A Few Cattle Ranching Basics:
Cattle ranching can be a successful business for the smaller operations, but profits in this business aren’t necessarily measured in fattened wallets, fancy cars or huge homes. Instead, a successful operation can mean you earn enough to pay your property taxes and sustain your herd and your operations year after year. Once you’ve made the decision to get into the business, for whatever reason, you need to do a few things.
Tap Your Resources: First, you need to find out where you are going to get the cattle in the first place. Some recommend buying weaned calves or feeder cattle that are somewhat older. Local newspapers, the internet or local farming organizations and extensions can be great resources for finding a few head or advertising that you are looking to buy. They also can tell you what type of cattle you should explore based on your particular situation and the lay of your land. Local auctions are, of course, a perfect place to start. Not only do these provide the opportunity to purchase, but allow you to learn the ropes of the auction process, network within your local and the national community. Make sure you know what you’re doing, though, before heading out to auction, as often sick animals are sold here as well.
Pasture: When eyeing your pasture remember even though the pasture looks green and healthy in the springtime, it will get drier in the late summer. Don’t think your land is bigger than your herd. Make sure to understand the types of grasses and plan life on your land, and, depending on the cattle you buy, know what types they prefer and if your land is suitable for their operation. Local veterinarians and extension personnel are great resources for understanding what types of pastures work in your particular area. Pastures can be the key to a successful operation, as they provide a more economical source of feed.
Shelter: While you may think you need fancy barns and the latest hi-tech equipment, getting started really only requires a small shelter to protect the cattle, as most of them will be perfectly content to spend the majority of their lives roaming on the land you provide. Know your land as well and make sure to prep it prior to welcoming any cattle