Beef…it’s what’s for dinner most nights of the week at the Cunningham house. My husband, Ross, often shocks our dinner guests with just how much steak he can fit in his slim frame. So, whats a farmer with a strong appetite for a steak dinner to do? Grow a herd of cattle of course! When we first moved to the farm a year ago our first order of business was to buy a hereford steer from our neighbor. Then we decided we should buy a few more so we could share our delicious grass fed all natural beef with our friends and family.
But, if you have purchased a steak from your local, friendly grocer lately you know that beef prices are at an all time high. Too many days without rain in parts of the country caused lower yields in corn and hay crops. Then, many of the states who produce the majority of the beef in the nation, were hit with brutal winters with record snow fall and freezing temperatures. If you know anything about raising cattle you know that cows eat hay and grain, lots of it, and when its cold out they eat even more. It doesn’t take an advanced degree in economics to figure out why that $3.50/lb ground beef now costs $5.99/lb and why a bred cow that used to cost $1500 now costs $3000. So, if you were to follow the number one rule of investing, which is buy low, sell high, then now is not the time to buy cows.
While we continued to keep our eye on Craigslist, we had resigned ourselves to the fact that mother nature didn’t want us to buy cows this year. But then, mother nature threw us a bone, in the form of a few days of rain. Our neighbor had a few too many head in his pasture and after a few days of rain he decided he needed to reduce his numbers if he wanted to keep his pasture from turning into one big mud puddle over winter. After one of his buyers fell through we got the chance to buy his extra head and at a decent neighborly price!
And so, last week we welcomed four new mouths to feed to the farm. We purchased two steer calves who are 3 months old and will be with us until 2016, a bull yearling who will hang out with us until the summer of 2015 and a 5 year old mama cow who will hopefully give us a calf this spring and many more springs to come. After a short ride across the street, all are now enjoying the fresh, green grass we still have in the front pasture. And we are relaxing knowing the cows are home and Ross can eat his fill of high quality beef at a price that won’t break the bank!