The cattle industry in California has undergone dramatic changes in the last few decades. Issues such as international competition and opportunities, new regulatory requirements, changing feed costs, changing consumer demand, economies of scale, and competing land uses all affect the economics of ranching. Rangeland and other pasture cover vast areas throughout California, including the Central Coast. Cattle grazing covers most of this area. Therefore, cattle operations must be economically viable and resilient to play their vital role in maintaining California’s environment and landscape.

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.

If it is determined that cows are the best option, then the decision has to be made when to buy the cows, and what type and age of female. Because of the cow cost and the value of the calves, the timing of the purchase can make a significant difference in the value of the cow (a cow is typically more valuable the closer it is to the sale of a calf). Also the age of the cow will make a difference because younger females typically will have more economic value because they will have more calves.

What Is The Worth Of A Cow Calf Pair?

The cost of a cow will be determined by its size and its weight. If we talk about a calf that is only a day old, it will require an extra amount of care and work, as you will have to feed it milk from a bottle. They mostly cost around $40 to $50. Plus they have a high mortality rate.

A 4 to a 6-month-old cow is efficient and stable and that is why it is expensive. Whereas a beef yearly is around $650 and $750 each calf. Cows that are older will cost more based on what their weights are. A dairy yearling, however, costs little, around $450 to $600 per calf.

What Is The Worth Of A Beef Cow?

The cost of beef heifers is around $2,500 to $3,000 individually with an average cost of $2,800 per cow. The cost of the calf will generally be based on its weight. The unit of measurement used to put prices on cows is CWT which stands for 100 pounds. For a beef cow, CWT is between $135 and $165. It is an average of $140 per 100 pounds. A calf that weighs 500 pounds costs around $700.

As compared to a heifer, bred heifer costs more. A bred heifer can cost around $1,300. Whereas matured cows can cost around $4,000 to $5,000 each. A matured cow can weigh around 2,200 pounds i.e. $1.85 cwt.

What Is The Best Breed Of Beef Cow To Raise?

In the United States of America, the most famous breed is the Black Angus. This breed requires extra maintenance and care during the calving season. There are more breeds of beef cows that are great providers of beef such as:

  • Charolais: This breed is heavier in weight and in winters their coat thickens.
  • Hereford: They mature early and their fattening abilities are great. They are docile and are efficient at milk-producing.
  • Simmental: Easy to work with during the calving season. They too have good fattening abilities.
  • Red Angus: They are docile and have good fat marbling.
  • Texas Longhorn: These are survival cows and they have longhorns.
  • Highlands: They have thick coats, they can easily survive in colder weather. Their meat is lean and marbled.

How Much Does A Dairy Cow Cost?

A dairy cow can cost between $900 and $3,000. This range is dependent on the price of a yearly to the price of a proven family cow. Yearlings and calves are less expensive as compared to matured cows. Moreover, a cow that is bottle-fed and hand-raised will be expensive as they are friendlier with people and can be kept around family.

The cost of Jersey cows can be as low as $1,400 to $1,800.

Cows that are sold by weight usually cost in between $1.05 and $1.35 (per pound)

As compared to bred cows, heifers are cheaper, they cost around $500 and $1,000.

The cost of lactating dairy cows is around $1,500 and $2,100.

Bottle-fed, tamed, and hand-raised cows are usually expensive because they are friendly with humans.

What Are Some Best Dairy Cows To Buy?

  • Jersey: They are smaller in size and they are great milk providers.
  • Brown Swiss: They are gentle and one of the older dairy animals.
  • Dexters: They are smaller in size but they are also used for meat.
  • Guernseys: They are smaller in size.
  • Hereford: They mature early. They are docile and great providers of milk.
  • Holstein: They are efficient milk providers and are used for beef also.

How Much A Cow Costs Annually?

Generally, cows cost between $500 and $1,000 per year to keep. This includes their care and feed. Purchasing a cow and raising it will automatically become less expensive if you have extra land to grass-feed it. 2 to 5 acres of grassland are required per cow.

For meat cows, 30 to 40 pounds of hay a day is required generally. Efficient dairy cows can eat as much as around 100 pounds per day. If you are buying hay for the majority of the year, it will be around $1,000 a year in the feed. If you have land to grass-feed your cows and fulfill their grazing needs, only $200 to $300 will be the cost of a cow a year.

How Much Does A Baby Cow Cost?

The cost of a calf is usually based on its weight. The unit for measurement is CWT that stands for 100 pounds. For a beef cow, CWT is between $135 and $165.

How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Cow In The USA?

Usually, the cost of a cow will be somewhere between $2,000 and $5,000. The weight of the cow, its gender, and its breed decides its actual cost. Yearlings are mostly less expensive than matured cows. They cost around $800 to $1,500. The differences in the prices are also based on whether the cow is used for dairy or for meat.

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