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Building and Maintaining a Cattle Farm

Whether you’re starting your own herd or looking to add on, raising cattle can be financially rewarding. But how do you successfully start a cattle farm or ranch and continue to stay on top of this constantly growing industry?

On this page, you will find challenges farmers just like yourself have faced when starting their own cow-calf operations, how they successfully handle their animals, grazing tips, and advice on keeping a healthy herd.

How to Start a Cattle Farm

Starting anything from scratch can be terrifying, especially when it comes to the financial investment. Take the Thill family who started a beef herd from scratch outside of Pleasantville, Iowa. While both Bryan and his wife Amy grew up on cattle farms, it took them years to get their own operation built up. When they were married in 1998, the couple had no livestock. Over the last 20 years, the Thills have added 235 acres of grassland and 80 beef cows.

Beef farming for beginners starts by taking a risk and the willingness to try. By starting small, earning off-farm incomes and using short-term loans, the Thills were able to successfully build their dream of becoming beef producers.

How to Make Money Cattle Farming

Now more than ever, young people are showing interest in starting a beef farm. With the average age of farmers increasing across the whole spectrum of agriculture in the United States, most cattle producers are among the oldest set of farmers. There are opportunities for young people to make money raising cattle, according to experts in the industry. The next generation has a bright future in beef production.

Buying bred heifers can be an extremely expensive way for young people to start a herd. How much should you pay for a heifer and what values can they bring to the farm? By calculating and factoring in three simple steps, you can get the most bang for your buck in purchasing bred heifers.

Cattle Handling

What are the best cattle management practices to ensure healthy and productive cattle? Simple tricks such as reducing shadows, knowing a cow’s blind spot, or creating traction on concrete floors can protect cattle from falling or getting spooked. In this article, you’ll find 12 tips for handling cattle easily and safely.

It’s important to remember that animal handling has effects on the overall well being of any livestock. The simplest changes can make a huge impact over time, such as spending more time with cattle, observing their detailed behavior, or even adopting an open attitude. Classifying how your cattle behave can help in future care and monitoring. In this article, you’ll find some commonsense cattle handling techniques.

Grazing Tips

Another important consideration for cattle farmers is selecting the best cattle feed. Although alfalfa is surrounded by myths such as making cattle bloat, University of Kentucky Extension forage specialist Garry Lacefield believes more producers lose money from the fear of bloat than bloat itself. In this article, Lacefield discusses 8 big reasons to graze cattle on alfalfa.

There is no better time to improve pasture efficiency than in early spring. If you have an already existing stand that may just need a pick-me-up, adding legumes can provide nutrition throughout the dry summer months. Examining a pasture’s history and behavior throughout the seasons can help regulate the most effective fertilizer applications as well as determine the best time to graze cattle. In this article, you’ll find why spring is the perfect time for pasture management.

Cattle Health

Maintaining a healthy cattle herd is vital for strong, productive calves and heifers. In the first 30 days of a calf’s life, it’s crucial to watch their behavior for any diarrhea symptoms as these can lead to deadly calf scours. This article gives some tips on the symptoms, treatment, and prevention of calf scours.

Sometimes you may experience some rare symptoms or diseases within your cattle herd. Iodine deficiencies are one of those rarities and the symptoms can be hard to determine. The mineral plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy thyroid in cattle. This article gives a thorough overview of when and why you should supplement iodine to cattle.

Fly Control

When the heat of the summer is in full force, so are the flies. However, ways of fly control on beef cattle farms are more diverse than ever including both natural and biological practices. Understanding the different pests than can cause irritability to cattle is essential in knowing what and how to treat the animals as well as knowing the loads of chemicals and amounts to apply. This article gives great fly control options for cattle on both scenarios.

Alongside biological treatments, beating flies naturally on cattle farms can also be done. Nonchemical options for treating flies are on the market and research is being done, such as the SARE grant project that experiments with nonchemical fly-control systems.

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