If you are thinking cattle farming is right for you and if you are passionate about raising cattle, then you must have to know how to start a cattle farm business and all other things related to it. You must have to have or arrange sufficient funds or resources for starting and operating this business successfully.
There are actually many reasons for starting a cattle farming business. Some people want to raise cattle in large scale for selling animals, some people want to raise dairy cattle for the purpose of selling milk. Some people also start raising cattle to show in fairs and other local events. Some people also raise a few cattle for their family use.
Many people are deciding to raise some cattle for their personal use in today’s economy. However, whether you want to start a commercial operation or want to have a few animal for your family’s need, there are a few basics about how to start a cattle farm; from selecting farm location to purchasing cattle and selling your products.
Cattle farming is probably one of the most common and profitable animal farming business. Although this business comes with it’s own fair share of challenges. So you can start with a minimum number of animals and expand gradually. You need to do deep market research, economic and cost analysis and definitely feasibility studies.
How to Start a Cattle Farm
As a beginner, starting your own cattle farming business can be a little confusing. Although it actually is not that difficult. It actually takes plenty of knowledge about animals, deep research and practical experience for becoming a successful cattle farmer. If you start out in a small scale, work and do everything accordingly, then you will definitely see good results from your business. Remember, you need to get ready to work hard and make some sacrifices (especially in the early stages).
For starting a cattle farm and operating it successfully, you will need to make a good business plan, select your farm location, arrange some startup funds, purchase cattle farm equipment and supplies. You will also need to build fences around the farm area, build barns, shelters and sheds for your animals. By the way, if you can’t do all these alone, then it’s a good idea to find someone experienced in this field. However, here we are describing more about the process about how to start a cattle farm business.
Make a Business Plan
First of all, you have to make a good business plan for starting and operating your own cattle farming business (it’s just like starting any other business). You have to include all the expenses, overheads and costs that you may incur in your operation. For making better business plan, you will need to research your area and note down anything that you think might cost money.
A good business plan should include money for equipment, cost for purchasing animals, establishment cost, cost of salary for staff, cost of feed and also cost for animal care and pasture management also. It is also a good idea to plan for an emergency funds and reserves for any unforeseen occurrences. You can consider purchasing insurance and health care for animals.
You can either source the fund of your own or obtain loans from any source. The good thing is, a good business plan is also very useful and helpful if you want to attract investors or partners and also if you want to obtain loans.
Select Farm Location
Selecting a good location for your farm is very important. While selecting location, try to learn whether raising animals is permitted in your selected area or not. It will be good if there are good transportation and other required facilities available in the selected area.
You can either use your existing land or purchase from a vendor. In case of purchasing land, it will cost you more. Land prices generally tend to increase in areas where there is a higher population, or land is in higher demand than in other areas. It is also a good idea to purchase an existing or abandoned farm or ranch.
You should contact the local agriculture extension office for having more information on soil type, vegetation, stocking rates and carrying capacity for pastures, market demands etc.
Purchase Equipment & Machinery
Depending on the size of your farm, you will need to purchase some equipment and machinery. Determine your farm size, operation type and financial situation to see what you need for current facilities, equipment and machinery. Fencing, watering facilities, feed bunks/troughs or bale feeders is priority above all other assets needed.
Shelter is a must for keeping your animals safe. You will need to build multiple buildings and milking parlor with stanchions if you want to raise dairy cattle. A calf bard and a barn for holding cows is also necessary. On the other hand, beef cattle require less housing facilities. They will be good if you can just keep them safe inside.
Determine the Purpose of Your Cattle Farm
Decide the type of cattle you want to raise in your farm. You should select the type according to your budget and production goals. Generally most of the people start cattle farming business either for milk production or for beef. Raising beef cattle is relatively easy as compared to raising dairy cattle. Because raising dairy cattle is much more time consuming and costly, and dairy cows require more equipment and facilities.
Choose your desired breed after determining the purpose of your cattle farm. There are hundreds of cattle breeds available throughout the world to choose from. But you should consider about the availability of your desired breed in your area. You should not choose such a breed which is not available easily in your area.
If you are willing to start dairy cattle farming business, then you can consider some popular dairy cattle breeds. Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Holstein and Jersey are some popular and common dairy cattle breeds.
In case of beef production, you should consider such breeds which are known for their good temperament and also which are not labor intensive. Some good beef cattle breeds are British White, Galloway, Hereford, Red Poll and Shorthorn. Angus cattle breed is also a good option for beef production, but they can be aggressive and not actually good for beginners.
You can also choose both type of cattle for a combination of both beef and milk production.
After selecting a good breed for your production, purchase animals from any of your nearest livestock market, existing farms or from your friends. You can also search some online classified websites for buying cattle.
While purchasing animals, don’t go whole-hog and buy as many cattle as you can. Buy only good cattle that have great conformation, temperament forage convertibility and mothering ability. Avoid the animals that look thin and are close to breaking-down.
Heifers can be a good option for you if you have tight budget and if you are willing to wait for 2 years or more. Buying a bull will not be a good option if you have less than 10 cows in your herd. And in such case you can use artificial insemination for breeding.
Feeding Your Animals
Feeding is the most important part of raising cattle (either for beef or for milk production). You must have to ensure quality feeding for keeping your animals healthy. Producing the feeds of your own is a very good option. So, determine the amount of pasture that will be required for the animal.
Producing hay of your own will be good, because purchasing from another source can cost you a lot. However, feeding costs comprise a large percentage. So be ready for all these.
Take Good Care
Always try to take good care of your animals. Vaccinate your animals timely and apply de-worming and de-licing on a regular basis.
You should always keep good records of finances, breeding, calving, vaccinations, purchases, sales and assets in your operation. Financial records are the most important records, because these records determine whether your operation is giving you net income or loss. Best of luck!!