Calves for $1?

farmerjan

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There are contracts that farmers sign with the companies they sell their milk to and it can , and HAS, gotten into some difficult situations for the farmers to "sell their milk" to someone else for less. Had a dairy here that was making some cheese. They had a contract to sell the fluid milk to a milk co-op. They had to divert the milk BEFORE it went into the bulk tank, in order to comply with the contract to the milk company, and still make cheese. There are too many gray areas that can get a commercial farmer shut down, and if he loses his milk contract, then now a days he will not find another company to pick him up like it used to be. All it takes is someone innocently saying oh, I buy my milk from so and so for xxx amount to feed my calves/pigs/whatever.... and it gets to the wrong person and a farmer that is certified to sell raw grade A milk for pasteurization can lose his milk permit. And then if nothing ever goes wrong, the person buying the milk is again putting out money for feeding a calf.

You say that a person can take a calf, a source of milk, and then some feed and grass and get them to say 18 months and have some good beef, for a reasonable price. Have you ever sat and actually figured out the true cost of raising an animal to slaughter size? A source of milk, say another cow, or some goats, still costs money. You have to feed the animal producing the milk. Grain for a calf isn't cheap, and the value of the pasture grass is still a cost. Maybe not exactly an "out of the pocket" direct cost.... but the value of it. There is hay cost for at least one winter.
I raised bottle calves for years. As many as 100 a year. Got my holstein bull calves off farms because I learned early on that sale barn calves were a 50/50 at best, chance of survival. Mostly because the farmers would be getting them shipped off as soon as possible. Many do not get the colostrum they need. Some farmers are very good about taking care of all their calves.... bulls and heifers until the bulls are sold. I have gone every route there is. Milk replacer, milking my own cows, grafting them on nurse cows. Every way there is but goats, and no matter the source of milk, it costs money to get the milk.
There used to be a market for holstein beef, but it is dwindling. They take longer to finish, and they eat a greater amount and for longer to get them to slaughter size. They do grade out nicely so the meat is good.
If you took every cost into consideration, and I mean just the actual out of pocket costs, and were totally honest with yourself about it, it would cost you more than you realize to get that animal to slaughter weight.
A person can raise a calf up for meat and still get good beef for less than maybe he can buy it for. But, you are not putting a value on their time. Ask anyone on here what they sell their lambs for, and they are making a little bit. But it is not enough to make a living off of. And none of them have put a value on their time because they enjoy doing it. But a person that has a normal, busy life, can find that raising an animal is sometimes too time consuming, or demanding, or just too costly for the return. And a farmer has to put some value on his time because he is expending his own time and energy to do the work.

Our figures of costing and average of 1.50 /day to keep a beef cow is low by most state standards. And those beef cows do not get grain to make them produce milk. That is figuring in the value of the land and the grass and the hay.
I am not saying not to raise these calves. But there is more money tied up in them than most people realize. It is because you are putting the money out in small increments.....$20 for a bag or two of grain here, $40 for a roll of hay there, $25 for a bag of mineral, $6-7 for a block of salt, and then next thing you know you have a couple hundred dollars spent and you didn't feel it because it was all not out of the pocket in one big glug. Let one get sick, even gatorade and kaopectate costs money.

Not putting a value on the grass they eat, true out of pocket expenses will creep up fast. And holsteins do not do well on straight grass until they are well over 600 lbs. The body physiology requires a diet with more protein, higher concentrates because they have been bred that way. They don't grow on just grass and hay. They need more to grow or they just don't do good. I have seen way too many "hay belly" calves from people that think they can raise them cheap. They are not thrifty, and they never grow right after that.

So say someone would get some calves to use the "surplus milk" that their goats are making. It costs money for that milk through the cost of what grain the goats get fed. Time to milk the goat. But if you truly discounted that, then raising a calf for a few months would be a good return on the milk. Again, there is some grain for the calf, plus some good quality hay. Good pasture will not sustain a younger calf, but by the time they hit 5-600 lbs, it can supply most of their nutritional needs. GOOD PASTURE..... to keep them gaining and growing. For how many months do you have that good pasture? To keep pasture growing and vegetative, it has to be grazed then given a rest, to regrow, then to be grazed again. The weather will play a big part too. If the grass is not enough then there is hay costs. Time/money to go get it or costs to get it delivered. There are all these little things.

I am a big proponent of raising your own beef/meat. Haven't bought beef in probably 40 years. The biggest cost for me is the slaughter/processing costs because that is what I see directly. BUT you don't raise them for nothing. If you have goats making more milk than you can use, a great way to utilize the surplus. If you have pasture that doesn't get grazed down, and you have to bush hog off, then a more economical way to get it "cut" and go into an animal for gain rather than just filling a gas/diesel tank to mow it off..... The taste of home raised beef is the best and the satisfaction of knowing that you gave the animal a good life is something you cannot measure. Just realize that it is not cheap meat.
 

