Posted 11/28/2012 09:57 (#2721300) Subject: Cattle Or Chickens
First off, great site you guys have here. Really glad I found the place.
This could get long so bear with me... I'm in need of some advice. Here is my situation: My family(grandpa, dad, older brother) farm full time. I currently have a job in town. My ultimate goal is to farm full time. I'm pretty deep into looking at raising broiler chickens for the local Tyson facility. As you can imagine, there are things that I like about this setup, and there are things that I don't. I like that it diversifies the risks of grain/cattle farming.(what you are paid has little to nothing to do with the price of chicken/corn). What I don't like is that you are at the mercy of integrator. There are others, but those are the biggies.
I'm also interested in growing the cattle side of the farm. Dad and grandpa have about 75 cows, but don't fully utilize the resources they have, and I feel there is a lot of room for improvement. They just sell feeders off the cow at the stockyard. The cows are basically an after thought next to grain farming.
I like the idea of adding a backgrounding operation also, as I think it ties in well with grain farming.(again, diversifying) It does seem like everyone wants to do this now for some reason, so that worries me a little.ha
The farm would be fairly well setup for this, as we have bulk bins from running a fertilize business I could use for feeds, and we have quite a bit of extra pasture that could be used for making a lot. Also have a very nice line of hay equipment.
In my mind the tradeoffs are: more risk of absolute failure in cattle, as you own the animals and ultimately take all the market risk, but also potential for much higher ROI compared to chickens. Typical risk/reward scenario.
My plan is to work in town, as long as the plant is open, and save/grow the operation enough so that I'm hopefully set up fairly well to farm when the time comes.
I know that's probably not enough info for you guys to give me good direction, so please ask specific questions that you may have. What are your thoughts on the best route to take? Thanks in advance for the help.