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Author Topic: Dexters will it work ?  (Read 483 times)

Farmer C

  • Joined Jul 2022
  • A wannabe farmer from the city
Dexters will it work ?
« on: July 22, 2022, 10:41:48 am »
Hi All,

Im hoping someone can help shed some light on Dexterís,

I currently have a flock of 50 sheep, I have managed to find more grazing which has resulted in some grazing I have no longer being used as its more hassle to put my sheep there than its worth,

I have 5 acres on a farm thats split in to two fields of around 2.5 acres each, we are not charged for this grazing so it would be a shame to see it go to waste,

The farm is owned by an older lady who has a handful of sheep we help her with, she donít use these 2 fields as they are fenced for cattle not sheep, She just wants the grass maintained and not to overgrow.

So me and my partner thought about putting some dexters there as they are small, hardy and can be outwinter and this ticks all the boxes,

What we thought was if we buy 2 heifers and 1 bull, the 3 of them should be able to meet the requirements of keeping the grass maintained,

But what we want to know is, are dexters profitable ? I appreciate with only 2 heifers and a bull we are not going to make a massive profit but the aim is every animal has to pay its way, we plan to breed from them and either sell the calves either as beef or breeding stock.
 
Would we turn a profit?

I know they can achieve up to 220Kg but on average between 150-180 kg of meat and if we say we got 165kg from one, if sold at market price £4.30 per kg thatís £710 but with cut and kill being around £300 that leaves £410 but thatís without taking into consideration the price of keeping them for 20 - 24 months, Ive been trying to do research but most of the information I find regarding dexters is American.

Also help on rough estimates of what you would get from a dexter meat wise would be great, we would want to sell some to butcher and a few small beef boxes ourselves but weíre not sure how much of each cut you can roughly expect so its hard to work out what I would be selling a beef box for and what it consists of, for example when we do half lamb boxes I know im going to get 1 x neck, 1 x shoulder, 1 x rack of lamb, 2/3 chump chops, 5/6 loin chops, 1 x breast of lamb, 1 x leg per box.

Alternatively selling them as breeding stock which are going between £400 - £600 but again Iím not sure on cost to keep them for up to 12 months before selling them.

Any help on:
How much they cost per head per year?
How much profit is possible?
are we being too optimistic ?
do we have enough land for 3 dexters?
Best way to make money beef or breeding?
how much of each cut we could potentially get?
and any other information that might help would be great?
 
Really appreciate im asking a lot here and any help is grateful.

Regards
« Last Edit: July 25, 2022, 05:15:14 pm by Farmer C »

PipKelpy

  • Joined Mar 2019
  • North Shropshire
  • Dreamer with docile cow and sheep!
Re: Dexters will it work ?
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2022, 05:06:42 pm »
Before committing yourself to heifers and bull, why not buy some bullocks in to see if it pays?

People saying "we'll have the meat" is one thing but buying it is another and it will be another 2 years at least. Current issues, Ukraine War, sky high prices, would you have even thought it 2 years ago?

Halter train the cattle to keep them quiet but watch your back when they come a'bulling! Give them all names even those you plan to eat. Always be calm. Most importantly, invest in wellies with steel toe caps and be prepared for the clever cow who knows where the toe caps end!!

Farmer C

  • Joined Jul 2022
  • A wannabe farmer from the city
Re: Dexters will it work ?
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2022, 05:22:38 pm »
Before committing yourself to heifers and bull, why not buy some bullocks in to see if it pays?

People saying "we'll have the meat" is one thing but buying it is another and it will be another 2 years at least. Current issues, Ukraine War, sky high prices, would you have even thought it 2 years ago?

Appreciate the response,
In all honesty no I wouldnít, but I didnít think I would be in a position where I have spare grazing,
Iím only thinking about dexters as I have grazing Iím not using, Iíve always fancied having cattle of my own, Iím going be going to the farm anyway to help the lady with her animals I thought I might as well make use of it. Iím not looking to make loads of money from it I just dont want to be out of pocket, wether itís sold in beef boxes or for breeding

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Dexters will it work ?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2022, 06:22:33 pm »
Firstly, what tb area are you in? We are on 6 month testing and itís a royal pain in the backside. We canít plan ahead; we donít know if weíll be shut down in 6 months or clear.


Secondly, is it just 5 acres you are planning for them? Year 1, 2 heifers and a bull, year 2: 2 cows, 2 calves and a bull. Year 3: 2 cows, 2 yearlings, 2 calves and a bull. And obviously you donít want the yearlings (if they are heifers) with the bull, so theyíd have to be separate. Year 4 if you decide to keep for beef boxes- 2 cows, 2 2 year olds, 2 yearlings, 2 calves and a bull. I think youíd be pushing that on just 5 acres, especially if theyíre staying out over winter. The ground would never get a rest.

For something small scale like youíre suggesting Iíd forget profit, and make sure your freezer is full of good beef. And I think Iíd buy a couple of native bred store cattle, fatten them on for the summer months then send them on, rather than breeding. Much less hassle and will give the land a rest.



