Posted by: wendyquest | April 26, 2011

Cattle Ranching – What You Need to Know to Start A Beef Ranch

Cattle Ranching

Raising Cattle is a costly and difficult business and definitely not an easy way to make a living. Just like the stock market – prices go up and down. The beef rancher only makes money when he sells his cow. So for the entire year he is raising and fattening up his little cow until he takes him to the auction or sale barn to sell him. If it is a favorable year, he will make enough money to cover the expenses.

To raise a cow, the rancher needs a lot of grazing land, a large supply of clean drinking water, enough hay to feed the cow during winter months, vaccinations, and potentially treatments of any diseases or injuries that arise.

A typical growing cow eats about 2.5% of its bodyweight in pounds of roughage a day (like grass). For example, 600 pound steer will consume up to 15 pounds a day. Barley or corn can be added to the cow’s trough (2-4 pounds a day) to help increase the cow’s bulk. Salt, vitamins and minerals are also supplemented.

During the winter months, when the green grass is gone, cows must be fed with stored food stocks and barrels of hay. To figure out how many bales cows eat depend on a number of factors. This article provides a lengthy, detailed explanation: Cattle Today

How much water a cow drinks depends on their weigh and whether they are lactation (creating milk for baby cows), but usually less than 9 gallons per day (if nursing, over 20 gallons a day).

Now for land…each cow needs about 20 acres of land for grazing and moving around. So if you have 600 head of cows, you are looking at at least 1200 acres of land. Plus you’ll need a large pond to provide the drinking water and at least a few trees for shade.

Beef Magazine
Beef Magazine Daily Blog
MSU Extension Guide to Raising Cattle
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
OSU Guide to Grazing
Homesteading Today


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