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Old 02-21-2010, 11:20 AM
 
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My dh and I are going to be buying some beef cattle this year, and have no experience with cattle at all. We would like to raise cow/calf pairs and sell the calfs after weaning.

Our neighbor is willing to help us learn about cattle feeding, care, vaccinations, etc. We have fenced property with water in each pasture, and 60 bales of hay from last year's harvest. We don't have a round pen to work them in, yet, but our neighbor would let us use his for the time being.

What would be the best kind/breed of cattle to get started. In this area, Angus or other breed black cows have calves that bring the highest $ at sale.

Do we need to buy purebred cattle, or mixed? They cost about $1,000 for a springer cow and about $1,200 for cow/calf pairs. We might start with about 5 cow calf pairs, or 6-7 springers. The breeds available around here that are purebred are Charlais, Hereford, Angus, Gelbvieh, Simmenthal, and mixtures of the same, with a smattering of Brahman and other breeds in there. (Sorry about the spelling ).

The criteria we would look for are: gentle and easy to work with, and ease in calving and easy keepers.
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:53 PM
 
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I would recommend Angus.

In the last few years black angus brings the best price on the feeder market.

Also no horns and the dark pigmentation around the eyes usually mean less touble with pink eye in summer.

For crossbred cattle, I like the black baldy ( a cross between a hereford and angus) and have those black baldy cows bred to Angus.

If you want to see for yourself the $$$$$ advantage of Angus feeder cattle, watch the cattle auctions on RFD TV.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by marmac View Post
I would recommend Angus.

In the last few years black angus brings the best price on the feeder market.

Also no horns and the dark pigmentation around the eyes usually mean less touble with pink eye in summer.

For crossbred cattle, I like the black baldy ( a cross between a hereford and angus) and have those black baldy cows bred to Angus.

If you want to see for yourself the $$$$$ advantage of Angus feeder cattle, watch the cattle auctions on RFD TV.

Thanks Marmac. You're always a wonderful resource when it comes to anything farm related. Much appreciated.
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:44 AM
 
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I vote for Angus too. By purebred I assume you mean registered. One benefit of registered stock is that you could expand your network by joining the Missouri Angus Association Missouri Angus Association and attending their events.

On the other hand, you can wrap up a lot of money in registered cattle and you don't even know yet if you will like raising them. I would probably stick with commercial angus or black baldies like Marmac suggested.

If you're going to work cattle in a round pen, you're way braver than me. Try to buy a squeeze chute or at least a head catch http://www.powderriver.com/files/Min...&Headgates.pdf

And lastly, this is one of my favorite rural newspapers Ozarks Farm and Neighbor - The Ozarks' Most Read Farm Newspaper I even broke down and subscribed for a hard copy.

Best of luck! Watching those babies pop up like mushrooms in the spring is the best fun ever!
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Old 02-23-2010, 08:28 PM
 
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while angus do bring good meat on the hoof prices firatly I'd recommend you look heavily into temprement as many angus can be cranky and there fore dangerous especially to newcomers.When buying cow and calf units always buy in calf with calf at foot pregnancy tested for best value also second calvers will give you best long term production.Don"t be afraid to get amongst your breeders and get to know them and they you a quite cow is an easy cow to handle when calving problems or vaccination time ect comes around.Good luck with your veal calf production,raising milking hiefers gives good returns too and you just need good strong fences to keep them in and bulls out.
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glorylass View Post
while angus do bring good meat on the hoof prices firatly I'd recommend you look heavily into temprement as many angus can be cranky and there fore dangerous especially to newcomers.When buying cow and calf units always buy in calf with calf at foot pregnancy tested for best value also second calvers will give you best long term production.Don"t be afraid to get amongst your breeders and get to know them and they you a quite cow is an easy cow to handle when calving problems or vaccination time ect comes around.Good luck with your veal calf production,raising milking hiefers gives good returns too and you just need good strong fences to keep them in and bulls out.
On the other hand, it may not be a good idea to get *too* friendly with the livestock; that cute little calf who used to play with you and follow you around the pasture eventually grows up to be a very large cow and fails to realize just how easy it's become to get you killed with his playful antics.
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glorylass View Post
while angus do bring good meat on the hoof prices firatly I'd recommend you look heavily into temprement as many angus can be cranky and there fore dangerous especially to newcomers.When buying cow and calf units always buy in calf with calf at foot pregnancy tested for best value also second calvers will give you best long term production.Don"t be afraid to get amongst your breeders and get to know them and they you a quite cow is an easy cow to handle when calving problems or vaccination time ect comes around.Good luck with your veal calf production,raising milking hiefers gives good returns too and you just need good strong fences to keep them in and bulls out.

