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Author Topic: Small Farm ?  (Read 8269 times)

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Offline Wes

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Small Farm ?
« on: February 23, 2004, 03:54:01 PM »
 Now that I began raising these bull calves as oxen I started thinking , again. :o  

Since I have to feed and care for these guys daily and I have 12 acres, 7 of them pasture. Maybie I should get a fiew beefers too , not too many but enough to make a fiew extra bucks.

Ive noticed that a bunch of you folks are farming or raising some type of critters.and was wondering if it is a worth while venture or if any one has advice / Ideas of what else to raise or grow. ???  

Thanks,  Wes

Offline shopteacher

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2004, 04:03:14 PM »
Ya should grow some of the MaryJaWanna, my students tell me there's a very lucrative market there.   8)
Proud owner of a LT40HDSE25, Corley Circle mill, JD 450C, JD 8875, MF 1240E
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Offline Larry

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2004, 04:15:23 PM »
Maybe a couple calves for the freezer as they are fun to raise but I wouldnt count on making any money.
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

Offline Wes

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2004, 04:18:38 PM »
I kinda thought that one would be one of the top suggestions ..that will have to wait untill I get a greenhouse built, the grow lamps use too much power in my basement ;)

I should have said legal. ;D

Offline DanG

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2004, 04:30:21 PM »
Wes, I'm thinkin' of putting in a few head, myself. I have an ulterior motive, though. ;D  I've always wanted some cows, but it hasn't been feasible until now. I recently learned that the local Farm Service Agency(FSA) has an assistance program around these parts. If I do the perimeter fencing, they will pay for the cross-fencing, and pay 50% of the cost for a well. 8)

Since the power line situation has forced us to relocate our planned new home, we will have to have a new well and some cross-fencing to isolate the house/yard from the pasture. Now, I can run cows on it until I start the house, then fence them away from it, as well as keeping the cows and horses separated. ;D

I bought 1000' of field wire and 100 T-posts today to get me started. This will do the west fence with a little left over. I'll buy another 1000' later to do the east fence, and use the leftovers to restore the north and south fences, which are still usable, with a little help.  Then I'll let the FSA do the cross-fencing and help with the well, and I'll be way ahead on getting the house under way. ;D :)

Now, back to your question.  It's expensive to keep cattle over the winter if you can't produce your own winter feed. You don't have enough land to graze in the summer and still cut hay, so that leaves you 2 options. You can buy stock in the spring, then sell them in the fall, at a higher weight, but probably at a lower price/lb. Or, you can raise hay in the summer, buy stock in the fall at a reduced price/lb, sell them in the spring at higher weight, AND higher price/lb. Another risk factor is reduced, this way, because you already know how much hay you have when you go to buy the cattle. :)  Now this ain't for everybody, and may not work out for you, but it seems like a good plan for me, since I already have the baling equipment.

BTW, my place is 20 acres. 4 on the west side of the road, and 16 acres of pasture on the east side. I'm figgering on reserving about 2 acres on the east side for the house and garden. The four acre side will be for the sawmill, and other business ventures. ;D

You might want to check with your county agent about any programs that might benefit you.
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Offline Wes

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2004, 04:44:32 PM »
DanG,
Thanks, do you have any figures,ie..costs / profit ?
this is new to me.

Every time I start something new it leads to something else. ;D

Offline DanG

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2004, 05:12:39 PM »
I can't really give you any figures, since I haven't gotten that far into it, myself. I think you better think harder about the "cost" part, rather than the "profit" idea. :D :D  The way I see it, raising cattle is a bit like sawing lumber. You can get the job done, but making money at it takes a creative mind. You have to come up with ideas that suit your abilities, in order to enhance your chances to make a profit. "Value added" is a good way to improve your outlook. You could run a small "finishing" operation, where you put the final touches on a beef, then sell it to individuals for their freezer. You sell them a steer, or half steer, then deliver it to the slaughter house on the hoof, and they can pick up the meat, cut and wrapped for the freezer. You can probably sell a half this way, for about as much as you'd get for the whole steer at auction.

Another way is to raise "high-dollar" cows. Look at it this way; a $5,000 cow don't eat no more than a $500 cow. ;D  There are some very expensive breeds out there that can turn you a good profit on small acreage, IF you manage them right. :)
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Offline Norm

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2004, 05:30:47 PM »
If we get the mad cow embargo lifted in the next few months it might not be a bad idea to have a couple of beef cows to raise. Having the pasture is great and seven acres of decent pasture is good for seven steers around here. Figure in some hay and grain this winter for costs.  Keep in mind that good fences will make for less headaches. If you don't have an existing fence a good electric one will keep most in.

