I am trying to find out if it would be more costly to raise my own beef,or purchase beef from a farm? Thank you.
if you have a barn with stalls, fenced pasture, a water source and a truck and trailer it would probably be a bit cheaper to raise it yourself as long as you discount your time.
Without a doubt it is cheaper to buy.
Explain to your neighbor that raises beef cows why he should consider feeding crop byproducts during a period of drought like the one we recently witnessed here in North Carolina. http://meme.yahoo.com/pocketchairreview
What ? your main consern about raising your own beef is do you have food for it. Barn? stalls? what is that? sounds like someone want's to sell you farm raised beef. If you can raise a chicken you can raise a cow.
Raising cattle is a lot of work, but very rewarding. First, you cannot raise one, they are herd animals and you need atleast two for them to thrive. Second you need a secure area - barn. Then you need to determine the feed - pasture, hay and/or grain and price that. Are you purchasing feed or growing it yourself.You need good fences and water. Then you need to monitor your cattle, for sickness and general well being. Be careful when purchasing - buy from a farmer not an auction market - get their advice - see their cattle - choose healthy. Then you must consider the time it takes, if you buy a small calf, or a 500 pound calf will determine the time it takes to finish. Generally speaking - which is very general because feed and breed makes a difference - it takes about 15-18 months from birth to butcher time for beed and longer for dairy. There are many risks involved when raising your own livestock - they can get out, get sick and die, hurt you, and you can get attached and then find it is hard to butcher your pet! Anyway, it is similar to raising any animal. Patience, time, hard work - but the rewards are many, the taste superior, and you learn a lot along the way.
I raise calves. I am connected with a local dairy, and purchase their new holstein bulls. I also purchase a few beef calves here and there. I do not eat them, but take them to auction or sell them outright when they reach a year old. I don't keep them any longer....as the bigger they are, the lower price per pound. It's not cost effective. Besides, they are like pets to me. I name them, and care for them personally. It's all about the feed and care. At a year, my "steers" usually run right at 800 lbs. That's prime butcher weight, bringing the best price at auction. And my beef DO bring top dollar. But, I've got quite an investment in them by the time they go. I grain and hay them year round. If they start as bottle babies, I've got at least one bag of milk replacer ($75.00) in each. I dehorn, castrate and vaccinate each. I'm lucky if there are not any "accidents" or illnesses that require more veterinary care. I've had a few "episodes" that have been quite costly. Figure 100 lbs of grain per month, per head..plus the cost of hay. Luckily, I have a great hay field during spring, summer and fall. Winter being the most costly time of year. Bottom line.....I've got around $600-$700 invested in each one by the time they are shipped off. Profit margin is very small. Now, take that amount and add $200-$300 for processing, and you have some pretty expensive beef....but worth every dime. At least, I know how my beef are fed and cared for....As do my neighbors and customers. They are pets, and get the best of everything. They are fed first, in the morning and the evening. You can't buy beef like that at the grocery store.....
It depends on what you are trying to achieve, where you are, what are your resources, etc. Feeding your own beef (usually a steer unless you want it for breeding) is very costly but it is also very tender and tasty. Buying from a reputable rancher is probably the most cost effective. What are you looking for as an end product? 925-423-8994
Angela - Great post. Interesting to hear you market at 800 pounds. Back when I was in high school, the preferred market weight was 1000-1200 pounds. When I was a kid we ate Holstein steers we grew out ourselves, since that is what we milked. Now we get beef from our neighbors. The last one we got was a West Highland cow and it is delicious. Grass-fed of course. I sometimes wonder if the older breeds are better at grass since they were used to scrounging back before the Industrial Revolution.
It definitely costs more to raise your own beef than it is to get it from someplace else. With land payments, mortgage for land and the house on that farm, start up costs, and time it takes to get a bovine to get to butcher weight all makes it that much easier to simply buy beef from off another farm.
If you're asking about specifically raising a cow, from where I'm from you don't need a barn or stalls in that barn to raise beef cattle. You can easily raise beefers outdoors 24/7/365 with just a lean-to shed, trees or a windbreak fence as shelter. As long as you're meeting the nutrient requirements, giving the right feed at the right time, you'll get a bovine to grow up to slaughter weight just fine without needing a barn. It's best to start with a weaned beef steer or heifer as beef rather than buying cows and having to wait for a lengthy time (anywhere from 3 years as bred heifers to 18 months) before getting any meat for your freezer.
There are a lot more circumstances that should be considered before making this decision. For the most part it is cheaper to buy from someone that is set up to raise cattle. But don't forget the self satisfaction of raising something yourself. We raise several things in our garden that is more expensive but it is great family fun. Our meat is cheaper for us to raise ourselves but we are in the business of raising meat that we feel comfortable eating because we know its origin and content. Just food for thought.