Raising Cattle/why get started


A modern day cowboy.

The first question is: why do you want to raise cattle? What is your objective? Maybe you just love cows. Perhaps you're trying to fulfill a childhood fascination with cowboys and the Old West. Some more practical reasons could be to provide a source of healthy more natural food (either dairy or beef) for your family, or to start a small side business to provide additional income. There are many valid reasons, and you most likely have a combination of motivations.

Regardless of what your motivation is, it will be helpful in making future decisions and working through problems if you honestly know why you are trying to raise cattle.


Grazing cattle can help manage large properties.

There are many horse facilities that have limited acreage and are well suited for cattle raising. However, there is no economic advantage to raising cattle on small acreage unless you have evolved your operation into one where you are selling embryos at a very nice premium. However, a small ranching property that is too large to economically mow (such as 40 acres) may benefit from having cattle graze on it. Many rural municipalities require that property owners control the weeds growing on their properties. Having a small cattle operation can help in this. Also some places having a minimum amount of cattle can qualify you for farming taxation which can be cheaper than leasing the property alone.

Because forage plays such a large part of the feeding regimen, cattle require two to three acres per animal on the small side in the southeast where temperatures allow for a spring and fall forage growing program. Going in any other geographical direction requires even larger land to cattle ratios and the feeding program becomes a financial drain that can be unmanageable.