Posted 06-29-2004 at 12:35:58
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I never raised replacement heifers but here's my opinion on beef calf crops. I think Mike and Deadcarp are both right.
It aint all that outrageous to get a good price like deadcarp or Mike mentioned. If folks know you have a good breed and usually keep good stock they will pay to get a better brood stock from you.
There is no great BIG money to be made with calves or goats but if you watch the overhead and manage your time and animals they do make a good investment that Uncle Shug can not find to take away from you.
On my calves besides the ones born here I try to make every cow sale for 100 miles around me every fall & winter to pick up any orphans or pull offs that appear to be healthy.
I pay anywhere from $5 to $125 per head. I bring them home and put them on a nurse cow. To heck with mixing bottles. A nurse cow is a natural calf bottle without the mixing. I just let the cow in with the newbies in the morning and in the evening.
A good holstein will nurse out 6-8 calves at a time with no problems. You can wean the calves and start a new batch every 8-10 weeks if you want mass production. Plus you get all the milk a family needs as a side benefit.
I bale up all the hay I will need and put it at the feedshed.
I keep every ounce of good hay in front of them they will eat.
I usually have from 10 to 20 head of yearlings to sell every year. The gross income from selling them is anywhere from $350 to $750 per head. The market floats and is never the same twice in a row.
Not counting my time, but by counting every cent I use to produce them I never have had over $200 in a yearling.
It's no big money return but it does make Santa Claus happy.
My last calf money was to buy my son and new dotter-in-law a very nice $11,000 Ford Explorer for a wedding present.
In the last 12 years I paid off 55 acres of land with 2 rentor houses with my calf money. Yes it was aggravating and hot in the hay patch and it was cold in the windy rainey walks to the feed sheds.
I am a firm believer that it is not how much money you make, the important thing is how much money you keep and how you use it.