RAISING BEEF CATTLE ON A FEW ACRES

The place to start if you are new!
User avatar
Arkansas
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 601
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:41 pm
Location: NE Arkansas

RAISING BEEF CATTLE ON A FEW ACRES

Postby Arkansas » Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:08 am

I want to start off by letting you all know this is not my material I found it while looking into raising cattle on a few acres. I found it very helpfully and I noticed alot of new people who hit the forums always ask the same questions. I want to start raising Cattle and how many acres do I need and what kind of Operation should I run etc.. Well this should help alot of you and maybe some older people to the forums on certain things. Maybe we can get it sticky'd so others can see it when they first get here..

I believe it is by the: Utah State University Extension Office

INTRODUCTION
If you are living on a few acres you may have the resources to raise a few beef cattle.
There are four different enterprises to consider.

1. Cow calf enterprise: keeping a few mother cows and raising calves from them. The
calves normally would be weaned at about 6 months of age and weigh approximately 500
pounds.

2. Dairy beef enterprise:purchasing new born dairy calves and raising them until they
weigh 300 to 500 pounds.

3. Feeder or stocker calf enterprise:purchasing calves that weigh between 400 and 500
pounds and feeding them until they weigh from 700 to 900 pounds. (Stockers are placed on
pasture or on diets high in forage.)

4. Market beef enterprise: purchasing 700 to 900 pound calves and feeding them to
market weight (1100 to 1200 pounds).

The resources available will determine which of these enterprises is appropriate for your
situation. It may be possible to use a combination of two or three of these enterprises. In this fact
sheet we will discuss implementing a feeder or stocker enterprise and a market beef enterprise.


WHAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE?

Location- One of the first things to consider is if the enterprise is compatible with the
community. Is the property zoned for large animal production? How many animals can you
have? How will neighbors react to the project?

Land- Some acreages are suitable for pasture production. Is irrigation water available?
When is the water available? What kind of an irrigation system is in place? Contact your
irrigation company to find answers to these questions. A corral or dry lot must be available to
keep the animals in when irrigating and when the pasture needs a rest from grazing. Corrals are
also essential if finishing cattle on grain rations. If there is adequate acreage you may consider
farming and raising some of your own feed. Realize that it is expensive to own and maintain
equipment. It may not be economically feasible to own equipment, although custom operators are
an option.

Forage Production and Carrying Capacity- There are several factors that affect forage
production in a pasture: season, rainfall, availability of irrigation water, soil conditions, soil
fertility, plant varieties, and grazing management. In Utah, pastures are normally grazed from the
first part of May through the end of September. Note that this is only a five month period.
Nevertheless, during some years grazing will be available in April and October. The greatest
forage production and quality on grass pastures usually occurs from May 15 until July 15.
Cattle performance and carrying capacity are related to and affected by forage production
and quality. Carrying capacity and cattle performance are not simple to predict and will change
from month to month. For example, during the month of June you may be able to graze five, 500
pound calves per acre and have them gain two pounds per head per day. However, during the
month of August you may only be able to graze three, 500 pound calves per acre and have them
gain one pound per head per day. Contact your county Extension office for more information on
pasture management.

The Human Resource - You and your family may gain a lot of satisfaction from raising a
few cattle. Children can benefit from the added responsibility and families can be strengthened as
they work together. However, the project will require a commitment of time. Even when cattle
are on pasture they need to be observed daily to make sure that they have adequate feed and
water and to assure that they are healthy.

