How to Make Money Backgrounding Cattle
Buying and selling cattle is a profitable activity. It’s true, however, that it’s not as simple as buying low and then selling high. Instead, it requires a bit of strategy to get the most out of the process.
Calving distribution and herd genetics
In addition to calving distribution and herd genetics, there are other factors to consider before starting a cattle business. For example, the cow/calf ratio of your herd may be higher or lower than other producers in your area. This can affect the cost of producing calves and the profitability of your operation. To maximize the number of calf-producing animals, you should divide your herd into a series of groups that have similar nutritional needs.
There are several ways to optimize your herd’s genetics and make money backgrounding cattle. One approach is to use only the biggest heifers. Heifers are lighter than steers, so they are cheaper per hundredweight. However, they tend to gain less efficiently than steers. They also require a longer postpartum recuperation period.
Calving distribution and feedlot prices
Buying and selling cattle can be an effective method of making money. The key to success is careful management of forages. Also, having a sound health program is essential.
Backgrounding is the buying and marketing of cattle for other producers. Calves can be marketed as bulls, steers, or heifers. Typically, steer calves weigh 350 to 550 pounds at marketing and heifers are 30 to 50 pounds lighter.
Feeder prices are affected by factors including the Canadian dollar, feed costs, and the market price of feeder cattle. These changes in feeder prices can affect the profitability of cattle feeding enterprises.
The BCRC Backgrounding Calculator can help you determine your net returns from backgrounding. This calculator incorporates average daily gain, cost of gain, performance risks, and price risks. Using this tool, you can enter the prices of your calf and feeder cattle, and determine the net return for each backgrounding period.
Char-cross calves gain more than Hereford/Angus calves
One of the benefits of crossbreeding is increased calf weights. The higher calf weights can help increase profits. However, success requires persistence and a good plan. Here are a few things to think about before starting a crossbreeding operation.
The first step to success is choosing a system. Rotational crosses can offer some advantages, but they lack the specialized sire breeds that can enhance heterosis. A rotaterminal cross involves mating cows to bulls from two maternal breeds, and usually provides replacement heifers.
A rotational cross typically loses about one third of the potential for individual heterosis. This is mainly because of the common genetic makeup of the breeds. It also makes the management of the system more sensitive.
Managing calves through the weaning phase
If you are considering backgrounding cattle through the weaning phase, there are several factors to consider. The key is to determine what you want to achieve and then design a program that will meet those goals. Also, consider your own resources and whether you have the equipment and personnel to run a backgrounding operation.
Calves should be dewormed and vaccinated before going into a backgrounding program. They should also be treated for respiratory disease. Bedding can help prevent cold stress.
Backgrounding calves should be fed a forage-based diet. Most feed mills sell pellets that contain soy hulls, corn, distillers grains and corn gluten. These feeds are all good sources of energy and protein.
Target end weight
Backgrounding is a fancy term for buying feeder cattle. It is a fairly cost effective way to get a piece of the action if you are a large scale beef producer. Most backgrounders are in it for the money. There are many resources available to the budding feedlot connoisseur. Some of the most lucrative opportunities are found in the bull calf markets.
The best way to get started is by doing your research and asking your vet. If you do, you may be surprised by the number of companies operating in this industry. They are not all created equal. Many have their own specialties. Managing your own herd can provide a significant competitive edge.