So, you’ve decided that you’d like to raise your own herd of cattle. That’s great news! But cattle can be lively, shy, even timid. Getting them to do what you want them to do isn’t always the easiest task. Here are a few things to consider before you get started.
- Choose Which Breeds You Want to Raise
Different breeds of cattle require different kinds of care and are raised for different purposes.For example, the Black Angus, the most common cattle breed in the U.S., produces well-marbled beef, requires little maintenance during calving season, and is feed efficient.1 The Hereford breed is known to be hardy and an excellent forager. It also crossbreeds well, and the bulls are docile2, which is important to consider if you are new to handling animals.Looking to enter both the meat and dairy industries? Then the Holstein might be the right breed for you.1 Remember to also consider the environment in which you will raise your herd, as breeds like the Highland are better suited for withstanding rain and snow.2
- Go Big or Stay Small
While it’s tempting to want to grow into a large ranching business, smaller farms can fill niche markets, such as local grass-fed beef that can be sold at farmers’ markets. See what amount of land you have available, and that can help determine whether you want to run as a cow-calf operation that produces offspring each year, or if you want to raise cows to market weight as part of a feedlot operation. It’s okay to purchase fewer cattle of higher quality that have high conception rates, good growth rates, minimal feed requirements, and long lifespans.3
- Get Ready for Calving Season
If you decide that raising calves is part of your ranching strategy, there are essentials needed to keep calves healthy. Have housing ready for calves to keep them separated until after they’ve been weaned to prevent diseases spread. Calf hutches can be easily cleaned and easily moved. If you already have a barn, then an indoor pen can be another option.4 When it comes to calving, there’s no hotter product than Lakeland’s Calf Tipping Table. It’s one of our best sellers for a reason. Ranchers from all over agree that our Calf Tipping Table makes branding, tagging, vaccinations, and other calving tasks an absolute breeze.
- Consider All Potential Costs
There are lots of different expenses that go into raising cattle, including purchasing the cattle, ongoing animal care, equipment such as livestock scales, feed, fencing and gates for pasture management, and any staff you might hire to help you out.3
- It can’t be overstated: a good handling system, much like any of the cattle handling packages we offer, can help your operation stay efficient and most importantly safe.Since profitability doesn’t happen over night, consider starting small as you determine your budget and create a long-term plan as you gain both experience and confidence as a rancher.
- Land is a Big Deal
It takes between 1.5 to 2 acres to feed a cow-calf pair for 12 months. Make sure the amount of land you have suits the number of cattle you plan on purchasing in terms of space and foraging capacity. Having access to a water source is also very important.3
Ready to get started? Then Lakeland Farm is here to support your new endeavor. Our products help you stay safe as you run your operation, such as one of our cattle handling packages. Click here to learn more today.