Facilities - In the production of cattle on small acreages it is not necessary to provide
more than the basic facilities. Some necessary facilities would be a means of constraint (such as a
headgate and side panel), trough or feeder for supplemental feeds, and proper fencing. There
must also be available a clean and continual source of water to the animal.
Humane care of animals is legislated and must be adhered to so provide facilities that will
accommodate animal welfare. These would include care for the animal in all aspects of its life,
such as proper feed, handling facilities, shelter and the removal of any or all conditions which may
inflict stress on the animal. If unsure of any of these principles consult with your Extension Agent
or local veterinarian. When cattle need to be treated or handled it is necessary to restrain them for their safety
and the safety of the people handling them. Commercially manufactured squeeze chutes offer
excellent restraint, however, they are expensive. Plans are available from the Extension Service
for building homemade chutes constructed of metal or lumber. These are generally adequate when
handling a small number of cattle. Good fences are important to insure safety and good relationships with neighbors. Electric
fences are useful for pasture management, and perimeter fences should be sufficiently strong, high
and tight to contain the animals. A four and a half foot fence made of woven wire, six strands of
barbed wire, or a combination of the two is adequate. Corral fences should be at least five feet
high and constructed of wood or metal. Woven wire and barbed wire are not recommended in
areas where cattle are being crowded or handled.Troughs are necessary if cattle are being fed grain. A feed bunk or commercially available feeder is necessary to minimize waste when cattle are fed hay in a confined area.
Cattle do well in the cold of winter in Utah if they have a wind break and a dry place to
bed down. Corrals tend to get wet and muddy in the winter and spring. Cattle either need some
high dry ground or a shelter.


CONSIDERATIONS WHEN PURCHASING ANIMALS

Condition - If you are purchasing cattle to put on pasture avoid cattle with excess fat as
they gain poorly for the first month. Cattle should be healthy but lean and avoid cattle that may
not have performed well elsewhere. You may be able to purchase them for less money but they
probably won’t achieve an acceptable performance.

Health - Does the animal look healthy? Is it alert and bright eyed? Is its breathing normal
and does it move about vigorously? Does it have a dull hair coat and look emaciated? What has it
been vaccinated for and when?

Frame Size - Cattle with a small frame will finish at a light weight while cattle with a
large frame will finish at a heavy weight. Cattle with different frame sizes require different
feeding programs. Since you will want to manage your cattle as a group, purchase cattle that are
uniform in frame size.

Breed - In most situations frame and conformation are more important than breed in
relation to cattle performance. However, there are some things to consider. Holsteins will work
well in a feeder or finishing enterprise. They require different management and sell in a different
market category. Animals with a high percentage of Brahman genetics do poorly in cold winter
conditions. The disposition of the cattle can be an important factor which can be a breed
characteristic. Avoid cattle that are high-strung or aggressive.


SOURCES
As with any purchase it is important that you get value for your money. If you are
uncertain about how to purchase a beef animal then it would be best to deal with someone who is
ethical and understands this side of the business. This could include a family member, friend,
neighbor, local farmer or County Agent. The idea is to not go into a purchase with little or no
information or background. Cattle can be purchased directly from beef producers with the price based on local market
conditions. The local market is established primarily in commodity markets many miles away
from where you live. These are then modified for each specific region of the country based on
transportation costs to markets and local conditions. These local conditions could be such
variables as abundance of feedstuffs, moisture conditions and supply and demand. Markets will
change through the seasons and from year to year.
Within your state there are also livestock auction markets in certain municipalities. Here
livestock producers bring their animals and exhibit them through an auction ring and sold to the
highest bidder. It is a system where potential buyers and sellers are brought together and a fair
price established. In order to determine what may be fair, however, the potential buyer must have
some idea of local market conditions and a predetermined animal type that they wish to purchase.
Market reports are provided on the radio and can be checked on a daily basis, along with
local auction market prices on the Internet. Following the market for a couple of weeks before you
purchase will help you insure that you are paying a fair price for your cattle. If you have done your
homework it will assist you in purchasing at a fair price whether you purchase from a local
auction or an individual.
Market prices are quoted on the basis of the weight and sex of the animal sold. Generally
nothing is reported about the condition or quality of the animals.
The correct size for your enterprise - If you want stocker cattle to put on grass, calves that
weigh less than 450 pounds perform poorly on grass pasture. If cattle weigh over 750 pounds in
the spring, they should not be fed on pasture. It is recommended that they be placed in a confined
situation and fed a higher proportion of concentrate feeds, such as barley or corn. Make sure you
have animals that fit your enterprise.


