (commercial or registered/purebred) and go with that. I would look for some local sales/auctions/dispersals and buy some bred females for a economical price. I am hoping that you could find seven females and one bull for 20K. You said you were more equipped for cattle than hay so I assume there are some fences in place. Graze the 8 head of cattle on some fraction of the property. Find someone to bale your hay on shares so that you don't have to put out any cash for that initially. Put back 100 round bales for the first winter and sell the rest. Re-evaluate your cash flow at weaning time and decide then which direction to redirect or refocus on buying farm equipment to harvest your own hay at that point. Buying bred females seems to be a relatively time tested reasonably safe way to get started. -- What does anyone else think?
     

  3. Dion

    Dion New Member

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    Also I was able to find a trailer hitch mounted round bale mover for 80 dollars. So look for something like that to move hay if you don't have a tractor. You would also have incidental costs like minerals, immunizations. But I assume you have another off the farm job to maintain your cash flow.
     
  4. DoubleR

    DoubleR Repro Lover

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    Dylcyp,
    First off WELCOME to the forum!
    Your very lucky to have that kind of land in CA anymore. Especially set up how it sounds.
    My thoughts as someone born and raised in the cattle/ranching business in CA. The cattle herds in CA are shrinking by the day. The demand is higher and supply lower. The prices are looking to stay high for several years to come.
    The hay market is also HIGH due to the drought and only going higher.
    As a beginner, I would not even remotely recommend starting heifers. I would also not recommend jumping in with both feet up front.
    If it were me I'd do both. Hay and cattle.
    I'd start with a good quality group of second or third year cows. Either calf at side or 3 ways. Calf at side and bred back. This will prevent the 1st calf heifer issues but give you young cows to start a good solid herd with.
    I'd go commercial at least to get your feet wet.
    I'm not sure where you are so I can't recommend good sales. You will start seeing production and more dispersal sales here soon. Especially with the drought continuing.
    Bull sales will also be going on and the way they've been going the last few years you can find great bulls for cheep. Of course all will depend on what you buy, cow wise, and your plans.
    Hay is in such demand that I'm sure you can work out a deal with a hay guy to work your land for the season. May not cost you but get you hay for your own use. Then fix your equipment as you can. Maybe plant the next crop and have a baler come and bale it for you. Then the following season do it all yourself.
    Please be sure to consider your first years supplies also. Minerals, wormer and vaccinations are a must. Have some money set aside for vet bills etc.
    Just my current thoughts :) Looking forward to hearing more and seeing what you decide.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2014
  5. dylcyp

    dylcyp New Member

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    Thank you all for your sound advice, I never even thought of having some one else cut and bail our hay on shares. I think I will try to go that route , it gives me more confidence knowing that is a possibility . I wanted to avoid feeding in the winter and just run stockers through the summer . But the price of mid weight cattle is outrageous. I personally feel there is more need for cow calf outfits . Also the ranch is located northeast of susanville ca. Know of any good sales
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2014
  6. DoubleR

    DoubleR Repro Lover

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    I know Susanville very well! Very nice area! Great for both hay and cattle. We varmint hunt around there sometimes.
    Stockers will be very hard to do right now without big bucks and a well started operation. Going to be that way for a few more years at least as predicted right now.
    Yes cow calf operations are needed big time. Especially now. A lot of ranches have gone out of business lately. The herd numbers are dwindling fast and getting a bit scary in CA especially. Heifers numbers on feed lot right now have gone down noticeably due to ranchers holding them back as replacements.
    If your wanting to be a stocker operation maybe a way to get that going is start with a cow/ calf herd, keep your feeders back. Get your connections set up and transition over the next few years.
    Most of the ranches I know in your area do video sales anymore. I'll put an ear out and see what's recommended as far as local auctions/sales.
    Should be making a hunting run soon. We hunt on hay/cow-calf ranches. I'll ask around while were there also. :)
     
  7. dylcyp

    dylcyp New Member

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    Wow thank you. You might know high rock ranch. A lot of people use to hunt there.
     
  8. DoubleR

    DoubleR Repro Lover

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    I know of it. We hunt on smaller private ranches. Friends of friends. ;)
    I'm really rooting for you :) I'd love to help how I can :)
     
  9. Dion

    Dion New Member

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    I think you can do it. Sounds like fun.