investment project, what are your cost per cow

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plbcattle

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I am working on an investment project. I will explain after I compile some data. What are your cost per year. Not wanting others to argue cost or how some do it or dont. I just want to know what your annual cost per cow is to keep.

After I get some data I will post my experiment.

Thanks
 

Jogeephus

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Kinda a hard question to answer unless I know what you expect the cow to be responsible for paying for. Do you want us to include land taxes, electricity, fuel, etc etc or do you want figures based solely on what their upkeep is. If this makes any sense. If not, it costs me around $200/head to keep one.
 

Bez+

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Still trying to get back to even.
Caustic Burno":764p2qnx said:
My cost last year was 1.35 a day to run a cow or 492 dollars a year.

Wife is on the books at home - you got me beat so far - looks like we are up around a buck fifty per day - fuel costs last summer plus a couple of heavy mechanical repairs that hit the 9 grand mark drove things up a long ways.

Good thing we are selling down - I cannot afford to keep animals that lose me money.

Bez+
 

MR3

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Cow eats 4 ton a year. More on pasture. Rather out of the barn or the pasture, grass has a value. If I figure pasture grass at 50% the value of what I put in the barn. That figures out to $420 grass only. Figure in fuel, minerals, exc. and I would probably be up with Caustic. I donate my labor so as not to violate minimum wage laws. ;-)

Rod
 

Jogeephus

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My accountant would probably agree with you. But its all how you look at it and what you expense against the cow. Its true grass has value but it also can have a negative value if you got to pay to cut it. As for land, I don't charge the cows rent since I own the land and would continue to own it with or without cows. Also, cows are only a small portion of the income the land generates so I can't justify tagging them with all the expense. I guess I give them a free ride for their good work in keeping the fields and woods mowed.
 

Aaron

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Jogeephus":z06vtqrg said:
My accountant would probably agree with you. But its all how you look at it and what you expense against the cow. Its true grass has value but it also can have a negative value if you got to pay to cut it. As for land, I don't charge the cows rent since I own the land and would continue to own it with or without cows. Also, cows are only a small portion of the income the land generates so I can't justify tagging them with all the expense. I guess I give them a free ride for their good work in keeping the fields and woods mowed.

I agree. I always value the summer pasture, the grass itself, as zero. It is not the product (grass) itself that has any value, it is the value that you add to it and the surrounding land base, via seed, fertilizer, etc. If you have fencing and payments to be made on the land itself, then you could include that. If your harvesting it for hay, you could include labour, machinery, fuel, etc. But to value the grass itself is nuts. It's going to be there whether you have cattle or not, so how can you put the financial responsibility of the expense of grass maintenance on your cows? That's their job! Converting free, no-cost, no-value forages into value-added beef!

With that said, if I value only the expenses incurred solely by the cows, it's about $300 per cow for 2008 which is on the high side for us due to a lot of spoilage in our hay which has racked up the winter feeding cost 140%. :cowboy:
 

Alberta farmer

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I value pasture at $1/day/cow, because that is what I could easily rent it for. I grazed 210 days this year so $210.
I will be feeding about 155 days this year. My cost/cow is 26 lbs. of hay/day at 3 cents/lb and 10 lbs of straw/day at 1 cent/lb. for a total of 88 cents/day X 155 days = $136.40.
My mineral/salt/vitamins are about $25/cow/year.
My breeding costs will be $25/cow/year.
Fence and corral maintenance about $12/cow/year.
Vet costs(vaccinations, antibiotics, eartags etc.) about $15/cow/year
Interest cost on $1000/cow at 5% is $50(my own money)
depreciation per cow/year $35
selling costs cow/year $25
death loss 3% $20
labor per cow $20
Cost to feed(tractor)/cow $20
So my costs will be $593.40/cow
I have not included time spent checking cows on pasture or cost of truck or horse or quad. I think it is important for everyone to understand their real costs, otherwise you are just deluding yourself? It is a generally accepted business principle that you need to make a 15% profit if you intend to continue a viable business? That would mean I would need to make $593.40 X 1.15 = $682.41/calf!
How many are doing that? In my own situation I have other income and use my 160 cows for the tax advantages. I can play this game as long as I desire but I sure feel sorry for the guy trying to make a living at it.
 

Jogeephus

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Alberta farmer":2xatxpfc said:
I think it is important for everyone to understand their real costs, otherwise you are just deluding yourself? It is a generally accepted business principle that you need to make a 15% profit if you intend to continue a viable business?

I agree totally with what you are saying and this is why I posted on another thread that I am probably crazy for messing with agriculture. I look at the total picture and diversify as much as I can. One element compliments another and can fill the gaps where needed. I keep a check book for the cows - I have 7 books total. The inputs less the debits is my profit/loss. Equipment bought soley for the cattle is debited to the cattle. In my view of things - not accountant's - the land stands on its own and has appreciated quite nicely with time - is this not profit? I view it as such and I view a well managed farm with that curb appeal as having more value than a poorly managed farm. I guess what I'm doing is looking at building wealth moreso than cash. This is where I am now probably crazy as a "smart" person would liquidate what I have worked so hard to build. If I did this, I could retire and live quite comfortably. But I am just getting started fulfilling my ultimate goal. But I always keep my options open and if regulations and tax policy gets to the point that I am much more disgusted than I already am, then I will sell everything on Jan 2 and move to a new place that I think will welcome and reward people who work hard or maybe I'll just become a sorry bum on the beaches of Tobago.

