4 Things to Consider Before Buying a Ranch
Cattle ranches are not exactly easy places to live. If you want a relaxing and trouble free life you probably shouldn’t invest in any ranch sales. Living on cattle ranches require discipline, motivation, drive and definitely not an ounce of laziness. One lazy day can cost you a lot of money, stock and time. You must be up before the sun getting all the work done so that you have time in the evening to go over the logistics and paperwork. It’s more than a full time job. But, if you are drawn to this type of life, it can be the most rewarding and satisfying endeavor that you have every gotten into. However, if you are looking into cattle ranches for sale then here are a few things that you should keep in mind:
How many animals will this property support?
Be careful not to over estimate the carrying capacity of any of the cattle ranches you are looking into. Sellers can often exaggerate how many animals the land has previously supported. Don’t just take the seller’s word for it. Do your own research and find out if this land is compatible to the size ranch you had in mind before you got there. If you know about the soil, precipitation, vegetation and forage, then you can get a professional to give you an accurate estimate of the production potential.
How much time will it take?
Even though a lot of people seem to think that a ranch or a farm will eventually take care of itself, this is not true. Cattle require a lot of attention. If you buy a small ranch, thinking this will save you time, you may be disappointed to realize that all of your free time will be taken up with managing the ranch. Even a small ranch will need around 20 hours of intensive labor to keep it going successfully. If you are not able to commit this kind of time by yourself, you will need to consider hiring someone that can cover for you. This will of course cost more as you will have to pay the worker and will cut into profits. So, before buying a ranch, carefully consider how much time will be required for animal care and land maintenance and how that will affect your life and your family.
Where can I buy livestock?
You will want to do a lot of research about this subject. There are plenty of places where you can buy good livestock, this is not the problem. The main issue is how much should you pay? New ranch owners often ending up paying too much for their livestock when they could have gotten the same quality livestock elsewhere. You’ll need to make sure that you have people in the industry that you can trust. Train professionals can help with advice if you are willing to talk to them. Also, developing a good support network of other ranchers will help you find out where good quality stock can be bought at a good price as well as help you through the difficult times that ranch life can bring with it.
How much money can I except to make?
Cattle are an agricultural commodity so prices will go back and forth depending on supply and demand all over the world. Your gross income will probably vary a lot over the course of the year. While a weaning calf is worth between $250 and $400, sometimes it can be as low as $190 to $340. When making your estimates, it’s better to project low and be conservative as much as possible. That way you are prepared when the economy dips and it’s a nice surprise if it turns out your cattle are worth more right now.
There is more to find out but this will get you started on the right thinking process. You want to be careful and really consider what you are getting into. Your life is about to make a completely 180 degree turn if you choose to get into cattle ranching for the first time. While it can be a great family bonding experience, make sure that your family is on board for the difficult times that may be ahead.