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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ive been trying to get into cows lately, but my numbers seem too high. Im not complaining, but I want a realistic estimate here. Im paying for college through numerous scholarships and grants, but I still have my other costs such as another vehicle, gas, meals, etc. and other costs. I cant be thinking Ill have more money than I actually will. Im trying to lowball myself here to give me more wiggle room. So far, Ive only bought two young cows with a heifer and steer. Ill hold the heifer back, but Id like to buy at least two more cows. Heres what Ive figured up...

Rent pasture from neighbor: 40$ acre for 15 acres (10 pasturable)=600$ year
Hay:60$ bale x 30 bales=1800$ year (I will probably get half of that out of waterways and roadsides)
Vacinations: Im thinking 20$ cow/calf pair a year maybe. Thats just a number I found so 100$ year.
Equipment:Can use dads. I work for him, do most of the fixing on the farm, and help take care of his cows as well as just general running of the farm. Therefore, I dont really have any direct costs here. Ill probably pay for the diesel just so I dont feel like Im getting free things.

Gross Income

1 calf/year at 700 lbs x $130/hd=910.00x5=4550$ total-expenses=$2050 profit

My number just seems to high for 5 cows. At the price Ive been buying my cows at local auctions as single pairs, thatd be roughly a 20% return and thatd also be really low balling myself. Lets say I put it into current terms, Id be grossing close to 6300$.

I could also realistically get all my hay for nothing other than fuel costs off roads and such so take out 1500$ and leave 300 for the fuel. Thats 2200$ expenses, and now netting 4100$. A 41% return on 5 cows at 2000$/hd isnt that bad especially when I am paying cash and not doing loans and such. But am I missing something huge? Or is my current situation just in my favor?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
as long as nothing turns up dead or really sick you will do fine, hobby ranching always looks better then the real thing. plus you can ad almost another dollar a pound to that calf for now.
Well, its not exactly "hobby ranching." Its trying to get a start and eventually work my way up to 3-400 head after Im outta college. Trying to rent some ground too and farm along side dad, except I dont know how that will work out with limited equipment. I suppose its doable, but the tractor we use for planting is the weak link. The 12/23 planter should do 1500-1600 acres easy. Thanks though. That makes me feel a little better that I didnt leave something major out.
 

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Take advantage of the opportunity while you can! I had the same sort of opportunity as you did, it helped a lot even with a major drought then BSE. Bulls and bedding are the only things that you may have missed (that I can think of) but that is likely supplied by your dad. Losing a calf or two is going to hurt, and going to happen at some point!
 

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You have to start some were, just stick to it and don't get down when things go bad. It can work out with hard work.
Were are you from? Have I seen you on shooting forums? Seem to recognize LRShooter from else were. I also like to shoot long range. Don't have near the time I used since I started farming about 5 years ago. BTW, I now lease over 7000 acres with all my own equipment. You can do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You have to start some were, just stick to it and don't get down when things go bad. It can work out with hard work.
Were are you from? Have I seen you on shooting forums? Seem to recognize LRShooter from else were. I also like to shoot long range. Don't have near the time I used since I started farming about 5 years ago. BTW, I now lease over 7000 acres with all my own equipment. You can do it.
Yea im on a couple forums i think. I just use the same name bc its easy to remember. Im located in the tristate area in missouri. Ill probably eventually get that big or i hope. As of now, dad buys rveryhing he farms so money goes to land rather than equipment and therefore a reduced capacity. I woulnt mind buying a little bigger tractor myself and it would even out with my use of his combine and planter. Maybe a 8100 or something. At least something with a better tranny in it. 4630 JD Sycnhro range is terrible as far as im concerned. Quads are much better...
 

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I'm also in the start up phase of the operation, it's not tough to land in the black this year. As I project forward though, the biggest hurdle shows up when I try to extract a living from the cows.

Cash cost and real costs are two different things, you are missing a few small things like the bull, marketing, ect and you haven't put any value on your time or labour.

Good luck, it's good to hear about young guys wanting to do it.
 

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A lot of older rancher will want to get out at these high prices. A lot of bigger operations are maxed out with land and labour. There is an opportunity there to lease cows from them. They still get a calf cheque for a number of years and you don't have to buy cows at the top of the market. They save income tax and you save interest. A lot more cows will come to town again this year. It wouldn't hurt to have more but farming and ranching doesn't leave much time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm also in the start up phase of the operation, it's not tough to land in the black this year. As I project forward though, the biggest hurdle shows up when I try to extract a living from the cows.

Cash cost and real costs are two different things, you are missing a few small things like the bull, marketing, ect and you haven't put any value on your time or labour.

Good luck, it's good to hear about young guys wanting to do it.
Bull is taken care of already. Dad has one. I got off easy there. Marketing, if I so chose, could be basically nothing. As far as time and labor, I still have so few cows that I use my normally wasted time to work with them. Therefore, I don't really have an opportunity cost other than being lazy somewhere else.
 

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A lot of older rancher will want to get out at these high prices. A lot of bigger operations are maxed out with land and labour. There is an opportunity there to lease cows from them. They still get a calf cheque for a number of years and you don't have to buy cows at the top of the market. They save income tax and you save interest. A lot more cows will come to town again this year. It wouldn't hurt to have more but farming and ranching doesn't leave much time.
Hit the nail on the head, if you could find the right guy, you could grow aggressively, and have a lot of the support that the retiring rancher can offer.
 

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up here its pretty hard to start ranching on your own. even at a thousand dollars an acre, buy ten quarters, after you seed grass, fence it, buy one hundred and fifty cows, and some haying equipment, your payment is more then the calf cheque. if your going to do it on your own you better have a banker with a good sense of humour. two million is a lot to pay back now even at these prices.
 
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