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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Jun 2010
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    Kubota 3700SU

    Default Cattle Question

    So, here's the deal, I live in a small rural county in eastern Colorado. I own about 40 acres, which was zoned agriculture. Up until this point, I was paying the Ag rating. However, the county has been making their rounds to the nearby residents ordering them to get in line with the law or pay the residential tax. A difference of about $2-$3,000. This all moves my plans up by several years, as far as livestock. My question is: How many head of cattle could I run on a small piece of land? I'm looking at Highlanders or Angus with a loafing shed or two, all depending on how big of a barn I build in the Spring. I'm definitely new to this and willing to learn. I gotta start somewhere and welcome any tips or advice. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Bronze Member
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    Sep 2010
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    Kubota

    Default Re: Cattle Question

    Quote Originally Posted by SmallTimeCountry View Post
    So, here's the deal, I live in a small rural county in eastern Colorado. I own about 40 acres, which was zoned agriculture. Up until this point, I was paying the Ag rating. However, the county has been making their rounds to the nearby residents ordering them to get in line with the law or pay the residential tax. A difference of about $2-$3,000. This all moves my plans up by several years, as far as livestock. My question is: How many head of cattle could I run on a small piece of land? I'm looking at Highlanders or Angus with a loafing shed or two, all depending on how big of a barn I build in the Spring. I'm definitely new to this and willing to learn. I gotta start somewhere and welcome any tips or advice. Thanks.
    Good choice on the Highlands

    No idea on how many you could run on 40 acres in that country...

    Might talk to your county AG agent...

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Super Member smstonypoint's Avatar
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    SC (Upstate) & NC (Piedmont)
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    NH TN 55, Kubota B2320 & RTV 900, Bad Boy Outlaw 61" ZTR

    Default Re: Cattle Question

    Just a few thoughts/questions.

    1. What does the law say in terms of the ag. income (or other factors) required to qualify for the exemption?

    2. What do you plan to do about hay? If you buy hay, you could increase the stocking rate. What forages do you have now?

    3. Rotational grazing might allow for a higher stocking rate. But it would require paddock fencing and providing water to the paddocks, and is labor- and management-intensive.

    4. I second the recommendation to consult with the folks at your local Cooperative Extension Office.

    5. I would recommend sitting down with pencil and paper (actually, a spreadsheet program) and constructing an enterprise budget showing projected revenues and costs. Here's an example from Colorado State.
    http://www.coopext.colostate.edu/abm/cowcalfbudget.pdf. I don't know what the outcome will be, but it is conceivable that you will not be able to breakeven from a purely business perspective. (I realize that many folks get satisfaction from owning/managing livestock and may lose money from a business perspective. I don't have a problem with that.)

    Good luck!

    Steve
    Last edited by smstonypoint; 01-18-2011 at 07:45 AM.

  4. #4
    Member
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    il.
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    john deere 5525 new holland ts125a,john deere 7210, johndeere 750 ,case 580c backhoe , 175 crawler loader

    Default Re: Cattle Question

    You did not say anything about fences( do you have any?) What are the fence law out there, in il. the law reads as you face your nieghber your fence is on your right. Myself I like angus
    but don't know anything about highlands. In il. i run about 1 cow per 2 ac.
    and still might have to feed hay in summer. I never buy hiefers always 4-6 year old. They will lay down @ calf by themself. I would say start small
    you can always buy more cows.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Cattle Question

    Good advice from Stonypoint, from a business perspective. And he seems to know what he's talking about when it comes to economics and business.

    He also raises the good question about hay. If you are going to grow/harvest your own hay, that's a whole nother ball of wax.

    Just for reference, I usually keep about 18-20 cows at a given time. I've got three fields that I rotate them through that total about 100 acres, although some of that is timbered. We harvest hay (square bales) off of the farm as well, and let the cows have the pasture from that after we cut and it re-grows some. I usually have to feed hay from November through April, give or take, and go through 1,500 to 2,000 bales per year (of course this depends greatly on weather, how good the pasture is, how many cows/calves I have, etc.). I usually also supplement their diet through the winter with purchased ground feed (corn/hay/supplement).

    Having said all that, I think it would be hard to get a money-making enterprise on 40 acres. You could certainly run a few cows for fun or aggravation, but I don't know if it would be considered a business enterprise or not. I count mine as part of my farming operation, and some years it makes a little money, and some years it doesn't.

    I have cows mostly because I like having cows. I would hate to try to make a living out of it though. Have you considered any other livestock, like goats or llamas or some of those other funny creatures? I've got goats, too, and if anything, they are more aggravating than cows with even less of a return.

    Anyway, whatever your decision, good luck and take care.

  6. #6
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Nova Scotia, Canada

    Default Re: Cattle Question

    The size of the herd depends on the local conditions and whether you buy feed or not.
    What do the Farmers around you have?
    How many do you need to qualify as "Farm"?
    Egon
    50 years behind the times
    Livin in a
    Worn out skin bag filled with rattlin bones

  7. #7
    Veteran Member repowell's Avatar
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    NH Boomer 8N, NH TC40DA

    Default Re: Cattle Question

    I too would check the ag requirements. In Texas ag exemption is for commercial ag use. You have to sell hay, cattle, horses, etc raised on your property. One way to avoid the winter feeding problem is to go to the sale barn in the spring, buy the required number of calves and sell them in the fall after they fatten up.
    Randy

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  8. #8
    Member
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    il.
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    john deere 5525 new holland ts125a,john deere 7210, johndeere 750 ,case 580c backhoe , 175 crawler loader

    Default Re: Cattle Question

    Buying calves in spring makes sense for some one just starting out.

  9. #9
    Super Member smstonypoint's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cattle Question

    Here's some info on the economics of stocker operations (buying calves in the spring and selling them in the fall) that you may be able to modify to fit your circumstances.

    http://learningstore.uwex.edu/assets/pdfs/A3718.pdf

    Steve

    PS -- I don't know my Colorado geography. Are there any large feedlots in your vicinity?

  10. #10
    Super Star Member brin's Avatar
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    Georgia - Mt. Vernon by The Store just 5 miles east and right by the big oak tree then to the creek.

    Default Re: Cattle Question

    I have some friends who are raising Angus cattle and Marketing them direct to consumers as " Hormone and Antibiotic free, grass fed Angus Beef " They are both doing very well and making some good money. They began by advertising in the State Farmers Bulletin and Craig's List and now word of mouth keeps them busy..They have an approved meat processor that the customer deals with and pays . There seems to be a lot of health concious folks that enjoy knowing where their Beef comes from.
    Bob

    WORRYING does not take away tomorrow's TROUBLES, it takes away today's PEACE.


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