Calves are assumed to be weaned and sold at an average weight of 550 lbs. In the fourth quarter of 2020, steers in this weight range were selling for prices in the upper $130’s and heifers in the low $120’s, on a state average basis. Therefore, a steer / heifer average price of $1.30 per lb is used for the analysis, which is actually the same price that was used last year. Weaning rate was estimated at 85%, meaning that it is expected that a calf will be weaned and sold from 85% of the cows that were exposed to the bull. Based on these assumptions and adjusted for the weaning rate, average calf revenue is $608 per cow.
Britt Hicks, area extension livestock specialist in the Oklahoma panhandle reviewed several recent market studies and says a variety of things such as calf body condition, castration, horns, fill, health, group selling, genetic selection and modification of breeding objectives can have significant effect on sale price at auction. Sam Houston State University researchers collected data from nine Texas livestock auctions on 1,420 lots with 7,073 head. All selling prices are given in dollars per hundredweight of live weight. Weaning of spring-born calves has occurred for many cow calf producers. Right after weaning is a good time to analyze the business and see what it cost to produce a pound of weaned calf.
These spring calving cows will use 2.5 tons of hay per cow, and the estimated cash cost of making this hay (fuel, maintenance, repairs, supplies, fertilizer, etc.) is $35 per ton. Mineral cost is $35 per cow, veterinary / medicine costs $25, trucking costs $15, machinery cash costs for winter feeding and other miscellaneous jobs is $15, and other costs (insurance, property taxes, water, etc.) are $40. Breeding costs are $40 per cow and should include annual depreciation of the bull and bull maintenance costs, spread across the number of cows he services. Marketing costs are currently around $25 per cow, but larger operations may market cattle in larger groups and pay lower commission rates.
How Much Does A Cow Cost Annually?
Cows generally cost between $550 and $1,000 a year to keep. This includes their feed and care. A cow will cost less if you produce your own feed or if you have more acres to grass-feed the cow from. A single cow will need between 2-5 acres per cow to grass-fed.
Cows generally need between 30 and 40 pounds of hay a day for meat cows. Actively milking cows can eat as much as 100 pounds a day in combined feed. If you need to buy hay for the majority of the year, then it will cost you about $1,000 a year in feed. If you can grow your own feed or have enough land for the cow’s grazing needs, then a cow will only cost you $200-300 a year.
Five breed or breed types received the highest selling prices and were statistically the same at about $111. They were Angus x Brahman, Angus x Hereford, Angus, Charolais x Hereford and Hereford x Angus x Brahman. Simmental at $99.90, Brahman at $94.34 and Longhorn/Longhorn-cross calves at $71.75 sold for lower prices than other breeds.
Black, white-faced calves at $111.74 received the highest selling price, followed by black at $110.23, yellow at $110.09 and yellow white-faced at $109.81. Spotted calves brought the lowest selling price at $82.16. Heavier-muscled calves sold significantly higher than thin-muscled ones, with No. 1s at nearly $111 and No. 4s below $54.
What’s A Beef Cow Worth?
Beef heifers will generally cost about $2,500 to $3,000 per head with an average price of $2,800 per cow. A calf will generally cost based on the weight of the calf. CWT is the unit measurement used to price cows and stands for 100 pounds. The cwt for a beef cow is between $135 and $165. That’s an average of $140 per 100 pounds. A 500-pound calf would cost about $700.
Bred heifers cost a little more than 1.5 times the cost of a heifer. A bred heifer would cost about $1,300 to purchase. Full-grown cows can cost as much as $4,000 to $5,000 per cow. A full-grown cow can weigh as much as 2,200 pounds and go for as much as $1.85 cwt.
- Calves: $800
- Heifer $1,300
- Heifer Calf combination $2,000
- Full grown beef cow: $3,000 to $5,000
How Much Does a Dairy Cow Cost?
The worth of a milk cow varies between $900 and $3,000. This range depends on the cost of a yearly to the cost of a proven-family cow. Calves or yearlings are much cheaper to purchase than full-grown cows. Additionally, a cow that has been bottled or hand raised will cost more because they are people friendly and better to have around the family.
- Jersey cows can cost as little as $1,400 to $1,800
- Cows sold by weight are usually sold between $1.05 and $1.35 per pound
- Heifers are cheaper than bred cows, ranging between $500 and $1,000
- Lactating dairy cows usually cost between $1,500 and $2,100
- Tame, bottle fed, or hand raised cows generally cost more because they are used to close human contact.
Where Can I Buy A Cow?
You have many options on where to purchase a cow. Local farmers may be willing to sell you a cow for less than market prices. Dairy farmers will often sell mail cows at a lower price because they aren’t needed for dairy production. In addition to finding a local farmer ready to sell, you can also order and purchase a cow online.