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How did you choose your breed?

Discussion in 'Breeds & Breeding - Cattle' started by Mrs1885, Dec 26, 2018.

  1. Dec 26, 2018
    Mrs1885

    Mrs1885 Loving the herd life

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    I keep reading info on cattle and I'm leaning toward Scottish Highland. That said, IF we decide to get cattle, it's a HUGE decision and I don't want to choose the wrong breed for us.

    We only have about 7 and a half acres right now. If we decide to get into cattle we will be buying about 20 acres for them. We are in a mostly farming community. We know with such a small piece of land we will be greatly limited in how many we can have.

    Goal is to maybe make a little money. I know it won't be much if anything. We have goats, sheep, pigs, chickens and ducks. Will be adding other fowl at some point, but they will be in a different pasture.

    We are in middle TN. Great vet, hubby retired and I work from home, so we are literally here 24/7. Not sure what other info is relevant.

    I guess two questions - how did you choose your breed and would cattle be possible for us? If so, do SH sound like a possible breed for us, or would other breeds be better? Another species maybe?
     
  2. Dec 27, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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    On 20 acres..yes you can easily support a few head of cattle on that much acreage, even less acreage.
    Make $$ on them?
    Depends on many factors, including how many restrictions you place on your management style and how you market your product.
    I choose my breeds for:
    1. Heat tolerance.
    2. External parasite tolerance.
    3. Maternal instincts.
    4. breed average d.r.o.g.
    5 weaning weight on pasture and momma's milk alone.
    6. Self reliance. I don't want anything here that I have to baby or watch over 24/7.
     
    Mrs1885 likes this.
  3. Dec 27, 2018
    farmerjan

    farmerjan Herd Master

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    One thing to add to @greybeard list. You need to think HOW you want to make money. The cattle industry is in a slump. The dairy industry is much worse. The thing is, what do you want these cattle to do? Provide meat for you? Provide meat to sell? What is the availablility of places to sell? Do you want to just sell a few for someone to raise for their own meat? do you want to sell some finished to go directly to "processing" ? (see @Mini Horses I am trying to be diplomatic:hide:lol:) Do you want to sell meat by the cut or by the half or whole animal?

    Okay, few things. My suggestion is talk to the extension agent in your county. Find out if they are having any seminars, meetings, stuff like that and go to them. Usually they are in the evening, often have a meal for a small fee for the night. Have someone in the industry come give talks. Get some information BEFORE you decide what you are getting.
    If you are looking at something to just keep the pasture grazed, then something like a few steers will be there for the season, or even for 2 seasons, to get them from weaning size to eating size. 500 to 1200 lbs m/l. If you want some momma cows to raise some calves then you are talking a WHOLE DIFFERENT ballgame. If you are planning to just raise a few calves and sell them at weaning, then you need to go with what will make you the most money in your area.
    Honestly, and don't get me wrong, I LIKE HIGHLANDS, they will not be worth squat at the local stockyards. I think maybe you are in "angus" country as we are here. If it isn't black, you will take a hit at sale time. NOW if you are going to go for a small specialty market, for meat for the freezer, something like Highlands will work. The carcass is smaller so better for smaller households. BUT you have to be willing to do what is necessary to MARKET this beef.
    @Mike CHS is in Tn. There are few others on the BYH forum that are. Maybe PM a few, see where they are at, get some contacts.

    Do you have kids? Maybe in 4-H or FFA? you can get alot of contacts that way. I am not a big proponent of showing... but you get to meet people that way.
    Do you sell, or buy, at farmers markets? Great way to get to see what people do, what they raise... meet others that way.
    Maybe raise a couple for yourself, get a feel for cattle before you get into anything that you want to try to make money on. I would not get into anything with calving until I am sure I like cattle. Some don't and after they have them, wish they had stayed with smaller as in sheep or goats.
    The meat goat market is much more conducive to making some money, but you have to have FENCES that work, and things like parasites are a different concern. Since you said you have goats and sheep, then you know. One thing, rotating pastures with goats/sheep and then cattle, will help to break the parasite cycle a bit for the smaller ruminants. One plus to having multi species. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  4. Dec 27, 2018
    Mini Horses

    Mini Horses Herd Master

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    :lol::lol::lol::lol: Great job!!! :lol::lol::lol::old


    And very good marketing advice. We can get "the best" and sometimes have no market. It's same with other than livestock, too.
     
  5. Dec 27, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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    SimmAngus may be a good choice for that region too.
     
  6. Dec 27, 2018
    canesisters

    canesisters Loving the herd life

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    I have a jersey/angus cross on roughly 7acres of pasture. Eva is my home dairy cow and her calf provides me with enough beef to FILL my freezer and sell the remaining for enough to cover the cost of processing plus a little. Because she is almost entirely pasture fed, and because the calf is also pasture raised - my 'cost' for roughly 200-250 lbs of beef is about $50-$100. I'm considering letting her raise a second calf this time around and seeing how she and my pasture holds up. If that works out, I'll likely make enough on the deal to upgrade some fencing and reseed part of my pasture. The key will be finding the right calf at the right time for the right (CHEAP) price.
    For me, it's not about generating more income but about getting things I need/want without using my income ('Free' to me).

    ETA: I didn't 'choose' her particular cross. I was in contact with a farm that raised mini jerseys who had what they called 'grass fed genetics'. That just means that their lines maintained good weight on just pasture while raising a calf & being milked for the home.
    They had purchased a cow to add to their herd but she had been bred by an angus bull. They didn't want the calf - happened to be delivering some of their calves to my area - and her price was right. SO..... jersey angus cross it was. It just happens that she turned out to be the PERFECT cow for my situation.
     
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  7. Dec 27, 2018
    Mike CHS

    Mike CHS Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    @Mrs1885 are you north or south of Nashville? We like the Columbia stock yard for both convenience and price (normally but now is out of season for just about everything) We use the Manchester stock yard which is further but they are biggest buyer of sheep destined for the bigger sales in Virginia.

    Pulaski and Lewisburg are only a few miles from us but I won't take my livestock to either of those.
     
    Mini Horses likes this.
  8. Dec 27, 2018
    misfitmorgan

    misfitmorgan Herd Master

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    I know locally for us atm beef by the cut is selling at $5.99/lb for grass fed and 6.99/lb for grain fed. The farmers does run out of beef but I am not sure how often I would say maybe 2-3 times a year. He also has his meat usda butchered and had it for sale in a local grocery store here, we started buying it thru the farmers market.
     
  9. Dec 28, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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    Which is the same thing every breed of cattle has that has any beef cattle influence in the genetics, and the same holds true for most dairy influenced breeds as well.
    Cows that require grain to raise a calf and give some milk are the exception, not the rule.
    They need only 2 things.
    Grass ahead, bull behind.
     
  10. Dec 28, 2018
    canesisters

    canesisters Loving the herd life

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    You may very well be right. Eva is the only cow that I have any extended personal experience with. However, on another forum that is mostly dedicated to home dairy herds, there are entire sections just for helping folks figure out how to keep weight on their Jersey, Holstein, Guernsey, etc. Which makes me think that it's a common problem for many folks. And, which makes me thankful that I have a 1/2 beef 'cud chewing beauty queen'.