Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Published in Cornhusker Economics, 12/05/2007. Produced by the Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


Cow-calf producers, like many agricultural producers, make many current decisions that ultimately affect subsequent seasons’ production and income. These decisions not only affect production quantity, but involve cash flow and resource allocation constraints. One of the most difficult and complicated choices ranchers face is the rate and timing of replacing and removing brood cows from the herd. This sentiment was reflected in the statement by B. E. Melton in his December, 1980 article in the Western Journal of Agricultural Economics, “Economics of Beef Cow Culling and Replacement Decisions Under Genetic Progress.” He wrote, “Probably no single aspect of modern beef herd management is as complicated, or has potentially greater economic impact, as the cow culling and replacement decision.”