Creating a list of the most profitable livestock to raise in 2017 isn’t as simple as it sounds, but hopefully, our efforts can help you make an informed decision whether livestock farming is your cup of tea and worth your time and money.
When our ancestors domesticated dogs some 15,000 years ago, it was mainly for the purpose of helping them hunt animals. It took another 7 millennia for someone to realize that the same concept can be applied to the prey as well and sheep and goats were the first animals humans started keeping for food consumption.
Toda, livestock market is a huge industry. In 2013, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, livestock production in the world was worth $883 billion, (normalized in 2006 dollars). That number doesn’t take into account all the accompanying industries, like feed production, transport, meat processing, and plenty of others. If all those were to be added up, the dollar value of livestock market would be staggering.
But there are plenty of risks involved and if you are looking to get into raising livestock, especially on a small farm, you should be familiar with them. More and more people are thinking of abandoning the city life and finding retreat on a farm, and for the vast majority of them, that dream includes raising animals, either for their own consumption or for profit. An idyllic picture of a small farmhouse, surrounded by a huge yard with chickens running around and a milk cow grazing in a tree shadow most of us have in their minds when thinking about the farm isn’t quite easy to transfer to the real life.
First of all, animals require constant care. They have to be fed and watered every day, so forget about holidays or even weekends off the farm unless you can get someone to cover for you. Getting up in the middle of the night to bottle feed newborn animals is a common occurrence on any livestock farm, as is mending fences in the midsummer heat or taking care of a sick animal in the dead of the winter.
Make sure you have cleared all legal hurdles before committing to livestock farming. Is your farm in a proper zone? Are there any limits on the type or number of animals you can keep on your land? These are even more important if you are planning to buy a farm, since you may end up with a piece of property completely unsuited for your needs.
Are you prepared for any unforeseen situations? A proverbial fox in a hen coop can wreak havoc on your egg production in a single night, leaving you with hundreds of dollars in damages and lost profits. A simple intestinal parasite can decimate your Holsteins’ milk production. These are all everyday situations a livestock farmer must learn to deal with. Speaking of parasites, veterinary fees can be quite steep, so always have some cash in reserve for those as well. Veterinaries can also be a great source of information on which animals will thrive in a given area and which will have a hard time adapting, so talking to them before making your choice can save you a lot of grief down the road.
Can you sell your products? It doesn’t matter if you can raise the best goats in the entire state if there’s no one to buy it in your area and transporting it to the nearest market will double their price. The location is a very important factor in determining whether a livestock farm will be profitable or not.
Can you farm provide enough food for your animals or will you have to buy feed? Also, keep in mind that some livestock, like beef cattle and hens, will require specialized feed in order to be profitable. Nutrients-rich feed is often a must for animals to gain weight in allotted time or lay eggs regularly. If you are keeping animals as a hobby, that may not be as important, but if you count on them to turn a profit, it is a crucial consideration.
Finally, be informed. Similar like Most Profitable Low Cost Franchises to Own, articles like this one can provide you with a starting point, but choosing which animals to breed for profit takes a lot of knowledge. Visiting local farmers and talking to them is one of the best sources of information you have at your disposal and we highly recommend it, since they know local conditions, like climate and market, that can narrow down your choices for you.
In order to create a list of most profitable livestock to raise in 2017, we have consulted various farming and animal sites and went through their articles listing pros and cons of every farm animal currently bred in the United States. Finally, we settled on Morning Chores, Cuteness, Homey Improvements, Hobby Farms, and Farmers Creed as our primary sources of information. Here are the results.