Raising Beef Cattle:
In the Fall of 2007 we decided to purchase and raise our very first beef steer. We purchased a weaned Holstein/Jersey mix named him “Mr. T-Bone” who was joined in the spring of 2008 by “Sir Loin”, a 3 day old Jersey Bull calf.
One of the benefits of living in Vermont is the fact that we are surrounded by dairy farmers who produce an excess number of dairy bull calves. Since only a handful are required by the farmers for breeding, the majority are sold off dirt cheap as veal or dairy beef.
Dairy Beef is much leaner then traditional beef cattle, but they must be slaughtered by their 18th month. They produce a well marbled product, but are about 15% less feed efficient then beef cattle. The dressing percentages are also less because of their higher bone/offal ratios.
There are two huge lessons I have learned since embarking on this project.
1. Beef Steers need A LOT OF PASTURE!
2. Milk Replacer Powder (for calves) is FU@*EN EXPENSIVE!!!!!!!
These two factors will require at least a two-fold increase in the amount of enclosed pasture as well as more goats to milk, in the hope of supplementing or totally eliminating the need to buying Milk Replacer.