Annual Cost per Cow

Backgrounding & feeding questions.
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midTN_Brangusman
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Annual Cost per Cow

Post by midTN_Brangusman » Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:44 am

I saw this mentioned in another thread and it got me to thinking what a cow actually costs me. Here is my breakdown that is correct to my knowledge. I'm sure there are things on here I have not accounted for. I would love to see your breakdowns and what you guys are doing to cut costs. I know most probably own their land and cut their own hay, but there is a cost that should be included. This fall I will be retaining about 80 heifers and running out of pasture so I have decided to send a couple loads of cows after weaning preg check for full year round care. The guys I know that do this charge 525-575 per year and I don't have to do anything but come visit and drop the bulls off at breeding time.

My goal next year was to buy a large track of land to run the cows on, but after putting it to the pencil test, it seems it would be cheaper to let someone else care for the cows. Thoughts?


Hay (5 rolls per hd @ $40 per roll) = 200
Mineral/Protein Supplement ( I feed cows (4 lbs/hd @ $0.13 per lb three days a week from Dec. 1-March31) = 100
Vaccines/Wormer = 25 hd
Land Rent = 125 per hd (I don't fertilize or spray rented ground, gets one bush hogging)

Total hd/year = $450



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Re: Annual Cost per Cow

Post by Caustic Burno » Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:58 am

Where is your fuel cost along with maintenance. Anything done for the cow is charged to the cow.
That is the only way to know if you have working or welfare cattle.
You can not spend your way to profit for tax deductions.
Input cost is all we have control over, we operate backwards of other business. We buy retail and sell wholesale.
I come in usually at 475 per head on paid off place.
I plan around 550 a head for the O Crap years.
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Re: Annual Cost per Cow

Post by Bigfoot » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:47 am

I had a running thread on here a few years ago, documenting what I spent on my cows. Moral of the story was, we all spend more than we think. My tax appointment is February 11th, and I have done very little to get ready. Receipts will be a few inches thick, and cover the dining room table. Takes a small fortune, to have cows.
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Re: Annual Cost per Cow

Post by 1982vett » Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:59 pm

Haven’t allowed for the truck and trailer to pull them to town....unless you hire that out, but then that’s another unaccounted expense. You haven bought a nail, fencepost, wire, rope, chainsaw to cut the trees of fences......the list goes on. Oh...you rent? Well where is that? Nothing insured? All new equipment that never breaks down? I suppose it just appear out of nowhere every time you need it or do we refer to hiring it all out?

As you said, you probably haven’t accounted for everything. It problaly adds another $100 a head. Hmm. You just might come out on the year round deal...as long as their isn’t any “extras” and you have an iron clad agreement on the care they receive. :2cents:

Something else puzzling is the wormer and vaccine for 25 head but your retaining 80 heifers......Probably a typo but still.
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Re: Annual Cost per Cow

Post by midTN_Brangusman » Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:49 pm

Caustic Burno wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:58 am
Where is your fuel cost along with maintenance. Anything done for the cow is charged to the cow.
That is the only way to know if you have working or welfare cattle.
You can not spend your way to profit for tax deductions.
Input cost is all we have control over, we operate backwards of other business. We buy retail and sell wholesale.
I come in usually at 475 per head on paid off place.
I plan around 550 a head for the O Crap years.
I agree with you CB and Vett, I probably should add at least another $100 for misc. Just wanted to make sure I was in the right ball park.

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Re: Annual Cost per Cow

Post by midTN_Brangusman » Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:51 pm

1982vett wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:59 pm
Haven’t allowed for the truck and trailer to pull them to town....unless you hire that out, but then that’s another unaccounted expense. You haven bought a nail, fencepost, wire, rope, chainsaw to cut the trees of fences......the list goes on. Oh...you rent? Well where is that? Nothing insured? All new equipment that never breaks down? I suppose it just appear out of nowhere every time you need it or do we refer to hiring it all out?

As you said, you probably haven’t accounted for everything. It problaly adds another $100 a head. Hmm. You just might come out on the year round deal...as long as their isn’t any “extras” and you have an iron clad agreement on the care they receive. :2cents:

Something else puzzling is the wormer and vaccine for 25 head but your retaining 80 heifers......Probably a typo but still.

Thanks for your feedback Vett, I agree probably needs another $100 for misc, the $25 per hd was for cows only, I didn't include the 80 heifers vaccinations, etc.

Basically I'm trying to determine, do my cows cost me $400 per year, $500, $600? I'm thinking its closer to 600. Main reason I created this thread was to determine what some people do to cut these cost down. Maybe there is no way around it. I'm sure planting oats/rye grass would cut down on hay usage but even then you have to have more land available.

