( 6/21/12 UPDATE: Statistically, this story gets quite a few views from readers looking to raise their own food.. If this doesn't contain the information you are looking for regarding cost of raising livestock as a food source, please refer to my entry titled: "The Numbers Game Again" May 7, 2008. That will give you a more factual look at what it takes to raise your own food vs. commercial buying. Thank You! Happy Reading!)
Here is our latest project! Meet "Stew 2" a (now) 2 month old Holstein calf. This photo was taken when he was a week old back in Oct. This is our second go around at raising our own beef. (of course STEW 1 was the first! lol!) How we do it to keep the cost down is that we go in three ways with a single steer- we split all of the expenses (purchase price, feed, etc.) between our family, my parents, and my husband's parents. Then we split the meat after processing. It makes it more affordable for everyone that way.
In order to determine if raising beef is more economical than purchasing I keep a notebook of all expenses. So far, I'm going to say it's by FAR cheaper to purchase it prepacked in your local grocery store than to raise it yourself! lol. But... and that's a big BUT- The quality is incomparable! Your backyard beef is a heck of a lot better than some old ground up cow you find in the cold section of your local store.
To give you an idea of what this little adventure is costing- I will give you the run down!
We bought Stew 2 when the market was high (unfortunately) and we paid $148.40 for this bull calf from a local livestock auction on Oct. 1, 2007. He weighed 106lbs. Then we had to purchase a 50 lb bag of milk re placer, and a new calf bottle and nipple to the tune of $76.85. Then came the calf starter (grain), at 2 months of age he eats roughly 50lbs a week- we have purchased five 50lb bags for him, each bag costs $10.49. And of course he had to be "banded" to become a steer. We had to purchase another bag of emasculator bands- $2.50, and a Tetanus shot- $5.00. Don't forget the hay! So far he has eaten roughly 1 small bale- $2.50. There you go! You do the math! Were talking around a $300.00 investment so far! Yikes!