Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Range Beef Cow Symposium XXIII, December 3-5, 2013, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, South Dakota, USA.


Copyright © 2013, Julie Walker.


What is your annual cow costs? _________________

What is your breakeven cost ($/pound of weaned calf)? __________________

The cow/calf enterprise is a highly competitive, narrow margin business. Every day the margin seems to get smaller. Cattle producers are always looking for ways to save a dollar or get an additional dollar for their product. When you hear talk about ‘managing annual cow cost’ do you think that equates to being a low cost producer? You have been told to manage cow cost in the largest cost category, which is normally feed. Feed costs are normally 50 to 75% of the annual cow cost. At the 1995 National Cattlemen Association Cattlemen’s College, the top two ways (Table 1) to reduce costs was 1) reduce supplemental feed costs and 2) rotational grazing, both applying to feed costs. Currently, producers are using these management options to reduce cost.

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