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Cow cost per head....2020

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Bigfoot

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Sometimes I post this, sometimes I don't. Cant remember if I have the last couple of years or not.

Very rudimentary breakdown on my 2020 cow cost

Just counting feed/hay, maintenance, insurance, gas, vet (vaccinations etc.).........Every cow on my place cost $373 to own last year

That number does not include property tax, depreciation, livestock I purchased. If I had included those expenses, the ole herd would show a net loss (I will claim a loss on my taxes)

Didn't include depreciation , because I have made a few purchases simply to make my life easier. We now run 2 hay cutters, and upgraded the hay roller. In my opinion, it was a wise decision. We had a wet year, and more than doubled our efficiency. I "should" be through making equipment purchases for many years to come. Next year I plan to replace some buildings I have lost to tornados, so it will be a loss as well.

Bottom line, and not to discourage anybody, but there just aint no money in cows. Not the way I do it anyway.
 

SBMF 2015

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Sounds like pretty accurate numbers to me. I sat down at my computer a couple weeks ago and started throwing numbers on a spreadsheet. I couldn't hardly believe it when I hit the total button $365 and some change. For me to keep a cow. I won't get rich, but I'll make enough to want do it again next yr.
 

Stocker Steve

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Bottom line, and not to discourage anybody, but there just aint no money in cows. Not the way I do it anyway.
Been there, done the math, but there are a couple tactics to consider:

1) Graze mismanaged calves rather than pet cows. Works well most years, IF you can manage risk, stress, and pistol syringes.
2) Buy in cheap cow hay, and take a credit for part of the hay fertility value. My soil is getting to excess P&K so I can't do this.
3) Come up with a low cost forage chain. I think this could work in fescue country, but not here.
4) Operate w/o any overhead. Been there (using an existing pickup, new fencing tools, and a rented facility) but this is too easy.
5) Sell for a premium. Not interested in grass fed, but I am scaling towards selling bred second calvers, and direct selling the drop outs as freezer beef. Ask me in two years how this worked.
6)
 
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Bigfoot

Bigfoot

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Been there, done the math, but there are a couple tactics to consider:

1) Graze mismanaged calves rather than pet cows. Works well most years, IF you can manage risk, stress, and pistol syringes.
2) Buy in cow hay, and take a credit for part of the hay fertility value. My soil is getting too fertile so I can't do this.
3) Operate w/o any overhead. Been there (using an existing pickup, a new fencing tool, and a rented facility) but this is too easy.
4) Sell for a premium. Not interested in grass fed, but I am scaling towards selling breds. Ask me in two years how this worked.
Truthfully, I could buy hay cheaper than I raise it. It's just not any to be bought here.

Off and on, I do background some calves. I always background my own. I usually keep them til they are a year old. I haven't bought any to fold in with mine in a few years. Swear I'm going to next year, we'll see. Supposed to add some fence line feeders and concrete this summer. Maybe if I do that, I will.
 

shaz

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Been there, done the math, but there are a couple tactics to consider:

1) Graze mismanaged calves rather than pet cows. Works well most years, IF you can manage risk, stress, and pistol syringes.
2) Buy in cheap cow hay, and take a credit for part of the hay fertility value. My soil is getting to excess P&K so I can't do this.
3) Come up with a low cost forage chain. I think this could work in fescue country, but not here.
4) Operate w/o any overhead. Been there (using an existing pickup, new fencing tools, and a rented facility) but this is too easy.
5) Sell for a premium. Not interested in grass fed, but I am scaling towards selling breds. Ask me in two years how this worked.
6)
Direct marketing beef didn't make your list. I'm sure the reason is that most cattlemen don't wan't to be salesmen. I sure don't but will sell to whomever approaches me.
 

Stocker Steve

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Stocker VOG should go up in 2021 as the competing cost of feedlot corn feeding goes up. So a question for those with high quality pasture would be - - do I need to sell some cows and retain some calves?
 

Stocker Steve

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Off and on, I do background some calves. I always background my own. I usually keep them til they are a year old. I haven't bought any to fold in with mine in a few years. Swear I'm going to next year, we'll see. Supposed to add some fence line feeders and concrete this summer. Maybe if I do that, I will.
Good idea. Seems to work well except when the cattle price cycle is going down. I think that phase is over for a while.
 

Dave

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I have crunched the actual numbers for this last year. We figure $2 a day when on feed and $0.75 a day when on pasture, all cost included. That puts us at $461 a year on an average year. Late spring of early winter will increase the annual cost.
 

Caustic Burno

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Sometimes I post this, sometimes I don't. Cant remember if I have the last couple of years or not.

Very rudimentary breakdown on my 2020 cow cost

Just counting feed/hay, maintenance, insurance, gas, vet (vaccinations etc.).........Every cow on my place cost $373 to own last year

That number does not include property tax, depreciation, livestock I purchased. If I had included those expenses, the ole herd would show a net loss (I will claim a loss on my taxes)

Didn't include depreciation , because I have made a few purchases simply to make my life easier. We now run 2 hay cutters, and upgraded the hay roller. In my opinion, it was a wise decision. We had a wet year, and more than doubled our efficiency. I "should" be through making equipment purchases for many years to come. Next year I plan to replace some buildings I have lost to tornados, so it will be a loss as well.

Bottom line, and not to discourage anybody, but there just aint no money in cows. Not the way I do it anyway.
You did way better than me.
 

GoWyo

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Pasture value here is around $33 cow per month (animal unit month or AUM) whether leased or value of owned pasture. So having a cow on pasture is $390/year. Add 1.5 tons of hay at $150/ton average for another $225 equals $615 a year to feed one. Then add in fuel, vaccine, fence repairs, vet, depreciation at maybe $50-60 per head to be $660-670 per head per year just for cows. Better grass years we can back off to about 1.0 ton per cow. Backgrounding calves and developing replacements are separate enterprises. Capital improvements have to be paid from profits or owner contributions -- from off ranch income.
 

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