How to Raise Cattle – Vital Questions Before You Begin This Venture
Some people see rancher and cowboy lifestyles in the romanticized hue – what with tens and dozens of movies created around ranch life. However, while ranch life can get rather picturesque, it is still a business. And everybody knows every business needs real work. So before you begin finding out ways about how to raise cattle for a profit, you have to consider a few things.
Here are a few questions that you need to answer before you go ahead and start buying books on how to raise cattle.
Before you even start learning how to raise cattle, keep in mind that the herd that you are going to acquire depends on your purpose. Do you want to raise cattle for meat, for dairy or for breeding? Consumers’ tastes vary depending on the taste of your cattle products. Some consumers want grass-fed beef, other’s want corn-fed or barley-fed meat. You need to provide plant proteins as dietary supplements for your cattle as well; more so if you plan to raise dairy cattle since they would need grains on their diet to increase milk production. You can look up resources online regarding consumer preferences. Find out which market you could work on.
When learning how to start raising cattle, you also have to look up for information regarding selection and breeding. Some cows become ill; some are made of tough stuff. Also, you might be giving your cattle the right food, but they might not always get to the weight that you want for them. This is because immunity and weight is part of any living organism’s blueprint – also called DNA. You do not need to know in-depth genetics. You just need to know the basics (e.g. breed the healthy ones).
How much are you willing to invest? There are online resources about how to rear cattle which state that raising grass-fed cattle is cheaper in the long run, since you would not need to worry about constantly buying huge amounts of feeds. However, for you to make cattle grow on foraging, you need to have a large tract of land, for pasture; and land never comes cheap, so you might have to do with a smaller area, and then raise cattle by a steady supply of grains.
You also have to consider the climate in your area. Do you get enough rainfall? If you don’t, there could be a problem in your water supply in the future. Is there a creek nearby? Where can you install a watering hole? These are just some questions that you need to get answers for.
3. The Economics
After learning about how to raise cattle, you also have to know how you can sell them for a profit. You can sell cattle to direct buyers or to corporations, but you have to know who they are, where they are and the price they pay. There are farming and ranching community forums online that can help you out. You can also ask other ranchers.
Surely, raising cattle has its perks – no more traffic, or a hovering boss, but it is still a job. Everyday, there is a rather lengthy to-do list, checking the cattle – head counts, maintenance, repairs, feeding, etc. However, to the serious farmer who finds the ranching lifestyle rewarding, it is all worth it.