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Re: Annual Cost per Cow

Post by True Grit Farms » Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:48 pm

I have no real idea of how much we'll lose on the cows this year, but I'm sure we'll lose something. If you own the land deer hunting can really help with the cost of owning cows.
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Re: Annual Cost per Cow

Post by HDRider » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:37 pm

I tracked every nickle of operating expense. I am a little north of $400 per.

No land cost, no depreciation expense, no labor cost (mine) but everything else is in there.

Feed 10%
Fertilizer 30%
Hay Baling 19%
Mineral 8%
Meds 8%
Everything Else 25% (I have it itemized)
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Re: Annual Cost per Cow

Post by Lucky » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:25 pm

I’m at $325-350 a head to get a calf to weaning size. That’s figuring feed, mineral, pasture spraying, fuel, and vaccines/meds. I own the land and figure it in as an investment and have a hard time figuring all the equipment in towards the cow. Cows don’t need to be fed out of a $65,000 tractor or carried to town in a $75,000 dually pulling a $15,000 cattle trailer. That’s just stuff people want.

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Re: Annual Cost per Cow

Post by Caustic Burno » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:01 am

Lucky wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:25 pm
I’m at $325-350 a head to get a calf to weaning size. That’s figuring feed, mineral, pasture spraying, fuel, and vaccines/meds. I own the land and figure it in as an investment and have a hard time figuring all the equipment in towards the cow. Cows don’t need to be fed out of a $65,000 tractor or carried to town in a $75,000 dually pulling a $15,000 cattle trailer. That’s just stuff people want.
So you spent 350 to get a weaned calf, the dam and bulls didn’t have cost the rest of the year?
You have no taxes on your paid off place? Mine sure does, that’s my second largest expense. That really should be called rent as we do not own the land.
If you don’t believe that quit paying the taxes.
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Re: Annual Cost per Cow

Post by Midtenn » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:13 pm

It varies some year to year but working on taxes right now and it's looking to be about the same.
Per cow cost:
Hay $175
Grass $100 (doesn't matter rented or own it cost $100 in rent or $100 in taxes, fertilizer and spray on owned land)
Fuel $30 (trucks and tractors combined)
Equipment repairs,tires, batteries, etc. $40 on average year (this year was a bad one it worked out to $100 per cow) we run older farm trucks and tractors. No payments.
Feed and mineral $100
Vaccines, wormer, and other vet $25
Water and electric $8
Misc cost. (Fence repairs, replacing damaged hay rings, troughs, expendable tools, etc. $12
Loss in value of bulls assuming bulls all survive and can be sold as killers $10 per cow

Total cost average year = around $500 per cow. ( reg. cows add $120 for a.i., AAA, DNA, etc)
Additional $60 per weaned calf if calves are back grounded 60 days = $560
These numbers are based on a 100 cow herd
Hay, grass, mineral, feed, and vet won't change very much with smaller or larger numbers but a little savings is realized when buying feed in bulk, vaccines and wormer in larger doses, etc.
Equipment repairs, fuel, and misc. cost can change dramatically on a per cow basis depending if you have 20 or 200 cows it can make a huge difference.

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Re: Annual Cost per Cow

Post by Midtenn » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:45 pm

Lucky wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:25 pm
I’m at $325-350 a head to get a calf to weaning size. That’s figuring feed, mineral, pasture spraying, fuel, and vaccines/meds. I own the land and figure it in as an investment and have a hard time figuring all the equipment in towards the cow. Cows don’t need to be fed out of a $65,000 tractor or carried to town in a $75,000 dually pulling a $15,000 cattle trailer. That’s just stuff people want.
My $15,000 tractor, $2500 truck, and $5000 truck, and $2000 trailer (all paid for) cost me $10,000 this year in repairs, tires, etc. I might could have made payments on those things you mentioned above at that cost. Point being....cost is cost and needs to be included unless you're using partly for personal or other business and then you would still need to include the portion being used toward the cattle.

I count taxes toward the cow but i can see your point about not doing it because yes the land is an investment.

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Re: Annual Cost per Cow

Post by Caustic Burno » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:49 pm

Land is not an investment until sold, it’s a money pit. Something has to pay the cost whether it’s the town job or the cows.
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Re: Annual Cost per Cow

Post by bball » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:59 pm

$452.60 per cow this year. That's $1.24 per head per day. The lowest I have ever carved it down to. Not sure where else I can trim inputs.
Reevaluating areas to improve profitability; breed of cow, maximizing profit per acre, etc.
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Re: Annual Cost per Cow

Post by Caustic Burno » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:03 pm

bball wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:59 pm
$452.60 per cow this year. That's $1.24 per head per day. The lowest I have ever carved it down to. Not sure where else I can trim inputs.
Reevaluating areas to improve profitability; breed of cow, maximizing profit per acre, etc.
:nod: That’s impressive, should have my numbers complete tomorrow.
Looking a little short of 1.40 I had some unusual expense this year.
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