Farm Store | articles | Property Layout for a Small Beef Cattle Ranch

Laying Out Your Property to Support a Small Beef Operation

Beef cattle on a small ranchDid you know the majority of beef cattle produced in the United States come from small beef operations? According to the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, small beef operations, defined as 1-49 head of cattle, account for 79.7% of the beef cattle industry. Owning and operating a small beef farm is one of the least labor intensive agriculture ventures one can enter. In fact, many of these farmers have full time jobs away from the farm, making farming a part time endeavor.

Have you considered raising beef cattle? Before you bring the first head of cattle onto your land you must determine what type of operation you want to run. The two most popular types are cow/calf and stocker operations. While both operations will require pasture and feeding systems, cattle-handling equipment and loading (transportation) facilities, planning for your specific operation will make life easier once the cattle arrive.

Unlike other livestock, beef cattle do not require elaborate or expensive housing. Cattle do very well outside in a wide range of weather conditions. However, you may consider a simple structure like a pole barn to protect your herd from Mother Nature.

Proper fencing will be a significant investment when starting your operation. A well designed fencing system will not only keep your cattle on your property, but will also improve grazing efficiency on your land. To develop a fencing plan and estimate how much fencing will be needed, use aerial photos of your property to evaluate the topography and layout. These images can be obtained via Google maps, National Resource Conservation Service or Farm Service Agency.

A good fencing layout will include a mixture of both permanent perimeter and temporary 'paddock' fencing. When possible, paddocks should be designed to be fairly square in shape. Square paddocks require the least amount of fencing and give easy access to water. Each pasture should have a mineral feeder for year-round supplementation of free-choice mineral. A feed trough and hay ring may also be needed to supplement feeds if the pasture cannot meet the animals' needs.

Temporary fencing will enable you to rotationally graze your cattle and make your property flexible. By resting your fields, you will maximize the productivity of your land. When laying out these temporary areas, consider the available shade to regulate your herd's temperature during the heat of the day.

Cattle-handling facilities will also be required. A simple handling layout would include a small holding pen with chute leading to the restraint area. A head gate and squeeze chute will allow you to vaccinate, medicate, breed and perform other husbandry activities on your herd.

Ready to start farming? Visit you local Southern States store local Southern States today to find the supplies you need.

Shop Cattle Equipment

Related Products

More Products Like This:
Grid View
List View
  • Motto High Tensile Field Fence 12.5 ga 330 ft

    SKU 08111614
    Great for both cattle and general application fencing, the Motto High Tensile Field Fence is built strong. Motto combines hinge joint knots with high tensile steel, which makes installation easy and requires fewer posts. Best of all, the 12.5 gauge, Class 3 galvanization provides a greater life expectancy than any other field fence.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Bekaert Solidlock Fixed Knot Cattle Fence 330 ft

    SKU 08105410
    Bekaert Solidlock fences are the strongest, most durable woven wire livestock fences on the market. The Solidlock Fixed Knot Cattle Fence combines high-tensile wire, a fixed knot design, and Class 3 galvanized coating to make a fence that stands up to your cattle and to the weather, season after season. This fence features 6-inch solid vertical stays for a low-maintenance, high-performance fence. Cattle farming is made easier with the Bekaert Solidlock Fixed Knot Cattle Fence.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Bekaert Low Carbon Field Fence 330 ft

    SKU 08111920
    The Bekaert Low Carbon Field Fence is an economical choice for general fencing needs. The fence features tightly woven hinge joints that bounce back from animal impact, and will maintain strength and shape through the years.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Bekaert Zinc Aluminum High Strength Horse Fence 1348-2-12.5 200 ft

    SKU 08102622
    The Bekaert Zinc Aluminum High Strength Horse Fence is a strong, attractive and safe fencing material for all equine. Features include safe 2" x 4" openings, a coat friendly S knot, high strength steel and a zinc aluminum coating.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Bekaert Motto High Tensile Field Fence 14ga 47 in

    SKU 08111606
    Great for both cattle and general application fencing, the Bekaert Motto High Tensile Field Fence is built strong and allows for increased post spacing, less sagging and minimum maintenance. Best of all, the Class 3 galvanization provides a greater life expectancy than any other field fence!
    to see pricing & availability
  • Bekaert Za Sheep & Goat 1348-4-12.5 330 Ft

    SKU 08104810
    Bekaert ZA S Knot Sheep & Goat Fence. Strong knots to keep sheep and goats contained. 4Iin x 4in openings reduce risk of animals getting stuck and exclude predatory animals. Easier to install. No stretching required - just pull tight. Requires fewer posts. Reduced maintenance - less sagging due to elongation. Wire has 12.5GA line wires with 14GA stay wires.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Bekaert Horseman Fence 30 1348-2 12.5 Ga 100

    SKU 08104799
    Bekaert Zinc Aluminum High Strength Horse Fence 1348-2-12.5 100ft. Bekaert Zinc Aluminum high strength non-climb horse fence is a strong, attractive and safe fencing material for all equine and small animals. This product features safe 2x4 openings, a coat friendly S knot, high strength steel and a Zinc Aluminum (Zinc Aluminum) coating that offers corrosion resistance three times greater than Class 1 galvanization. 100ft reel.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Bekaert Horseman Fence 30 1660-2 12.5 Ga 100

    SKU 08104802
    Bekaert Zinc Aluminum High Strength Horse Fence 1660-2-12.5 100ft. Bekaert Zinc Aluminum high strength non-climb horse fence is a strong, attractive and safe fencing material for all equine and small animals. This product features safe 2x4 openings, a coat friendly S knot, high strength steel and a Zinc Aluminum (Zinc Aluminum) coating that offers corrosion resistance three times greater than Class 1 galvanization. 100ft reel.
    to see pricing & availability

Find Your Nearest Southern States Location

Sales & Offers