Want to have three or four cows to make sure we get at least two steers or calves per year. One to put in our freezer and one to sell. Poke holes in this idea so I know what I don’t know. Also about how much does each cow cost to feed for the year assuming I have to bring in most of the feed.
Ok, that is good to know. Being out west increases the amount of pasture needed per cow because of the minimal rain fall. I have 4 cows and 6 sheep that I graze on 2 acres in West KY. We have dexters and lowline angus. I have to feed a lot of hay, but we make it work.
If I was in your shoes, I would get 2 lowline angus cows. They are smaller than full size angus and are much more efficient on grass. If you have time to do rotational grazing, you should be able to feed them on pasture at least 2-4 months on 10 acres out west by my estimation. The rest of the time you will have to feed hay (ideally round bales). 2 cows would eat about 1.5-2 round bales per month. From what I hear, out west round bales usually cost about $90-$120 per bale. You could also supplement with some grain to reduce the amount of hay.
Getting 2 cows and breeding with AI you should consistently get 2 calves per year. Keep in mind that calves take 18 months to grow out before processing, so you will have to feed them too (if you have two mama cows, plan to feed 4 cows total because of last years babies).
Someone who is used to grazing out west could probably give you a better estimation, but that is my .02
I live in western Canada and am contemplating the same as you are. The concerns that I have are the price of AI for the cows every year including getting someone to administer it. You could find a neighbor with a bull who would take the cows for a month or to in the summer to run with their bull.
The second concern I have is the availability of hay for winter feed, my 12 acres would barely get 4 cows fed through the summer let alone have enough to hay for winter. I am in cattle country so you would think that it would be easy to find hay for sale but it is the opposite and getting harder every year to find enough. The big cattle farms pay premium price and pre buy a lot of the hay that comes up for sale.
We don't have time for this. We've gotta save the moon! Or check this out: