I have been thinking about raising some beef. I certainly have the land, and hay ground to feed them come winter, so its not a matter of if I should raise beef, its what type.
Hereford, Black Angus, Dexter or Highland...they all make sense as far as beef goes, but prices here for these kinds go for 400-500 dollars for a calf just off a bottle. That is pretty high I think. Since we have a working dairy farm in the family, I can get calf's at the going rate. I can probably barter my way for a few calfs, but at most I would pay 75 bucks a piece...what my aunt gets paid anyway for bull Holsteins and Jersey calfs.
I have been told that raising beef cows from milking stock is not very profitable. I will spend far more money on raising them per pound then real beef cows. I am trying to confirm that. With calfs of the better grade beef cows so high though, it seems like I would have a 400-500 dollar head start on the price. In other words I would have to raise the true beef cows until they were 3-4 years old instead of a 1½ with the dairy cows.
Maybe some figures will help. The last time I raised Steak, a Holstein Bull, I raised him from calf until he was 1½ years old. I am not sure what the live weight was, but he yielded 450 pounds of meat for my freezer. He went through about 60 bales of hay, and a bag of grain a month. (He liked calf grain with 3% molasses, so he got that. Hey I'm a softy deep down inside).
I can get my pick of Jerseys and Holsteins. I am thinking a Jersey may be a better choice. I have heard that Jersey-Black Angus cross-breeds taste great, so down the road I can either breed the Jersey bull to a Black Angus, sell the Jersey as super tasty grass-fed beef, or keep it for myself. In other words more options then Holsteins. Our Holsteins far out number our Jersey's however, and I can get a brute of a calf right now that is a Holstein. (How its itty-bitty mother passed that calf is unknown )
Anyway, I got a lot of choices here. I would love to start an all Black-Angus or Hereford herd, but the truth is, it would be a whole lot cheaper to start a herd from Holsteins and Jerseys since they are essentially free and already exist on the family farm. If you were in my position, what would you do?
No one person here is smarter than all of us put together!!
I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"