General Cow Questions

farmerjan

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@Grant has the right situation. Smaller size for their own use and a market for a calf or 2. That is where the smaller size breeds works good. It works for me with the jerseys as they usually hit 800- 1,000 live weight, so about 250-350 lbs total meat in the freezer. And the jerseys are a by product of my breedings with the occasional bull calf, so it works. Like he said, being careful on the original stock, especially if it is in an area where the smaller and mini's are not as common to find.
 

misfitmorgan

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We got two Holstein bull calves from the auctions, they are already quite big and have another full year of growing before butcher. I knew how big Holsteins were my grandparents had a 100 head dairy farm but I was never looking at them in terms of beef before. Now with only myself and DH I'm trying to work on how we will possibly eat or store that much beef. I do know we are only going to get around 50% of hang weight back as meat but thats still what 1,000lbs for both.
I'm still highly interested in getting either a smaller or mini dual purpose cow. Good meat ratio and some milk. They would give us a reasonable amount of meat for 2 people, take less of our small pasture and eat less hay in winter since we have to feed hay for 6+ months of the year.

Highlands are pretty common so I was looking at those or belted galloway mini's. The smaller size would also make me more comfortable, DH wants a guernsey. Guernsey are a fine cow but big

I would say for sure to the OP research and budget hay prices where ever you are looking to move. No you can not make hay off 10 acres of pasture while having a few cows, sheep and goats all on it. So that's either pay for more land and buy hay equipment which is insanely costly like 100k+ without counting land cost/rent or figure out cost of local hay and how much hay you will need for all livestock eating hay. Figure on 7months worth plus 10% overage for all animals that eat hay, so goats, sheep, horses, cows, pigs, etc. Then take that number times whatever hay is in the area you think you wanna move to, then add 25% to that cost. If you can still afford all that with all other grain, medications, fencing, etc.....go for it.
If not, consider a warmer climate with a shorter winter season then do all that math again. The 25% overage is because hay will easily go up in price with the weather, some years hay is $2.50/bale here, I have seen it at $7/bale and thats all first cute smaller squares. Small rounds are $35 on a normal year, on a bad year I've seen them at $80. Just make sure you have a few miles or wiggle room in your budget or a back up plan.
One of the worse things about living in the north is you have no ideas how long "winter" will be, this year we had pasture until november 25th and then some carryover for another week, so we started feeding hay at the beginning of december. There have been years we have started feeding hay in mid october and didnt get to stop until mid-may. If your hay is well stored keeping a small amount for feeding first thing in the fall is not a problem. Better to much always then not enough just once.
 

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