Should You Add Cattle To Your Livestock?
Friday, August 12th, 2016
Many small farmers are weighing the idea of adding cattle to their mix of livestock. Cattle can be beneficial to any farm and they generally require less work than many other livestock animals. However, cattle are definitely not labor free and adding them to your farm will come with certain demands that have to be met. You need to ask yourself several questions during your decision making process to ensure you are ready to add cattle to your operation.
How much cattle can your land handle?
The amount of cattle you can support will depend on the type of land you have and the forage it contains. Some types of grass need to be grazed lightly and rainfall can have an effect on the forage density.
Lactating cows need a higher quality forage and older cows need more forage than a younger cow. Do some research before deciding on how many cows you can support. You want to make sure your land has the nutrition your animals will need.
Are you able to supply adequate water to your cattle?
Cattle will drink varying amounts of water, depending on the season. Usually, a cow needs one gallon of water for every 100 pounds of weight. This number is adequate for the winter, but the number doubles in the summer months. Lactating cows need much more water.
It is best if your land contains a creek or pond. If you do have these water outlets, you may need to rotate access. A waterer is a good purchase but it can get expensive.
How will you feed your cattle?
You need to understand the nutrition your cows will need before making a purchase. Consider all feeding factors. If you want non-genetically modified feed, you may have to travel to get a supply. This travel can drive up your feeding costs. Grass is a free option, but it does require management.
Hay is another option. Cows can eat up to 26 pounds of hay every single day. While bales can add up quickly, it is a good investment because it adds to pasture fertility. Be aware that you will need a shelter for your hay, as it needs to be kept dry. You might need to purchase a round bale feeder to keep your hay fresh and lifted from the ground.
If you would like to learn more about hay and feed for your livestock, contact SB Hay & Feed in Amarillo, Texas. Give us a call at (800) 652-3036 or Contact Us via email. We will be happy to answer your questions and help direct you to the right hay for your livestock. You can also see the hay we have available to buy or sell your own!