Projected cow costs for 2013 in Nebraska

Producer Question from 2012

Q:  What are projected cow costs for 2013 in Nebraska? (Dec 4, 2012)

A:  Projected cow costs for 2013 in Nebraska will really vary throughout the state based on the cost of available feed resources. The drought has resulted in a shortage of feed that has caused prices to sky rocket. For operations needing large amount of harvested feed to get their cows through the winter, this will have a tremendous impact on their production costs for 2013.

Recently a budget was reviewed looking at estimated annual cows costs for an operation in western Nebraska. This operation raises their own replacement heifers and replaces approximately 16% of the herd annually with bred two-year-old heifers. All calves are marketed at weaning except replacement heifers retained to maintain the herd.

Projected feed costs per cow unit when mature cows, two-year-old heifers, replacement heifers and bulls were included approached $670 per cow.

Other cash costs such as vaccine, medicine, veterinary services, fuel, marketing, repairs, maintenance, insurance etc. were close to $80.

Total cash costs per cow unit to this ranch were approximately $750 before including labor, capital and ownership costs. When these expenses were included it resulted in annual cow costs of over $900 per cow.

When costs per calf weaned per cow exposed were calculated, a 90% calf crop weaned per cow exposed in 2013 would result in a cost of over $1,000 per weaned calf.

Each person's operation is different. It is important to take the time to know your costs and compare them to your production. Knowing unit cost of production can significantly help a producer make decisions that will improve their profitability. Please see the Estimated Annual Costs Per Cow Unit budget document (PDF 49KB) for more information on projected annual cow costs in Nebraska for 2013.

Aaron Berger, Extension Educator
Panhandle Research & Extension Center
University of Nebraska