Laying Out Your Property to Support a Small Beef Operation
Did 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.
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SKU 57090111Southern States Traditions Beef Blend is a pelleted feed for beef cattle weighing over 500 pounds. This feed is formulated with a variety of ingredients making it a very economical feed. 13% crude protein and fortified with vitamins and minerals makes this a great feed to supplement on pasture during periods of low nutrition or limited supply of hay or pasture. Pelleting reduces sorting and sifting of ingredients for greater uniform intake and less waste. Feed Additive options available.
SKU 57922001Southern States Traditions Hi-Mag Beef Mineral is a free-choice mineral for beef cattle on pasture. Formulated with supplemental levels of Vitamins A, D, E, selenium as well as 14% magnesium. This supplement is designed to meet the daily nutrition requirements for health and reproduction. It is best to provide Southern States Traditions Hi-Mag Beef Mineral to your cattle 2 to 4 weeks before grazing tetany prone pastures.
SKU 57226211Southern States 16% PowerStroke with (BVT) Medicated gives growing beef cattle (350 lbs. and above) all they need for excellent and efficient daily growth with a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals and the additive Bovatec, for increased rate of weight gain. Introduce 16% PowerStroke with (BVT) Medicated slowly into a hay, pasture or silage diet, based on the feeding rate per head, per day. This pelleted creep feed can also augment the diets of growing beef or dairy replacement heifers, and its 16% crude protein supports special needs of your cattle. Your growing herd will get great support from Southern States PowerStroke feeds.
SKU 51350139Southern States Traditions 24% Beef Tub is formulated for beef cattle fed on a free-choice basis while grazing pastures with adequate forage, receiving silage, hay or green-chop. This block is fortified with major and trace minerals and vitamins and contains 24% protein to aid in the prevention of deficiencies. The weatherproof tub protects the supplement from weather and no additional feeder or protection is needed. Southern States Traditions 24% Beef Tub is best used in the fall, winter and spring.
SKU 57926001Southern States Cattleman's Beef Mineral is a base mineral that meets NRC requirements for grazing cattle. Excellent choice for mixing with grains to balance silage/grain feeding programs or fed as a free choice mineral.
SKU 57376011Southern States Genetic Expression 14% Jump Start (BVT) Medicated is a feed for growing beef cattle including slaughter, stocker and feeder cattle and replacement heifers; formulated with Lasalocid (BVT) for increased rate of weight gain. Southern States Genetic Expression 14% Jump Start (BVT) Medicated is your best bet. 14% crude protein and full-spectrum vitamins and minerals help to ensure all your pasture-fed livestock have the nutrients they need to maintain a steady growth rate. Available in non-medicated and other Feed Additive options.
SKU 57924001Mineral supplementation is the key to profitability in cattle production. Southern States Traditions Weathershed 2:1 Beef Mineral complements grazing cattle's diet with macro and micro minerals they need for healthy, steady growth and weight gain, including selenium, calcium and phosphorous. As mineral supplement rates in livestock feed increase, sickness and disease rates may decrease, and your profits show the difference. Keep your herd as healthy as it can be with Southern States Traditions Weathershed 2:1 Beef Mineral.
SKU 57226111Southern States Genetic Expression 16% PowerStroke provides all life stages of cattle all they need to maintain excellent and efficient daily growth. Introduce Southern States Genetic Expression 16% PowerStroke slowly into a forage based diet. This feed can enhance the diets of your cattle. The 16% protein content makes it an excellent supplemental support for late gestation and early lactation in brood cows and supports body condition score for breeding. Your growing herd will get great support from Southern States Genetic Expression PowerStroke feeds. Feed Additive options available.