Ron Bequeath

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Farmerjan, lot of good points. And in this day and age where we have someone building a chicken run putting two wheels on it and calling it a chicken tractor because its a "new idea" and making compost in "a month" and this new way of "raising crops". Is all wonderful and I'm very glad to see such and interest in farming the "good earth way". But I'm sorry. This stuff isn't new folks. I'm 68 years old not old buy many standards, but old by some. But the youngest male in my clan. And i said clan, something else that we've forgotten. There was a time when people worked together not just giving advice but rotating crops, rotating pastures "the new ag", shocking grain, threshing and shocking grain and corn. Hauling manure, using corn fodder, mangels, baling hay or just putting it up with a field crew and a barnyard crew. Fatting beef off of the land giving them non gmo healthy food. Leaving little footprints not giant ones. Pulling a bushel of weeds per hog and fattening them up with just the weeds and 3 ears of corn per hog per day. And then,,, when the steer reached that 18 months that hog reached 5 to 7 months the group was invited to come together and kill, dress and butcher the meat for the families. And it just wasn't just one piggy or one 4H steer it may be 3, 4, or 5 hogs, or a big 1800 lb bull or two steers. It took all day and when you saw the bed at night you crashed and the next morning you did the same routines all over again. I not angery at you or anyone else I'm just saying i was raised that way. Taught by a father, uncles, and grandfather who cared an would select their seed from a crib of corn not go to a farmers feed mill and pay hundreds for 50 pounds of seed. Hand select the ears of corn that would reach 12 inches and big enough to make a good stuffing pipe. We've lost a lot of it and its slipping by fast and the last of that generation is watching to see what your generation is going to do. Reinvent the wheel? Yes i raise bull calves on goat and left over cows milk. But you guys sound like you do it its whole life. Just a few weeks. And i hear every one saying what do you do with the byproduct whey, you feed it to the calf, or pig, or put it on your plants. So much waste now days. Crop rotation, something i barely ever hear anyone talk about these days, was the excepted and kept down the bug population, threshing not only gave you straw and grain but brought the weed seed in from the fields and at 5 it was my job to gather it up in bags to feed the chickens along with their grain all winter. We didn't see the weeds and distructive bugs back then like we do now. Why because just like the farmer behind me, who has planted the same crop for the last 15 years in the same spot, wonders why he can't get a good crop and has to pour on gallons and gallons of POIXON every year so his 5, 6, or 8 inch ears of corn can make it. In the year 2018 after we talked, he made a slight change with green mulching his corn field and had positive results (not what they could have been, if he had practiced this method) and made the statement to me, "they never taught us this in college". Gee well how could they, first, half of them haven't had any real farm experience, and the big seed, fertilizer, and agri businesses wouldn't let them and what kid listens to dad, grandpa or other oldsters when they " big ag" must surely know. They have all the money. And i won't even want to touch that. You can read. Yes i raise a calf on keopectate that had been in the medicine cabinet for longer than I cared to guess. I used aspirin because i bought a cheap bottle, 150 for a dollar, and being an athletic coach i had gatoraid around, so the cost of all of that wasnt much over 5.00 and i only did it long enough until the animal started taking nourishment on its own. 3 or 4 days 8 teaspoons of keopectate, 8 aspirins, two bottles of gatoraide so the cost was probably 5.00 at the most, and my point of sharing that was just as I've heard others say that when in a crisis try what you have on hand and if it works more power to you. But try. Yes i gave it grain with whey which i ground in my old blender mixed oatmeal and creme of wheat with extra goats milk that was probably headed for the pigs. And once the animal had a start it was grained and on grass and wasn't eating a half a bale of hay till probably it was 15 month old. But then again. My point was these calves are worth raising for something other than dog food with a little patients. Let's get rid of the factory mentality that if its not big and robust its not worth keeping to raise but could probably feed a family of 5 quiet well. Yes i raised it on grain and hay we raised ourselves. Yes, we butchered, cut wrapped and froze it ourselves. But just like a man mowing his lawn, he can't take that off his taxes, work you do on your own farm (farmette) is work, quit trying to give it a price unless you have an army of accountants. And where did the hobby go anyway when we have to account for every dime, nickle, and penny. We worked all our summer long and yes a lot of our friends where at the pool, baseball, basketball courts. At the end of summer my uncle would call us all over and give us $25.00 and thanked us for our help over the summer. Do i hold that against him, you bet I don't because we where doing it for the family, the clan, our family friends. And now I'll dry my eyes. "For if you take nothing with you to heaven but memories make them good ones." A. K. Bequeath
 

Simpleterrier

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Me and the wife were just talking about this we couldn't afford to eat meat like we do if we didn't raise it ourselves. We go threw half a beef and a hog a year we give a little away. But we eat the majority of it. We can't count our time. My time after work is my time. What I do for me is free. What I do for my friends is free. If u are trying to add to your income then that's different. At the end of the year we end up with beef and pork in the freezer for our labor and around a dollar a pound. I wouldn't be able to eat Ribeyes and pork the steaks unless I raise them my self. I mostly get Holstein or Holstein cross weaned calves cost me around 200 for one. But my favorite so far was a Norwegian red steer. Best tasting animal I have raised. So if I could get a calf for 10 and add milk replacer to that I would be ahead of what I do now. But a weaned calf for me has been easier.
 

