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16 Jul 2017
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Cost of Raising Cattle - Tips Before You Start

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Posted By Geoffrey H.

What is the cost of raising cattle? It shouldn't be too expensive, right? All you have to do is buy the cow, put it in a field, and watch it graze. Right? Wrong! Many people have thought of trying to raise their own cows for meat or milk, but not many have considered the actual cost of raising cattle. Below is a rundown of all the costs involved in raising a cow.

1. Cow

The first cost to be considered is the actual cost of the cow. The price depends on the breed of the cow, as well as secondary factors such as its age and size. You also have to consider the current cost of feeding it and how long you have to wait until it can be bred.

2. Shelter

The cost of raising cattle also depends on the cost of providing shelter for them. Money can be spent on building expensive sheds or barns. Alternatively, a simple windbreak can suffice. Consider that thousands of cattle are raised successfully with little or no housing. Many cows spend their whole lives out in the open but, to be on the safe side and to protect the health of your cows, it would be wise to build or rent for them a place that will shelter them from rain and wind. The structure has to provide shade, be draft-free, and be spacious enough for all its occupants. The cost of raising cattle also includes the cost of putting up sturdy fences to keep the cows from straying and to protect them from thieves and other animals.

3. Water

A normal cow will consume about 12 gallons of water every day. This fact should be taken into account when tallying up the total cost of raising cattle. Tank heaters will be necessary during the colder months - this, too, should be accounted for.

4. Pasture

The life of the cattle and the quality of meat they produce will rely on the pasture they graze on. According to some farmers, cows thrive on pasture that is a mixture of alfalfa, brome, and timothy. This provides more grazing than straight bluegrass. Remember that it takes around 20 acres of grass to pasture one head of cattle.

5. Hay and ground feed

The cost of feeding a cow will make up a significant portion of the total cost of raising cattle. For a cow to produce good beef, it needs to consume about half to ¾ of a ton of hay. Remember that alfalfa is the best kind of hay for cattle and is the standard by which all other kinds of hay are judged. It is also the most expensive. As for ground feed, corn is the best feed there is and you will need about a thousand pounds of it for every cow you have.

6. Veterinary and other costs

Apart from the cost of buying a cow, sheltering it, watering it, and feeding it, you also have to take into consideration a number of other expenses. There's the cost of labor, the cost of transporting cattle, the cost of breeding a cow, and so on. These are only some of the costs that you have to keep in mind if you are curious about the total cost of raising cattle.

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