Besides cows are a hoot, what other farm animal can run it's tounge all the way up it's nose. :D

Offline shopteacher

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2004, 05:55:19 PM »
Hey DanG, I thought you retired?
Proud owner of a LT40HDSE25, Corley Circle mill, JD 450C, JD 8875, MF 1240E
Tilt Bed Truck  and well equipted wood shop.

Offline DanG

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2004, 06:15:47 PM »
Nawww, Teech!  I ain't retired, I just changed jobs. :D  I was thoroughly warned about this, before I took the plunge, but I have less free time now than before.  I just have a different "driving force." ;D  I'm just enjoying having the time to make my ideas and resources come to life. :)  For instance, I saved a C-note by driving 40 miles west to buy my wire and posts. I shared the trip with a buddy, who needed some things over there, too. I also bought some tractor parts that weren't available anywhere else. That trip would have required burning a day off, before.

I'll tell y'all how to make $2,000/month from 12 cows, later. ;D
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Offline Corley5

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2004, 06:39:27 PM »
We used to have beef cattle and selling them was the best thing we ever did.  We don't miss them a bit.  The whole place is now into hay production.  A few weeks work in the summer and the farming's over.  No pasture fences to repair, no cattle to babysit.  We can leave when we want without having to worry about someone watching them etc.  If you need to buy feed for them you're probably going to lose money.  If you can produce your own and have enough pasture you won't do too bad.  A friend and I figured it out a while back and according to our calculations we could buy a finished beef animal at the local auction and have it cut, wrapped and frozen for about $1,500.00.  To me that's better than having to feed and car for an animal until it's ready to kill.
Burnt Gunpowder is the Smell Of Freedom

Offline woodrat

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2004, 07:04:57 PM »
We raise sheep mostly for our own consumption, but have been getting inquiries from people looking for 'safe' meat. There is a huge and growing  demand for real food out there, its just a matter of trying to figure out how to tap into it (without running afoul of all the Agencies.) We also raised three pigs that are going to the butcher on Wednesday. We are selling halfs directly to friends for $3.00/# hanging weight and then they pay the butcher $.55/lb to cut and wrap. I haven't done the numbers yet, but it looks like we will come out pretty good even with having bought a lot of store bought feed. And more and more people are asking about meat and so I am thinking of renting pasture and expanding my sheep thing a little bit, and putting in a few more pigs next summer. I sure won't put them in my barn again though!

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Offline isawlogs

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2004, 07:16:01 PM »
  I was able to convince my dad to get rid of some of the cattle a couple of years ago . He still has about 45 head between him and my uncle , A friend of his had this thought wichmade me  :D   * If you sell all your cattle you won't have the free beef in the fall..........
 That's like saying that if you have a forest you get free wood
We have both .. and I can assure that its not free , unless you don't count your time , gas ,fuel , machinery ,tools ... goobermint ,moonicypal, provincial,or the federallys, then I guess it wood be free.....
 I would like him to keep at the most 15 head (to keep him busy ) And we could continiue to manage the forest as we have always done .
A man does not always grow wise as he grows old , but he always grows old as he grows wise .

   Marcel

Offline pigman

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2004, 08:09:24 PM »
Wes, I have a few cattle. They are almost proffitable at this time in the cattle cycle. On your small scale, selling frezzer beef to locals would be your best chance at making a little profit. If I could  sell pigs like woodrat is doing I would still be in the pig buisness. His $3 a pound pig carcass on the wholesale market is only worth about $.55 lb at this time.  ;D
If you have to buy much hay equipment it will eat up a lot of money fast.I have about 60k in hay equipment now. If you carry cattle through the winter it may be best to buy the feed you need. Cattle can be a lot of fun. 8) I had a cow chase me out of the field today, she didn't like me getting close to her new calf. :o
I would get some more cows but my wife only has two jobs, she can't support any more cows.
Bob the rancher
Things turn out best for people who make the best of how things turn out.

