Even though all cows are large, the exact weight differs from cow to cow, herd to herd, and breed to breed. Because of this fact, there is no one size fits all answer to how much a cow weighs. Instead, you will want to look at the age of the cow, its breed, and its gender. Only by looking at many factors will you get a good estimation of how much a particular cow may weigh.

According to Ken Olson, a range beef calf/cow specialist at the South Dakota State University, the size of cow matters. The present age’s fed cattle (heifers and steers) are, as compared to 1990, larger at slaughter. On the feed, they spend eight more days. They gain weight 16% faster and they are more efficient. Though the weight gaining process is faster in livestock than it was twenty years back, the fat marbling and other characteristics are still the same.

Unfortunately, there is no one answer about how much a cow weighs. Several factors will impact the weight of a cow, such as its breed, age, and gender. As a result, there is a wide range of weights for cows, even cows within the same herd. For example, the heaviest cow is the Chianina breed, and they are typically around 3,500 pounds. In comparison, the smallest cow in the world is only 20 inches tall and weighs only 57 pounds. Needless to say, cows vary greatly in size and weight.

How Much Does A Beef Cow Weigh?

A typical beef cow such as Angus, weigh around 1210 lbs (550kb) for a mature female, and around 1870 lbs (850 kg) for bulls (on average). For a typical herd, this is not a very useful answer because the herd may consist of a variety of cows by age and breed.

Angus beef cow will be about 450-550 pounds when 6 months old, while a mature heifer could weigh anywhere between 800 and 1400 pounds. Heifer growth is usually compared to breed standards to determine normal progress. Here is a list of average weight of beef cows by breed (female):

  • Angus – 1,210 pounds (550 kg)
  • Hereford – 1,200 pounds (544 kg)
  • Limousin – 1,650 pounds (750 kg)
  • Brahman – 1,320 pounds (600 kg)
  • Simmental – 1,300 pounds (590 kg)
  • Shorthorn – 1,760 pounds (800 kg)

Factors That Impact A Cow’s Weight

As mentioned above, many factors impact a cow’s weight. The most obvious include breed, gender, and age. Beyond that, food sources and individual genetics impact the weight too, which explains why cows of the same age and herd can have wildly different weights.

The most important factors to consider when looking at a cow’s weight include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Breed
  • Location
  • Food sources and nutrition
  • Individual traits

How Much Does A Calf Weigh?

A calf is a cow or bull that is not yet a year old. Because these cows are so young, they are much smaller and weigh less than their adult counterparts. At birth, most calves weigh around 82 pounds. Within the first month of life, you can expect bull calves to gain a little less than 80 pounds. Heifers put on a little less weight but still put on quite a bit during the same amount of time. As they continue to grow, they put on more and more weight. Calves can end up gaining hundreds of pounds within the first year of life.

The calf breed can largely impact how much the calf weighs upon birth and how much they put on during the first year of life. For example, a Jersey calf may weigh as little as 93 pounds during its first month in life, while a Brown Swiss can weigh as much as 163 pounds.

How Much Meat Does A Cow Produce?

Once again, the amount of meat a cow will produce is going to rely heavily on how much they weigh at slaughter. Since we have determined the average cow weighs 900 to 1,600 pounds, let’s see how much meat they each produce. 

Average carcass weights for a cow are about 63% or their full weight. Meaning a 1,000 pound cow has a 630 pound carcass. From that, about 75% is going to make it to your freezer.

How Much Do Cows Cost?

The cost of a cow is mainly determined by the weight of the cow. Beef cattle typically sell for $140 per 100 pounds of weight. For example, a 700 pound cow would cost about $980. Dairy cattle that are sold by weight cost on average $1.20 per pound, meaning a 700 pound dairy cow would cost $840

How Tall Does A Cow Get?

The average cow can reach a height of about 4’ to 4’ 11’’. This is determined by the breed of the cow and their age. The tallest cow breeds can reach heights of over 5’ and up to 5’ 11’’ tall.

What Is The Average Weight Of A Cow At Slaughter?

According to Ken Olson, the cattle today at slaughter (heifers and steers) are about 14 percent larger as compared to the cattle in 1990. As they gain weight faster, spend more days on feed, and are more efficient.

What Is The Average Hanging Weight Of A Cow?

An average cow weights around/about 1,200 lbs and it has a hanging hot carcass weight of about 750 pounds.

What Is The Average Weight Of A Beef Cow?

A steer weighing around 1,000 lbs i.e. 450 kg provides a carcass that weighs around 615 lbs i.e. 280 kg after the head, blood, feet, guts, skin, and offal are removed from it. It is then hanged in a cold room for one – four weeks and during this time it loses some more weight as the waster dries out from the meat. After this whole process, the carcass will weigh around 430 lb i.e. 200 kg.

How To Weigh A Cow

Measuring a cows weight is most easily done using a livestock scale. Since the majority of livestock owners are not commercial owners, we probably do not own a scale. I myself do not own a livestock scale. So unless you know someone that does, you will have to use the cows body measurements to calculate the approximate weight. Here’s how it’s done.

  • Step 1 – Measure the cow’s heart girth. 
  • Step 2 – Measure the cow’s length.
  • Step 3 – Multiple girth x girth x length / 300 = Weight

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