Thank you for starting this tread. As the wildlife manager/ Field Supervisor in Unit 3C for 26 yrs. I saw the end of the horse capturing that the Heber Ranger (Black Mesa) Dist was doing, and the results. It saddens, and angers me to see what these horses have done to the habitat in not only that unit, but also Unit 1. Specifically, the Kettel Holes area. that area has been decimated and all those meadows have been converted from grass land community to noxious weeds. Any business in the white mountains that supports the horses should defiantly be boycotted, especially by hunters, or anyone interested in sound forest management. There is no place on public land for even one feral horse. Besides the habitat issues, thats a lot of high-quality protein on the hoof, that could feed a lot of people!
All are good comments above, as to things to consider. The figure Sparks put out is in the ball park for last years costs. Raising finished beef for the retail and restaurant market is what I do to support my farm, we do 35-40 beaves a year and have for 30 yrs. now. A few things. For your situation, I would suggest buying yearlings in the 750-900 lb range in May (getting beef through the winter can be pretty costly and labor intensive) and feeding them on your pasture until September-October, try to get them to at least 1000 lbs. Best to feed at least two together. Be conservative the first year on how many your pasture can support, most people over estimate that and slowly degrade it. You have a good sale barn there, go to a few sales and just watch. Then look at some of the ranches and other back yard guys. Were you buy them is not as important as what you buy, IMO stay away from the Brahman cattle, Corrientes ect. we breed Angus cattle, but other breeds work well also. When picking out yearlings look for CALM cattle, with good hinds that carry low, full backs, bright eyed, good coats. As soon as I got them home I would worm them with an Ivomec injectable. Ivomec Plus is good for those raised in areas that have liver fluke infestations. A lot a permanent pasture in AZ has that now, ask the producer. And ask if he has wormed them and with what, and when. A good indicator of a liver fluke area is the presents of snails. Don't forget processing costs, you have a good packing house there in Perkinsville if they are still in business. Call them and check on availability of appointment slots and costs. I am currently scheduled out to June of 2023 with my processer just to make sure I can get animals in. If you want to supplement with grain, (we offer both, grass finished and grain finished in our program), understand the grain prices are out the roof. Two years ago I was paying 500/ton for corn and sweetfeed, last year 800/ton. I expect 1000/ton this year. After working them up we are feeding 8 lbs twice a day/hd. We feed for 6-10 weeks. Watch them close for signs of bloat and always make sure they all come to the feeder at feeding time. I hope that helps some, I am sure I am missing something. Personally, I think if you have the facilities raising your own beef is great! Great for the family!