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Four Expansion Strategies for Cattle Ranchers

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With the population of rural areas increasing, interest in big cattle ranches for sale are rising as well. In Montana, for example, the population is expected to grow 14% by 2043. For the buyers interested in big cattle ranches for sale, here are a few tips for cow-calf expansion you may find useful once you have made your purchase and are ready to begin business.

Run a static herd.
It is common for many ranchers to run a steady number of cows based on some limited grazing capacity or winter feed supply. Light to moderate cow grazing tends to encourage forb production which benefits wildlife populations on the land.

A culling rate of 12-14% is common among cattle ranches. It is even more common and even suggested to hold back a few extra replacement heifers in order to maintain a 12-14% preg-checked replacement rate. This is because not all replacement heifers come to ranchers already pregnant.

Know when to hold and when to sell cattle.
When prices are high, hold and develop heifer calves. When prices are low, decrease the number of heifers developed. The goal of this practice is to generate a constant flow of income.

One downside to this approach is that when prices are high, ranchers sell less calves. When they are low, they sell more calves, but at reduced rates.

Sell four and five-year-old females annually.
By selling 20-25 bred females while replacement prices are strong, ranchers can generate a premium asking price. Usually, these females are often at the prime of their reproductive life and sell for top dollar. Once the price of mature replacements cows decreases, it is advised to stop selling the intended 20-25 replacement females.

Buy 100 bred females, then sell all calves produced.
This strategy is closely related to how beef production works. It typically takes a few years after the price signal for expansion is received by the ranchers before they can expand production. By the time this does happen, the price of beef could very well be down.

For this reason, 100 preg-checked heifers purchased in advance should be able to produce most of the calves they can in their lifetime during that 5-7 years time of favorable prices.

Whether the big cattle ranches for sale you are interested in are like the more than 100,000-acre Flying D Ranch Ted Turner bought or something more modest in size, you can successfully expand your business using the above strategies. Educate yourself on the best practices within the industry and be on your way to success.

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