Tips for Starting a Cattle Ranch
Cattle ranches typically raise livestock for beef production. Some ranches though, focus on cow calf enterprises. Usually, cattle ranches sell calves when they are 6 months old and weigh around 500 pounds. Some ranches are stocker or feeder enterprises which purchase calves and grow them until they reach 700 to 900 pounds. A market beef operation, meanwhile, feeds and grows a stocker or feeder cattle to a market weight of around 1,200 pounds.
Choosing a cattle enterprise
Determining the type of cattle to raise is the first step in starting a cattle ranch. To do so, you need to carefully consider the market for the cattle. The next step is to find a suitable location for the ranch. Check the land use regulations and county zoning of potential ranches to determine if raising cattle is permitted.
Building the necessary facilities
Remember, a cattle ranch requires adequate space to house the herd. A corral may also be necessary to manage the animals. Wood or metal fencing at least 5 feet high is ideal for corrals. You’ll also need to build chutes where you can restrain the cattle for vaccination and other procedures. Although cattle don’t require a barn or a shed, you’ll need to build a windbreak and a dry place for them to bed down.
Approximately 70 percent of the cost of raising cattle goes to the feed. Cattle fodder consists primarily of hay and pasture, but adding wheat, corn, and other grains can add energy to their diet.