----"Good luck with your veal calf production"---
????????????????????

I never read in the OP that she was going into --veal calf production.

It sounded like she wanted to enter the tradirional cow/calf operation where in fall the calves are sold off as feeder cattle weighing 500+ lbs to others to grow/finish to a marketable butcher weight.

That is the most common way cow/calf farmers/ranchers operate but it is completely different than a --veal operation.

Night and day fifference.
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Old 02-26-2010, 04:50 AM
 
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Believe it or not, I would actually go with the dairy breeds of either Holstein or Jersey. They are smaller in size, more docile, and taste a lot better to boot. Now I say this thinking that for a start up operation, you would most likely sell the animals direct market, even if you did plan on having a suckling operation in affect. On the national food chain, over 15% of the beef we consume is Holstein so it is not unheard of to have holstein or jersey going to auctions.

The dairy breeds also have some incentives besides great taste and demeanor....you can buy calves for a song. Dairy farms sell them for about 50 bucks so you can raise them from calves to finish without the overhead of breeding stock. That might be something to think about. Buy up a few cheap calves and try your hand at it. Once you get a little experience you can stay with the dairy breeds or go to the more traditional beef cow breeds, but in the meantime you are learning at very low expense.

Just my take on this...
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
Believe it or not, I would actually go with the dairy breeds of either Holstein or Jersey. They are smaller in size, more docile, and taste a lot better to boot. Now I say this thinking that for a start up operation, you would most likely sell the animals direct market, even if you did plan on having a suckling operation in affect. On the national food chain, over 15% of the beef we consume is Holstein so it is not unheard of to have holstein or jersey going to auctions.

The dairy breeds also have some incentives besides great taste and demeanor....you can buy calves for a song. Dairy farms sell them for about 50 bucks so you can raise them from calves to finish without the overhead of breeding stock. That might be something to think about. Buy up a few cheap calves and try your hand at it. Once you get a little experience you can stay with the dairy breeds or go to the more traditional beef cow breeds, but in the meantime you are learning at very low expense.

Just my take on this...
Interesting!
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Old 02-26-2010, 10:15 AM
 
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I think what Broken Tap is referring to is buying one week old Holstein bull calves and raising them to butcher weights.

(completely different from what the OP had in mind)

Here is the difference------no calves do good on pasture alone until about 500 lbs.
Thus, you will be buying those week old calves and having to feed them milk replacer ( $$$$$) for the first 6 weeks or so. Then a grain mix and good hay for the next few months til they are 500 lbs to utilize your excellent grass seeded pastures.

Thus, you should be buying those calves in Sept or Oct so they will be 500lbs when your grass pastures are lush in spring.

Although Broken Tap may prefer the taste of Holsteins over Angus, the fact is most people don't. That is reflected in the huge difference in price per pound between a holstein steer and an Angus steer when market time comes.

Most of the people near me who are in the Holstein steer business ( buying week old calves and keeping them til butcher weight) have their Holsteins on a full grain ration from 2 months old til butcher wt. ( I doubt that is what the OP envisioned as she already has in place excellent pastures and hay)

I, for one, think your original idea is good.
Most likely you have several livestock auction barns near you that have special cattle feeder sales in the fall where you can get top dollar for your 500lb weaned feeder calves.
I fail to see where you would be wise to---"market direct"-- when selling weaned beef feeder calves.

Finally, it sounds like your neighbor will be a lot of help as he knows your area and knows what works out and what doesn't.

I have done both in the past ( bought Holstein bull calves and ran a small 25 head of beef cows)

It depends on what you have in terms of pasture and hay.
Your situation sounds ideal for a small cow/calf operation like you stated in your original post. ( IMHO)
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