Yearlings to 2 year olds

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If you have not reared your yearlings you will have to organise time to buy from the market or a reputable calf rearing enterprise. Alternatively you can ask a stock agent from a stock firm to act on your behalf to purchase a mob unseen for you. If you are clear on what you want to buy, this is a good time saving way to go, especially if you are not experienced with an "eye for stock".

The yearlings will be delivered to your block at a very reasonable cost by a transport firm organised by the sale yard, stock agent or yourself. You will need some kind of facility for unloading from a transporter without a ramp though. Either a loading race or a built up area of earth, with wooden retaining wall at the front. If you collect them yourself from the market with a stock trailer you will not need these facilities, but will not be able to transport many at a time. Many rural garages hire stock trailers - remember, you can safely tow only the same weight as your vehicle.

Grazing management will take a bit of time, you might use electric fences to break feed the yearlings to ensure good new pasture for them each day. Feeding out hay will also be necessary probably in a dry summer and wet or cold winter, when pasture growth is at a minimum.

A good water supply - a portable trough on a long hose is ideal for break feeding. That is a snag to break feeding - organising water available in each break.

Be aware how important some form of shelter is important from the summer heat and cold winter winds. Trees or hedges are very valuable.

A market for the 2 year olds. You will be able to send them to a stock market or straight to the local meat works. Take advice locally at the time to work out the best way to go for the maximum return.

Initial costs

Buying the yearling needs to cost around $350 for you to ensure a good return. The cost will depend on type and condition. Bulls or steers of a good beef type will be the most expensive. Only buy bulls if you really want holes in your paddocks and a good deal of noise! You will also pay slightly more for a well matched mob!

The opportunity cost of grazing will be $5 per head per week. This would be how much you might get for grazing dairy heifers. There will be some extra cost for hay or hayledge on top of your grazing.

Animal health costs are around $1 per head per week.

No specialised equipment is required, apart from handling facilities for drenching etc, and electric fence for break feeding.

Health

Problems may include

  • Scours
  • Facial Eczema
  • Internal parasites
  • External parasites
  • Staggers
  • Bloat 

Your animal health routine needs to consider:

  •  Drenching for internal parasites
  • Pour on for external and internal parasites
  • Eczema control
  • Bloat control

Feed

  • Good quality pasture
  • Good quality hay or silage if needed

Return

  • Depending on the market you will get returns of $480 - $650 per head depending on the animal and the market at the time.
  • Remember though, losing one animal makes a big difference to your returns, so animal health is a real priority.
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