converting to a beef finishing farm??

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NY-Farmer
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converting to a beef finishing farm??

Postby NY-Farmer » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:45 pm

I've been more or less a hobby farmer for 20 years - thinking of selling off the brood cows and just finishing off calves but would really like to connect with someone who has done this transition. Currently the farm supports 30 - 40 brood cows, calves and a steer or two. Would really like to have a discussion with someone who can shed light and add value to concerns around:
- how many calves to plan on for a two year cycle
- setting up the barn for different age groups
- pitfalls, success, and other concerns

Having a conversation would be very helpful and appreciated. thanks.
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Re: converting to a beef finishing farm??

Postby boondocks » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:59 am

:welcome: My operation is a bit different than what you're doing so I'll let others weigh in here. Whereabouts are you generally located? We have several NYers on here.
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Re: converting to a beef finishing farm??

Postby HDRider » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:04 am

Welcome.

I hope some folks chime in. It would be an interesting read.

Good luck.

Just to add something of value, maybe, Do you have a good market? I have been running an ad on Craig's List for about 3 weeks, and no nibbles. I am getting a little concerned. I am trying sell wholes and I know that might be a turnoff, but really no one has even got to the point of asking about that. I have compared my prices locally to other sellers. I am not the cheapest, and I am not the highest. I even compared to Kroger's grocery store and all in, processing and all, I am almost 22% below that retail price.
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Re: converting to a beef finishing farm??

Postby dieselbeef » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:37 am

people don't have place for 300 lbs of meat...and most of em only want steaks cuz they don't have money for a whole cow..or even a half...
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Re: converting to a beef finishing farm??

Postby ChrisB » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:43 pm

Do you raise crops? What type of facilities do you have for finishing? Are you thinking steins or colored cattle? Do you currently finish the calves from your brood cows?

Every farm might have a different advantage they can utilize so it's really hard to give good advice
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Re: converting to a beef finishing farm??

Postby boondocks » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:58 am

HDRider wrote:Welcome.

I hope some folks chime in. It would be an interesting read.

Good luck.

Just to add something of value, maybe, Do you have a good market? I have been running an ad on Craig's List for about 3 weeks, and no nibbles. I am getting a little concerned. I am trying sell wholes and I know that might be a turnoff, but really no one has even got to the point of asking about that. I have compared my prices locally to other sellers. I am not the cheapest, and I am not the highest. I even compared to Kroger's grocery store and all in, processing and all, I am almost 22% below that retail price.


We've struggled with beef sales this year as well. Grocery store prices are very low; really don't know how they can do it. Too, lots of people say they want a quarter or half, but it's really an "aspirational" thing: they WANT to be folks who can buy a quarter of all-natural grassfed beef directly from the farm, but they neither have a big freezer nor enough cash saved up to buy a quarter. Our motto is: "Eat Less Beef. Eat BETTER Beef." Dunno we're getting much traction lol. (Don't steal my trademark). We don't want to go to retail (single piece) sales but may have to. I have a half a cow in the freezer that I'll probably give most of away over the next 6 months.
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Re: converting to a beef finishing farm??

Postby ddd75 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:31 am

i think the main thing is people don't want to fork over 1000+ bucks to buy some beef that potentially might taste like crap. the market is flooded with everyone promoting "GRASS FED BEEF - 5lbs of corn everyday" and they havea picture of some scrappy looking half jersey cow that looks like it might go for .20 cents / lb at the market. but YOU can have this amazing meat for only 3.00 / lb !!!!!!

a butcher here was running full page ads saying they had FARM FRESH BEEF (feedlot) for only 2.05 / lb hanging. I'm not sure how they are doing that but thats really cheap. I don't see the ads anymore so I don't even think they sold any even with that insanely low price.

I think selling individual cuts and possibly partnering with a few other people to provide more products for purchase in a single location is the key to getting and retaining customers.
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Re: converting to a beef finishing farm??

Postby dieselbeef » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:35 am

or a cow with only ribeyes..cause u can sell them all day
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Re: converting to a beef finishing farm??

Postby jerry27150 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:24 pm

don't think he was asking about freezer beef, I used to finish all my calves to 11 to 12 hundred & sell at sale barn. always made out fine in pa. I had my own cow herd, but if you can buy calves reasonably & get corn cheap too you should do fine. lots of corn grown in ny. I would buy it by truckload if you have a place to store
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Re: converting to a beef finishing farm??

Postby NY-Farmer » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:30 am

I'm located in the southern tier / finger lakes area of NY. I currently have about 30-35 brood cows but in doing different scenarios, I'm not at all sure that selling feeder calves is the most profitable way to use what resources I have. As a hobby, loved having the calves and moms but I am looking to transition into a profitable farm, hoping that is not an oxymoron. With 140 acres and a barn, the land will support only so many animals. Just wondering if anyone changed over to just finishing and how that move impacted the bottom line. And yes I've thought about finishing the calves I raise but it becomes a space, food, and numbers game. Agree, selling beef off Craiglist didn't work for me either.
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Re: converting to a beef finishing farm??

Postby ChrisB » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:43 pm

How many tillable acres? If you have the equipment for raising and storing corn, buying 250-300 pound Holstein steers and finishing them would be something to consider. Whole shelled corn and pellets for feed and corn stalks for bedding/roughage. Figure around 125(?) bu. corn per head.
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Jeanne - Simme Valley
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Re: converting to a beef finishing farm??

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:15 pm

I am about 30 miles South of Syracuse, where are you?
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Re: converting to a beef finishing farm??

Postby NY-Farmer » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:22 pm

That would put you somewhere in the Cortland area if I'm not mistaken. I am a little further down near the South end of Seneca Lake. And to Chris's question - somewhere around 80 acres which isn't including pasture. I currently am only able to do hay but corn could become a possibility with additional equipment. I've been running numbers and the more scenarios that I plot out the less overwhelming decisions become. In posting, I was just hoping to capture ideas and pitfalls that perhaps I haven't considered.
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Jeanne - Simme Valley
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Re: converting to a beef finishing farm??

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:18 am

Yes, I am in Summerhill, which is between Cortland & Groton. 10 minutes off I-81.
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Re: converting to a beef finishing farm??

Postby HDRider » Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:55 am

jerry27150 wrote:don't think he was asking about freezer beef, I used to finish all my calves to 11 to 12 hundred & sell at sale barn. always made out fine in pa. I had my own cow herd, but if you can buy calves reasonably & get corn cheap too you should do fine. lots of corn grown in ny. I would buy it by truckload if you have a place to store

What percent of their feed was corn?
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