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Cow cost per head....2020

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shaz

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I'm reading - but wouldn't dare talk figures - you guys blow me away with your annual cost per cow. Even hay - I probably go thru 10-12 bales/hd/winter. No stockpile grazing. Although, we had drought conditions and finally got a lot of fall rain, so we grazed 50 acres of hay field that we couldn't get 2nd cutting off (wasn't any!!). So, we did not start haying the herd until about 11-1 --- normally closer to 10-1.

When will you stop feeding hay? For me I'll start feeding the week after Christmas or New years and stop feeding the middle of April. I'm feeding 4x5 so 3-4 rolls per cow/year.
 

kenny thomas

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Yeah, I never could figure out how to make that 'stockpiling' deal work... If I had to pull cows off of 'stockpiling' pastures from late August til December, or whenever you're supposed to start grazing that stockpiled pasture... I'd have had to start feeding hay in August, instead of late Oct/early Nov... and probably would have had to go back to feeding hay again within 3 weeks of starting to graze the stockpiled paddocks... until late March or April. Tried it once... just didn't work for us.
Or... I guess we could have cut the herd back to about 1/4 of what we had... and it really would have been a 'hobby'...
Your numbers aren't perfect but pretty close unless you have free pasture on a different farm to handle them. I still have 16 head on free pasture a mile away. Not much but is saving almost a roll a day
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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When will you stop feeding hay? For me I'll start feeding the week after Christmas or New years and stop feeding the middle of April. I'm feeding 4x5 so 3-4 rolls per cow/year.
We stop about the same time - mid to late April. We feed about half the year. If you had the extra land, "some" years, you might be able to stockpile for winter grazing. But, "most" years here, cattle couldn't graze if the grass was there for them. Too much snow and/or snow too crusted for them to get through to graze. Luckily our land grows ALL SUMMER. Rarely, very rarely, we don't have fresh growth in our rotational grazing. I only cut hay 2X, but dairymen will cut alfalfa 4 sometimes 5 times.
 

Jafruech

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With the drought this year I had to start feeding hay in August, and I'll feed through April probably. Nothing grew this year. Not even a weed. There's one slice of 840 that has had 310 days of rest this year and it looks barren. That said I'm about 410 a cow this year.
 

Stocker Steve

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Yeah, I never could figure out how to make that 'stockpiling' deal work...
It can seem complicated. Like many things there are several ways to get there:

1) Feed wet hay on pasture when drying is limited during the fall. Less weather and mud issues, but not a lot of cost benefit, unless you are really good at baling.
2) Sell the temporary herd to reduce feed needed in the fall. This puts you in the stocker business or the BM cow business. Should work well for the next couple years with rising cattle prices.
3) Grow annual forages for the fall. This puts you in the row crop or pasture renovation business. Should work well for farms that are already cropping corn silage.
4) Combination of the above.

Excel says I will make more $$$ with 41% less cows...
 
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Till-Hill

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Feed, farm insurance, semen, and vet cost was $496 for the year. Add repair bills from truck and tractor along with truck costs for year right @ $700 per cow. My feed bill little higher than should be as I retain all heifers as we are moving older and commercial cows out so I could do it $200/head cheaper. AI adds to my bill along with ultrasounding early on and having to recheck adds to over all costs.
 

Stocker Steve

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Repairs can be a killer. I bought a lot of used equipment about 10 years and now I am seeing a flurry of bearing and clutch and tranny and overhaul repairs.
 

SBMF 2015

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Repairs can be a killer. I bought a lot of used equipment about 10 years and now I am seeing a flurry of bearing and clutch and tranny and overhaul repairs.
I feel your pain. I bought a White 2-105 four years ago. It was less than a 1/3 the price of the JD 4230 that was sitting next to it on the lot. In four years I will have paid for that tractor twice in repairs. But that JD could have had the same problems and just cost more.
 

Stocker Steve

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I passed on a White. Too easy to find parts. Bought a MM instead. Sweeet ride.

You can get small brand parts if you are networked, but an issue here is that the old timey tractor wizards are going fast. Had three locally till one had a heart attack last summer, and one retired to the south last fall.

Have a FEL tractor that locked up while I was running in road gear. Tranny came apart... Found another with a bad motor for $600, and had a tractor wizard help me split two and swap. Ended up with a runner and a parts tractor.
 
