Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

December 1997


Published for Proceedings, The Range Beef Cow Symposium XV December 9, 10 and 11, 1997, Rapid City, South Dakota.


Which of the following herds is more profitable: herd A that weans a 90% calf crop of 450 lb. calves that go on to grade 60% Choice or herd B that weans a 95% calf crop of 600 lb. calves that go on to grade 80% Choice? Obviously the question can not be answered with the information at hand. We have only the output side of the profitability equation and none of the inputs. It is likely that herd B will generate more revenue, but without knowing the costs of producing that revenue we can never know which herd is more profitable. Unfortunately, measuring costs to track true profitability in cow herds has been a difficult task. Therefore, identifying production factors that are correlated to profitability could possibly help producers make management changes to improve the financial standing of their cow-calf enterprise.