Post Reply 
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Raising Beef
02-18-2016, 12:20 PM
Post: #1
Raising Beef
We have been raising beef for about 12 years. We have mostly bought feeder cattle in the spring and raised them on grass exclusively until fall when they weigh around 850 to 950. These we sold or have custom butchered for family or friends. We have had our own herd also and bring a bull in the summer for spring calves. The expense and care over the winter is difficult but lately it has been hard to buy feeder calves so we may have to build a herd again.

We raise mostly angus, hereford or crosses of these two. I love big game hunting, but an angus heifer we ate one year tasted so good that I said that I would give up hunting if they all were so delicious.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
02-18-2016, 09:17 PM
Post: #2
RE: Raising Beef
I manage a farm in Dover Foxcroft for an absentee landowner. I am the manager....and the only employee. This past spring I had over 50 head of certified grass-fed Black angus beef critters on the place. I am down to 30 right now with 4 going this weekend. We have about 50 acres of grass plus some other acreage that we have the use of. The perimeter of the property is fenced with High Tensile wire on wood posts. I have plastic portable fence posts, and fiberglass tape that I make pastures with and move the animals every two or three days to a new area of grass. Some folks call this "intensive grazing management" and that it is. It gives the most efficient use of the grass, and spreads the manure rather evenly from one end of the property to the other.

These animals are grass fed only, no grains, no growth hormones, no GMO's and no antibiotics. They are raised as close to the way that the good lord intended bovines to be raised as possible.....and it is very very good beef indeed. The rib eye is to kill for and the ground beef is the best I have ever tasted.

We buy these animals at varying stages of growth from the Maine Beef Producers sales, and, to a lesser extent, from other farmers. There are breeding operations around that provide cattle for these ventures. Cold Spring Ranch in New Portland is probably about the biggest of these operations in Maine, at least that I know of. We do many of the same things that he does.

My boss has been retailing this at farmers markets. Unfortunately that only gives you a market for about 6 months out of the year, the rest of the time there is NO cash flow. We had a pow wow earlier this afternoon about this coming year. We are working to develop wholesale markets to custom butcher shops feeling that might be a steadier market and we would not put all our eggs in one basket so to speak. I am hoping to talk to a butcher tomorrow or early next week to see if we can do any business with him!

So far we have been selling it butchered, wrapped and frozen, by the cut and by the various size packages. I don't do the marketing so am not 100% sure of pricing but we are looking at a wholesale market at about $3.25 lb hanging weight, at the slaughterhouse. This is not room for lots of profit but may be a much steadier market.

Do you sell yours by the side, or cut, wrapped and frozen?

Somerset auctions, in Fairfield on Rt 201, just about a mile off the interstate, has weekly auctions every monday and often have a few calves around. They will have a feeder calf auction this spring, late April or early May and usually have a lot of animals there.

A local dairy farmer I know raises quite a few of his bull calves and turns them into quite a bit of ground beef. His operation is Organic so you can buy organic ground beef for $5 and that is cheaper than the trash at WalMart and Shop and Save!

If people only knew what they were really eating when they bought commercial prepared meats, our businesses would be lots better. Many people don't care and I feel bad for them as they are missing something. The meat we raise, and likely yours also, looks NOTHING like what you see in the super grocery store meat coolers, not even the color is right!

WC
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
02-19-2016, 12:24 PM
Post: #3
RE: Raising Beef
I don't have a big freezer just an 18 ft fridge but I'd really like to get some beef from you guys if at all possible.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
02-19-2016, 12:36 PM
Post: #4
RE: Raising Beef
I was thinking the same thing Al. I might even be able to throw in some lobster or crab as a barter, for beef, syrup whatever
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
02-19-2016, 05:04 PM
Post: #5
RE: Raising Beef
Woodcanoe asked, "Do you sell yours by the side, or cut, wrapped and frozen?"
Sorry to be late in getting back to you. I took advantage of the frost and dropped a bunch of firewood trees yesterday and skidded and sawed them up this morning.

We sell by the side, whole or even by the quarter, but that is a pain. We get the customer to fill out a sheet as to how they want their beef cut and then we deliever the beef and cut lists to the butcher. We pick up the packaged and frozen meat and deliver it to the customer. It is a bit of a burden so i think i will stick to selling the cows outright from here on.

I have had as many as 57 head here one summer when I was leasing pasture. I don't like worrying about someone else's cattle so I am going with just my own now. I am looking to build a small herd starting this spring. Fence repair time is just around the corner after the sugaring and firewood are done.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
02-19-2016, 08:47 PM
Post: #6
RE: Raising Beef
Up to now we have been selling ours in a manner to what you describe that you used to do. But, as you say, that has been quite a bit of pain.

