From dairy to beef

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Craig Forrest
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From dairy to beef

Postby Craig Forrest » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:36 pm

I am breeding my dairy cows (Holstein) to Brangus and raising the calves on bottle Tha plan is to sell the steers and buy purebred beef heifers the same size as the heifers I’m raising. I would like opinions on what kind of bull to use on themand would I be better off to sell all of them and buy beef to start with ?
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Re: From dairy to beef

Postby Bullitt » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:36 pm

Craig Forrest wrote:I am breeding my dairy cows (Holstein) to Brangus and raising the calves on bottle Tha plan is to sell the steers and buy purebred beef heifers the same size as the heifers I’m raising. I would like opinions on what kind of bull to use on themand would I be better off to sell all of them and buy beef to start with ?


If you are going to breed the Holstein X Brangus heifers, you want a continental European bull. Some common breeds are Charolais, Limousin, Gelbvieh, and Simmental. Black is the most popular now, though.

If you can sell all of the Holstein X Brangus steers and heifers and buy heifers of a beef breed, you would be better off.

You can keep selling all the calves you get from the Holstein and Brangus cross and keep buying more beef heifers, if you have the land for them.

Where do you live?
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Ky hills
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Re: From dairy to beef

Postby Ky hills » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:40 pm

I have kept some Angus x Holsteins for cows and like them. They may not hold up quite as long as a straight beef cow on average due to udder problems, but can certainly raise some nice big calves. I feel like that the Brangus cross will make some real good cows. If it were me I would breed them to calving ease Angus or Brangus, depending on your location and markets for their first calf.
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Re: From dairy to beef

Postby Waterway65 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:28 pm

I haven't followed the dairy side for awhile but it used to be that dairy cows were worth $300-400 more than beef cows. If this is still true I would recommend selling your more valuable dairy cows and buying straight beef cattle.
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Re: From dairy to beef

Postby Son of Butch » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:49 pm

Craig Forrest wrote:The plan is to sell the steers and buy purebred beef heifers the same size as the heifers I’m raising.
I would like opinions on what kind of bull to use on them....

Why purebred heifers?
Where are you located?
What brings premium prices in your area and what is your target market?

Breed them to purebred Black Angus bulls.... is the best answer I can give you... since you haven't even bothered to
identify what BREED of purebred beef heifers you'll be buying!
Angus, Brahma, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Hereford, Simmental.... other?

Seems you have more planning to do before choosing a bull.
:welcome: to the boards
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Re: From dairy to beef

Postby kickinbull » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:48 pm

Waterway65 wrote:I haven't followed the dairy side for awhile but it used to be that dairy cows were worth $300-400 more than beef cows. If this is still true I would recommend selling your more valuable dairy cows and buying straight beef cattle.
dairy cows price is in the tank and sinking lower
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Re: From dairy to beef

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:43 am

:welcome: to the board.
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Re: From dairy to beef

Postby True Grit Farms » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:01 am

Angus - Holstein heifers will make a great momma cow. We use them as recips, they will raise the biggest calf almost every time. And adding Brahman should make them not be so feed dependent. Where are you located?
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Re: From dairy to beef

Postby Stocker Steve » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:02 am

Waterway65 wrote:I haven't followed the dairy side for awhile but it used to be that dairy cows were worth $300-400 more than beef cows. If this is still true I would recommend selling your more valuable dairy cows and buying straight beef cattle.


Broken mouth Hereford cows are worth more than most DHIA dairy cows. :nod:
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Re: From dairy to beef

Postby Son of Butch » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:04 pm

Fancy Holstein springing heifers 1450 lbs $1300 (.90 lb)
average quality 1250 lbs $1,000 (.80 lb)
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Re: From dairy to beef

Postby TexasBred » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:13 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:
Waterway65 wrote:I haven't followed the dairy side for awhile but it used to be that dairy cows were worth $300-400 more than beef cows. If this is still true I would recommend selling your more valuable dairy cows and buying straight beef cattle.


Broken mouth Hereford cows are worth more than most DHIA dairy cows. :nod:

Not down here. Good "fresh" holstein will bring $1500. Broke mouth about $.50 lb.

