Understandably, not all homesteads will be able, or want, to include cattle as part of their plans. But you should realize that hundreds of acres of land are not necessary to accommodate bovine beauties. Some extra space is needed, but you may be surprised what can be done on small acreage.
Some farms will purchase one feeder calf each year to graze on their land until it grows hefty enough to butcher. Others will raise smaller size cattle, such as Dexters. This option allows a couple head to be placed in the space that would only accommodate one full-size cow. Their size makes them easier to handle overall for small homestead operations.
Neighbors who enjoy the benefits of cattle grazing (pasture mowing and fertilizing) may want to be included in your pasture rotation. And, with a little bit of tractor work, cow pies can be included in your garden compost.
Cattle can certainly involve extra work, especially if you breed them and raise calves. Dear Hubby has single-handedly wrangled, dehorned and castrated calves without a squeeze chute or encloser, but he is a special kind of man. 😉 Normally, you will need help or equipment to handle some of these tasks.
As the price of beef, and everything it seems (!), continues to rise, cattle are definitely something to consider in any homestead plan.