MANAGING YOUR CATTLE ENTERPRISE

Nutritional Management on Pasture
When cattle are on grass the amount of forage consumed will determine how well they
will perform, usually expressed in average daily gain (ADG). Growing beef cattle will consume
approximately 2.5 percent of their body weight each day (dry matter pounds) depending on forage
maturity and palatability. It requires approximately 8 to 10 pounds of roughage (dry matter) for
every pound of gain. Thus a 600 pound growing calf consuming 15 pounds of dry matter may gain
approximately 1.5 to 2.0 pounds each day (depending on forage quality). This level of ADG can
be increased when a concentrate, such as barley or corn, is fed to the cattle on grass. This will also
increase the number of animals that can be placed on a pasture. If concentrate is fed it should be
fed at relatively low levels (2 to 4 pounds per day) in a feed trough while cattle are on pasture. The
prices of the various commodities will dictate for any given year if this is economically
advantageous. Vitamins and minerals must also be provided.

Nutritional Management in Confinement
If cattle are confined, all nutrients required for growth and production must be supplied.
Normally growing cattle over 700 pounds will receive rations relatively high in concentrates to
gain faster. The concentrate should be processed for maximum benefit to the animal. If possible it
is best to mix all feedstuffs together and fed in a fence line bunk, however, forages can be fed
separate from the concentrate. Supplements containing vitamins and minerals and perhaps
additional protein (dependent on the amount of protein in the forage), should also be included at
manufacturers recommendations. The supplement can be obtained from any feed supply store.
Check nutrient levels through feed analysis (see your County Agent) of your forage to determine
the appropriate supplement.
A typical growing ration for a 650 pound steer gaining 2.5 pounds per day may contain
the following (subject to nutrient analysis):
Alfalfa hay - 11 pounds
Rolled barley - 6 pounds
Supplement - 1 pound (10 % protein with recommended levels of vitamins and minerals)
If grass hay is used the supplement should contain 14 to 16 % protein.
An acclimation period is necessary to adapt the animal to the concentrate. Feed the ration to
appetite or as much as they will consume maintaining the forage to concentrate ratio.
Once growing cattle reach 800 pounds, more concentrate can be fed. An 800 pound steer
will gain approximately 3.0 pounds per day and will consume approximately 20 pounds of dry
matter. It is essential to increase the amount of grain in the ration slowly to avoid digestive upset.
Increase the concentrate .5 pounds per day until the ration is approximately 65 % concentrate, 30
% roughage and 5 % supplement, fed 2 to 3 times per day.

Health Management
Cattle are susceptible to a variety of diseases. Good planning and management, along with
use of common vaccines and pharmaceuticals will usually enable your cattle to avoid most disease
problems. Find a local veterinarian who includes cattle in their practice and consult with that
practitioner about a herd health program, based on your type of enterprise, prior to your obtaining
any cattle. If in doubt consult with your Extension Veterinarian who has a list of State certified
veterinarians by area and specialty.

Bloat may cause sudden death of an affected animal. Avoid grazing cattle on lush alfalfa.
Other plants may also cause problems for cattle so it would be wise to have your County Agent or
veterinarian visit your pasture and corral area and determine any potential plant problems that may
be present. It is important that any supplemental feeds used be free of mold and spoilage. Avoid
sudden feed changes; make gradual changes (over 10-14 days), especially when adding grain to
the ration. Bloat may be considered a disease which can affect animals in confinement fed
mixtures of alfalfa and concentrate. Symptoms are similar as well as treatment which should be
discussed with a veterinarian.

Scours (diarrhea) is common in newborn calves and animals of a young age. Cows must
receive adequate protein and energy during pregnancy, especially the last 60 days to provide
immunity to disease for the newborn. The newborn calf must also receive colostrum (the first
milk), within 1-6 hours of birth in order to develop immunity (antibodies) against disease. A clean
environment is also essential for the cow just prior to and after calving. The basic treatment for
scours is fluid and electrolytes to maintain hydration of the calf.

Respiratory Disease (pneumonia) stress, weather changes and infectious agents may all
be involved and are most common in calves soon after weaning. Minimize stress at this time and
provide protection from the elements, such as a shed and windbreak. Develop a vaccination
program with your veterinarian including IBR (infectious bovine rhinotracheitis), PI3 (parainfluenza
type 3), BRSV (bovine respiratory syncytial virus) and BVD (bovine virus diarrhea). A
minimal program for respiratory disease would include an intra nasal vaccination with IBR and
PI3 at 2-3 months of age and a vaccination at weaning containing a modified live virus (MLV) for
IBR, PI3, BRSV, and BVD.

