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Ten Common Mistakes To Avoid When Raising Cattle

These things aren’t fun to experience, but survivable. Although experience may be the best teacher… Here are ten mistakes to avoid when raising beef cattle.

1. Tolerating Weak Perimeter Fences. 

Quality fencing is one of your most important assets when raising cattle. It’s particularly important if your pasture is less than ideal. Cows will search for something better. It takes a substantial fence to stop a determined 800 kg bovine, so if you have weak spots in your fencing, your animals are going to get out. In all seriousness, you must remember that you put motorists and your cattle at risk when you have weak fences. Before you buy any cattle, be sure to get your fences in good shape; it’s an investment that pays for itself every day your phone doesn’t ring with someone on the other end saying, “Your cows are out!”

2. Running Out of Grass. 

When it comes to pasture, it’s always better to have too much than not enough. Unfortunately, pastures don’t grow at a consistent rate 12 months of the year. During late spring and into June, the grass grows like crazy, and you’ll probably have extra forage. But if you build up your cattle numbers to match this time of peak production, you’ll probably be short of forage the other ten months of the year. Your best bet is to match the number of cows to the amount of winter feed your pastures produce. Cattle can harvest pasture more cheaply than people can cut and bale hay (plus they fertilize as they go).

3. Forgoing a Calving Ease Bull. 

A calving ease bull is a bull that’s genetically more likely to produce calves that are born easily compared to the average bull. An unassisted birth means less work for you and a greater likelihood of a strong, vigorous, and profitable calf. An unassisted birth usually means cow has to work less, so she has more energy to get up and take care of her calf. She’s also less likely to suffer injury during an easy labor as opposed to a difficult delivery. The calf goes through less trauma during an easy delivery, thus allowing it to get up and eat more quickly. There atre bulls that produce calves that are born easily and then take off growing fast and big.

4. Neglecting to Keep an Adequate Backup Water. 

Supply Water is vital to the health and well-being of your cattle. They need water for adequate growth, reproduction, and lactation. During the heat of summer, a cow with a nursing calf drinks nearly 100 liters of water a day. Having a backup water supply plan in place is important in case you have an emergency.

5. Lacking a Marketing Plan. 

The nice thing about cattle is you can almost always find a buyer regardless of the type of cattle. However, to command top dollar for your livestock, you need to raise what the buyers want and be confident and positive when promoting your cattle. Before you buy your first cattle or expand your herd, plan how you’ll sell those new animals or merchandise their offspring or their meat.

6. Buying Bargain Cattle. 

The old saying, “You get what you pay for” is almost always true with regard to cattle. Cattle that are inexpensive to purchase initially are often more expensive in the long run. Discounted cattle may be sick or have bad dispositions. They also can be old and nearing the end of their productive lives or sick. It only takes one contagious animal to spread disease to an entire herd. For the most part, cattle are hardy, but plenty of mean germs can make cattle feel miserable, cause the loss of a pregnancy, or even result in death. Just as disease can be spread, so can bad attitudes. One temperamental animal can negatively impact the manners of the entire herd. Wild cattle don’t grow as quickly and have a tendency to produce tougher meat.

7. Purchasing Cattle for Looks and Not Function. 

An animal with a glossy coat, bright and clear eyes, and a muscular and well-proportioned body is most often a healthy and high-performing individual. It’s a pleasure to see these animals. However, avoid getting too wrapped up in the looks of your cattle. You may end up overlooking these other important traits like cost, reproductive ability, calving ease, growth, milk production, and carcass merit.

8. Skimping on Training before the Cattle Show. 

Exhibiting cattle at shows or sales is expensive and takes a lot of time. Make the most of your efforts by fully training your cattle beforehand. Your cattle need to calmly stand while you position their feet, and they need to move obediently when you lead them.

9. Failing to Set Proper Customer Expectations. 

Satisfied customers are critical to the success of all businesses. It takes a lot less effort to keep a current customer than it does to find a new one. To cultivate happy, returning customers, be clear and direct about the benefits and drawbacks of your product.

10. Making Raising Cattle Complicated. 

When starting a new endeavour like raising cattle, you can be overwhelmed with all there is to learn and do. Don’t get hung up on every little detail; you’ll become too paralysed by information overload to ever take action. Raising cattle doesn’t have to be difficult or complex, just stay focused on the main, basic keys to success.

Got questions? Get in touch.

Start-a-Herd with House of Angus   •   www.HouseOfAngus.lt   •   Start-a-Herd@HouseOfAngus.lt   •   +370 685 06 501