Adding livestock to increase farm sales and enhance sustainability

Report
Raising Livestock on
Limited Acreage
Christine Kelly-Begazo
Agriculture Agent
Your Dream Farm
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Weed-free pastures
Well-stocked barn
Cute, cuddly animals
Happy children doing
chores
• Lemonade on the
veranda
Jonde Lane Farm B&B, Manheim, PA.
Only in……
• Your dreams!
• Farmville
• Facebook
Photos taken from Flickr.com
Reality is….
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Dirty, hard work
Little free time
Stressful, little control
Narrow profit margin
Animals die, or have
to die
• Significant other is
not enthusiastic
• Your children hate it!
Still interested?
• Before you buy your first animal…
1. Set realistic goals
2. Why do you want this?
- is this for $, self-sufficiency or pleasure
3. What are your priorities for quality of life?
- Enjoy farming during free time?
- Can you “harvest” animals?
4. What is your life philosophy (“Big Picture”)
- Environmentalism
- Food security
Do Your Research
• Learn everything possible about
your product
Growing and feeding
Processing and dressing
Packaging and labeling
Marketing and preparing
Other Issues to Consider
 Are you zoned for livestock activity?
 Will your neighbors mind?
 Distance to nearest feedstore or farm
supply store?
 Are there consumers/buyers?
 Are there any other producers?
 Where is the nearest processor?
 Is your target market close?
 Can you sell legally?
What are the Laws?
• Zoning & ordinances
• Processing
– USDA
– State Health
– Market system
requirements
• Labeling
• Legal to sell
– EGGS
Niche Marketing
Organic
Sustainable
Pasture fed
Corn fed
Hormone free
Cartoonstock.com
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Free range
Guaranteed tender
Locally produced
Ethnic foods
Custom slaughter
Livestock Choices
Traditional
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Hogs
Chickens
Goats
Horses
Cattle
Sheep
Rabbits
Non-traditional
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Llamas
Alpacas
Ostrich
Emus
Buffalo
Guinea pig
Gator
Major Considerations for
Animal Production
Biggest
issues
Space Requirements
(Stocking Rates)
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3 acres per cow
3 acres per horse
1 acre per 6 ewes /goats
Ewes and lambs / 20 sq’
30” x 36”x18” rabbit cage for medium
breed
Note: Space requirements differ and careful evaluation needs to be
made prior to developing a business plan
For Example
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100 cows = 300 acres
3 cows = 10 acres
100 calves = 50 acres
100 goats = 16 acres
3 horses = 9 acres
100 sheep = 16 acres
100 rabbits = 900 sq’
Mini’s vs. Regular Size
• Generally not considered
“real” livestock
• Cute, but actual production?
– Is there a market/consumer
for product?
• Goals for having them on
site
• Same production
requirements, just less
– Less space, less feed, same vet
bill, same set of management
skills
Recordkeeping
• Inicial Outlay
– Land, stock, fencing, bldgs,
equipment
• Labor
– YOUR time, volunteers, family &
friends
• Production
– Reproduction, weight gains
• Sales/Income
• Inventory
Factors That Hinder
Production & Success
Poultry
• Easiest animal to start out with
• From chick to production is quick
• Relatively quiet for neighbors (no
roosters)
• Meat and egg production
– Many different breeds
• conventional, heritage, fancies
– Traditional farms used
dual-purpose
Limiting Factors Affecting $$
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Predators
# of laying boxes
Area per bird
Parasites
Inadequate nutrition
Lack of water
Genetics
Age of animal
Rabbits
• Easy animal to start out with
• Small, medium and large breeds
– Meat, fur, hair, show
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Positive nutritional factors for meat
Age to market weight is quick
Reproduction is rapid
Easiest to feed
Limiting Factors Affecting $$
• Poor breeding stock
– Lack of mothering skills
• Time to breeding age
• Illness in the herd
– Poor hygiene
• Old or contaminated feed
• Lack of water or food
• Overheating
Limiting Factors (con’t)
• Predators
• Lack of market base
• Lack of harvest facilities
– Location and transportation
• Inability to harvest
• USDA regulations
• Packaging & marketing
Goats/Sheep
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Meat, dairy, hair, and wool breeds
Smaller animal = more animals/acre
More efficient use of pasture/browse
Reproduction is adequate
Increasing demand with ethnic markets
Niche market for wool with weavers
Limiting Factors Affecting $$
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Fencing, fencing & more fencing
Milk production is labor intensive
Limited legal market for milk
Lack of harvesting facilities
Lack of shearing capabilities
Parasites!
Swine
• Not very popular in Florida
– Except with 4-H & FFA
– Wild hogs
• Limited market
– Strong midwestern industry
• Lack of harvesting facilities
– For more than just a few
• Fun to pasture
Cattle
• Meat and dairy breeds
• Homesteading self-sufficiency
– Integrated farming system
• Relatively easy to feed
• Cow/calf operations
• Can produce milk & meat
with minatures but…
Limiting Factors Affecting $$
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Need larger tract of land
Transportation and fuel costs
Larger animal harder to control
Longer time to harvest or sell
Increased costs of hay and feed
Dairy industry is heavily regulated
– “Pet consumption only”
Horses
• Great sink of money
• Need good quality pasture
• Not necessarily considered
agriculture production
• Important for ag exemption
– “Greenbelt”
– Check with property appraiser’s office
Exotics
• Have to get in on the beginning of the
industry
• Money made via a pyramid factor
• Selling the breeding animals is how
you make the big money
• Little $ is made on the actual herd or
product
• NOT recommended!
In Conclusion
 Livestock can be raised for fun and for profit
 Should develop a thought out business plan
 Profit margins are generally lower with livestock
 Consider your location to feedstores, processors
and consumers
 Niche markets can be profitable for specialized
products
 Gain experience by raising small numbers before
investing heavily

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