Farmers || Future


I built a 30x40 barn this spring/summer. I'm looking to utilize my barn and make money this late winter/spring. So here is my idea I'm looking for feedback on.

I'd purchase a group of say 24 calves @ 250-300 lbs in Feb...When nobody wants them. Feed them until April/May and sell say 16 hd @ 400-450 lbs in the Iowa Farm Beurea Spokesman to people looking for calves to put on grass....When historically cattle prices peak. The remaining 8 hd I could easily background by rotational grazing my pasture. Over the summer I try to market the remaining 8 as freezer beef. What ever I don't get sold as freezer beef will go to the sale barn around Oct/Nov. Whatever I sell as freezer beef will be finished over the winter and slaughtered. Then I'll restart the cycle.

The idea is I'm buying low and selling at the high, low, and the consumer market. Also my income trickles in over the year. By doing this I am also using my barn to capacity late winter/early spring and utilizing my pasture. I do not have enough pasture to run my barn at full capacity over the summer. Also I'll have fewer cattle in the depth of winter which I like on days like today when it is icy!

I have been raising dairy calves since 2004 as a sophmore in High School. I've had pretty good luck raising them. So I'm not to worried about the animal husbandry end of it. Just looking for input on the feasability of ending in the black?

And what a good cheap ration would be? I have the possibility of buying a small TMR so I could feed any number of feed stuffs. On the farm I have grass hay, corn, cornstalk bales, and some times oat and oat straw. I have 5 ac I could grow whatever I want sorghum/sudan, oat hay, rye, etc. I can get wet by products also.

Look forward to thoughts!

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Is raising these calves the only thing that will be paying off the shed? You may need more numbers of claves and throughout the year. Using the TMR to feed the ration over the summer could stretch your pasture out to more calves. Its not as cheap as all grass, but it will give you the ability to feed more heads for not much more per pound gain. THe wet byproducts with the dry hay would work good. The 250- 300pounders will require dry grain until they get bigger. If you are growing them, especially to resell as grass calves make sure you do not get them too fleshy. Beef calves will get fleshier easier than dairy calves.
Thanks for the reply. The barn is already paid for. The TMR probably won't be used this summer, but might be a possibility in a year or two. Biggest catchup I'm having with TMR is getting a fenceline feeding system that can be used from 300 lbs and grow with the calves as they grow to say 800-900lbs. Driving in with the cattle is in efficient and dangerous to the calves unless I was feeding on stalk fields or something.

Maybe I could background another bunch between say November and April on stalks? That would gain me more head and help justify a TMR. However, I'd be feeding in the wonderful Iowa winters then :)




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