How To Start A Cattle Farm For Highest Profits (2023)

If you are thinking cattle farming is right for you and if you are passionate about raising cattle, then you must have to know how to start a cattle farm business and all other things related to it.

You must have to have or arrange sufficient funds or resources for starting and operating this business successfully.

There are actually many reasons for starting a cattle farming business. Some people want to raise cattle in large scale for selling animals, some people want to raise dairy cattle for the purpose of selling milk.

Some people also start raising cattle to show in fairs and other local events. Some people also raise a few cattle for their family use.

Many people are deciding to raise some cattle for their personal use in today’s economy.

However, whether you want to start a commercial operation or want to have a few animal for your family’s need, there are a few basics about how to start a cattle farm; from selecting farm location to purchasing cattle and selling your products.

Cattle farming is probably one of the most common and profitable animal farming business. Although this business comes with it’s own fair share of challenges.

So you can start with a minimum number of animals and expand gradually. You need to do deep market research, economic and cost analysis and definitely feasibility studies.

Table of Contents

How to Start a Cattle Farm

As a beginner, starting your own cattle farming business can be a little confusing.

(Video) Starting a Beef Cattle Farm 10 TIPS for beginners to start a Cattle Ranch

Although it actually is not that difficult. It actually takes plenty of knowledge about animals, deep research and practical experience for becoming a successful cattle farmer.

If you start out in a small scale, work and do everything accordingly, then you will definitely see good results from your business.

Remember, you need to get ready to work hard and make some sacrifices (especially in the early stages).

For starting a cattle farm and operating it successfully, you will need to make a good business plan, select your farm location, arrange some startup funds, purchase cattle farm equipment and supplies.

You will also need to build fences around the farm area, build barns, shelters and sheds for your animals.

By the way, if you can’t do all these alone, then it’s a good idea to find someone experienced in this field.

However, here we are describing more about the process about how to start a cattle farm business.

Make a Business Plan

First of all, you have to make a good business plan for starting and operating your own cattle farming business (it’s just like starting any other business).

You have to include all the expenses, overheads and costs that you may incur in your operation.

For making better business plan, you will need to research your area and note down anything that you think might cost money.

A good business plan should include money for equipment, cost for purchasing animals, establishment cost, cost of salary for staff, cost of feed and also cost for animal care and pasture management also.

It is also a good idea to plan for an emergency funds and reserves for any unforeseen occurrences. You can consider purchasing insurance and health care for animals.

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You can either source the fund of your own or obtain loans from any source.

The good thing is, a good business plan is also very useful and helpful if you want to attract investors or partners and also if you want to obtain loans.

Select Farm Location

Selecting a good location for your farm is very important. While selecting location, try to learn whether raising animals is permitted in your selected area or not.

It will be good if there are good transportation and other required facilities available in the selected area.

You can either use your existing land or purchase from a vendor. In case of purchasing land, it will cost you more.

Land prices generally tend to increase in areas where there is a higher population, or land is in higher demand than in other areas. It is also a good idea to purchase an existing or abandoned farm or ranch.

You should contact the local agriculture extension office for having more information on soil type, vegetation, stocking rates and carrying capacity for pastures, market demands etc.

Purchase Equipment & Machinery

Depending on the size of your farm, you will need to purchase some equipment and machinery.

Determine your farm size, operation type and financial situation to see what you need for current facilities, equipment and machinery.

Fencing, watering facilities, feed bunks/troughs or bale feeders is priority above all other assets needed.

Build Shelter

Shelter is a must for keeping your animals safe. You will need to build multiple buildings and milking parlor with stanchions if you want to raise dairy cattle.

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A calf bard and a barn for holding cows is also necessary. On the other hand, beef cattle require less housing facilities. They will be good if you can just keep them safe inside.

Determine the Purpose of Your Cattle Farm

Decide the type of cattle you want to raise in your farm. You should select the type according to your budget and production goals.

Generally most of the people start cattle farming business either for milk production or for beef. Raising beef cattle is relatively easy as compared to raising dairy cattle.

Because raising dairy cattle is much more time consuming and costly, and dairy cows require more equipment and facilities.

Choose Breed

Choose your desired breed after determining the purpose of your cattle farm. There are hundreds of cattle breeds available throughout the world to choose from.

But you should consider about the availability of your desired breed in your area. You should not choose such a breed which is not available easily in your area.