« Last Edit: July 25, 2022, 06:24:54 pm by twizzel »

Farmer C

  • Joined Jul 2022
  • A wannabe farmer from the city
Re: Dexters will it work ?
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2022, 07:03:46 pm »
Firstly, what tb area are you in? We are on 6 month testing and itís a royal pain in the backside. We canít plan ahead; we donít know if weíll be shut down in 6 months or clear.


Secondly, is it just 5 acres you are planning for them? Year 1, 2 heifers and a bull, year 2: 2 cows, 2 calves and a bull. Year 3: 2 cows, 2 yearlings, 2 calves and a bull. And obviously you donít want the yearlings (if they are heifers) with the bull, so theyíd have to be separate. Year 4 if you decide to keep for beef boxes- 2 cows, 2 2 year olds, 2 yearlings, 2 calves and a bull. I think youíd be pushing that on just 5 acres, especially if theyíre staying out over winter. The ground would never get a rest.

For something small scale like youíre suggesting Iíd forget profit, and make sure your freezer is full of good beef. And I think Iíd buy a couple of native bred store cattle, fatten them on for the summer months then send them on, rather than breeding. Much less hassle and will give the land a rest.

Iím Greater London so Iím a low risk area.

Thatís a really good point didnít really think more than 2 years ahead, I do have another 12 and 20 acre field that that I would be able to put them on mostly use them fields for my sheep but can always run them together or put the bull there to keep them separate,

Buying some native breeds to fatten wasnít something I thought of as I think I liked the idea of owning cattle, but I will definitely have a look at this as an option thank you.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Dexters will it work ?
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2022, 07:51:11 pm »
Itís a bit like sheep really in that most of the problems with cattle are with calving or young calves. Once they get to about a year old unless theyíve got an underlying condition like BVD johnes etc, they tend to go on and do without too many problems. Whatever you buy though make sure itís BVD free and tested for johnes, ibr.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Dexters will it work ?
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2022, 09:06:33 pm »
I assume you have or have access to an appropriate cattle crush? As well as the cattle trailer and a vehicle to tow it?


We have had to rule out cattle (even with the opportunity of renting land) as the extra investment into cattle-sized kit was just not financially viable.


I longingly gaze at the Jersey cows at the Great Yorkshire show every year... and go and milk my goats...

Farmer C

  • Joined Jul 2022
  • A wannabe farmer from the city
Re: Dexters will it work ?
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2022, 09:46:58 pm »
Itís a bit like sheep really in that most of the problems with cattle are with calving or young calves. Once they get to about a year old unless theyíve got an underlying condition like BVD johnes etc, they tend to go on and do without too many problems. Whatever you buy though make sure itís BVD free and tested for johnes, ibr.

Brilliant thank you, youíve been very helpful,
from whatís been said so far I think Iíll look into buying 2 in calf rather than a bull.

I think Iíve got answers to most my questions I think itís enough land if I donít buy a bull, just going to look a breaking even and not turning a profit,
Just need to work out how much it cost to keep them per year and what if I did send them for beef what cuts I would get,

Thank you for your help so far 👍🏻

Farmer C

  • Joined Jul 2022
  • A wannabe farmer from the city
Re: Dexters will it work ?
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2022, 09:50:55 pm »
I assume you have or have access to an appropriate cattle crush? As well as the cattle trailer and a vehicle to tow it?


We have had to rule out cattle (even with the opportunity of renting land) as the extra investment into cattle-sized kit was just not financially viable.


I longingly gaze at the Jersey cows at the Great Yorkshire show every year... and go and milk my goats...

Yes I have a 12/14ft IAE livestock trailer, thereís a cattle crush already on the farm and I have a pick-up truck to tow the trailer, lucky enough between me and my partner we have it all, otherwise we would definitely be in the same boat

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Dexters will it work ?
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2022, 07:57:34 pm »
I agree - go for it. :thumbsup: 


You have experience of keeping livestock from your sheep,you have the land, you have the equipment, and you like the idea. In fact you have a lot more in your favour than many people who start with cattle.


I have kept Dexters for many years and find that if you cross them with a larger breed (I use Herefords or Belted Galloways), then you get a more commercial sized calf that will sell well either as a store, or fat, or for your own meat - without too large a carcase.  A pure bred Dexter does not fetch a good price, unless you get it slaughtered and sell the meat. A Hereford calf is particularly good as it is colour coded with a white face.
When I had just 2 cows, I would buy a young Hereford bull at 8 months to a year old, keep him till he'd served them and sell him at a profit. So I'd maybe buy him in spring when plenty of grass,keep him over summer to grow on on good grass and sell him in Autumn. By that time you could guarantee he'd have served the cows and make a decent amount on him. A young bull seldom misses and in the unlikely event that he had you would know because you would notice him serving the cows again.   


If you buy 2 in calf cows 
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

 

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