Clostridial Diseases: a group of related diseases may cause sudden death, especially in
young, growing cattle. These diseases are Blackleg, Enterotoxemia, etc. Good vaccines are
available and cattle should be vaccinated early in life with boosters at appropriate times. Your
veterinarian can help you select the proper vaccine and outline a time schedule. This would
include a 7-way Clostridial vaccine at 2-3 months of age and a second booster at weaning.

Parasite Control: when cattle are grazed on the same pastures every year, internal
parasites may become a problem. In this situation deworming is needed to minimize parasite load
and allow proper gains. Specific products to use and the time are critical considerations and
depend on your grazing program. Your local veterinarian is best prepared to provide advice.
External parasites of concern include lice, (common in winter) and horn flies (common in
summer). Both need to be controlled, and several pesticides and methods of application are
available.

General: injections of any type may cause lesions if injected into the muscles. All
injections should be given subcutaneously (under the skin) when possible. Muscles in the neck
can be used if it is necessary that intramuscular injections be given. DO NOT make injections into
the hind quarters (rear legs or hip). Be sure to keep records of all treatments and always follow the
withdrawal times as directed. The directions on the product will indicate how long the animal
must be withheld from slaughter after use of the specific product. Always follow all directions on
the label.


MARKETING YOUR PRODUCT
If you have a feeder or stocker enterprise your product is one or more 700 to 900 pound
calves. You may choose to keep the animals and feed them as a market cattle enterprise or if you
do not have the desire or resources to do so, you will need to market them. If you only have a few
cattle of this type your marketing options are limited. To ensure cattle are marketed optimally
discuss your options with those experienced in the business and listen for market reports via
newspaper or radio. You can sell them at a local auction or sell them by private treaty by
advertising them in the paper, word of mouth or an add on bulletin boards at the local feed store or
wherever cattlemen gather.
If you have a market cattle enterprise you can always have the finished product butchered
for home consumption. You can, however, have them slaughtered by a custom packer and sell
them to individuals cut and wrapped which is not always economical. Extension personnel can
assist you in determining the economics of home-raised beef.

CONCLUSIONS
Those interested in growing and raising beef cattle on their acreage can find this very
rewarding. Be informed, however, so that you do not become involved in an enterprise that you
have little knowledge of or that is not economical. Consult with feed company personnel,
Extension staff, local veterinarians or beef producers. Raising animals can improve quality of life
and provide great satisfaction and responsibility for families. Explore your options and then
decide.
0 x
Sorry about my grammar/punctuation, I'm from Arkansas! "Whats your excuse" :) 2B1ASK1

User avatar
Double E
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 96
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:53 am
Location: OKC

Re: RAISING BEEF CATTLE ON A FEW ACRES

Postby Double E » Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:30 am

Very concise and informative, thanks for posting!
0 x

User avatar
Arkansas
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 601
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:41 pm
Location: NE Arkansas

Re: RAISING BEEF CATTLE ON A FEW ACRES

Postby Arkansas » Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:06 pm

Thank you! And your welcome. I noticed it had alot of good information. Maybe we can get it added to the FYI board for all the New people that come :)
0 x
Sorry about my grammar/punctuation, I'm from Arkansas! "Whats your excuse" :) 2B1ASK1

User avatar
shaz
GURU
GURU
Posts: 1246
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:04 pm
Location: Middle Tn

Re: RAISING BEEF CATTLE ON A FEW ACRES

Postby shaz » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:11 pm

Your getting educated before you have cows.
I wish I had done that...
0 x
Grab the bull by the horns.....then what are you supposed to do?

User avatar
Arkansas
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 601
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:41 pm
Location: NE Arkansas

Re: RAISING BEEF CATTLE ON A FEW ACRES

Postby Arkansas » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:24 pm

shaz wrote:Your getting educated before you have cows.
I wish I had done that...


