Running a Small Beef Herd, 3rd Edition

Running a Small Beef Herd provides an introduction to beef production for those about to enter the industry and is an ongoing reference for anyone managing a small herd of beef cattle on their property. Fundamental considerations such as the economics of beef production, the selection of a suitable beef enterprise to match a particular property and level of experience are covered. It considers various systems suitable for a small beef operation: steer fattening, cow and calf systems, foster calves and multiple suckling, and lot feeding.

Running a Small Beef Herd offers practical advice on buying cattle, marketing methods for particular types of cattle and specifications for markets. Cattle handling, necessary husbandry practices such as castration and vaccination, herd health, reproductive management, nutrition and carrying capacity are also explored.

This updated edition expands on the systems of beef production, breeds, breed management, supplementary feeding, drought management, ear tagging requirements and soil health and fertility.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii
1 The economics of beef production 1
2 The importance of soil health and fertility 7
3 Feeding your cattle 15
4 Responsibilities of owning livestock 25
5 Systems of beef production 31
6 Breeds of cattle 35
7 Fencing and cattle-handling facilities 39
8 Buying cattle 51
9 Methods of identification 63
10 Husbandry practices 69
11 Breeding management 79
12 Cross-breeding 99
13 Cattle health 111
14 Cattle handling 123
15 Selling your stock 129
Appendix 1 Comparative ratings of economic traits of 26 breeds of cattle 139
Appendix 2 Approximate weight at various ages and for different breed types 141
Appendix 3 Market specifications 142
Appendix 4 Pasture growth rates (kgDM/ha/day) for different areas of Victoria 145
Appendix 5 Who can help? 149
Glossary 151
Further information 154
Index 167

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