Now we are looking for wholesale buyers such as custom butcher shops, large resturaunts and the like, thinking that a steadier market, at a bit lower price, but also involving less work on our end to handle the packaged meat, might be better.

I know a couple of other people in this area who do this also and everyone tries the retail, direct to the customer but there is only so much of that market around. Trying to come up with the money to buy even a quarter is quite a bit for many families today, but they might go to the local butcher shop and buy smaller quantities more often.

My boss is kind of discouraged but I am trying to keep him inspired as I don't have the money to buy many cows myself at the moment.

I guess, if he quits that I will have to start over with one heifer and build it up, a daunting task.

WC
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
02-23-2016, 11:12 AM
Post: #7
RE: Raising Beef
Starting over is where I am at. The first time I started a herd, I bought four Simmental heifers and bred them with a red angus bull. I got 4 nice calves the next spring, two bulls and two heifers. Three of the calves were born in their shelter, but one bull calf was born out in pasture on a cold April day. For some reason he didn't follow his mom back to the shelter. I got worried about him being cold so I carried him into the shelter that afternoon. The next morning, I found him all by himself laying on a cake of ice so I carried him over and laid him in the sun on some hay. He was fine after that, but he seem to have bonded with me and would always come running when ever he saw me. He would rub his head on my leg and I thought it was cute.

I didn't break him of it and when he got to be around 1000 pounds, it wasn't cute anymore. I never got hurt, but learned a lesson. The old dairy farmer that I bought the farm from then told me that the first thing I should do with a bull calf is to put them down on the ground, sit on them and not let them up. This doesn't hurt them but teaches them respect so they can be handled safely later on. Cows shouldn't fear you, but should respect you.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
02-24-2016, 09:47 AM
Post: #8
RE: Raising Beef
I have one steer who is extremely sociable. The way I handle them it is nice to have a "leader" and that he is as he will be at the front of the line when I am moving them and the rest follow. He is valuable for that.

Unfortunately he likes to head butt some, as they do with each other, and that is not a good thing when it is me.

I like the method you were told. I wonder if that wold work on people?

WC
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
02-24-2016, 10:06 AM
Post: #9
RE: Raising Beef
(02-24-2016 09:47 AM)woodcanoe Wrote:  I have one steer who is extremely sociable. The way I handle them it is nice to have a "leader" and that he is as he will be at the front of the line when I am moving them and the rest follow. He is valuable for that.

Unfortunately he likes to head butt some, as they do with each other, and that is not a good thing when it is me.

I like the method you were told. I wonder if that wold work on people?

WC

Not so well on all people. The government has been doing it to us for years and still some of us resist the training.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
02-24-2016, 01:45 PM
Post: #10
RE: Raising Beef
I got to ask you a question as I have been pondering something.

Have you ever sold anything at "Farmer's Markets" in Maine?

The reason I ask is that my wife and I have pondered the idea of selling some of this beef at farmer's markets this year. So I started doing some research last night on the net.

First one I looked at was a market in Augusta, "Mill Park" I think it was. Found their website then started reading the RULZ!

First thing I found out was that there is some sort of statewide "Farmer's Market Association" that all of them I have found so far belong to. And the rules are common to most places.

First you are only admitted if the others approve! Then you are on "probabtion" for a year. If any of the others have a complaint about what you are doing, you can be "investigated" and held accountable for it. Then other members have to come and visit YOUR farm just to check it out I guess. If you engage in business practices that any of the others don't like you can be punished.....or removed for good.

Perhaps I don't have the right mindset, or am viewing this all wrong, but it sounds like the "socialist club of America" to me!

I can't help but wonder that if I might offer ground beef for a dollar a pound less than others in the market were asking for theirs, if I would be punished for that offense.

Worst of all you have to be signed up by late winter....or wait til next year!

Do you have any experience with any of this or know anyone who does?

I thought a "market" was the place where if you had something to sell you brought it in and set up shop. This seems like something "goobermint" would do, create a nice little bureaucracy out of it.

I had a friend who ran seafood peddler trucks for years. He would find a suitable location,find a business with a large parking lot, and make arrangments to have his truck there once or twice a week, at a regular time so people knew when he would be arround. Seems like the Farmer's market movement now has created something completely different.

WC
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply 


Forum Jump:


User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Contact Us | My Site | Return to Top | Return to Content | Lite (Archive) Mode | RSS Syndication