Cattle fattening business is a very profitable business and many people are making money all over the world by doing cattle livestock farming business. Cattle beef fattening involves the feeding of beef cattle with a protein balanced, high-energy diet for a period of 90 days under confinement to increase live weights and improve degree of finish and thus obtain better grades at the abattoir.
Beef fattening enables the cattle to express fully their genetic potential for growth. To build a successful, sustainable cattle fattening business, you require sufficient knowledge of how to efficiently do cattle pen fattening i.e cattle fattening techniques, good management skills, and a good business plan.
Cattle fattening farming is a lucrative business, but there are some essential things you need to do before you venture into the livestock farming business.
You have to decide on the size of your livestock project i.e. the number of cattle you want to keep per cycle; location of the business e.g. a cattle farm, and your target market.
These choices will be affected by the amount of capital you have, and the size of your target market.
If you do not have a lot of capital, you can always start small and grow your business overtime.
You also need to carry out market research (Who are you going to sell the cattle or beef to? At what price?) and write a beef cattle farming business plan before you venture into the business. If you want to raise capital from investors you will have to present good cattle fattening project proposal.
What you need
Land, Housing and Equipment
A large enough area must be available for erecting the necessary feedlots. Assessment on the suitability of the plot for cattle fattening farming should be conducted. It is advisable to locate the project nearer to good roads as that will help minimize costs. This will also enable the farmer have easy access to and from the project.
There should be a reliable source of clean water that can be used for both human and animal consumption, such as boreholes, rivers and dams. In case of inadequate water source, a reservoir could be constructed.
You will need to construct feedlots for the cattle. A beef cattle feedlot/pen is a confined yard area with watering and feeding facilities where cattle are completely hand or mechanically fed for the purpose of beef fattening. Feeding is done under confinement to prevent loss of energy through movement. Proper housing is important in successful beef fattening business.
Adequately protect animals against the adverse effects of weather when they are raised in relatively small areas. Cattle housing must offer very easy access to food and water, freedom of movement, ventilation that prevents harmful effects from poor air quality and natural ventilation and light.
Cattle for Fattening
You need the cattle to feed in order to start cattle beef fattening business. There are two options, either you use cattle from your own herd, or you purchase the cattle from other farmers.
You have to be careful when buying cattle to use for cattle pen fattening. If you make the wrong decision, you will be in a loss before you even start the cattle fattening business.
When buying the cattle, you should be able to evaluate the potential for beef fattening of different types of cattle, in relation to the market price of different grades of beef. Factors to consider include breed of cattle, gender, maturity type, and age.
This is because different types of cattle respond differently to the beef fattening process. Some cattle are more suited for cattle fattening than others. Money to buy cattle must be available at all times. A lack of funds to buy the cattle for beef fattening when prices are favourable is a lost opportunity to make a profit.
Feed and Nutrition
It’s very essential that you give the right quantity and type of feed to your cattle.
The success of your cattle fattening business depends on the ability of the cattle to gain weight and to produce high quality beef. These factors are affected by the quality and quantity of feed. The proper feeding techniques will ensure that the cattle will grow and utilize the feed efficiently and produce good quality beef.
This will maximize your profits of the cattle fattening farming business. Failing to properly feed the cattle will lead to losses. The losses will be due to failure to meet the target slaughter weights and beef quality grade.
There are companies which sell cattle fattening stock feeds. These are complete, balanced feeds, which are designed for fattening cattle in feedlots over 90 days.
The stock feeds are high energy fattening meals which contain all the nutrients necessary for ad lib cattle pen fattening. You can also make your own home-made cattle beef fattening feeds.
The amount of feed consumed by the cattle daily will depend on factors such as live weight and age of the cattle. Normally, it averages between 8-15kg per head per day or 3.4% of a steer’s live mass per day. The average daily weight gain at 350Kg live mass is about 1.6Kg.
When you sell your cattle to the abattoir or butcher, they will slaughter it and grade the beef according to its quality. Beef is graded in two ways: quality grades for tenderness, juiciness and flavour; and yield grades for the amount of usable lean meat on the carcass.
After fattening cattle in feedlots for 90 days, its beef should fetch the highest quality grade. This grade is usually called Prime beef or Super beef. This is the beef which fetches the highest price on the market.
The purpose of cattle fattening is to increase the weight of the cattle over 90 days (more weight, more money when you sell) and to increase the quality of the beef (higher grade of beef, more money when you sell).
Management and Labour
The number of farm workers you need will depend on the size of your cattle fattening farming project. If you are running a small business you and your family may be enough to take care of the cattle.
However, if you are fattening many cattle e.g. 200 cattle, you will need full time employees to manage the herd.
There is need for good technical knowledge of cattle fattening techniques for success in the business, and good management skills.
You need to understand the techniques of effectively raising cattle for beef. Some farmers don’t take farming as a business, thus they will never be successful, as they don’t properly manage it.
The amount of capital required for cattle fattening business depends on the scale of the cattle pen fattening project. Start-up Capital is needed for constructing the feedlots, buying the cattle, buying the stock feeds e.t.c. Sources of capital include bank loans, and equity investors.
If you plan to raise capital from investors, you need good cattle fattening project proposal. Don’t have access to capital? Start small, and grow your business overtime! Cattle farming is very profitable, so if you reinvest the profits you get, you can quickly grow your business.
You will require good cattle fattening business plan to guide you in your business.
Source: African Farm Resource Centre