Saturday, April 24, 2010

Add Cattle or Not to Add Cattle

I woke up this morning to learn that the farm that was supplying me Belted Galloway Cattle is closing up shop and the owners are moving out of state so the herd is being liquidated. I want to add cattle to the farm, but the timing could be better (baby coming any day, expensive truck repairs, and far from completing fencing project). That being said, the price is fair and I like this herd. I have decided to purchase at least two cow-calf pairs and I am debating a third pair. They would be all cows with heifer (female) calves. This is a long investment, but could be the foundation for a solid herd. I still will not see any revenue from these animals for some time. The new cows will have to be rebred in July this year. I will likely be using artificial insemination. So that is adding something to my already busy schedule.

Belted Galloway Cattle on Larry Gram's Farm in Earlham

I understand that with cattle I am looking at around a 5 year investment before I see full returns from these animals. I worry most about two things in this business: one that I will be too cautious and miss many opportunities, and two that I am too aggressive and am driving myself into the ground. I am an impatient person so I would rather be moving forward at a painfully fast rate than be overly cautious. I can see where our pastures are improving, but are they improving fast enough to add that many animals? I wish the results of our 12 acre planting last fall were more promising than they appeared last fall and this spring.

  I worry about sinking money into cattle and waiting for the full return on investment. I can easily see where chickens, turkeys, sheep, hogs, and goats are more attractive to invest in as they can yield a return on investment within a year at most. If you are going to get into cattle, then when is really the best time?

On another note, today is my one year blogging anniversary, we are still waiting on the baby to leave the womb, and we are still waiting to have out first lambs of 2010. Given my luck the baby and the lambs are destined to arrive on the same day. I will just keep my fingers crossed as I wade into this next week.

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