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I know this is a horse forum but I use this site for so many other questions I thought I would ask this question here. Since many of you raise horses I would assume that many of you also farm other animals. Long story short. I have 4 kids that are pre teens and they are eating me out of house and home. As they get older I know it is just going to get worse! I have 5 acres of land and am thinking of buying a beef steer or two so I can cut down on the cost of meat in my house. My question is, what advice can you give a novice at raising beef? Should I buy about a 400 lb steer now and fatten him up and butcher in the fall? Would this be cost effective? What does feed cost?Any help would be great. Don't know for sure if I am going to do this but it has crossed my mind.

Thanks,

Mike

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It's been alot of years since I owned some cattle but i believe that right now you can purchase a steer at a fairly reasonable price. Is your 5 acres of land pasture? If so then you will have quite a bit of feed during the summer but you will still need to furnish grain and protein to help with the weight gain.

The grain will be the high prices part of the equation. If I find out anymore information I will try to pass it on to you... Definitely pride in raising your own meat. You at least know what you are getting...

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this is quite the adventure you are looking into. I live in beef country and fairly attuned to the industry. Last weeks market report from Ft Pierre livestock auction barn, Ft Pierre, So Dak showed steers weighing 318 pounds selling for 131.00 per M which equates to 416.58 on the low side. High side was 871s @ 86.75 for 755 per head. You want to raise that calf to about 1100 to 1200 pounds for slaughter. Your grain ration and hay will be based on your local market cost for that. Plus there are going to be meds and vet costs and the cost of slaughter and processing based on the going rate for your area. I'm not sure what your 5 acres consists of as far as grass/alphalfa is but, I think you are going to have to buy hay to supplement your forage. At this time I would recommend finding a rancher that raises beef, NOT dairy!!! and talk to him so you are getting face to face info. I'm sure he would quote you YOUR local market reports and base the price on that. Ask about a ration and hay and what he raises. You probably are going to find mainly commercial breeds, X breds, proabably black white faces crossed with Angus. Not to burst your bubble but this is not a endeavor for the uniniatiated and you could find yourself in a proverbial money pit. Or, you could spend some time with a rancher and see what you think of trying this as a hobby. I'm tellin ya, more things can go wrong then right for ya. Another option you have is to buy a 1/4 of a 1/2 from one of your local processors. I'd be more then glad to help ya out with this. Get back if you care to.

"Pac"

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Thanks for the replies guys. I like the idea of talking to a local farmer that raises beef and I may do that to get some more information. The reason I asked is kind of exactlly what you pointed out. There are many things to consider and other expenses associated with a project like this. Any other advice from any hobby farmers out their would be appreciated!

Mike

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I would look for a book called - Beef Cattle: Keeping a Small-Scale Herd for Pleasure and Profit by Ann Larkin Hansen

I have the book on goat raising, and it is pretty good. It will cover all of your questions, and then some. If you have a Runnings in your area, I believe they carry them.

If it seems like it may be more than what you want to get into right now, I would find a ranch close by who sells 1/2's and 1/4's to the public.

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Thanks fishinchicks, I will look up that book online. I do have a meat market near buy that I have bought 1/2's from and may just keep doing that. But something about raising your own meat intrigues me.

Mike

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I was thinking alittle more about this topic and it dawned on me, FINALLY, that there are other sources of info you could explore. You might look at a FFA, Future Farmers of America in a rural school or a local 4-H chapter. These kids typically are farm/ranch raised and know livestock pretty well. Some of thier projects do involve raisiong livestock. If you do explore these you at going to find a world of information and experience.

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That's a great idea, Paul. It could also be expanded to include "renting" out pasture space for a kid who lives in town, but would like to raise out an animal or two for their SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience). Around our area, there are quite a few FFA'ers who live in town, but have an interest in agriculture. They are always looking for this type of situation. You both would benefit from the experience.

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Another expense is if the acreage isn’t fenced you’ll have to put up a fence. What type of forage is growing on the planned pasture? You will also need a good clean supply of water. With a couple of head and preteens they might make them their pets if you have them help with the chores and it might be hard to butcher them when they are ready.

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With a couple of head and preteens they might make them their pets if you have them help with the chores and it might be hard to butcher them when they are ready.

just name the cow "hamburger", that way when the kids ask what is for dinner..........................................

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Right now I have 6 steers. There names are T-bone, Sirloin, Burger, Fillet, Rib eye, and Strip. I enjoy raising my own meat, but it is more work than I thought it would be. Maintaining fences, castrating, dehorning, daily feeding, do they still have water, cleaning up there [PoorWordUsage]. I still like it though.

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Save yourself some time, money and headache. Just go to a local farmer and buy a quarter or half of beef. We sell about 10 steers per year. Anywhere from 1.50-2.00 hanging weight is a good price. The last quarter I put in the freezer weighed about 215 lbs. That was from a fat steer (1400 lbs.) The processing was about $110.

If you buy in quarters you will be able to keep the meat more fresh.

If you are gonna raise your own it takes about 14-16 months from birth to butcher. Get a nice calm breed like a herford. They wont tear your fences down like an angus. You have to remember that you run the risk of the animal dying at any time. Then you will really be losing money.

If you want a lean animal you will feed it some corn and all the hay/alfalfa it can eat. If you want a fatter animal that will fill out quicker then you will feed it straight corn with very little hay. If you are set up then it doesn't cost that much compared to if you bought the same in a store. But fence, fencers, water tank, tank heater, a little shed can all add up in a hurry.

I would try to buy quarters if I were in your shoes. You also run the risk of the thing become a pet to the kids.

And make sure you get a nice young animal, not some old shoe-leather dairy cow.

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I purchased a quarter beef last fall from a farmer that raised several animals. These were fed and grown with no antibiotics or additives to the feed and were basically pets. They had no stress and were very well taken care of. The meat ended up being some of the best steaks because of being so tender. I purchased this meat from the farmer for $1.00 per pound plus the processing... I will definitely do that again. Reduces the possibility of having an animal die for you and you lose your next year worth of meat... Although raising your own is very rewarding but you need to be set up to handle the animal(s).

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Thanks for all the input! After reading through all the posts I decided to just buy another 1/2 this spring. It still gets spendy though but what can you do? Last year my family put away 1/2 beef, 3 deer and 1 bear. We like meat!!!!!

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