Cow Calf

 Knowledge Nuggets | Fact Sheets | Research Papers

Knowledge Nuggets

By separating your business into profit centers, you can allocate associated costs and profits and evaluate winners and losers. This separation will give you direction when deciding on future ventures or how to scale down your operation.

Commit to identifing and writing goals for each profit center. Resource management goals, personal goals, and business goals are three specific goals to be written for each beef business. By writing these goals down, future management decisions become much easier.

If you are only doing the work of a hired hand, don't expect a manager's wage. If you want a manager's salary, spend most of your time doing the work of a manager.

Don't forget that feed produced on your land, whether it is grass, hay, silage or crop residues, still has a value. Assign these costs to your cattle business, so you can begin to evaluate the value of your forage business.

When entering any lease agreement, it is important for both parties to decide how much risk and responsibility each is willing to take. Make sure agreements are in writing. Sometimes it is more important to have trust in your leasee and leaser than to have the best possible price.

Try to find the best market for your cull animals. Rather than dumping culled cows into a market, placing them in a feeding program to increase marbling, tenderness, flavor, body weight and whiten the fat may result in higher returns.

Track the profitability of your herd size. Bigger is not always more efficient. Knowing what herd size creates the most efficient use of your resources is important to increase profitability.

Deciding how to replace breeding stock is an important decision. Raising replacements requires separate management, labor, facilities and feed. However, purchasing replacements can also be expensive and animal performance is less known. Evaluating which method is best for your business is important before making a decision.

Risk is a part of every business. Identify and understand the risks your business faces and plan how you will deal with them.

There are five main types of available markets that producers can access. These include direct sales (farm gate and feedlot direct), commission sales (auction market), direct sales with commission (e.g. ranch sales, electronic auctions), forward contracting, and satellite video auctioning. Understand what is involved in each of these methods and decide which works the best for the product you offer.

There are seasonal effects on the pricing of different ages of cattle. Be aware of this and try to match the animals you sell to the best season for the price for that class of animal.

Fact Sheets

AgriProfit$ Cost & Returns Report (2012 - 2016)

Basic Design of a Lease Agreement for Cows

Beef Breed Investment Calculator

Beef Cow Rental Arrangements for Your Farm - available in PDF format only

Budgeting Tools

Cow Calf Share Lease Agreement - available in PDF format only

Custom Cattle Feeding Agreement - available in PDF format only

Custom Pasture Agreement - available in PDF format only

Do Larger Cow Herds Mean Increased Returns? - available in PDF format only

Economics and Marketing: Marketing Cull Cows

Economics of Change for Beef Operations

Economies of Size in Cow-Calf Production - available in PDF format only

Effect of Winter Grazing System on Beef Cow Performance and System Costs

Evaluating Yardage Costs - available in PDF format only

Factors Affecting the Profitability of the Cow Calf Enterprise - available in PDF format only

Guidelines For Estimating Cow-Calf Production Costs

Key Success Factors In Cow Calf Enterprise Profitability - available as PDF format only

Managing for Today's Cattle Market and Beyond

Managing Your Cow Herd: Strategies to Lower Cow-Calf Production Costs

Manitoba Cost of Production

Nutrition and Management: Finishing Cull Cows

Raising Beef Replacement Heifers - available as PDF format only

Rancher's Risk and Return - information page

So You're In The Cattle Business: Do You Know Where You're Going?

Strategic and Scenario Planning in Ranching - "Managing Risk in Dynamic Times - available as PDF format only

Summer Prep = Fall Payoff

The Costs of Raising Replacement Heifers and the Value of a Purchased Versus Raised Replacement

Wealthy Rancher Calculator

2012 Saskatchewan Cow-Calf Cost of Production Analysis - available in PDF format

Low-Cost Cow-Calf Producers - video

What Should I Charge to Over Winter Cows?

Research Papers

Critical Control Points for Profitability in the Cow-Calf Enterprise

Time of Weaning: The Economic Implications

  For more information about the content of this document, contact Grant Lastiwka.
This document is maintained by Mary Ann Nelson.
This information published to the web on December 4, 2003.
Last Reviewed/Revised on October 26, 2017.

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