I guess what I'm saying is that I agree with you from a cash standpoint but cash isn't the only measure of wealth. Old saying here, "land rich and cash poor" - I'm in between and the cows are my maintenance crew. As such, I try not to dump a lot of money on them.
 

MR3

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Aaron, You imply to put a value on pasture grass is nuts. To establish permanent pasture takes machinery and implements. My time, sweat and blood maybe free, but Diesel, fertilizer and seed aren’t!

Rod
 

Alan

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MR3":21j9gceb said:
Aaron, You imply to put a value on pasture grass is nuts. To establish permanent pasture takes machinery and implements. My time, sweat and blood maybe free, but Diesel, fertilizer and seed aren’t!

Rod

I also feel that grass has value, wrap some string around it call it a bale.... seems to me that has a $ value.

Alan
 

xbred

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still working on keeping all records, it's not easy. best i can tell at this point is about a $.95 a day avg. per head (all cows/bulls/calves/replacements)..includes fuel, (small budget for farm and bld. maintenance), shots, fertilizer, etc. I try to include something for my labor, but it is not much. grazing not included, but field maintenance and fertilizer is. supplement feed is included...
 

dyates

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Costs are so high, I'm embarrased to say. Just bought the farm 3 years ago and mortgage interest alone per cow is higher than anything posted so far. Maybe if I can stand to stay in for the full 30 years, I'll break even when you count the equity. I'm about to buy some more land from a neighbor with no road frontage that will drop my cost/acre significantly and I get a few acres of tobacco ground in the deal as well. I would do something else besides cattle, but this ground ain't fit for much else. At least I should be able to cash flow with the tobacco and a few more cows.
 

Aaron

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MR3":21dd8k3j said:
Aaron, You imply to put a value on pasture grass is nuts. To establish permanent pasture takes machinery and implements. My time, sweat and blood maybe free, but Diesel, fertilizer and seed aren’t!

Rod

We are running on relatively native pasture. I would say to spend time seeding pastures is nuts, but I know many that do it. If you read my comments closer, you would realize that I said that fertilizer, (diesel), (seed), etc. are inputs which justify a value to grass. But in an unimproved native grass setting, I don't see a value. Also, unless you are seeding and fertilizing your pastures every few years or so (which I think is really nuts), then eventually (say in 5 years) your inputs spent in improving that pasture will have been paid for (heck, even add some interest). At that point, it is no longer justified to add that value to your grass.

Alan":21dd8k3j said:
MR3":21dd8k3j said:
Aaron, You imply to put a value on pasture grass is nuts. To establish permanent pasture takes machinery and implements. My time, sweat and blood maybe free, but Diesel, fertilizer and seed aren’t!

Rod

I also feel that grass has value, wrap some string around it call it a bale.... seems to me that has a $ value.

Alan

Alan, read my comments. I agree, you wrap string around a bale, it then has value. Regardless, we are talking about pastures, not hay fields. In the point of producing hay, regardless of whether of not you seed and fertilize, hay begins to have a value at the point of cutting.

An example: someone gives you access to a 30 year old, 40 acre field to cut for hay, for free (He's an oldtimer that wants to clean up the fields). My argument here is that at this point, that hay has no value. As soon as you start to cut it, you then add the value of machinery/parts, fuel and labor.

My numbers:
Fertilizer: $4.24
Twine: $1.25
Fuel: $4.00
Labour: $10.00
Machinery/parts: $5.00

Which gives my 4x5 bales a value of $24.49/bale. Notice, I don't give grass a value anywhere in my calculations. :cowboy:
 

Caustic Burno

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When you talk about grass value and the difference in pasture and hay field there is none in my book.
I can bale every pasture here and have done so in hard times. Why have a pasture that you can only use as a pasture IMO I am wasting land.
 

dun

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Caustic Burno":3doql4jb said:
Why have a pasture that you can only use as a pasture IMO I am wasting land.

Different terrain in different parts of the country
 

kenny thomas

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At least 1/2 of my land I do good to keep a tractor on it much less a hay baler. Some I have to spray with the 6 wheeler. Some of the hayland I have to find a flat place to set the bale down.
 

Caustic Burno

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kenny thomas":btak70mf said:
At least 1/2 of my land I do good to keep a tractor on it much less a hay baler. Some I have to spray with the 6 wheeler. Some of the hayland I have to find a flat place to set the bale down.

I have one bottom pasture that is flat the rest of the time you are going uphill or down. The big hill falls six feet in elevation every 30 feet. I have had to dump rolls for one reason of another out of the baler that went through several fences and got in the creek
 

kenny thomas

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6ft in 30ft I believe that is 20% slope. double that and you get some of mine. A few acres up to 50%. Sure is not a problem to get the hay unrolled though. I do have a fair amount of flat land to harvest hay on. See why some of the pasture rent is cheaper. The cows also have to have short legs on one side. Makes them walk funny when they go through the sale ring.
 
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