Offline Frickman

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2004, 10:21:59 AM »
Wes, if you are already tending to some animals, and have the room and feed, I say why not. You will never make anything selling the animals live, on the hoof at the auction, but if you can market some freezer beef locally you can do well. Maybe good enough to pay for keeping the others.
If you're not broke down once in a while, you're not working hard enough

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Pretend farmer when I have the time

Offline redpowerd

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2004, 12:49:32 PM »
now is the time to buy weaned bulls. the last one we sold went for .12!
NO FARMERS -- NO FOOD
northern adirondak yankee farmer

Offline Bro. Noble

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2004, 02:37:31 PM »
Raising animals on a mini-farm with the idea of showing a noticable profit is unlikely.  

If you want to do it,  why do you have to show a profit?

Do you make budgets on the profitability of a bass boat or a motorcycle?

If you enjoy having animals,  have at it.  If you have young children or grandkids,  there are lots bigger paybacks than dollars. :)

Redpowered,

we have been selling week old baby crossbred calves for the past year for $120 - $185.  Baby Holstine heifers sell for $3-$400.  We use a beef bull,  sell the calves,  and buy mature cows for $800 to $1500 and feel like we are money ahead over raising them.

(Jeff that's one ---watch out ;D)
milking and logging and sawing and milking

Offline DanG

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2004, 04:28:38 PM »
Bro. Noble raises a good point. You can only show a profit, on paper, if you don't pay yourself for your time. The time you spend caring for the animals must be chalked up to recreation, 'cause you ain't likely to realize minimum wage out of it. ;)

Now, last night I posted that I know how to make $2000/mo on 12 cows. Nobody seemed interested, but I'm gonna tell you how, anyway. ;D  This method requires a lot of different skills, and considerable facilities, but is workable. First, ya gotta have 12 good brood cows. You have to artificially inseminate them, since a bull is a waste of money on such a small herd. Ya gotta have enough good land to support them without buying any feed. That would include grazing, hay, and a patch of grain for fattening & finishing. 12 cows=12 calves per year(adjust yer budget fer failures ::)).  When the calves are ready for slaughter, you should already have them sold to individuals for freezer beef for $300+ per side. You "assist" the buyer in slaughtering his beef, with the understanding that you will keep the hide. Now, the finest leather is "oak tanned", which takes very little in the way of chemicals, but lots of work and time. So you go that route and tan the hides into top quality leather. Now, the real skill part comes into play, which will clobber most folks. It takes about 3 weeks of part-time work to build a fine, custom-made saddle. These saddles, if they are high quality, will easily bring $1500 and up. Normally, the materials would cost nearly $1000, but you have produced most of this, through your other activities, especially if you can produce the tree, yourself. The rest of it is only about $200 in hardware and misc. materials. So, if you sell the beef for $600, and get an average of $2000 for your saddles, the $600 can cover expenses and the $2000 can slip right into your pocket. :)

Note:  The above assumes that the person endeavoring to accomplish this has the physical ability, and skills, as well as the willingness to work hard enough to accomplish all of the necessary tasks. ;D
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Offline Haytrader

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2004, 07:54:32 PM »
DanG,

Boy, am I gonna screw up yer equation.
A finished beef (wighing 1200# to 1350#) is worth far more than $600. Fats are selling (on the hoof) for .80 so that "finished beef" is worth around $1000.

Wes,

Bro Noble has some good advice. Give a kid some chores and it will keep (or help) he or she out of mischief. I would not advise keeping stock in your neck of the woods during winter unless you have a barn. I think runnin cattle must be different in other areas of the country than here. I run a small herd of beef cows (140 head) and keep the calves till they are about 750#. Todays market will make that calf that is ready for the feedyard worth nearly $1 per pound. And that, my friends, will make $$.
Haytrader

Offline etat

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Re: Small Farm ?
« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2004, 08:39:51 PM »
It took me 8 years to recover money spent on a small herd of beef cows.  Which means I've just about broke even.  Almost.  Cost included fencing  and cross fencing and gates on 18 acres, fertilize and seeds, aditional feed in winter, a tractor, used round baler, hay rake, salt and worm blocks, rent on a bigger pasture, (got lucky there, rented 40 acre pasture with pond, creek, barn, some wooded areas with pecan trees, for 100 dollars per year with the condition I keep the place up), the initial price of the cows, and bull), ocassional vet bills, ocassional loseing a calf which just ruins yer year in a small operation.  My herd ranges from 12 to 20 head.  

Holy Smokes!  Misfigured ???, maybe I'll break even in ANOTHER 8 years!  Maybe I should start making SADDLES!    ;D
Old Age and Treachery will outperform Youth and Inexperence. The thing is, getting older is starting to be painful.


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