Duckfarmerpa1

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Ok, ew question...we have a dear friend who wants to lease land off of use to put his two cows. He then wants to help us learn the ropes of raising our own. BUT...he’s a bit of a pain in the neck...his equipment is junky, and my hubby doesn’t want it junking up our land...and he’s been kicked out of places before. So, do we give him a chance? Or will this end badly? If not...how do we say no? Chris is better at this stuff than me...I cant say no to anyone...so, Tim talks to me about his ideas...putting me on the spot. Between a rock and a hard place? But, I would love to raise some cows!!!
 

B&B Happy goats

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Ok, ew question...we have a dear friend who wants to lease land off of use to put his two cows. He then wants to help us learn the ropes of raising our own. BUT...he’s a bit of a pain in the neck...his equipment is junky, and my hubby doesn’t want it junking up our land...and he’s been kicked out of places before. So, do we give him a chance? Or will this end badly? If not...how do we say no? Chris is better at this stuff than me...I cant say no to anyone...so, Tim talks to me about his ideas...putting me on the spot. Between a rock and a hard place? But, I would love to raise some cows!!!
You already know his history with other leases that have ended poorly, just tell him you have other plans for the land use. Most anything that you need to learn about raising your own cattle can be found through the members here...why ruin a friendship with a "dear friend" that can be "a bit of a pain in the neck"? ..guess you have to decide which is more of value to you and Chris...
Not a position I would want to be in, good luck with your decision :hugs
 

Xerocles

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Ok, ew question...we have a dear friend who wants to lease land off of use to put his two cows. He then wants to help us learn the ropes of raising our own. BUT...he’s a bit of a pain in the neck...his equipment is junky, and my hubby doesn’t want it junking up our land...and he’s been kicked out of places before. So, do we give him a chance? Or will this end badly? If not...how do we say no? Chris is better at this stuff than me...I cant say no to anyone...so, Tim talks to me about his ideas...putting me on the spot. Between a rock and a hard place? But, I would love to raise some cows!!!
NO!
 

Grant

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I wouldn’t go with a known problem. I did a quick search in SC on CL and found this.
If you want to make a go of bottle calves I would try this and your goats milk. You will HAVE to have a source of frozen colostrum and make sure every new calf gets a dose of it. Most dairies in the area are a source and it freezes well.
 

Xerocles

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I wouldn’t go with a known problem. I did a quick search in SC on CL and found this.
If you want to make a go of bottle calves I would try this and your goats milk. You will HAVE to have a source of frozen colostrum and make sure every new calf gets a dose of it. Most dairies in the area are a source and it freezes well.
:lol: @Duckfarmerpa1 YES! YOU SHOULD JUMP ON THIS PARTICULAR ONE! As it's only about 20 miles up the road from me, when you pick her up, you could stop by for a visit and teach me about rabbits, first hand.
 

Baymule

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Ok, ew question...we have a dear friend who wants to lease land off of use to put his two cows. He then wants to help us learn the ropes of raising our own. BUT...he’s a bit of a pain in the neck...his equipment is junky, and my hubby doesn’t want it junking up our land...and he’s been kicked out of places before. So, do we give him a chance? Or will this end badly? If not...how do we say no? Chris is better at this stuff than me...I cant say no to anyone...so, Tim talks to me about his ideas...putting me on the spot. Between a rock and a hard place? But, I would love to raise some cows!!!
This sounds like a great way to ruin a friendship! I wouldn't touch this deal with a 10' pole. Been kicked out of places before? A pain in the neck and his stuff is junky? Why would you do this to yourself? Get some backbone. Being a nice person doesn't mean that you have to be a door mat and smile like you like it when you really don't.
 

Mini Horses

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"For if you take nothing with you to heaven but memories make them good ones." A. K. Bequeath
You may be one of few on the forum who still have "family/clan" who do & participate in the events of self provision that you describe but, not the only one who has lived with it.

I watched my grands make hay stacks, helped butcher, cut wood with a crosscut, used the outhouse, bucketed water from the well, washed clothes on a washboard, with 2 tubs of water, got feed from the corncrib, dug potatoes in the snow, canned from the garden -- on a wood burning stove -- and they plowed by horse. MY memories are great. But, the difference between then and now make changes happen.

My tractor is adored. The canning stove is electric and the water runs by a pump. There are indoor bathrooms and electric lights, not oil lamps. LOL But my roots are deep, so I still can, make soap, raise chickens and goats -- whom I milk, then make cheese, yogurt, butter, etc. Yes, excess is fed to chickens or a pig, if one is a resident. I manage to get some feed grown for the animals.

I love you're memories. I treasure my own. There are people out there who could not ever imagine what our ancestors did. I loved the cellar dug into the hill behind the house. Yeah.....primitive but, beautiful. Life today does not support most of the lifestyles of years back. You are right, I laugh at some of the "new ideas" that were just everyday back then.
 
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