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  1. #1
    Platinum Member
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    Eastland Co, Texas
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    Kubota L5240 HSTC

    Default Cattle questions

    Looking for advice on starting out with cattle. Recently purchased 160 ac about 50-60 in old fields where mesquite has grown up close to 4' in some places. About 100 ac or so in hills and cover. Has 2 barns, 3 tanks and about to drill a water well. Fence is decent but old cross fencing in poor shape. Has real old looking pin with what appears to be an old homemade chute.

    Looking for advice on how to start out, idea of the level of management that they will require and upkeep. Will it be problematic that my day job has me living 2 hrs away from the property? Got 2 young boys that I want to learn the value of hard work and to respect what the land can provide.

    Thanks for your help and advice.

  2. #2
    Super Member
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    Wise county Texas
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    Kioti DK 35 now

    Default Re: Cattle questions

    1st thing you will want to do is check and double check your perimeter fence and repair where needed. In the mean time, start considering what type/breed cattle you want to run on the place. I like crosses, which is most what you're going to see anyhow.

    You would benefit greatly from having the county AG agent come out for a visit. He will asses the land and make great tried and true recommendations for your land, it's carrying capacity, range conditions, forage improvements and anything else you can think of. (make a list). You can usually get a USDA fella out too if you want their prospective, but do use the AG agent, he's free, knows your county and did I say, He's FREE.

    2 hrs away can be a problem, like winter feeding that has to be done, Monitoring water and feed in extreme heat and other herd maintenance, but it is certainly doable. Discuss it with the agent also, he will have a good "pulse" on the area, cattle theft is a problem in some areas of Texas.
    Dennis


    "Winter 2013 a majority of the country is setting new cold records, Colorado is setting new record HIGH's"

    "If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you."

  3. #3
    Super Member TomSeller's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by C4Ranch View Post
    Looking for advice on starting out with cattle. Recently purchased 160 ac about 50-60 in old fields where mesquite has grown up close to 4' in some places. About 100 ac or so in hills and cover. Has 2 barns, 3 tanks and about to drill a water well. Fence is decent but old cross fencing in poor shape. Has real old looking pin with what appears to be an old homemade chute.

    Looking for advice on how to start out, idea of the level of management that they will require and upkeep. Will it be problematic that my day job has me living 2 hrs away from the property? Got 2 young boys that I want to learn the value of hard work and to respect what the land can provide.

    Thanks for your help and advice.
    I would not want to be 2 hours away from my cattle. When calving you need to be there much of every day, when feeding you need to be there every day. Putting up hay you need to be there almost around the clock. What type of irrigation? Is your water source for the water tanks feeding the herd reliable? Able to water in freezing conditions?

    Cows are not too bright, as an example, we had one get its head stuck in a tree the other day and fought it so hard her head swelled up almost twice the size of normal. She would have died had we not been there within a few hours. Fences break down and you need to be there to get your animals back in. The list goes on and on.

    How many head are you thinking of? How many bulls? They can be the most work if you get mean ones or fighters for no reason. We keep a small calving bull on hand just for the heifers, so that adds one. Then you might want a back up bull for the main breeding. How many herds? Can you rotate multiple herds considering the fence arrangement? Remember you gotta keep the bulls with herds a ways apart if you have more than one. One bull can't take care of a large herd if you want your calves bunched together and we never have two bulls in a herd. One can "break" another when he is breeding and they spend too much time determining who is boss and don't get the job done. I am not trying to discourage you but there can be a lot of work involved.
    Last edited by TomSeller; 06-20-2013 at 02:27 AM.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
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    Eastland Co, Texas
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    Kubota L5240 HSTC

    Default Re: Cattle questions

    Good advice! Wondering if I should start out with a bull/calf or just ease into it by buying in spring and selling before I have to start feeding? Is that even worthwhile?
    It's been pretty dry and all 3 tanks still have water so I'm hoping they will hold but planning on drilling a well for the cabin and supplemental water if needed.

    I've seen the word "replacements" used, what is that?
    Are there specific times of the year certain things need to be done to them? I've seen things like shots/flies but not sure if that's as needed or preventative?

    Will check with county extension too.

    Thanks!!

    J

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Cattle questions

    Good advice given so far, but so much of it depends on if you are planning to try to make money or if this is more of a hobby. My herd is a mix of the two goals. I've mentioned before that I'm a pretty bad farmer, mostly because I'm too sentimental about my cows. I still have the 2nd calf that my first cow ever had (she's 17 years old now - the 2nd calf). The first cow that I got (given to me by another farmer - it's mother died after birth and he didn't want to bottle feed it) died at about 16-17 years old. If I wanted to be a money-making farmer, I think I would be better off to cull the herd every year and get rid of older cows while they still have a little market value. I end up keeping them and then say - "Shoot, I'm not gonna sell 'em for 4 cents a pound, maybe they'll have another calf for me." On any given day, I can walk out in the pasture and lay hands on most of my cows - i.e. they are that tame (not that I don't still have a healthy respect for the damage a cow can do).

    I sell most of my calves in the fall and have had some pretty good years. I wouldn't really want to be two hours away from my cows, for the reasons that others have pointed out, but I guess it could be doable. If you are intent on it, I would picked up a bull and a couple of cows and see how it goes. Worst case, it goes awful and you are out a couple thousand dollars and lesson learned. If it goes well, you just grow your herd and become a cattle baron.

    Good luck and take care.

  6. #6
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    Eastland Co, Texas
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    Default Re: Cattle questions

    Is there any advantage/disadvantage of Longhorn?

    Anyone with thoughts on buffalo?

  7. #7
    Elite Member houstonscott's Avatar
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    Default

    When you take them to market, what they want and pay for is black. Keep that in mind.


    HS

  8. #8
    Elite Member DT86's Avatar
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    SW VA
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    Kubota 9540, RTV 900 and David Brown 885.

    Default

    I don't think you would want momma cows if you are going to be two hours away when they are calving.

    Here is another twist on buying in the spring and selling in the fall. You can, around here at least, get a load of someone else's cattle in the spring (usually steers), you keep them all summer and tend to them as your own, then come fall they haul them off to be weighed. You get paid so much per pound of gain. It is much cheaper than buying your own cattle and the owner can always stop by your place to see how things are going when you are away.

    If you do buy your own cattle try buying them out of the field rather than at the stockyard. You can take your time to look at them better, you're not bidding against someone who might be the buddy of the man selling them and the cattle won't be stressed from being poked and prodded all day in a strange place. (stress = potential health problems)

  9. #9
    Elite Member bullbreaker's Avatar
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    BOTA L3400 DT -SQ 172 B HOG-WAC PHD-JD SUBARU PWRD GENNY

    Default Re: Cattle questions

    While brainstorming / prepping property " WATCH OUT 4 RATTLERS " ! Just a thought. Boone
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  10. #10
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    West Cascades Washington State
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    Default Re: Cattle questions

    Quote Originally Posted by C4Ranch View Post
    Is there any advantage/disadvantage of Longhorn?

    Anyone with thoughts on buffalo?
    That's an interesting question, i don't have any answers.
    Bison are big, better fences, would they handle the weather, available browse better? Longhorn, long horns, seems like chutes would need to accommodate them, ditto about the weather, browse. How efficient they are. Bison meat has premium prices, im not aware of longhorn meat being marketed say like angus or bison.

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