Cost of cows vs buying calves

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NonTypicalCPA
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Cost of cows vs buying calves

Post by NonTypicalCPA » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:31 pm

With the end goal of producing freezer beef on a very small scale, would it be cheaper to get my calves by maintain cows, or by buying them at weaning? I’m thinking hard on selling my cows and buying calves at weaning. With my limited acreage, having to maintain cows really cuts into the number of calves I can have, therefore reduced revenue. There’s a farm not too far from me that I can get angus/Wagyu cross calves from at $2.00/lb live weight.



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Re: Cost of cows vs buying calves

Post by snoopdog » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:51 pm

For freezer beef, buy em.
Being poor is the most expensive thing there is

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Re: Cost of cows vs buying calves

Post by wbvs58 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:23 am

Being a Nontypical CPA you should be able to do the number crunching. My gut feeling is if you have a ready market for the beef you would be better off buying the calves at weaning. You can also put your energy into specialising preparing them for the butcher shop.
But then I like seeing the calves and cows in the paddock.

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Re: Cost of cows vs buying calves

Post by Ridgefarmer63 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:51 pm

I think about that question all the time. I have a small cow calf op (8 cows). We end up wintering over 16 animals or so and grow to about 24ish in summer. Seems it would be cheaper just to buy calves every spring, but then again you miss out on the cow/calve experience. Also you seem to bond a lot more with the cows since you have them for so long. IDK.

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Re: Cost of cows vs buying calves

Post by greggy » Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:10 pm

I did not know small time small farm costs were a consideration.... :)

If the cost is main consideration, then it would surely work out better to buy what could be processed straight away.....no tags...illness....feed...supplements..drenching.....yards....fencing.....time expended....all the things you have associated with libestock management.

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Re: Cost of cows vs buying calves

Post by Stocker Steve » Wed Feb 12, 2020 8:42 pm

Depends on your goals and your resources and your market.
Producing calves is break even for most.
Finishing is usually the highest margin phase if you are a good marketer.
Finishing good but discounted (color, markings, sex...) feeders can be a home run.
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Re: Cost of cows vs buying calves

Post by Bigfoot » Wed Feb 12, 2020 8:44 pm

Calves and corn can both be bought cheaper than they can be raised.
Your not a small business owner. Your a stay at home mom trapped in a pyramid scheme.

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Re: Cost of cows vs buying calves

Post by BlondeD » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:39 pm

BF has that right....as in a post or two above....just work on your system..ie..market.. and work that well..

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Re: Cost of cows vs buying calves

Post by NonTypicalCPA » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:55 pm

Thanks guys, you helped push me over the edge. I'll miss the young calves running around, but I won't miss the work and cost of keeping the cows happy. Now I need to find another farm that will use my bull and let me buy calves back.

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Re: Cost of cows vs buying calves

Post by sstterry » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:49 pm

NonTypicalCPA wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:55 pm
Thanks guys, you helped push me over the edge. I'll miss the young calves running around, but I won't miss the work and cost of keeping the cows happy. Now I need to find another farm that will use my bull and let me buy calves back.
I am still really curious to know how those calves turn out and how the meat compares.

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Re: Cost of cows vs buying calves

Post by NonTypicalCPA » Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:01 pm

sstterry wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:49 pm
NonTypicalCPA wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:55 pm
Thanks guys, you helped push me over the edge. I'll miss the young calves running around, but I won't miss the work and cost of keeping the cows happy. Now I need to find another farm that will use my bull and let me buy calves back.
I am still really curious to know how those calves turn out and how the meat compares.
I’ll keep you posted. They’re growing well.

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Re: Cost of cows vs buying calves

Post by sstterry » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:58 pm

NonTypicalCPA wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:01 pm
sstterry wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:49 pm
NonTypicalCPA wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:55 pm
Thanks guys, you helped push me over the edge. I'll miss the young calves running around, but I won't miss the work and cost of keeping the cows happy. Now I need to find another farm that will use my bull and let me buy calves back.
I am still really curious to know how those calves turn out and how the meat compares.
I’ll keep you posted. They’re growing well.
I am more concerned with how they will taste! :lol:

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Re: Cost of cows vs buying calves

Post by Stocker Steve » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:05 am

Have a spreadsheet driven buddy who was doing direct sales of grass fed beef. He was purchasing Pharo semen to produce efficient cattle, but ended up selling his cows, because most of the profit was in finishing and marketing. He found two producers with similar genetics, bought some of their calves, and then used all of his acres for finishing.
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Re: Cost of cows vs buying calves

Post by BigBear56 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:45 am

NonTypicalCPA wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:31 pm
With the end goal of producing freezer beef on a very small scale, would it be cheaper to get my calves by maintain cows, or by buying them at weaning? I’m thinking hard on selling my cows and buying calves at weaning. With my limited acreage, having to maintain cows really cuts into the number of calves I can have, therefore reduced revenue. There’s a farm not too far from me that I can get angus/Wagyu cross calves from at $2.00/lb live weight.
I’m in the same boat and think about this almost everyday. In my opinion you answered the biggest hurdle of all: a reliable source for calves. If I had access to the calves I want at the time I wanted them the cows would already be gone. Of course the sale barn is always an option but from what I’ve seen in Ohio the quality of these calves is just pitiful compared to what we raise out of our cows. I would have to go to WV to get anything of quality. I’m gonna keep the cows until the kids are out of 4H but if I were only selling the freezer beef and had a good source for calves I would dump the cows and fill the pasture with calves.

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Re: Cost of cows vs buying calves

Post by Stocker Steve » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:52 am

So just sell your cows and bull to a neighbor.
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