How to Start beef feedlot fattening business successfully

Beef cattle and buffalo feedlot fattening is a profitable business. First off let’s just familiarise ourselves with what beef cattle pen fattening is. Cattle pen fattening entails the feeding of beef cattle with a balanced protein-high diet for a period of 3-4 months under confinement.


This is done to increase the live weight of the cattle and improve the grade/quality of the beef so as to fetch higher prices when selling the beef cattle. Cattle fattening ensures that the cattle express their full potential for growth. Confinement of beef cattle in pens is meant to ensure that the genetic coding of the beasts is fully expressed in their growth and to minimize weight loss through movement.

In case you’re wondering how you can start such a cattle fattening farming business then kindly read along. This article will outline how to start a beef cattle fattening business and the beef cattle fattening business plan

Before you start a beef cattle farming business, there are some important decisions that you have to make. You have to decide on the size of your beef cattle fattening business ie how many cattle you will have at your cattle farm. There are many different cattle breeds, so you have to select which breed you will use, the location of your business, and your target market. The size of your beef cattle farming business will depend on the amount of capital you have, and your target market. It’s important that you get a good beef cattle fattening business plan before you start beef cattle fattening business.

Land requirement for Feedlot

You need land – this is where you will build the beef cattle feedlots. The sustainability of the land must be thoroughly assessed beforehand. The location must be very strategic i.e. near major road networks and near reliable water sources such as boreholes, rivers or dams. Alternatively, or rather as a buffer, water reservoirs must also be setup. Beef cattle pen fattening is done with the cattle in confinement ie in pens/feedlots. The cattle won’t graze for pasture. This means that a beef cattle pen fattening business needs less amount of land as compared to a cattle ranching business.

Housing and Shed, equipment for Feedlot

The beef cattle will be housed in feedlots/pens. Feedlots are confined areas with feeding and watering facilities where the cattle are fed by hand or mechanically for the purpose of beef fattening. That’s where the cattle will be resident during the duration of their 90-120 days fattening process. Confinement of the cattle in feedlots is meant to minimize energy and weight loss through movement. The beef cattle fattening feedlots must be set up in such a way that they protect the cattle from predators and adverse weather conditions. The housing must promote ease of access to food and water, free movement and adequate lighting to the beef cattle. The necessary equipment for a beef cattle fattening business includes the feeding and drinking troughs. Your commercial beef cattle farming business plan should include the costs of purchasing the equipment and the beef cattle feedlots.

Purchase and selections of cattle

To start the cattle fattening business, you need the beef cattle to fatten (also known as feeders). You can choose to either fatten your own cattle or you can purchase cattle for fattening from other farmers. Purchasing cattle for fattening needs a lot of skill. You must be experienced in evaluating the potential for fattening of different types of cattle (maturity type, breed, age, gender) in relation to the market price of different grades of beef. Different breeds of cattle have different growth potential, so you must be well-informed. Some types of cattle are more suitable for cattle fattening than others. If you make the wrong decision in buying the cattle, you will encounter a loss before you even start the beef cattle fattening business.

It’s also important to have good negotiating skills so that you acquire the beef cattle at a good/low price. Buying expensive cattle will lead to losses in your beef cattle fattening business. You can source your cattle from other farmers or from rural areas where it is cheap. The prices of cattle vary throughout the year. You should always have money to buy cattle when the prices are favorable. Lack of money when the prices are favorable is a lost opportunity for profit. Be wary of cattle farmers who dispose of their diseased cattle. Take time to do proper due diligence to ensure that you’re buying healthy cattle – don’t just be roped in by the low prices.

Feed For Feedlot Beef Cattle

As you can probably tell, feeding costs are high in the beef cattle fattening business. The correct types of feeds and the right mixture ratios are critically important in order to produce cattle with high weights and high beef quality. If these things aren’t done then the unfortunate result may be the failure to meet slaughter weight targets or beef quality targets. Proper feeding techniques will enable the cattle to efficiently utilize the feed and thus gain weight and produce good quality beef. Feeding can be done using a combination of complete commercial cattle fattening feeds and supplementary feeds eg maize. Cattle fattening is done to achieve two major things, increase in live weight (more weight results in more revenue when selling) and an increase in the quality of beef (high-quality beef fetches higher prices). A proper feeding regime will ensure that you achieve these objectives. Your beef cattle fattening farming business plan should take into account the feeding costs.

The profitability of beef cattle fattening business

If done properly, the cattle fattening business is very profitable. The profitability of the beef cattle fattening business depends on a variety of factors. These factors include: buying price of the feeders/cattle, the cattle fattening feeds cost, the feed conversion ratio, the selling price per KG, the feed margin and the price margin. Before starting beef cattle fattening, it’s important that you understand the margins and ratios. Understanding the margins and ratios will enable you to calculate your profit margins when buying cattle at a specific price. Thus you will make an informed decision before you buy the cattle. All those margins are explained in our beef cattle farming business plan.

Selling your animals in the market

You can supply your cattle beef to export Abattoirs, local retail Butcheries, retail chains, Meat Processors, etc.

beef cattle fattening business plan (pdf, word, and excel): comprehensive version, short funding/bank loan version and automated financial statements

For an in-depth analysis of the beef cattle fattening farming business with full understanding of the industry, market, how to run the business, the risks involved, the profitability of the business and the costs involved, consult for professional expertise to develop your customized business plan!

uses of the beef cattle pen fattening business plan

The beef cattle feedlots business plan can be used for many purposes including Raising capital from investor's friends relatives. Applying for a bank loan. Start-up guide to launch your beef cattle feedlots business. As a beef cattle fattening project proposal etc.