Cattle farmer Bryce M. Oxford recently offered his top tips on how to start a beef herd from nothing.
OAK HARBOR, WA / OCTOBER 3, 2020 / Raising beef cattle may appear easy, but beef farmers know that’s far from the truth. The act of starting a beef herd requires a number of well-planned steps and advice that has been passed down through multiple generations of farmers. Cattle farmer Bryce M. Oxford recently offered his top tips for starting a beef herd from scratch.
Bryce M. Oxford explained that the most important part of raising beef cattle is being dedicated to the task. It’s not something that should be done if you’re not fully interested and invested. You’ll likely need help from family and friends who are interested too.
“Always start small,” Bryce M. Oxford said. “You can spend a lot of money very quickly when starting a beef herd. It’s best to start small with affordable cows. You can grow your herd from there.”
Bryce M. Oxford stated that you will need plenty of space for your herd, which may involve buying additional land. He added that, many times, farmers will use short-term loans to purchase cows or the land needed to house them. Bryce M. Oxford advised to take the act of growing your herd step by step and never borrow more money than you’ll be able to pay back within a few years.
“Your herd will need quality grassland for grazing,” Bryce M. Oxford said. “This should include multiple types of grass and alfalfa. It’s essential to know how many cows can properly graze on your land, as land can take years to recover from overgrazing.”
Bryce M. Oxford recommended creating a space that includes more than simply a pasture and hay. It should have an adequate water source and diverse foliage. He explained that this is another place where expenses can add up quickly. He advised to be frugal and fully understand that your return on investment has limits.
“As I mentioned earlier, you’re going to need help,” Bryce M. Oxford said. “You’ll need an excellent veterinarian, a feed supplier, and a helping hand or two when you need to move your cattle often during peak times.”
Bryce M. Oxford advised that owning beef cattle can quickly turn from a hobby into a full-time job. He emphasized that it’s easy to fall in love with the rural lifestyle of farming, but it’s not a lifestyle that is easy or cheap to maintain. Creating a budget, properly assessing costs, preparing land, and having a solid team of experts on your side can help you become a successful beef cattle farmer.
“If becoming a cattle farmer is your dream, you can make it happen,” Bryce M. Oxford said. “It’s an extremely rewarding activity, whether it’s a hobby to put delicious meat on the table or a full-time job to support the ones you love.”