There are many types of farmers out there, but one of the most common is cattle ranchers. If this is an area of the farming industry that you are interested in pursuing, then this guide on what to know before you start raising cattle is just for you. After all, we don’t want you jumping into this profession completely unprepared.
Cattle Have Multiple Purposes
Unlike other farm animals, cattle are quite a multipurpose creature. While most people know that they can use cows for their meat or milk, they have a third relatively unknown purpose: breeding. It makes sense when you think about it, but people getting into cattle ranching tend to overlook this alternative purpose.
In fact, if you plan to focus on the milk sector, it’s a good idea to get into breeding, too, since cows need to have a calf to begin producing milk. Just be aware that producing milk is costly at a small scale, so you’ll want to expand as quickly as possible to make the endeavor more cost-effective.
Cow Prices Vary by Breed
Not all types of cows will cost you the same amount of money. Standard commercial cows are the cheapest, but if you want a specific breed, it could cost up to three times more than your average cow. Plus, it’s good to note that not all species can live in any environment. If you want to specialize in a particular breed, you need to set up your farm in a suitable location for them. Regardless of the type of cows you buy, you shouldn’t have to worry about losing money on this investment if you purchase them from a reputable seller.
You Need the Right Environment
Even though we alluded to certain geographical regions being important depending on the cow’s breed, more goes into finding the perfect spot for a cattle farm than just climate. You need to focus on having quality land rather than a large quantity of it. You also need to keep them safe on your property. Cows are large animals, so you’ll need a strong fence to keep them contained.
On top of that, they need shelter and a constant source of fresh water. Cattle don’t like to sit outside in rainy weather, and many avoid snowy ground, so having a few buildings with roofs for them to hide under and water troughs to drink out of is essential.
Proper Equipment Is Essential
Of course, there’s more equipment you’ll need beyond shelters. You don’t need every farming gadget ever made, but as your business grows, you’ll need to consider which tools and equipment can improve your operation. That necessity is why having the right equipment is our final point in our guide on what to know before you start raising cattle. Even though “grass-fed” cows are all the rage these days, you’ll still need food troughs and other feeding accessories to feed them when they can’t access fresh grass.
Another valuable piece of equipment is a livestock scale. You’ll want to ensure that you get the most out of these scales, as they’re essential for keeping track of your cows’ individual weights. Knowing your cow’s weight is crucial, especially if you’re in the meat game. There are plenty of other pieces of equipment you could use, but their necessity varies depending on what you use your cattle for.