New Venture Ideas

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AggieStudent20
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New Venture Ideas

Post by AggieStudent20 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:20 pm

Hi everyone. I'm an ag student who is currently studying for a bachelor's in Agribusiness :cboy: . In about two years I'll have the opportunity to have my own enterprise on the family farm (115 acres). My issue is I'm still not sure what to start out as. My family wants to do a normal cow calf operation as they did before; however, I'm sure this isn't the most sustainable/profitable thing since we're a smaller farm. I have currently thought of a few ways to start out in the cattle business. We have a good lot system and about two barns we can feed in. My goals are with any enterprise is to feed as little hay as possible, rotate pastures effectively, cover crop for gain and enhance soil fertility, and minimize inputs such as feed and fertilizer. Here are my ideas.

1. Stocker Cattle

I know a few reputable farmers who wean their calves (mostly Angus, Hereford and Charolais) at around 500 pounds. My idea was to purchase these calves and get them to around 700-800 pounds and sell them as yearlings. This way we're not dealing with cows or bulls and we would just simply be utilizing our forage. I would like to run two rotations of stockers a year if possible. If prices go down I could breed the heifers and sell them as bred and I could finish the steers.

2. Nurse Cows with Bottle Calves

Another idea I had was to purchase cull dairy cows and rotate calves off of them. This way I don't have the cost of milk replacer or the labor in bottle feeding. I'd just have to graft the bottle calves (which my family has experience in). I always see bottle calves for sale in my area so I don't think I would have to worry about supply as much. I would just have to purchase calves at a decent price. I would then sell the weaned calves at around 600 pounds.

3. Pastured Veal with Nurse Cows

I would purchase Holstein bull calves in the area, graft them on to cull dairy cows, let them gain until 300-400 pounds and have them harvested at that weight as veal. I've been reading up on this and have heard there is profit if it is done right. My only issue is who I would sell the calves to. I currently have no interest as being a farmer's market vendor as the ones in my area are not that big.

Any suggestions/help would be greatly appreciated from anybody who has experience in any of the three enterprises would be very much appreciated. I'm very much a newbie and want to learn as much as possible.



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Re: New Venture Ideas

Post by ddd75 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:10 pm

shouldn't all that money your paying for college teach you what to do?

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Re: New Venture Ideas

Post by wbvs58 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:44 pm

All are possibilities but the stockers give you the ability to easily get in and out of them as need be. If the season fails you just unload them and wait for better times.

Ken

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Re: New Venture Ideas

Post by southalberta » Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:54 pm

Depends on your area what the best situation is.

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Re: New Venture Ideas

Post by AggieStudent20 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:55 pm

That's what I was thinking Ken. Do you have any more advice? I've read a lot on the stocker business but I've never had any hands on experience with it.

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Re: New Venture Ideas

Post by AggieStudent20 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:59 pm

southalberta wrote:Depends on your area what the best situation is.

I live in Central MO

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Re: New Venture Ideas

Post by snoopdog » Wed Dec 26, 2018 6:07 pm

What do you enjoy? That is the question. There is no right answer. Any ,or all can make a little, or put you in the poorhouse. If buying stockers, get a relationship started and get/give a fair deal, What has worked for me in the past buying off the farm with good genetics, is offering avg mkt price. It takes some work because you're gonna get the "mine will bring top dollar", yes they will, but after yardage and commission the dollars are the same. But you can haul them, they won't be comingled, and you save on the purchase price. That being said, we are a cow/calf operation and intend to stay that way for now.
Being poor is the most expensive thing there is

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Re: New Venture Ideas

Post by AggieStudent20 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 6:27 pm

snoopdog wrote:What do you enjoy? That is the question. There is no right answer. Any ,or all can make a little, or put you in the poorhouse. If buying stockers, get a relationship started and get/give a fair deal, What has worked for me in the past buying off the farm with good genetics, is offering avg mkt price. It takes some work because you're gonna get the "mine will bring top dollar", yes they will, but after yardage and commission the dollars are the same. But you can haul them, they won't be comingled, and you save on the purchase price. That being said, we are a cow/calf operation and intend to stay that way for now.

I enjoy almost everything with cattle. I know a couple guys who wean lower weight calves consistently I have decent relationships with. I just seemed to like this part of the industry because of the flexibility.

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Re: New Venture Ideas

Post by snoopdog » Wed Dec 26, 2018 6:40 pm

Don't skimp on quality, that relationship when you sell is just as important to realize a profit. Cultivate it like you do your buying side. There will be a time that you lose, be ready for it and move on, if stockers is your game. No getting around it, accept it, it's part of it. Just as mortality is a sure thing.
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Re: New Venture Ideas

Post by RanchMan90 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:37 pm

Education is the best investment I can think of. This is a good start http://olsonranchllc.com/ . Cheaper than trial and error, will still be some of that though.
The secret to getting ahead is getting started ~ Mark Twain

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Re: New Venture Ideas

Post by mayesfarm » Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:13 pm

Good luck with what ever venture you decide on . One of the most profitable and easiest cattle enterprises that I have ever done was buying thin cows out of the weigh pen putting on cheap gain and moving them on . Cheap cows and zero health issues . There was a book by Jay Nixon that has several good ideas I have tried a few and most were profitable .

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Re: New Venture Ideas

Post by greatgerts » Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:24 am

AggieStudent20 wrote:
southalberta wrote:Depends on your area what the best situation is.

I live in Central MO


I'm in East Central MO. I know a few of us in my area would like to have someone to have a herd of recips to raise their ET calves to weaning. Some have the fee as a per head basis, others have a base price, plus $x over the current market price.

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Re: New Venture Ideas

Post by pdfangus » Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:16 am

greatgerts wrote:
AggieStudent20 wrote:
southalberta wrote:Depends on your area what the best situation is.

I live in Central MO


I'm in East Central MO. I know a few of us in my area would like to have someone to have a herd of recips to raise their ET calves to weaning. Some have the fee as a per head basis, others have a base price, plus $x over the current market price.


I know a guy who even did that with his goats....all his females were et recips for another breeder for a year or two...

it takes top quality management....folks are not gonna pay a premium for dead calves or dinks who did not get enough to eat...

if you do stockers...a relationship with your source is important...I would prefer calves that were preconditioned and who did not go through the sale yard to pick up every disease known to bovines...not losing one to sickness will pay a good premium on high quality preconditioned calves.

figure out what your max stocking rate is....I see far too many people who have much more livestock than they have feed and that is a dead expense...
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Re: New Venture Ideas

Post by MillennialRancher » Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:38 pm

I'm in a similar boat as you my friend. too many options

tried and true cow/calf..
raising replacements for the local commercial guys...
summer stocking on forage..
BULLS!?... :shock:

Maybe all of the above if my old neighbor will sell/rent his 400 acre "hunting reserve" (that conveniently connects my two tracts of land together) for a reasonable price :frowns:

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Re: New Venture Ideas

Post by AggieStudent20 » Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:01 pm

I'm currently leaning more on the nurse cow thing with potentially running stockers with the grafted calves when there weaned. I hear the standard is to run 3 rotations on a Holstein with 3-4 calves a rotation including the cows natural calf. There are a few dairies around so sourcing Holstein/Jersey bull calves wouldn't be difficult. My only issue is sourcing beef bottle calves. Is there any tips on purchasing bottle calves from the sale barn? It seems to me people in my area sometimes want up to $300 for a snotty nosed, thin pink-eyed calf that may or may not have had colostrum.

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