If you are willing to start dairy cattle farming business, then you can consider some popular dairy cattle breeds.

Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Holstein and Jersey are some popular and common dairy cattle breeds.

In case of beef production, you should consider such breeds which are known for their good temperament and also which are not labor intensive.

Some good beef cattle breeds are British White, Galloway, Hereford, Red Poll and Shorthorn. Angus cattle breed is also a good option for beef production, but they can be aggressive and not actually good for beginners.

You can also choose both type of cattle for a combination of both beef and milk production.

Purchase Cattle

After selecting a good breed for your production, purchase animals from any of your nearest livestock market, existing farms or from your friends.

(Video) HOW TO MAKE MONEY WITH CATTLE: Cattle Farming For Beginners

You can also search some online classified websites for buying cattle.

While purchasing animals, don’t go whole-hog and buy as many cattle as you can.

Buy only good cattle that have great conformation, temperament forage convertibility and mothering ability. Avoid the animals that look thin and are close to breaking-down.

Heifers can be a good option for you if you have tight budget and if you are willing to wait for 2 years or more.

Buying a bull will not be a good option if you have less than 10 cows in your herd. And in such case you can use artificial insemination for breeding.

Feeding Your Animals

Feeding is the most important part of raising cattle (either for beef or for milk production).

You must have to ensure quality feeding for keeping your animals healthy. Producing the feeds of your own is a very good option.

So, determine the amount of pasture that will be required for the animal.

Producing hay of your own will be good, because purchasing from another source can cost you a lot. However, feeding costs comprise a large percentage. So be ready for all these.

Take Good Care

Always try to take good care of your animals. Vaccinate your animals timely and apply de-worming and de-licing on a regular basis.

Keep Records

You should always keep good records of finances, breeding, calving, vaccinations, purchases, sales and assets in your operation.

Financial records are the most important records, because these records determine whether your operation is giving you net income or loss. Hope you have learned a lot about how to start a cattle farm business. Best of luck!!

(Video) How to Start a Cattle Farming Business | Including Free Cattle Farming Business Plan Template


What cattle business is most profitable? ›

Beef cattle are generally the most profitable and easiest livestock to raise for profit. Beef cattle simply require good pasture, supplemental hay during the winter, fresh water, vaccinations and plenty of room to roam. You can buy calves from dairy farms inexpensively to start raising beef cattle.

How can farming be profitable? ›

Here are six areas that can help you focus on how to make your farm profitable.
  1. Consider Growing Your Own Feed. If you're raising livestock for meat or milk, you may save money by growing your own hay, corn, soybeans or oats. ...
  2. Improve Your Crop Yields. ...
  3. Maintain Your Equipment. ...
  4. Manage Your Risks. ...
  5. Restructure Your Debt.
14 Apr 2022

What is the easiest farm to start? ›

20 Most Profitable Small Farm Ideas
  1. Tree Nursery. A tree nursery can be a great investment when done right. ...
  2. Fish Farming. ...
  3. Dual Crop Farming. ...
  4. Dairy Farming. ...
  5. Herb Gardening. ...
  6. Bee Farming. ...
  7. Aquaponics. ...
  8. Microgreens Farming.
1 Aug 2019

What size needle is best for cattle? ›

When it comes to needle selection for cows, he recommends using a 16- or 18-gauge needle. The gauge refers to the diameter of the needle. “An 18-gauge needle is actually smaller than a 16 and in calves we may go even smaller and use a 20-gauge needle,” Larson said.

What is the most profitable way to raise cattle? ›

Top 10 Ways to Make Cow Herds More Profitable
  1. 1 Don't buy average or inferior bulls. ...
  2. 2 Join a cattle marketing alliance. ...
  3. 3 Moderate cow size. ...
  4. 4 Treat your cows as an employee. ...
  5. 5 Cull cows. ...
  6. 6 Develop a short and defined breeding season. ...
  7. 7 Control feed expenses. ...
  8. 8 Utilize heterosis.

How do I start a successful cattle business? ›

Here are ten strategies to consider:
  1. Choose the right cattle breed.
  2. Care for Your Land and Forage.
  3. Protect and prioritize animal health.
  4. Maintain and manage your facilities.
  5. Embrace the lifestyle of raising beef cattle.
  6. Enhance your marketing skills.
  7. Improve business operations and management.
  8. Develop your financial plan.

