books/info on ranching for beginners

Things that come up in the daily operation of a ranch.
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books/info on ranching for beginners

Post by BradyB » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:50 pm

New to ranching but love it.
Located in Southern Oklahoma. Started a couple years ago with 9 pair and a bull and am now up to 20 cows with several calves and many more to hit the ground over the next couple months.
Have been getting my info from friends but everyone I talk to tells me something different. One neighbor feeds only good quality hay during winter, no feed...Others feed what seems to be too much feed along with a lot of hay??
I don't want to "starve" my cattle but the businessman in me looks at things from a business standpoint with minimizing expenses as much as possible so as to be as profitable as I can. I don't have a lot of land right now so I know im not going to get rich but my wife and kids enjoy the cattle and in the future my goal is to have a 500+/- acre ranch. I just ordered HOW TO NOT GO BROKE RANCHING by Walt Davis. Any other books or places you would recommend I go to learn more about ranching specifically on feeding.
Last year I did a commodity feed along with hay but I only put out 1/3 the hay I was told I was supposed to and my cattle looked healthy as did the calves?
Thanks for any help you could give a newbie!

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Re: books/info on ranching for beginners

Post by Traveler » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:58 am

You need to have a feed sample done and then get advice from an actual nutritionist. Do you have Extension Service in your area?

You can feed some poorer hay, and then maybe supplement the protein needs with a little alfalfa, maybe a little distiller grain.

You should never have to buy an expensive lick tub, or other supplement, but make sure you feed a good mineral.....maybe one with an ionophore.

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Re: books/info on ranching for beginners

Post by Faster horses » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:44 am

I agree with Traveler. Cattle are foragers and meant to eat forage. Check your hay. Check your hay. Check your hay.
Mineral is the third most important to feed. Water, forage (hay) and mineral. Keep it simple. Buy good hay that has been
sampled so you know what you are getting. It doesn't need to be high in protein, 12% is good, feed plenty of it, but the ADF needs to be less than 40. ADF is the digestibility factor. Poorer hay will be a higher number ADF and they can't digest it as well. Good alfalfa will be higher in protein and that will help them to digest the lesser nutrition forage. Like Traveler said, use alfalfa as a supplement, cows do not need a straight alfalfa hay, but it is a wonderful supplement and cheaper than anything you can buy
from a feed store. Figure it on a protein basis and you will see for yourself. Plus the dry matter factor you get out of hay that you won't get out of lick tubs, liquid supplement, etc. Dry matter has been overlooked but it is really important. When cows don't get enough dry matter they will try to eat anything, sagebrush, tree limbs, too much mineral. If you find they eat too much mineral, give them more forage and they will back off. If they start eating too much mineral in a pasture, it's time to move them. Try to find a mineral that does not contain grain by-products. That mineral will be cheaper but it won't do as good a job, and who wants to pay mineral price for grain??

Good luck. Glad to have you here. Stick around. Lots of knowledge here.
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Re: books/info on ranching for beginners

Post by DaneG » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:05 pm

A good start would be to read and understand the articles on this web site by Burke Teichert there are quiet a few going back to 2012. Start with the oldest article first would be a good idea.

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Re: books/info on ranching for beginners

Post by RSL » Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:39 pm

Knowledge Rich Ranching, Get the Hay Out and anything from Ranching for Profit are good ones.
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Re: books/info on ranching for beginners

Post by LCP » Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:22 pm

RSL wrote:Knowledge Rich Ranching, Get the Hay Out and anything from Ranching for Profit are good ones.
Knowledge Rich Ranching is an excellent book.

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