Trying my best to make sure I dont jump in head first to come to an abrupt stop.. I wanna make sure I get as much info as possiable so my livestock arent the one's to suffer for my mistakes :)
0 x
Sorry about my grammar/punctuation, I'm from Arkansas! "Whats your excuse" :) 2B1ASK1

IluvABbeef
GURU
GURU
Posts: 3632
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:38 pm

Re: RAISING BEEF CATTLE ON A FEW ACRES

Postby IluvABbeef » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:44 pm

Arkansas, do you have the link where you got the article by any chance? It seems to be the type of article that should be put into everyone's favorites when they get to this post. :)
0 x

User avatar
Arkansas
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 601
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:41 pm
Location: NE Arkansas

Re: RAISING BEEF CATTLE ON A FEW ACRES

Postby Arkansas » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:41 am

IluvABbeef wrote:Arkansas, do you have the link where you got the article by any chance? It seems to be the type of article that should be put into everyone's favorites when they get to this post. :)



Yes Sir, I sure do :)

http://www.msuextension.org/ruralliving ... _acres.pdf :cboy:
0 x
Sorry about my grammar/punctuation, I'm from Arkansas! "Whats your excuse" :) 2B1ASK1

IluvABbeef
GURU
GURU
Posts: 3632
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:38 pm

Re: RAISING BEEF CATTLE ON A FEW ACRES

Postby IluvABbeef » Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:15 pm

Thanks! Saving that file onto my hard-drive for future reference. :)
0 x

User avatar
Arkansas
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 601
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:41 pm
Location: NE Arkansas

Re: RAISING BEEF CATTLE ON A FEW ACRES

Postby Arkansas » Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:41 am

No problem. Its a good piece of info to have.
0 x
Sorry about my grammar/punctuation, I'm from Arkansas! "Whats your excuse" :) 2B1ASK1

User avatar
DCortez
Beginner
Beginner
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:38 pm

Re: RAISING BEEF CATTLE ON A FEW ACRES

Postby DCortez » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:15 am

shaz wrote:Your getting educated before you have cows.
I wish I had done that...



Aint that the truth. At least I'm "smartening up this go round", lol.
0 x
rootin, tootin, shootin
texas gun owner

User avatar
Ruark
Trail Boss
Trail Boss
Posts: 282
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:29 am
Location: Evant, TX

Re: RAISING BEEF CATTLE ON A FEW ACRES

Postby Ruark » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:01 am

Good basic information there. 3 cows per acre in August? I wish. In many southwestern areas, it's more like 1 cow per 10 acres. I would like to add:

- business management. Get a good CPA with farm and ranch experience to do your taxes. He can tell you what is deductible, how to set up your ranch as a business, no matter how small it is, etc. Once that is done, you'd be surprised what is tax deductible. Even the fence around the pastures has a deductible depreciation.

- miniature cattle. I'm surprised this wasn't mentioned. There are several miniature breeds that are great for small operations. We're not talking about little "pets" here; we're talking about 500-1000 pound animals. Less feed, less water, less grazing, easier to handle, and they don't tear up your pastures when it's muddy like full size cattle do.
1 x

User avatar
Kathie in Thorp
GURU
GURU
Posts: 4697
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:11 pm
Location: Pac NW (the Drier Part)

Re: RAISING BEEF CATTLE ON A FEW ACRES

Postby Kathie in Thorp » Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:21 pm

IluvABbeef wrote:Thanks! Saving that file onto my hard-drive for future reference. :)

Me, too.
0 x
I'm for shyts and giggles -- until I giggle and shyt!

ladena
Beginner
Beginner
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:12 am

Re: RAISING BEEF CATTLE ON A FEW ACRES

Postby ladena » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:07 am

Check into Dexters. Here is the website www.dextercattle.org
0 x

Julie
Beginner
Beginner
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:26 pm

Re: RAISING BEEF CATTLE ON A FEW ACRES

Postby Julie » Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:28 pm

Great guide, bookmarked this page - I'll probably need it sooner than I think :)

Julie
0 x

User avatar
Arkansas
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 601
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:41 pm
Location: NE Arkansas

Re: RAISING BEEF CATTLE ON A FEW ACRES

Postby Arkansas » Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:17 am

Thanks :)
0 x
Sorry about my grammar/punctuation, I'm from Arkansas! "Whats your excuse" :) 2B1ASK1


Return to “Beginners Board”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests