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back grounding light calves


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I chose this fourm to ask because you guys are straight shooters i was wondering what your thoughts were on back grounding light colored calves start them at 400 and take them up to 600 700 pounds and if there is any money in custom. I am just a younger guys looking at ideas i have the machinery to put up hay and silage also 450 feet of concrete fence line bunks along with a 30 by 60 loafing shed open to the south. I also have machinery to handle manure and rented ground to apply it on i have always wanted to feed just cant find anybody how would take the time to help me get started thanks in advance.

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What kind of markets are in your area? Feeding cattle is feast or famine you'll have to find a ration that keeps inputs down while keeping rate of gain respectable.

Niece's boyfriend feeds out 35'000 head they use outdated produce, pastries and other by products in a closely monitored ration and make money at it.

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Here in western Arkansas alot of people background calves on grass and supplement with feed. It takes a lot of cash to buy the calves but there is profit if you can keep them healthy. If you have a bout with shipping fever you will probably loose money. Thx-Ace

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It seems to me(I’ve never done it) but I raise plenty of cattle, that your dealing with 2 separate busineses here. 1st is cattle buying market. There a lot to know here. When to buy what and how. Lots of guys study the market and know better than me when’s a good time to buy and sell. Sometimes your 700 lb fats bring essentially the same money as a 500lb feeder depending on the demand for instance. 

Second is your feed end and input costs. Drugs are absolutely outrageous right now. Most guys this size skip your low end medicines and go straight for your higher end stuff. So there’s somehing to consider. Feed is cheap right now but I doubt corn will always stay this cheap. 

I think find somebody that’s been doing it, and knows the market and get advice. Start small and buy what you can afford to take a gamble on. See how it goes. There’s money to be made. Something else guys do a lot is buy young heifers and get them to breeding age. Sell them guaranteed open, or breed them (A.I. Or to a good bull) To me there’s a little less risk here because bred heifers or of age heifers should always bring more money. Getting hooked up with the right people to sell to makes a difference too. 

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Custom feeding is the way to go. It sounds like you  have decent facilities and equipment enough. Go to your local elevator and find the beef guy or a feed store with a nutritionist. Someone should be able to point you in a direction to look. Custom feeding is a good way for a guy to start because you don't need to have any cash really. Take your time and hunt down the right guy and it should pay pretty well for you. You need to go beat the bushes though, they will not come to you. We custom and it works well, lot less risky than owning our own, which we have done as well. You are in cattle country so with some patience there should be someone. A larger feedlot may even be interested in working with you since a lot of them would rather start with 700-900 pounders than with calves. Hope you find someone, and I hope this helps.

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Let someone else own them.  You charge yardage and cost of feed.  If you raise some of your own feed mark it up like it is sold from the elevator, not selling to the elevator.  Same with silage.  There is money in it, but take really good care of the critters and keep good records.  It will show the critter owner you care about doing a top notch job with their animals

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