What kind of farm is profitable? ›

Apiculture. Apiculture is one of the most profitable agriculture business ideas in 2021. Due to a rise in demand for honey and its by-products and a scarcity of natural honey, commercial beekeeping farms have sprung up all over the world.

What is easiest farming to make money? ›

Livestock is probably the most common way farmers make money from their land. And while animals have a few more expenses and a higher overhead, they usually bring in top dollar in terms of net income.

How do I start a small cattle farm? ›

14 Steps To Start a Cattle Farm:
  1. Choose the Name for Your Cattle Farm.
  2. Develop Your Cattle Farm Business Plan.
  3. Choose the Legal Structure for Your Cattle Farm.
  4. Secure Startup Funding for Your Cattle Farm (If Needed)
  5. Secure a Location for Your Business.
  6. Register Your Cattle Farm with the IRS.
  7. Open a Business Bank Account.

Where is the best place to inject cattle? ›

Subcutaneous injections are always applied under the skin, behind the shoulder. This area is recommended because there is no likelihood of pressure necrosis, which leads to abscess formation. A flap of skin on the neck could be pulled up, but is more difficult to access, particularly with cattle in a crush.

Where is the best place to give a cow a shot? ›

Cattle are injected with a variety of animal health products; vaccines, bacterins, antibiotics, anthelmentics, analgesics and vitamins. Giving injections properly improves animal welfare, product response and beef quality. Injections should be administered in the injection triangle of the neck.

What size needle hurts the least? ›

Results: Twenty-one participants verbally reported the thinnest needle (27 gauge (G)) as least painful, compared to the intermediate (23 gauge; p = 0.013) and the thickest needle (21 gauge, p = 0.004).

How many acres do you need for 1000 heads of cattle? ›

A typical 1000 lb cow with a calf (1 Animal Unit) needs around 0.27 ac (0.11 ha) of pasture in excellent condition and applied irrigation, up to 8 ac (3.2 ha) of pasture in poor condition and low precipitation level.

How much profit do you make per head of cattle? ›

Based on these assumptions and adjusted for the weaning rate, average calf revenue is $655 per cow.

Where is the best place to start a cattle farm? ›

State Rankings
OVERALL RANKStateOverall Score
3North Dakota57.35
42 more rows
3 Oct 2021

How many dairy cows do you need to make a profit? ›

On average farms with less than 250 cows will make just $125 to $170 per cow in 2020, while those with more than 1000 or 5000 cows will earn about three to five times that level. The least profitable region is expected to be the Southwest, and farms below 250 cows are expected to lose money in 2022.

Can you make good money with cattle? ›

Making money with cattle is hard, but it's possible and it's possible to do it consistently. Here's a review of what you can do to improve the bottom line. Several months ago, in an article about managing for profit, I included a list of major determinants of ranch profitability.

How many acres do you need for 100 head of cattle? ›

For instance, 60 head of 1400-pound cows can be grazed on 336 acres of land. If you decided to graze your 100 head of 1400-pound cows for only 2 months, you could graze your cows on 280 acres.

Which farming is in demand? ›

There is also a growing demand for specialists in the handling and logistics of horticultural crops, fruit, vegetables, grain and oilseed crops and animals.

What is the best business in farm? ›

These are the most profitable things to grow and sell.
  • Grow Microgreens. ...
  • Agricultural Farm. ...
  • Sod Farm. ...
  • Organic Farm. ...
  • CSA Program – Community-supported agriculture. ...
  • Herb Farm. ...
  • Lavender Farm. ...
  • Tree and Shrub & Perennial Farming.
13 Feb 2022

What is the easiest livestock to raise? ›

If you have heard the term, chickens are the gateway to farming then you will understand why poultry are the ideal livestock for small acreage homesteading. Aside from raising chickens, ducks are a close second for many who enter this life. Poultry, without a doubt, are the easiest animals to raise on the homestead.

What can I do with 5 acres to make money? ›

Grow and Sell High-Value Crops
  1. Microgreens. Microgreens are a popular choice of farmers as they take up little space, have a quick turnaround, and have high cash value. ...
  2. Mushrooms. Growing mushrooms can be a very profitable business. ...
  3. Bamboo. ...
  4. Ginseng. ...
  5. Garlic. ...
  6. Broiler Chickens. ...
  7. Quail.
28 Apr 2022

How profitable is a cattle farm? ›

Furthermore, economic investigation results revealed that on average, farmers had a gross margin (GM-profit) of 353.77 US$ per cattle, with feed costs (58.6%) and medications costs (26.1%) accounting for the largest share of total variable costs.