One of the finest herds of cattle I ever looked at was half jersey, half red brahman....awesome cattle.
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Re: From dairy to beef

Postby Son of Butch » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:16 pm

Finest herd for what?
IF dairy, you need to get out more.
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Re: From dairy to beef

Postby TexasBred » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:59 pm

Son of Butch wrote:Finest herd for what?
IF dairy, you need to get out more.

Beef.........BUT I also had a friend that use to milk 100 heard of holstein/brahman crosses along with the typical holsteins. When those holsteins were under a bush trying to stay alive in the Texas heat those brahman crosses were grazing. Seldom peaked in milk much over 50 lbs. per head per day but also held most of that during the heat of summer when the holsteins would drop to 50% or less....AND it would be 4.7..4.8 butterfat for a pretty dam good bonus. After about 3 lactations a holstein cull is worth about $500......the same brahman cross will bring you $1000. Maybe you need to get out of your rut and realize there is more than one way to dairy Butch.
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Craig Forrest
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Re: From dairy to beef

Postby Craig Forrest » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:52 pm

I live in southeast Louisiana and planning on breeding heifers Angus or Brangus I have the Holsteins sold anytime I want but wanted to raise into the beef and not trade out Milk cows in out area bring 1500 to 1650 each
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Re: From dairy to beef

Postby farmerjan » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:19 pm

If you can get over 1500 for dairy cows I would sell them. Here in Va there is a minor "war" going on with the "milk surplus" and the different milk companies like DFA and Maryland/VA. Milk prices keep falling, they are raising the hauling rate on the milk and farmers are really feeling the pinch. Add to that, the talk is that milk will continue to fall to the $13. to $14.00 per hundred by summer; currently it is in the 17.50 per hundred range. Even the best farmers cannot make milk for 13.00 per hundred. I have been a DHIA tester for over 25 years and milked cows on several farms for 20 years or so before that. I see the struggle that they are facing and know what it costs to both feed dairy and beef cows in general. Good replacement dairy heifers here are lucky to get 1200 to 1400 on average. Sales are flat and no one has the money to buy replacements either.

You will lose out in the first 2 generations on the calves if the markets there, are anything like here. Anything that looks like it has dairy in it, ie. holsteins mostly, will bring on average 1.00 per lb for 500 lb feeder steers. If it has the fineness of jersey, then .75 to .90 per lb. I'm talking holstein x beef (as in angus).... Maybe in your area it won't hurt as much but here it does. To top it all off here it has to be black to get the best prices most of the time. Black baldies do good, smokies do pretty good, and from there it is downhill. I am well aware that different areas will favor different breeds/crosses.

I don't know what beef cows are worth there, maybe higher than here. But here, if you go to the cattle sales that advertise breds and cow/calf pairs, you can find fair to decent cows in the 1000 to 1400 range. We just bought 3 cow calf pairs, cows have solid to short mouths with 3 - 175 lb plus steer calves on them for 875.00 EACH PAIR. Breds were bringing in the 1200 average. Even first calf heifers were not going over 1600. I'm not talking top of the line registered stuff, but some decent cattle. You could nearly trade even up and get into productive beef faster. We usually can get 2-4 years out of the short mouth cattle which is often a few good heifers to keep to raise as replacements. Usually we can get at least 1/2 to 2/3 rds of the bought cost out of the cow when culled if she is in good flesh. If the calf weans off at 500 lbs and brings 1.50 then it is worth 750 so that means that the cow has made you 200 over the cost of keeping her. Plus you can pick and choose on replacement heifers to keep or just go buy a few more.

We buy and sell some every year; some we might break even on and some we make a decent return on. But the thing of it is that they are all beef and will bring better than any dairy cross ones. Now I raise several on my dairy nurse cows and 3 per cow per year will give me a profit over and above all feed costs at 1.00 lb. for the 500 lb steer calf. But I have some 3rd generation jersey crosses that still show the finer bone structure and it hurts the calves. I am trying a different cross AI to see if I can't get more body/beef/bone on the calves, and make them more saleable. If I didn't like my jersey and guernsey dairy cows, I would not have anything but straight beef for return on investment; and I would not be trying to "breed up" to beef.
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