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gcreekrch

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Yeah, I never could figure out how to make that 'stockpiling' deal work... If I had to pull cows off of 'stockpiling' pastures from late August til December, or whenever you're supposed to start grazing that stockpiled pasture... I'd have had to start feeding hay in August, instead of late Oct/early Nov... and probably would have had to go back to feeding hay again within 3 weeks of starting to graze the stockpiled paddocks... until late March or April. Tried it once... just didn't work for us.
Or... I guess we could have cut the herd back to about 1/4 of what we had... and it really would have been a 'hobby'...
IMO, the true stockpiling or saving of grass that actually has good value is in areas where hard bunchgrass grows or here where we have rank, wild swamp meadows the will stay green under the snow until conditions force feeding.
I knew a person who saved last year’s heavy, tame grass and clover mix and would turn cows on this straw in April with lick tubs to calve and milk. He asked me once what was causing his cows to go down and not get up, abort calves and not milk.
I told him Malnutrition Disease gets both the big ones and little ones too.

We all have to make work what is best for our own area.
 

Lucky

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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.
These numbers seem pretty accurate for most folks. What do you think you’d need to sell calves for to make a good profit? Would an avg of $1,000-1,100 a head make it worthwhile? Just curious what most people need to sell a calf for to make it all worth doing.
 

SBMF 2015

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IMO, the true stockpiling or saving of grass that actually has good value is in areas where hard bunchgrass grows or here where we have rank, wild swamp meadows the will stay green under the snow until conditions force feeding.
I knew a person who saved last year’s heavy, tame grass and clover mix and would turn cows on this straw in April with lick tubs to calve and milk. He asked me once what was causing his cows to go down and not get up, abort calves and not milk.
I told him Malnutrition Disease gets both the big ones and little ones too.

We all have to make work what is best for our own area.
Used to be a lot of guys that grazed corn stalk residue around here. At a cattle men's dinner a local vet stated to the group that he had posted more cows that winter that were full of corn stalks, but has starved to death.
 

SBMF 2015

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These numbers seem pretty accurate for most folks. What do you think you’d need to sell calves for to make a good profit? Would an avg of $1,000-1,100 a head make it worthwhile? Just curious what most people need to sell a calf for to make it all worth doing.
If my feeders avj $750 it's worth doing for me. I truly enjoy having cows and don't have to get rich to make it worth doing.
 

Stocker Steve

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Most producers don't know their total cow costs, so selling prices do not matter, till the cows (do not cash flow) take money out of their pocket. The typical first step of the cure (taking money out of their pocket producers) is not buying back replacements.

There are a few wing nuts who compare cows to other enterprises like row crop or yearlings or bred heifers. They are going to need gross margins over U$S 150 per acre.
 
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HDRider

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Just hay and feed puts me at $431 per cow. That is the best I can do.

My cows carry all my costs. Every operating expense puts me at a whopping $980 per cow.

I run 32 mommas
 

SBMF 2015

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Most producers don't know their total cow costs, so selling prices do not matter, till the cows (do not cash flow) take money out of their pocket. The typical first step of the cure (taking money out of their pocket producers) is not buying back replacements.

There are a few wing nuts who compare cows to other enterprises like row crop or yearlings or bred heifers. They are going to need gross margins over U$S 150 per acre.
Besides this out of whack rally, who is making $150/A on row crops? The big boys around here are working on volume over $/A.
300 acres ten miles away was just put up for rent. It's good soil. The winning bid was $400/acre. Now they get better volume discounts, but I figure my corn inputs will be $370/acre + cash rent this year. So if there looking at $770/acre to raise 200 bu corn @ $4 a bu ($800). ( now that's pretty rough math, that ground should do better than that.)
I'll stick to my cows, at least I could eat them if thing get destitute. :ROFLMAO:
 
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Bigfoot

Bigfoot

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These numbers seem pretty accurate for most folks. What do you think you’d need to sell calves for to make a good profit? Would an avg of $1,000-1,100 a head make it worthwhile? Just curious what most people need to sell a calf for to make it all worth doing.
That’s a good question actually. On calves I buy to background, I get pretty excited if I make $150. I’m pretty well satisfied at $75 per head. I have lost on them to of course. I’d say on cow and calf pairs, to get over and above depreciation and every last single penny spent you’d need to sell $1000 calves to make “good” money.
 

Buck Randall

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Used to be a lot of guys that grazed corn stalk residue around here. At a cattle men's dinner a local vet stated to the group that he had posted more cows that winter that were full of corn stalks, but has starved to death.
Corn stubble is good feed in late fall and early winter. By January/February, most of the good stuff is either eaten or rotting away, and all that's left is the stalk. Add in the increasing energy requirements of late gestation cows and a prolonged cold snap - boom - they'll start dropping.
 
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