How many cows do I need for 10 acres? ›

The general rule of thumb is 1:1. That means one cow per one acre of pasture. Keep in mind that is a minimum requirement. A cow/calf pair will typically require closer to two acres.

How many hours a week should I farm? ›

Most farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers work full time, and many work more than 40 hours per week. Farm work is often seasonal, and the number of hours worked may change according to the season.

How long does it take for a farm to become profitable? ›

The point is to make sure you understand which type of profit a farmer means when they say “The profit margin on culinary herbs is fantastic” or “We were profitable in our first year.” Most farmers will tell you that it takes 5-9 years to achieve true profitability, though it is possible sooner if you have very low ...

What is the best injectable wormer for cattle? ›


For beef cattle producers, DECTOMAX ® Injectable controls more parasite species and larval stages in beef cattle than any other injectable parasite control product.

What is the 8 way shot for cattle? ›

For beef cattle producers, ULTRABAC 8 helps protect healthy cattle against black leg caused by Clostridium chauvoei; malignant edema caused by Cl. septicum; bacillary hemoglobinuria caused by Cl. haemolyticum; black disease caused by Cl. novyi; gas-gangrene caused by Cl.

Where do you inject calves? ›

“All injections should be given in front of the shoulder, subcutaneously if possible, and in the manner indicated on the product label,” Biggs said. “Proper restraint of the animal is necessary for human and animal safety.”

How many shots does a cow need? ›

Vaccinate cows once, three weeks prior to calving, or twice according to the same schedule as fi rst-calf heifers in herds not previously vaccinated or in problem herds. IBR, BVD, PI-3, BRSV, and leptospirosis vaccines annually.

What are blue needles used for? ›

The main use for the blue 23G 25mm (1inch) needle is the injection of anabolic steroids in to muscles. The larger gauge of the 23G needle allows for oil-based steroids to flow freely. Some illicit drug users who inject in the femoral vein also use the blue 23G 1 inch needle.

What is a butterfly blood draw? ›

A butterfly needle is a device used to access a vein for drawing blood or giving medications. Some medical professionals call a butterfly needle a “winged infusion set” or a “scalp vein set.” The set gets its name because there are plastic “wings” on either side of a hollow needle used to access the vein.

Do butterfly needles hurt less? ›

A butterfly needle is used to access a superficial vein and can be used for drawing blood as well as for an IV injection. These needles are much easier to use and are much less painful for patients. This is because of the winged tubing which allows for greater flexibility.

Which livestock business is profitable? ›

Goat Farming is one of the most profitable business livestock farming businesses at present. Although not sold at retail stores, goats are in demand in both rural and urban areas. Moreover, goat farming is a low-investment and high-profit business.

How profitable is a cow farm? ›

On average farms with less than 250 cows will make just $125 to $170 per cow in 2020, while those with more than 1000 or 5000 cows will earn about three to five times that level. The least profitable region is expected to be the Southwest, and farms below 250 cows are expected to lose money in 2022.

Can you make millions from farming? ›

Some 50,000 farms bring in over a million dollars a year, thanks largely to their size. Smaller farms, on the other hand, are struggling.

How much is a cow worth 2022? ›

Here's what else CattleFax predicts for cattle price outlook in 2022. Fed steers: $140 per cwt average for the year, with tops up to $155. That's $300 per head more than last year. Feeder calves: (550 pounds): $205 per cwt average for 2022, up $35 from last year.

Which cow is best for business? ›

The best cattle breeds in India are Gir, Red Sindhi, Rathi, Ongole, Deoni, among others.

What is the most profitable animal to raise on a small farm? ›

There are multiple animals that you could raise on your farm, but which ones are the most likley to be profitable? The best farm animals to raise for profit are pigs, small ruminants (sheep or goats), game birds, standard breed roosters and rabbits.

Are cattle farmers rich? ›

Cattle ranchers earn almost twice as much as the average American worker, but their jobs are also physically strenuous.

Can a small cattle farm be profitable? ›

Unless there are sources of income besides cattle, small ranches struggle to be profitable and sustain a good standard of living. However, small ranches run by people with off-farm jobs can be very profitable if they keep it simple, and keep overhead low.


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